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Course Planning by Program


Essential Objectives

Course Syllabus

Revision Date: 11-Jul-24

Fall 2024 | SWK-2070-VO01 - Social Justice & Public Policy

Online Class

Online courses take place 100% online via Canvas, without required in-person or Zoom meetings.

Location: Online
Credits: 3 (45 hours)
Day/Times: Meets online
Semester Dates: 09-03-2024 to 12-16-2024
Last day to drop without a grade: 09-16-2024 - Refund Policy
Last day to withdraw (W grade): 11-04-2024 - Refund Policy
This section is waitlisted (0). Please contact your nearest center for availability.


Melissa Holmes
View Faculty Credentials
View Faculty Statement
Hiring Coordinator for this course: Kate Hughes

Course Description

In this course, students develop an understanding of social justice as a perspective for understanding and assessing public policy. Students explore how public policy is developed and the relationship between social service professionals and the policy making process. This foundation is used to better understand avenues for advocacy in public policy and social justice platforms. Prerequisites: Introduction to Research Methods and one of the following courses: Introduction to Criminal Justice, Introduction to Early Childhood Education, Introduction to Substance Abuse, Human Growth & Development, or Introduction to Human Services.

Essential Objectives

1. Explore the concepts of oppression and social justice, including how they are experienced and practiced.
2. Analyze the role and functions of personal and professional ethical standards in human services.
3. Explore the relationship between social justice issues and the public policy agenda and how they are influenced by public opinion and legal, political, economic, and historic trends.
4. Explore the use of research in public policy development.
5. Analyze public policy using specific assessment techniques.
6. Explore and practice opportunities for participation in the public policy process.
7. Identify personal values, motivations, skills, and interests as they relate to policy-making and long-term career goals within a desired field.
8. Explore and create personal, professional, and leadership strategies that take into consideration a long-term career goal within one's desired field.

Required Technology

More information on general computer and internet recommendations is available on the CCV IT Support page. https://support.ccv.edu/general/computer-recommendations/

Please see CCV's Digital Equity Statement (pg. 45) to learn more about CCV's commitment to supporting all students access the technology they need to successfully finish their courses.

Required Textbooks and Resources

*** This is a no cost textbook or resource class. ***

SWK-2070-VO01 Link to Textbooks/Resources Information for this course in eCampus.

The last day to use a Financial Aid Advance to purchase textbooks/books is the 3rd Tuesday of the semester. See your financial aid counselor at your academic center if you have any questions.


Teaching Methods/Learning Activities

  • Active Participation in Discussion Boards
  • Voice recorded lectures, hearing impaired availability.
  • Mini-quizzes-no large tests as I feel nothing is learned from memorization.
  • Mid-term-You will write your first basic Public Policy
  • Readings from the Washington Post and other trade journals and magazines
  • We will be using a strengths-based exercise in class; this will help you to develop areas that you excel at and those you have not developed fully.
  • We will be exploring your bias and personality traits as they apply to your work and personal environments
  • Guest Researcher and Publisher, Nick Zaiac from Washington, DC will be advising on research and source materials for this course.
  • Your final will be a formal Big P Policy written with an eye to submission or for publication.

Grading Criteria

CCV Letter Grades as outlined in the Evaluation System Policy are assigned according to the following chart:

A Less than 9893
A-Less than 9390
B+Less than 9088
B Less than 8883
B-Less than 8380
C+Less than 8078
C Less than 7873
C-Less than 7370
D+Less than 7068
D Less than 6863
D-Less than 6360
FLess than 60 
NPLess than 600

Weekly Schedule

Week/ModuleTopic  Readings  Assignments


Being an Agent of Social Change


Lecture- Asynchronously Presented with Notes and Voice-over

Selected readings as assigned in Canvas


Discussion board: Class Introductions

Assignment: Personal Values Work-See the lecture for guidance.



Social Justice and Community Practice


Lecture- Asynchronously Presented with Notes and Voice-over

Selected readings as assigned in Canvas


Discussion: What is your Advocacy Story-What do you care about in our social world. Define your ideas of injustice.

Assignment: Do a completed SWOT Analysis and a first try Executive Summary-on Subject I provide.



Learning to Write and Present a Professional Public Policy


Lecture- Asynchronously Presented with Notes and Voice-over

Selected readings as assigned in Canvas


Discussion Board: Crowd Sourcing your SWOT- getting insights from others.

Assignment: Completed First Page Policy on assigned subject



Strategies and Techniques for Social Change


Lecture- Asynchronously Presented with Notes and Voice-over

Selected readings as assigned in Canvas


Discussion Board: Support or Deny the value of Universal Basic Income

Assignment: Draft your first Overton Window



Social Justice Advocacy Week


Lecture- Asynchronously Presented with Notes and Voice-over

Selected readings as assigned in Canvas


Discussion Board: Community Organizing in Practice

Assignment: Using the SMARRT System for Policy Longevity and Goal Planning



Consensus Building-How to Get Others Onboard with your Policy!


Lecture- Asynchronously Presented with Notes and Voice-over

Selected readings as assigned in Canvas


Discussion Board: Using the Lecture and Selected Readings, tell your classmates your local policy idea and specify what kind of advocacy does your policy attempt to implement.

Assignment: Your local policy must be turned in next week, it will include a Page One: Executive Summary, followed by Two Constraints to Your Policy being Adopted. And three Advantages of adopting your local policy idea. You must also have a corrected SWOT and Overton Window to accompany this work for the midterm next week.



We Have Made it to the Midterm-Your First Local Public Policy Was Just submitted, from thsi point on we look to Big P policy changes.


Lecture- Asynchronously Presented with Notes and Voice-over

Selected readings as assigned in Canvas


Assignment and Discussion: One in the same, applying the concepts of big "P: Policy.



The Role of Language and Framing Issues in Policy Work


Lecture- Asynchronously Presented with Notes and Voice-over

Selected readings as assigned in Canvas


Discussion: Linguistics and what is being said to you!

Assignment: You must have learned something new...What is the single story you now know is not true...completely.



Proper Annotated Citation Work and Final Exam Policy Identification-Your turn to choose your social issue to write a policy about.


Lecture- Asynchronously Presented with Notes and Voice-over

Selected readings as assigned in Canvas- Description of Final Policy Requirements


Discussion: None this Week

Assignment: You must choose a topic, write a one paragraph policy statement, for me to approve your topic and do two annotated sources on your topic, to show me you have researched the idea you are putting forth for your policy.



IAD Framework to be discussed and mapping out your policy, so that you can create a correct SMARRT plan with reasonable time frames for completion.


Lecture- Asynchronously Presented with Notes and Voice-over

Selected readings as assigned in Canvas


Discussion Board: There will be no discussion board, as I am giving you time to do three parts of your final paper, so you will not be slammed at the end of the year. Your attendance will be marked by timely submission of the following assignments.

Assignments: Policy Writing Guidelines- Complete your SWOT for your Policy and your SMARRT work, with special attention to framework guidelines and reasonable time allotments on your T in the SMARRT work.



Think Tank Work-Introduction to our Consultant, Nick Zaiac, published policy writer and think tank worker in Washington D.C.


Lecture- Asynchronously Presented with Notes and Voice-over

Selected readings as assigned in Canvas


Discussion Board: Tell each member of the class what your policy is about, in a short one paragraph posting, and describe why this policy matters to you.

Assignment: Complete for me to grade: The page one policy memorandum. You will do an active voice Executive Summary, (2) Constraints facing your policy adoption and (3) Advantages for adopting your policy, and the one paragraph policy review at the bottom of your Executive Summary page. Remember to be concise and to the point. See the first one you did earlier this term for more guidance. This all needs to fit on one page.



Annotated Bibliography and Source Summaries


Lecture- Asynchronously Presented with Notes and Voice-over

Selected readings as assigned in Canvas


Discussion: Talk to each other about your research skills. Do you feel prepared for proper structure and citation of a paper? What mode of citation are you comfortable with using? Are you comfortable?

Assignment: Complete your Annotated Bibliography- With a minimum of five sources, please correct the previous two submissions and submit with the remaining sources you will be using, in full analysis of the source, academic value and why it pertains to your study directly.



Career Exploration-This is a Mandatory Subject for any SJPP course.


Lecture- Asynchronously Presented with Notes and Voice-over

Selected readings as assigned in Canvas


Discussion: In discussion, please tell your classmates what career you hope to be in when you finish your education. Then tie that to how public policy could have an impact on that career.

Assignment: This week you will begin to write your final five page policy. See examples and guidelines. You will NOT be submitting this. Up to now I have pre-graded everything for you to fix and submit in a perfected format. This is like an Exam, and will not be pre-graded. Hence why I am telling you to start now. I will be available to answer questions or address concerns you might be having as you begin to write.



Writing Week and Presentation Preparation


Lecture- None this week, just me being very available for issues, as I have learned there will be many.

Selected readings as assigned in Canvas; how to make a presentation and voice over.


Discussion: Please submit your presentation by Monday at 10:00 am. This will give you all week in the last week to comment on all presentations. Late presentations will lose 20 points off the top. You will also lose points if you do not comment on all classmates submitted work. You need to finish your papers for submission next week. However, this presentation and discussion board counts as a grade and attendance this week.



Final Submission of All Your Written Policy Components


Lecture- Asynchronously Presented with Notes and Voice-over-Please listen to my quick goodbye lecture.


Discussion: You do not have to comment on anyone. Just write to me a synopsis on this class. I take your feedback very seriously. I want to change what is not working and keep what is working. You are my best source for this information. This will count as attendance.

Assignment: Post all your Components for me to grade, they should be corrected, compiled and checked for all errors. This is your policy; your name is on it. Make it the very best work you can produce. I look forward to reading and grading them.


Attendance Policy

Regular attendance and participation in classes are essential for success in and are completion requirements for courses at CCV. A student's failure to meet attendance requirements as specified in course descriptions will normally result in a non-satisfactory grade.

  • In general, missing more than 20% of a course due to absences, lateness or early departures may jeopardize a student's ability to earn a satisfactory final grade.
  • Attending an on-ground or synchronous course means a student appeared in the live classroom for at least a meaningful portion of a given class meeting. Attending an online course means a student posted a discussion forum response, completed a quiz or attempted some other academically required activity. Simply viewing a course item or module does not count as attendance.
  • Meeting the minimum attendance requirement for a course does not mean a student has satisfied the academic requirements for participation, which require students to go above and beyond simply attending a portion of the class. Faculty members will individually determine what constitutes participation in each course they teach and explain in their course descriptions how participation factors into a student's final grade.

Participation Expectations

How My Class is Presented to You:

My online courses are asynchronously presented. We do not do Zoom; I will use Audio recorded power point lectures. I spend a great deal of time recording and change them up every semester. I think I could have a new degree in audio recording. All my classes open by 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday of each new week. My sage advice, always take a quick ten minutes on Tuesdays to open the weekly module and look at the requirements and deadlines for the week. It will save you many questions and headaches going forward.

Discussion Board Deadlines and Attendance:

I will post a discussion board every week (unless I give you a break on that), you are expected to post your original post by Friday nights by 11:59 pm. You will need to respond to three classmates for full attendance credit for the week. Let me reiterate, your attendance is based on the discussion board. Your attendance grade for the week is based your written, main comment work up to 85 points, and three comments to others, worth 5 points for each comment. As, you can see, I take this seriously. You will be marked absent if you do not participate in discussion. Three absent days will equate to a need to discuss if you have attended enough of the course to pass the class.

Learning Fun and Being a Human:

Above all, I like to live life to the fullest and have fun. I try to be kind and understanding, life gets in the way of school. I am always just an email or call away if you find yourself in a bind. Communication is key. I will return the favor. If my life goes sideways, I will write to all of you, and let you know if I might need more time to respond to your work. Let’s keep the pathways of communication open! Learning should be engaging, and fun and meaningful that is my goal. I look forward to our journey together!

Missing & Late Work Policy

All late work will receive -10 points right off the top. That being said, Late work will only be accepted up to one week after the due date. If you should have an extraordinary issue that dictates an assignment being more than a week late, you must contact me right away. If I do not hear from you, I will place a zero if your work is more than a week late, and the zero cannot be altered.

In discussion boards, you will also lose -10 points for posting late, and you will lose -15 because posting late means that you are speaking to an empty room, and your classmates will not be going back and looking at your words. So late postings cost you -25 points on the discussion board. The other issue is the discussion board is how I measure attendance, so you will be considered absent for that week as well. You have three absences, it does not matter if it is for illness, vacation, or a rest week for your mental health. I do not need to know why you are out, it is your business. After three absences, we will be in contact with your advisor to see if you can successfully stay in the course. That is a CCV guideline for all classes. In my opinion, being late on discussion boards is the costliest to your grade and your attendance.

Accessibility Services for Students with Disabilities:

CCV strives to mitigate barriers to course access for students with documented disabilities. To request accommodations, please
  1. Provide disability documentation to the Accessibility Coordinator at your academic center. https://ccv.edu/discover-resources/students-with-disabilities/
  2. Request an appointment to meet with accessibility coordinator to discuss your request and create an accommodation plan.
  3. Once created, students will share the accommodation plan with faculty. Please note, faculty cannot make disability accommodations outside of this process.

Academic Integrity

CCV has a commitment to honesty and excellence in academic work and expects the same from all students. Academic dishonesty, or cheating, can occur whenever you present -as your own work- something that you did not do. You can also be guilty of cheating if you help someone else cheat. Being unaware of what constitutes academic dishonesty (such as knowing what plagiarism is) does not absolve a student of the responsibility to be honest in his/her academic work. Academic dishonesty is taken very seriously and may lead to dismissal from the College.