My interests as an academic are in structural violence and social capital, particularly community social capital. Put plainly, structural violence is officially and/or socially encouraged rules and practices that guarantee different outcomes for different populations. Social capital is a measure of what an individual can achieve through their network of social relationships. Community social capital is a measure of a community’s ability to deal with community-wide problems in an orderly and effective manner.
I developed an interest in leadership development when I was writing my master’s thesis; my thesis was that teaching leadership skills could enhance community social capital. The topics I decided to focus on in my research of leadership development came from a book I used in my research: Community building: What makes it work—A review of factors influencing successful community building by Mattessich, Monsey, & Roy (1997). These authors suggest that effective community leaders should learn “how to lead meetings, how to use the media, how to communicate effectively, and how to raise money” (p.2). I followed this as a blueprint for designing a leadership development curriculum that I completed in May of 2017.
The NCR 594 Project has always been aimed at helping community activists. The hope being that in teaching leadership skills and building individual social capital, the participants will collectively build community social capital as well. Some recent reading I have done has pointed me towards the idea of organizing. This new thinking has me reclassifying my efforts into three interrelated component topics: leadership, community organizing, and effective communication.
The leadership portion will focus on using persuasion to lead others toward mutually defined objectives. Community organizing will deal with the management issues that community activists face. These include obvious issues like fundraising, meeting management, and public relations. This topic will also cover issues like incorporation, recordkeeping, and planning and strategy. The effective communication component is about dealing with people in each of these contexts.
The goal is to have an easily accessible archive that will provide useful information to activists everywhere. I encourage the people who find this website useful to share their own thoughts on these topics by providing feedback or by contributing their own content. Contributions can be written, or in audio or video formats. Please feel free to contact me directly with any thoughts or concerns.
I appreciate your time and consideration.