Skills For Community Development Practitioners
The Basic IssueA doctor friend of mine said that upon graduating, many doctors don't know how to give a needle and have to scramble around learning such practical matters. Perhaps that is something of an overstatement, but it closely parallels the situation in the MRD program. The program is designed to turn out "Doctor level" workers rather than "Nurse Level" workers, heavy on theory and light on practical ( the reverse being true of the community college level graduates).
In one sense, a dual course would be ideal in order to establish a theoretical as well as a practical level of excellence in performance amongst the graduates. But on further reflection, this would really solve very little:
- Community Colleges prepare people to be employees, Masters level to prepare employers.
- Government policy makers depend on field input recommendations which reflect an awareness of the theoretical frame within which such advice will fit.
- The types of skills expected from the two sets of grads form two overlapping circles, or two concentric circles if you will, the Masters level being an expanded or enlarged or advanced level of operation. The comparison of Bachelor in Business Admin and MBA would not be far off.
- A look at the compiled list here indicates very quickly that nobody does it all, so that skill sets are very particular to the practitioner whatever their level of training.
- One major difference between the practical aspects of the two programs is the operating level of research skill, the Masters level being much higher.
- Neither program makes a good practitioner...the person him/herself makes that difference. All the programs do is speed up the acquisition of the operating base material which forms a foundation of thought and awareness upon which the bulk of further learnings can be built.
- Lackey, Alvin S. and Worawit Pratuckchai. "Knowledge and Skills Required By Community Development Professionals". Journal of the Community Development Society. Vol.22,No.1,1991 (p1-20).Reprinted in Ferrazzi, Gabe. Course Reader, Rural Community Development, Brandon University, 2001.
This article reflects on what items should be included in a Community Development Program. It is a study based upon a Community Development Society membership survey which generated a list then a ranking as well as an indication of whether respondents thought an additional technical specialty was advisable. This material is contrasted with other author's listings and a recommendation for further work. They note that the Strong-Campbell test has no profile for CD workers as such.
It is interesting that in regards to research techniques they suggest that qualitative rather than quantitative skills would be far more useful in the field.
- Ferrazzi, Gabe. "Skills for Rural / Community Development" . Rural Community Development Introductory Modules,(WebCT class notes). Brandon University, Fall, 2001.Module # 10 .
Gabe notes that the skills are taught as a separate modularized course, but reflects on two issues here:
- some theoretical aspects of skills
- the issue of whether the activities of CD workers constitute those of a "profession" as such.
It seems to me that whether a profession or not, a major decision has to be made by workers about:
- What aspect of the work s/he wishes to be involved in.
- whether the skill set is to be used a main focus of activity or a support to other activity.
- What further training if any is requisite (formal or informal).
Other Resources(* = content in item)
- RCD Course (Fall,2001) Proposed Lists of Skills (*)
- Personal Skills Portfolio List - Proposed (*)
- Random Access Table of Contents : Skills (*)
Sequential Table of Contents : Skills
- Community Development Skills Related to Rural Development *
- Business Development Skills Related to Rural Development
- Economic Development Skills Related to Rural Development
- Ecological Development Skills Related to Rural Development
- Communications Skills Related to Rural Development *
- Policy Development Skills Related to Rural Development
- Project Development Skills Related to Rural Development *
- Research Methods Skills Related to Rural Development *
- Work Experience Skills Related to Rural Development
- Personal and Professional Skills Related to Rural Devleopment *