Evaluation and Grading

Course Grade : Your grade in the course will be based on:

Class Participation

30 pts

Paper Part I - Legal Assessment

20 pts

Paper Part II - Community Assessment

20 pts

Paper Part III - Public Health Analysis and Recommendations

20 pts


10 pts


Class Participation

This is a participatory learning class. That means that your absence effects the learning of others. Consequently, missing classes significantly affects your grade. However, class participation means more than showing up for class. Class participation includes:

**being prepared to effectively contribute to cooperative learning activities. **actively participating in class and group discussion.

**keeping abreast of news related to violence in the comunity and how the law impacts violence, and sharing relevant news information with the class (including submitting copies of interesting items for the Bulletin Board).

Discussion Questions. You should turn in two discussion questions every Monday Morning by noon. The questions need not be typed but they must be readable. There should be at least 1 question for each topic. The questions should explore the underlying value implications of the reading. You may want to raise questions which will explore the point at which a value important to you is violated; to write question which challenge the desirable or undesirable consequences of a position taken in the reading; to write questions which make analogies to other things that you have learned; or to write questions which explore the priorities being set by some aspect of the reading. You may email the questions to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Paper Part I - Legal Aspects

You will chose a topic related to "Violence as a Public Health". Your first paper on the topic will review the legal aspect of topic. Your paper should answer the following questions:

**Provide an Overview of the topic. What is the extent of the problem? **What is the legal history related to your topic? **What is the current status of the law including federal, state and local laws? **What is your critical assessment of the law? Is it adequate? Effective? Comprehensive?

Paper - Part II - Community Assessment

As a group you will assess Dayton's capacity for dealing with issues of violence. The term "community assessment" refers to the collection and analysis of information required to determine the nature and extent of [violence] in the community, community residents' perceptions of violence and how they are affected by it, and information about the environment or conditions of a community. If planned and conducted well, the assessment will identify specific needs and problems that can be addressed. The overall purpose of the assessment is to determine--and exchange information about--specific types of community violence problems, their causes, their effects, and the resources available to combat them. Ultimately, the results of the assessment will enable the team to plan a course of action in line with the community's real and perceived needs and resources.

Why do a Community Assessment?

Donald Littrell, University Outreach and Extension University of Missouri Lincoln.

Each community has within itself the assets it can use to start building its own future. Community assessment is a process of discovery and inventory. But most importantly is based on the premise that people and local organizations have capacity. They have knowledge that is important, and resources exist that can be brought together to formulate a plan for the future and work to achieve it.

A community assessment process says to people within communities: You have worth, you can contribute, you can plan, you can take ownership and responsibility for your own future. This is very different than a needs assessment- a deficiency approach-or an expert approach to working with the community. The deficiency/expert model is based on the assumption that a community has needs and "we" (the experts or trained professionals) will figure it out for you. Underlying the needs/expert approach is the belief that communities do not have the capability to shape their own future.

Does this imply that communities have all the wisdom, knowledge or resources required to fully accomplish the work necessary to shape their desired future? Of course not!

It does mean is that communities do have the capacity to shape, implement and enforce local public policy that gives direction to how external resources will be brought into the community. It is a matter of terms. On whose terms is the future of community shaped? Is it those who live or those from somewhere else or a mix of both each acting as co-equal partners to shape the future of community and its interaction with the world beyond?

A very practical reason for community assessment is that it can start the process of community ownership. People are much more likely to invest in the process when they realize that they do have resources that can make a difference and understand that they are valued partners in a process of development.


Paper - Part  III : Analysis and Recommendation

In your final paper, you will discuss the implications of considering "violence" as a public health issue. Specially you will consider addressing the topic you have chosen (i.e. riots or youth violence) as a public health issue. What would the main benefits of such an approach? The main problems? Using Dayton as an example, discuss the strengths and weakness of Dayton in addressing the issue of violence that you selected. What changes would need to be made in the community, the public health system, the legal system for such an approach to work. This is a cooperative learning project. 


You will present a 20 minute presentation at the end of the semester. Since everyone will have read your paper, your presentation should not be merely a recital of your paper. You should take some aspect of the overall topic and make a creative, informative, interactive presentation.

1. See, Crenshaw, Foreword: Toward a Race-Conscious Pedagogy in Legal Education, 11 Nat'l Black L. J. 1 (1989).

2. "The Common assertion that moral values cannot be taught in law schools - or elsewhere to a person as mature as law students - misses the point that moral dilemmas cannot be answered well, or even recognized for what they are without the application of knowledge and analysis that makes the difference between blind choice [or obedience] and informed choice." Keeton, supra., 40 Md. L. Rev. at 211.

Copyright @ 1997, 1998, 1999. Vernellia R. Randall All Rights Reserved. ViolenceSyllabus