Return to main page Syllabus Course Flow Assignments Links Reading list Updated: 01/02/09

SHS 250-Community and Client Advocacy
Social and Human Services Department
Seattle Central Community College
Winter, 2009

Instructor:                                   Karen Strickland, M.S.
Office Number and Phone 3195; 587-6911
Email Address
Department Number and Phone 3212A; 587-6900
Office Hours Mon. & Wed.    9:30-10:00; 4:00-4:30
Tues. & Thurs. 12:30-1:30; 4:00-4:30
Website Address

Disability Notation: If you need course adaptations or accommodation because of a disability, if you have emergency medical information to share with me or if you need special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please make an appointment or talk with me as soon as possible.

Course description:  This course will cover the roles of the advocate in various human service settings, use of community advocacy resources and effective use of the media, law, negotiation and political process to achieve needed human services.

Text:  Promoting Community Change, 3rd Ed.  Homan, Mark S.  Brooks/Cole Publishing, 2004.

Course objectives:  The student will...

1.  exhibit an understanding of various types of advocacy including legislative, community organizing/grassroots development and networking as well as others.
2.  identify specific populations that may benefit from advocacy and issues specific to these populations that an advocate must consider.
3.  become familiar with sources of funding and ways of accessing that funding.
4.  develop an understanding of and an ability to work with multidisciplinary systems.
5.  display a knowledge of barriers that members of various populations face in accessing services.
6.  become familiar with local agencies/organizations that provide various types of advocacy services for specific populations including older adults, people of color, HIV+ clients and children and adults with disabilities, as well as others.
7.  work in a group on a project that involves application of social change strategies.

Educational Philosophy

I believe that students learn best when they are actively involved with the course content. I am also certain that all students can learn.  There are barriers to learning that occur, however, and it is the responsibility of both the teacher and the student to eliminate these barriers. Below I have listed the responsibilities of each of us; by fulfilling these we can maximize your learning potential. I also believe that developing your ability to critically think through problems and information is an important part of your education. In this class I will ask you to be aware of your thinking processes; for example, are you considering all the relevant information? Are you clear about your understanding of the material? Are your ideas logical? When presented with a situation can you draw on the knowledge you have to problem solve and make decisions?

Instructor Responsibilities

  1. To create a safe learning environment that allows for an exchange of ideas and exploration of the concepts and issues we encounter in this course.
  2. To make clear my expectations of you in regard to preparation for class, class activities and assignments.
  3. To maintain reasonable and high expectations and to hold you accountable to these.
  4. To be available to help you individually and to provide referrals to other services that may be of help to you.
  5. To give you feedback on your work so that you can increase your skills and knowledge throughout the quarter and beyond.

Student Responsibilities

  1. To arrive in class on time and be prepared to actively participate in the class session.
  2. To complete assignments on time and in accordance with the guidelines defined by me.
  3. To stay in contact with me throughout the quarter, especially if you are having difficulty, i.e. absences, not understanding the material etc. Contact can be by telephone, email, in person or in writing. Your assignments are a good place to ask questions, offer answers or keep me informed of how you are doing in the class.
  4. To be aware of how your behavior affects your classmates, the teacher and the learning atmosphere and act accordingly.
  5. To develop professionalism in the following ways:


1. Final group project (40%):  Early in the quarter you will choose an issue with 2-4 classmates that you would like to focus on for the duration of the quarter or the entire class will choose one project to work on.  Your small group will research the issue, develop a plan of action to promote change and implement the plan.  Your goal will focus on social change, rather than direct service, and it should be something you can accomplish during the quarter. At the end of the quarter your group will present your work to the rest of the class.

Some examples of past projects include organizing a campus-wide forum on proposed legislation, proposal for adoption of new curriculum in the SHS program., development and distribution of an information brochure regarding services for potential or actual domestic violence victims and developing and promoting a mentoring program on campus for students who are  former foster youth.  As you can see, there is a wide range of possibilities and you have the opportunity to do something that is meaningful to you.  I will provide you with a handout detailing the requirements of the project.  The written portion is due March 16th; presentations will be the 16th and the 18th.

2.  Learning Activities (30%):  Details and grading criteria will be provided on a separate handout.

3.  Test  (10%):  There will be one test on Feb. 2nd.

4.  Attendance and participation (20%):  Your presence in class contributes to the energy and learning of everyone.  Additionally, because you are working on a group project, your group mates are relying on you.  This portion of your grade will be based on seminar discussions and exit notes.  


Late Policy:
Do everything you can to turn your work in on time. I have planned the assignments to coincide with the content we are covering in class and they are designed to enhance your understanding of the material. Therefore, if you don't do the assignment when it is due you are not going to get the full benefit of it. If you have an emergency and cannot complete an assignment on time, please let me know ahead of time. 10% will be deducted for work turned in up to one week late. 


Plagiarism is defined as "taking and using another person's ideas and/or writing as one's own"  (Oxford American Dictionary).  It may be interpreted as the result of misunderstanding or of cheating.  It's becoming a greater problem as information is so readily available on the internet.  The forms of plagiarism I run into include quoting material from a source without identifying it as a quote and citing it and cutting and pasting material from other sources, as if written by the student.  Sometimes a student will cut and paste an entire paper and pass it off as their own work.  All of these examples are unacceptable.  If a paper is plagiarized the student will receive no credit.



SHS 250-Community and Client Advocacy

Jan.      5 Introductions; Defining Advocacy; Syllabus  
            7 Individual advocacy:  Who are potential clients?  What are we advocating for? Homan, Ch. 1 & 4
           12 The skill set used in individual advocacy  
           14 Continue above; Empowerment of self and client; Advocacy Services list due Homan, Ch. 6, 7
           19 Dr. MLK Jr Day:  Take action in his honor!  
           21 Legislative advocacy-Who are our legislators and elected decision makers? Homan, Ch. 8, 16
           26 Engaging the legislative process Homan, Ch. 2, 9 & 12
           28 Continue above; Letter to elected official due  
Feb.      2 Planning projects; Test  
             4 Program and Policy change Homan, Ch. 3, 15
             9 Continue P & P; Project work  
           11 Continue P & P Homan, Ch. 13
           16 President's Day:  Get political!
Happy Birthday Susan B. Anthony (the 15th)
           18 Community Change Homan, Ch. 10, 11
           23 Continue above; Project work  
           25 Continue above; Project work; Community meeting paper due  
March   2 Continue above  
             4 Group dynamics; Rough draft/progress report due  
             9 Continue above  
           11 Evaluation:  What worked, what didn't?    
           16 Final Projects;  Final paper due  
           18 Final Projects