Syllabus for MSP-520

Community and Economic Development and Leadership 


This foundation course provides an overview of the theories, models, issues, and policies for community and community economic development in the United States. Beginning with an examination of the theoretical framework for community development and community economic development, the course considers the economic development movement, housing and redevelopment policies, the community development corporation and its role, place-based redevelopment, and neighborhood job creation and planning. Continuing, the course examines recent development strategies and trends. This course concludes by approaching some of the challenges faced by existing community economic development delivery systems and challenges faced by professionals who apply them.


  1. Perspectives on the beginnings of community development
  2. The Community Economic Development Movement
  3. Community Change through community leadership
  4. Tools of community economic development
  5. Global Economy and Community Economic Development
  6. Trends and Challenges


After completing this course, you should be able to:



You will need the following materials to do the work of the course. The required textbook is available from the University's textbook supplier, MBS Direct.

Required Textbooks

ISBN-13: 978-0822328155

ISBN-13: 978-0415773850

ISBN-13: 978-1412951340


Community and Economic Development and Leadership is a three-credit graduate course, consisting of six  modules.  Modules include an introduction, topics, objectives, study materials, and activities. Module titles as well as topics and key ideas are listed below.


Module Title and Topics/Key Ideas


Perspectives on the Early Community Development

  • Review of community development foundation from the social gospel movement through today
  • Theories of community development
  • Community Development Corporations as an improvement tool
  • Place-based vs. people-based community development strategies
  • Asset-based community development and social capital


The Community Economic Development Movement: Policies, Practice, and Process

  • What is community?
  • What are some of the critical issues influencing the creation of the community economic development
  • The process of community economic development
  • Community asset mapping
  • Neighborhood revitalization
  • Local economy assessment


Community Change through Community Leadership

  • Theory of change
  • Economic outcomes
  • Role of community residents in community economic development
  • Leadership in designing and implementing community development projects
  • Community Economic Development Strategies and Outcomes
  • Social entrepreneurship as a leadership paradigm


Tools of Community Economic Development

  • The distinguishing features of Community Development Corporations (CDCs), corporate businesses and government institutions
  • Governance of CDCs---local leadership based
  • Community benefits to community economic development
  • Workforce Training and Development
  • Local business development and entrepreneurship
  • Challenges to fully understanding the work of effect of CDCs and community economic development
  • Financing mechanisms for community economic strategies


The Global Economy and Community Economic Development

  • Why is knowledge of the economy and global community development important?
  • Job shifting and outsourcing
  • Second and third-wave strategies in global community development
  • Sustainability in community development
  • The role of the community-based organizations in the global economy


Limits and Challenges of Community Economic Development

  • Sustainability as a concept
  • Perspectives in sustainable development
  • Action areas in sustainability efforts in the environment, housing, land use, transportation, housing, economic development and social equity
  • Relating smart growth approaches to community economic development


For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in online discussion forums, complete written assignments, and complete a final project. See below for more details.

Consult the Course Calendar for due dates.

Discussion Forums

Within each module you will participate in one or more online class discussion forums.

Online discussions provide an opportunity for you to interact with your classmates. During this aspect of the course, you respond to prompts that assist you in developing your ideas, you share those ideas with your classmates, and you comment on their posts. Discussion board interactions promote development of a community of learners, critical thinking, and exploratory learning.

Please participate in online discussions as you would in constructive face-to-face discussions. You are expected to post well-reasoned and thoughtful reflections for each item, making reference, as appropriate, to your readings. You are also expected to reply to your classmates' posts in a respectful, professional, and courteous manner. You may, of course, post questions asking for clarification or further elucidation on a topic.

Evaluation Rubric

Written Assignments

You are required to complete five written assignments. These assignments ask you to discuss, analyze, and participate local public community meetings. Some of them will involve case studies. All assignments are designed to help you to integrate the theory of community development with the practice of community development.  To the extent possible, you will connect with practitioners in the field so that you have first hand accounts of actual community development activities.

The last module contains directions for your final project (see below).

Evaluation Rubric

Final Project

Your final assessment will be a project that requires you to bring together the resources and discussions presented during the course to create a community economic development project using one of the approaches below:

A full description of the project and its requirements is found in the Final Paper area of the Course web site.


Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:

All activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:


















Below 73

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or higher on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., assignments, discussion postings, projects, etc.). Graduate students must maintain a B average overall to remain in good academic standing.


First Steps to Success

To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:


Thomas Edison State University is committed to maintaining academic quality, excellence, and honesty. The University expects all members of its community to share the commitment to academic integrity, an essential component of a quality academic experience.

Students at Thomas Edison State University are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.

All members of the University community are responsible for reviewing the Academic Code of Conduct Policy in the University Catalog and online at

Academic Dishonesty

Thomas Edison State University expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the University insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty can take the following forms:


Thomas Edison State University is committed to helping students understand the seriousness of plagiarism, which is defined as using the work and ideas of others without proper citation. The University takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing are subject to discipline under the academic code of conduct policy.

If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, or without identifying it as a direct quote, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism. (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > “Citing Sources.”)

Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else’s. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.

Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.

Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.

For examples of unintentional plagiarism, advice on when to quote and when to paraphrase, and information about writing assistance and originality report checking, click the links provided below.

Examples of Unintentional Plagiarism

When to Quote and When to Paraphrase

Writing Assistance at Smarthinking

Originality Report Checking at Turnitin

Disciplinary Process for Plagiarism

Acts of both intentional and unintentional plagiarism violate the Academic Code of Conduct.

If an incident of plagiarism is an isolated minor oversight or an obvious result of ignorance of proper citation requirements, the mentor may handle the matter as a learning exercise. Appropriate consequences may include the completion of tutorials, assignment rewrites, or any other reasonable learning tool in addition to a lower grade for the assignment or course. The mentor will notify the student and appropriate dean of the consequence by e-mail.

If the plagiarism appears intentional and/or is more than an isolated incident, the mentor will refer the matter to the appropriate dean, who will gather information about the violation(s) from the mentor and student, as necessary. The dean will review the matter and notify the student in writing of the specifics of the charge and the sanction to be imposed.

Possible sanctions include:

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