The Community Change Studies (CCS) minor prepares students to fill the need for talented, skilled individuals to work on issues of poverty, race and community-building. 

Our interdisciplinary approach offers students the tools to be critical thinkers, team builders, organizers and agents of positive, social change in a range of careers and in their lives.

Students work on local and campus issues, and explore topics such as social and political power; race, culture, class and gender; the history of social movements; and listening skills, relationship building and critical analysis.

Combine the CCS minor with any academic major offered at UM-Dearborn.

For further information about Community Change Studies, contact Program Director Dr. Lara Rusch.

More about the CCS minor

The Curriculum (18 credits)

Organizing and Leadership (3 credits)

This course introduces students to the theory and practice of local democratic action. In collaboration with local community partners, students learn about effective methods of civic engagement and leadership, as currently practiced in metropolitan Detroit.

Capstone Seminar (3 credits) 

The focus is on developing case studies of local, national and international social movements and grassroots activism.  The goal is to develop skills in designing, conducting and presenting participatory community-based research.

Internship (3 credits)

The internship offers students the opportunity to learn and apply concepts learned in CCS coursework to real world settings in municipal and regional government offices, non-profit and community organizations, or businesses.

Elective Credits (9 credits)

Choose from among 21 elective courses. 

Elective Courses

Select any three

  • AMST 300: Comparative American Identities 
  • ANTH 376: Power and Privilege in SE Michigan 
  • ANTH 455: Immigrant Cultures and Gender 
  • BA320: Project Management and Leadership Skills
  • COMM 364: Writing for Civic Literacy 
  • COMM 366: Public Communication and Culture Studies 
  • CRJ/ENST 483: Justice, Crime and the  Environment 
  • ECON 375: Heterodox Economics 
  • ENST 456: Ecological Economics
  • HIST 3651: Women Leadership and Social Change 
  • HIST 369: Civil Rights Movement in America 
  • HIST 383: Labor in America 
  • HIST 384: Immigrants in American History 
  • POL 323: Urban Politics 
  • POL 325: Environmental Politics 
  • POL 484: Revitalizing Cities
  • SOC 435: Urban Sociology 
  • SOC 450: Political Sociology 
  • SOC 476: Inside Out Prison Exchange 
  • SPEE 320: Public Argument and Advocacy 
  • SPEE 442: 20th Century Public Argument 
  • WGST 481: Gender and Globalization
For Bachelor of General Studies students

Community Change Studies is now an interdisciplinary focus area for the BGS degree.  

For more information, see CASL Degree Requirements.

Program Goals and Objectives

Community Change Minor Program Goals and Objectives

             1 = moderate                     2 = high               

Integrative Knowledge

Community Change Minor

Describe the distinctive social, cultural, and spatial features of communities and illustrate their impacts on the urban experience.   Explain how the concept or meaning of a community varies in different historical and comparative contexts.


Explain the major processes of urbanization and features of urban life associated with contemporary Detroit.


Apply concepts or methods from more than one social science or adjacent discipline to analyze a community-based social issue or problem.


Articulate a well-defined research question, conduct independent research using primary sources and a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches, and write a substantive research paper.


Explain the processes and goals of community-based participation in the development of programs and policies that contribute to the social, economic, political, and environmental improvement of their communities and cities.


Thematic Knowledge


Apply an understanding of urban issues to the development and critical analysis of programs and policies appropriate to addressing contemporary social and economic problems within diverse communities.


Demonstrate an understanding of the history and variety of urban forms and governance structures.


Identify and utilize appropriate primary data, including census materials, for the analysis of urban issues.


Apply basic skills of empirical reasoning to an urban program or problem.


Explain the impact of the natural environment and the built environment on patterns of urban growth, development and forms of social interaction.


Articulate an analysis of the implications of social and economic policy in the context of social justice and sustainable environmental practices.


Foundational Skills


Be able to communicate ideas effectively in written form across diverse communities.


Communicate ideas effectively in verbal form across diverse communities.


Collaborate on research projects and presentations.



Back to top of page