MAX 401 Civic Engagement Action Plan Workshop


Spring 2022

Contact Information

Email address: wilcoxen at
Office hours time: Mon and Wed, 10:00-11:30 or by appointment
Office hours location:
Eggers 426 (or Zoom by appointment)

Course Web Site

All course materials, including the instructions for assignments and the corresponding due dates, will be posted at the URL below. In addition, Microsoft Teams will be used for weekly updates. Blackboard will only be used for submitting written assignments.

Course Description

This is a project-oriented course in which you will: (1) select and analyze a real-world problem, (2) develop an idea that would address it, and (3) engage one or more decision makers from a government, nonprofit or business organization to take action. Together, those three components will comprise your Action Plan: a pragmatic, real-world example of civic engagement based on social-science research.

As you’ll see over the course of the semester, an Action Plan will involve multiple kinds of problems and multiple actions by multiple parties. To avoid confusion, we’ll use the following terms in class: the problem is the socio-economic condition that you think needs to be improved (i.e., the world’s problem); your organization is a nonprofit or government agency you would like to enlist to address the problem; action is what you would like the organization to do (which may include collaboration with you); stakeholders are people or organizations that will be impacted by the action but have little direct influence on whether the organization takes the action; players are people within or outside the organization who have influence on the action that will be taken by the organization; obstacle is something that you’ll need to overcome (i.e., it’s a problem for you rather than the world’s problem); strategy is the set of activities taken by you to overcome obstacles, including gaining support from those needed to get the organization to agree to the action; and project is the overall set of activities comprising your Action Plan, including any negotiations you carry out with players and stakeholders.


You must be a CCE major and have completed MAX 301: Ethics, Justice, and Citizenship and MAX 302: Research Seminar on Civic Engagement and MAX 310: Community Placement in Ethics, Justice and Citizenship.

Learning Objectives

After completing this course, you will be able to do each of the following tasks. The broad CCE program learning outcomes are shown in parentheses.

Grading and Evaluation

Grades will be based on the activities listed in the table below. The weight of each component in the overall semester grade is indicated in the "weight" column. The details of each assignment, including its due date, will be posted on the main class web page.

Component Weight Notes
10% 1
Preliminary Executive Summary
10% 2
Engagement Log
15% 3
Specific problem and population
5% 2
Community context
5% 2
Implementing organization
5% 2
Research Review 10% 2
Op-Ed Essay 5% 2
Implementation plan
5% 2
Evaluation and sustainability 5% 2
Public Presentation 15% 2
Final Report 10% 4


  1. Based on providing Teams updates and pod check-ins each week and not missing class without advance notice.
  2. Graded on a 4 point scale: 4 points if the document covers the right issues and is well written; 3 points if it needs minor fixes to either the substance or exposition; 2 if it needs larger changes. Can be resubmitted for regrading any time within two weeks after the original deadline.
  3. Graded on a 15 point scale with 10 points for the scope of engagement (appropriate number and type of contacts) and 5 points for clarity of documentation.
  4. Graded on a 4 point scale. Essentially combines updated versions of the prior documents plus adds a couple of short additional reflective sections.

Submitting Assignments:

Academic Integrity

Syracuse University's Academic Integrity Policy reflects the high value that we, as a university community, place on honesty in academic work. The policy defines our expectations for academic honesty and holds students accountable for the integrity of all work they submit. Students should understand that it is their responsibility to learn about course-specific expectations, as well as about university-wide academic integrity expectations. The policy governs appropriate citation and use of sources, the integrity of work submitted in exams and assignments, and the veracity of signatures on attendance sheets and other verification of participation in class activities. The policy also prohibits students from submitting the same work in more than one class without receiving written authorization in advance from both instructors. Under the policy, students found in violation are subject to grade sanctions determined by the course instructor and non-grade sanctions determined by the School or College where the course is offered as described in the Violation and Sanction Classification Rubric. Syracuse University students are required to read an online summary of the University’s academic integrity expectations and provide an electronic signature agreeing to abide by them twice a year during pre-term check- in on MySlice.

Stay Safe Pledge

Syracuse University's Stay Safe Pledge reflects the high value that we, as a university community, place on the well-being of our community members. This pledge defines norms for behavior that will promote community health and wellbeing. Classroom expectations include the following: wearing a mask that covers the nose and mouth at all times, maintaining a distance of six feet from others, and staying away from class if you feel unwell. Students who do not follow these norms will not be allowed to continue in face-to-face classes; repeated violations will be treated as violations of the Code of Student Conduct and may result in disciplinary action.

Disability-Related Accommodations

Syracuse University values diversity and inclusion; we are committed to a climate of mutual respect and full participation. There may be aspects of the instruction or design of this course that result in barriers to your inclusion and full participation in this course. I invite any student to contact me to discuss strategies and/or accommodations (academic adjustments) that may be essential to your success and to collaborate with the Center for Disability Resources (CDR) in this process.

If you would like to discuss disability-accommodations or register with CDR, please visit Center for Disability Resources. Please call (315) 443-4498 or email for more detailed information.

The CDR is responsible for coordinating disability-related academic accommodations and will work with the student to develop an access plan. Since academic accommodations may require early planning and generally are not provided retroactively, please contact CDR as soon as possible to begin this process.

Discrimination or Harassment

The University does not discriminate and prohibits harassment or discrimination related to any protected category including creed, ethnicity, citizenship, sexual orientation, national origin, sex, gender, pregnancy, disability, marital status, age, race, color, veteran status, military status, religion, sexual orientation, domestic violence status, genetic information, gender identity, gender expression or perceived gender.

Any complaint of discrimination or harassment related to any of these protected bases should be reported to Sheila Johnson-Willis, the University’s Chief Equal Opportunity & Title IX Officer. She is responsible for coordinating compliance efforts under various laws including Titles VI, VII, IX and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. She can be contacted at Equal Opportunity, Inclusion, and Resolution Services, 005 Steele Hall, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY 13244-1120; by email:; or by telephone: 315-443-0211.

Religious Observances

SU religious observances notification and policy, found at the URL below, recognizes the diversity of faiths represented among the campus community and protects the rights of students, faculty, and staff to observe religious holidays according to their tradition.  Under the policy, students are provided an opportunity to make up any examination, study, or work requirements that may be missed due to a religious observance provided they notify their instructors before the end of the second week of classes for regular session classes and by the submission deadline for flexibly formatted classes. If you prefer, however, you can notify me directly by email. In either case, just check with me and we'll work out an arrangement that fits your schedule.

Use of Student Work

Some of the academic work you complete this semester will be shared with other members of the class, or the class as a whole, for the purpose of soliciting feedback and suggestions for improvement. In addition, your final presentation and report will constitute your CCE Action Plan, which is the capstone project for the major. Therefore, as generally accepted practice, these elements of your work will be placed in the library, University Archives, and the CCE office for public reference, and possibly made available on the University web site as well. Finally, work completed this semester may also be sampled for an academic research project on civic education in higher education. However, before using your work for that purpose, the CCE Faculty Chair or the Program Coordinator will either get your written permission or render the work anonymous by removing identifying material. As a formal matter, your registration and continued enrollment in the course constitute your permission to use your work in the ways described above.

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Peter J Wilcoxen, The Maxwell School, Syracuse University
Revised 01/28/2022