Community Organizing, Planning, and Development

The Community Organizing, Planning & Development method (COP&D) prepares students for community practice at the neighborhood, political, policy and system levels. It stresses the theories, skills, strategies, and techniques needed to mobilize both people and resources to solve social problems at the neighborhood, citywide, and/or state level. The method also highlights social planning and social reform aspects of social work practice, training students to promote social justice by fostering change for community well-being. Students gain strategies and skills in collective action, political advocacy, program evaluation, proposal writing, analysis and utilization of power, community outreach, coalition-building and networking, legislative lobbying, and other vital organizing roles. Field practicum opportunities, which inspire students’ careers after they receive the MSW, take place in a wide variety of settings including international organizations, city and state public agencies, legislative offices, community engagement arms of human service organizations, settlement houses, labor unions and an array of grassroots organizations. Students study and work on multiple social issues such as local economic development, food justice, tenant advocacy, LGBTQ equality and women’s rights, among others. COP&D students interested in deepening their expertise in social policy may participate in the “Policy Track” in their second year by electing additional social policy courses along with a policy-oriented field practicum.



  • COP&D 1 (SSW 741): History; theory and frameworks; strategies; roles; case studies; organizing campaigns
  • COP&D 2 (SSW 742): Theory and models of planning; use of data and research; client/constituency participation; coalition-building
  • COP&D 3 (SSW 743): Social movements; popular education; Freirian practices
  • Electives
    • Political Advocacy
    • Grantwriting



Students complete their field instruction in approved field settings where they specialize in working at the neighborhood, community, policy and system levels (see PDF list below). All field placements are located in the New York/New Jersey Metropolitan area and its environs. For students, field instruction encompasses both the specific placement site and the broader professional landscape that they will enter as organizers, making it direct preparation for successful practice. COP&D students complete their field instruction at leading agencies and organizations around the city, many of which have ongoing relationships with the School and its COP&D faculty.




Adjunct Faculty

  • Desuze, Kalima | MSW
  • Hughes, Craig | MSW | PhD Candidate
  • Moore, Paula | MSW | PhD
  • Yazgi, Stephanie | MSW




Links and Documents (PDF)

Click here (PDF) to see the COP&D syllabi.

Click here (PDF) to to see list of sample of COP&D Field Placements and Job Settings

Click here (PDF) to read “How I Became a Community Organizer as a Casework Social Work Student: The Interrelationship between Case and Cause Advocacy ” by Dr. Mizrahi.

Click here (MP3) to listen to a 31 minute radio broadcast from “” from about the Macro Social Work Student Network  (

COP&D Alumni Data 1995-2006 (PDF)
President Obama – A Career as a Community Organizer (PDF)
ACOSA and Journal of Community Practice
Community Organizing Principles (PDF)
Macro Social Work Student Network
The Education Center for Community Organizing (ECCO) Archive
How to Create and Maintain Interorganizational Collaborations and Coalitions

Videos and Multimedia

Community Organizing MSW Students in Action!!

Macro Practice Alumni of Silberman School of Social Work 

Community Organizers Share Experiences – Part 1

Community Organizers Share Experiences – Part 2

Community Organizing & Development Workshops are 7 related workshops (total viewing time is about an hour and 15 minutes) produced by Silberman School of Social Work-Workforce Development Initiative of CUNY. Attached is the written 35 page self-contained Trainer/Faculty Workbook that can be used separately or in conjunction with the videos.

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Community Organizing, Planning, and Development Webpage