Why do a master's in community organizing?

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Most community organizers and popular educators learn their "trade" on the job, which generally leaves little time for developing coherent political analysis, comprehensive strategies, adequate cross-cultural communication, effective tactics and much more. Political formation is the single most important key to effective community work and education, and it doesn't happen spontaneously.


Learn the theory and practice of popular education and community organizing from teachers and mentors who have spent a lifetime at it. The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee master's degree in community organizing - part of the Cultural Foundation of Education program - is a unique collaborative partnership with the Autonomous University of Social Movements (AUSM).

Click here to see AUSM graduate Roberto de la Riva explain the master's program.
Based in the Albany Park Autonomous Center in Chicago, the UWM program offers the only master's degree in community organizing and popular education in the country. Students combine discussion-based academic classes with hands on experience and regular mentoring from community organizers at the Autonomous Center in Chicago. All classes are offered via internet, and can be experienced in person for students living in Chicago. Practicum experiences can be arranged in most US urban centers, with mentoring via internet, or at the Autonomous Center in Chicago.

Classes include:

*Popular education theory and practice
*An in-depth look at community organizing models, including autonomous, Alinsky-style, faith-based,  identity-based, labor and cultural organizing
*Issues in community organizing, including race/gender/class dynamics, cross-cultural communication, leadership, and challenges facing immigrant communities
*Issues in urban organizing, including social and political geography, police, public education, and public health
*Political analysis, including power analysis, anti-capitalist perspectives, local power structures, and political parties

Each student designs and implements a community practicum, which might include:
*Working with women's cooperatives dedicated to food preparation, cleaning services or day care
*Developing community responses to police harassment, sub-par public education, foreclosure and eviction, wage theft, or the lack of cultural outlets for youth
*Developing popular education curriculum for teaching ESL or bilingual adult high school classes
*Coalition-building across the city within the immigrant rights, foreclosure resistance, labor or Occupy movements

An optional eight week summer program in Mexico introduces students to Mexico's most important and vibrant social movements, including indigenous movements in Chiapas, occupation and housing movements in Mexico City, and campesino movements in Tlaxcala.

Graduates receive a fully-accredited degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

For more information, see AUSM and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee websiteClick here to apply.