Russell Weaver is a quantitative geographer and Director of Research at the Cornell ILR Buffalo Co-Lab. Before joining Cornell, he was an associate professor in the Texas State University Department of Geography, where he taught courses in community geography, community development, urban planning, geographic thought, and quantitative data analysis. Dr. Weaver’s research programs are aimed at understanding pathways for context-sensitive, sustainable, and equitable community economic development. He is the lead author of the book “Shrinking Cities: Understanding Urban Decline in the United States,” and his work appears in such journals as the Annals of the American Association of Geographers, Ecological Economics, Applied Geography, and Community Development. Dr. Weaver holds a Master’s degree in Economics and a Ph.D. in Geography from SUNY Buffalo.
It can feel as though the defining challenges of our modern era, such as racial and economic inequality and climate change, are problems that we cannot solve. We may feel like we, as individuals, don't possess the agency or power to make any headway in ensuring that this world is a better and more equitable place. We may be well intentioned but feel that we just can't do much to create real and lasting change. If we ever want to break this cycle, we will need to alter the way we think: We must recognize that we have agency and identify exactly where we can apply it in pursuit of change that is both meaningful and enduring.
This course delves into how you can take part in this important shift in thinking by using tools of systems thinking and power analysis. You will examine how to map systems and perform power analyses to determine the sources of persistent racial, social, and economic inequities and injustices in your community. You will then perform a power analysis that will identify actors and institutions that are blocking change, bringing best practices and tools back to your communities to empower lasting change.
Key Course Takeaways
- Use systems thinking to uncover the sources of persistent racial, social, and economic inequities and injustices in communities
- Perform power analyses that identify the actors and institutions involved in blocking and advancing proposals for progressive social change in communities
- Create theories of change that offer clear and consistent roadmaps for advancing racial, economic, social, and environmental justice in communities
How It Works
Who Should Enroll
- Activists and community development organizers and practitioners
- Policy makers and political staff
- Public interest lawyers and advocates
- Leaders and members of organized labor organizations
- Urban planners and strategic planning agencies
- Social workers
- Grant writers
- People interested in engaging in community change