Jennifer Hirsch
Ruthie Yow
CP 4811
CP 8881
Spring 2023

This short course reviews the basics of Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) - working with communities based on their assets, or strengths - and then introduces participatory facilitation methods that can be used to implement ABCD with diverse stakeholders. These methods can be used by students and professionals alike to create truly equitable and participatory environments, whether that be in academic project work, in the community/field, or in their professional spaces. Some of these methods come from the Technology of Participation (ToP), which originated among practitioners with the Institute of Cultural Affairs in Chicago. These types of methods - in the words of Wayne and Jo Nelson - “build off the deep undercurrents of history, deal with some major contradictions of our day, create a new paradigm of participation, and bring about profound transformations in people and society.” These methods are also effective and joyful means to facilitate productive meetings, make difficult decisions, and execute events and long-term projects.

The goal of this class is to wed the core tenets of ABCD to participatory facilitation practices that will center the gifts and assets of communities and their residents. With the support of guest facilitators with decades of experience in both ABCD and participatory facilitation, the instructors will prepare students to use methods such as focused conversation, consensus building, and action planning.

By the end of the course, students will feel confident in bringing an ABCD approach to bear on their community and professional work and will feel excited about and prepared to use participatory facilitation tools to create truly participatory processes.

The course is open to undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and staff, as well as non-GT students, faculty, and partners..  Non-GT participants are encouraged to register, to create a richly diverse and intergenerational learning experience.  

The course is taught by two Serve-Learn-Sustain faculty who are also ABCD Institute Stewards and professional facilitators: Jennifer Hirsch (SLS Director; Adjunct Associate Professor, City and Regional Planning) and Ruthie Yow (SLS Service Learning and Partnerships Specialist; Adjunct Instructor, History and Sociology).


Total of 15 hours over 3 sessions:

• Fri, February 10th: 6:00pm - 9:00pm

• Sat, February 11th: 9:00am - 5:00pm

• Sun, February 12th: 12:00am - 4:00pm 

Please note that course dates are represented as a range in OSCAR; actual dates are those listed here. Some sessions will be held on campus, while others will be held on site in a community. Participants are responsible for their own transportation to sessions held off campus.


GT STUDENTS: Register through OSCAR. Note that if you have taken one of our ABCD short courses in the past, you are eligible to register and take it again, since the title and content are different. GT students registered through OSCAR will receive one credit and a grade.

EVERYONE ELSE: Please use THIS FORM to register by January 23rd. We have reserved spaces for others – GT staff and faculty as well as non-GT students, faculty, staff, and partners – to register, as we aim to create a richly diverse and intergenerational learning experience.  

Everyone who completes the course will receive a verifiable digital badge that can be added to a wallet app on their smartphones.

 Questions? Please contact Ruthie Yow -

Course Level
Partner Engagement