Learning and Organizational Change


The Learning and Organizational Change program examines formal and informal change among individuals, groups, organizations, and systems. Students study organizational change, learning, and design thinking to analyze systems, structures, and team dynamics through multiple perspectives and approaches. The program draws from theoretical and empirical research and practice from disciplines as diverse as organization and management sciences, learning sciences, sociology, psychology, economics, and design.

LOC 211-0 Intro to Organization Theory & Practice (1 Unit)   Examines major organizational behavior theories and practices through organizational analysis.

LOC 214-0 Culture and Cognition (1 Unit)   Research and theory on the interrelatedness of culture and thought. Combined with LRN_SCI 214-0; may not receive credit for both courses.

LOC 214-BR Culture and Cognition: SESP Leadership Institute (1 Unit)   Research and theory on the interrelatedness of culture and thought. Combined with LRN_SCI 214-0; may not receive credit for both courses.

LOC 306-0 Studies in Organizational Change (1 Unit)   Examines theories and methods of organizational change through analysis of organizational adaptations; applies theories from learning sciences and organizational behavior.

LOC 308-0 Redesigning Everyday Organizations (1 Unit)   Concepts and methods for understanding and studying cognition and learning and putting these concepts and methods to use in a design/change project. Taught with LRN_SCI 308-0; may not receive credit for both courses.

LOC 309-0 Team Dynamics (1 Unit)   In this course, we will explore team dynamics, those forces that influence a team's behavior and performance, and what can enhance or hinder potential for impact. We will analyze the contributors to team functioning and their interrelationships at multiple levels: intrapersonal, interpersonal, group and organizational. Key topics include team development, team make-up and roles, leadership and followership, decision-making, navigating conflict, collaboration and competition, effective communication, content vs. process, diversity and in-group/out-group tensions. Throughout the class, students will be analyzing and applying concepts through case studies and simulations. Assignments to demonstrate mastery include regular written individual papers and a team project. This course is suitable for undergraduate students in LOC, Human Development in Context, and related majors throughout Northwestern that are interested in leadership, teams/groups or organizational change. Taught with HDC 309-0; may not receive credit for both courses.

LOC 311-0 Tools for Organizational Analysis (1 Unit)   Understanding cause-and-effect relationships pertaining to organizational behavior and performance.

LOC 312-0 Modern Organization and Innovations (1 Unit)   Advances in technologies, from computation to analytics to new models of management and organizations, has radically transformed both every day work and classic models of management and organization. This course takes a novel approach to understanding these transformations by partnering a SESP faculty member with industry leaders and change agents to identify and analyze changing organizational forms and the implications for work in the contemporary economy. In doing so, this course will expose students to variants in organizational models, for example, from the highly institutionalized, yet ever changing, digital firm to firm-market hybrids that supply branded service yet do not employ the providers or own the assets that provide services. Students will have weekly analytic assignments that prepare for and reflect on industry co-instructor sessions as well as a final team project. This course is suitable for undergraduate students in LOC, social policy, and related majors throughout northwestern that are interested in leadership or organizational change. This advanced, highly interactive course fulfills new Learning and Organizational Change (LOC) requirements and is open to LOC students and beyond.

LOC 313-0 Learning and Thinking in Organizations (1 Unit)   Learning & Thinking in Organizations explores human judgment and decision making under conditions of uncertainty. You will learn to recognize recurring patterns in your own cognition and that of the people around you, and examine the ways those tendencies can lead people to better or worse courses of action. The class opens with a focus on the work of two research psychologists, Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman, who developed an important framework for understanding how people reach conclusions and make decisions. Their work formed the foundation of the field of behavioral economics. As we move through the quarter, we will draw on this framework to analyze human judgment and organizational decisionmaking in the domains of medicine, public health, criminal justice, and sports. We will investigate ways to use insights from research to improve the functioning of organizations, with a goal of making life better for the people that work in them and the people they serve. In the final project, working either independently or in a group, you will research an organizational phenomenon and develop a design for change using the theoretical perspectives from the course. Grading is based on quizzes, a midterm, and a final project.

LOC 346-0 Psychology of Technology & Instructional Design (1 Unit)   Introduction to theory and practice in the development of technologies for formal and informal learning in the classroom, workplace, and everyday world.

LOC 351-0 Topics in Learning and Organizational Change (1 Unit)   Advanced work on special topics.

LOC 391-0 Organizational Planning & Analysis (1 Unit)   Culminating experience involving application of knowledge and skills to analyze real-world problems and solutions in learning and organizational change.

SESP 114-0 Summer Internship (0 Unit)  

SESP 115-0 Internship (0 Unit)  

SESP 195-0 Community Engagement (1 Unit)   Critical reflection on community service experiences in relation to broader societal issues. Conceptual frameworks for understanding the meaning and nature of community. For Civic Engagement Certificate students only.

SESP 200-0 Understanding Knowledge (1 Unit)   What does it mean to know something? What are the different types of knowledge and what distinguishes them from one another? What counts as fact vs. opinion vs. belief and so on; who gets to decide and under what conditions? How is knowledge produced and how does it gain traction? How does the source and type of knowledge interact with socio-political-cultural constructs and systems of power and, in turn, how can "knowledge" be used to produce and/or perpetuate power and privilege or to empower those who are marginalized? Finally, how does what we do in SESP and at Northwestern as both consumers and producers of knowledge fit within the landscape of these questions? In this course students will explore these and other questions to gain insight into the social production, distribution, consumption, interpretation, and operationalization of "knowledge." Using primarily seminar-style discussion, the first portion of the course focuses on building and analyzing theoretical frameworks and applied texts in order to generate a working understanding of "knowledge" in its myriad forms. Among our goals for the first portion of the course is to tie theoretical, academic, and "folk" knowledges to everyday experiences and the world around us writ large. The second portion of the class will involve a series of applied of cases studies, including welcoming members of the SESP faculty community to present on their research, which we will work to bring into conversation with our generated frameworks regarding the sources, types, and implications of knowledge.

SESP 201-0 Human Development: Childhood and Adolescence (1 Unit)   Personal, social, and cognitive development from birth through adolescence. Interplay of biological and experiential factors on linguistic and conceptual development, ego, and personality.

SESP 203-0 Human Development: Adulthood and Aging (1 Unit)   Psychological, sociological, and biological factors influencing socialization and development from young and middle adulthood through old age. Influences of family, school, and work on the individual.

SESP 204-0 Designing for Social Change (1 Unit)   A key goal of this course is to acquire an intellectual and applied understanding of the principles of program design and development, which include a sustained consideration of issues affecting the quality of program implementation. This course is best suited for FIRST AND SECOND YEAR students.

SESP 210-0 Introduction to Statistics and Research Methodology (1 Unit)   Definitions and classifications of terms used in quantitative methods; measures of typical and maximum performance, reliability, and validity checks; reporting and displaying data; interpreting results.

SESP 218-0 Leaders Lab (1 Unit)   N/A.

SESP 251-0 Special Topics (1 Unit)   N/A.

SESP 272-0 Field Research Methods (1 Unit)   Guided practice in systematic and participant observation. Observer bias, field notes, unobtrusive measures.

SESP 291-1 Peer-Led Learning: Theory and Practice (0.25 Unit)   SESP 291 is the training program for students working as first-time mentors in the Peer Leaders program. It is taken over two academic quarters, with each quarter offering .25 credit (a total of .5 credit). You will receive a "K" grade for fall quarter, which means you are continuing in the course. After winter quarter, you will receive a letter grade which will be retroactively applied to fall quarter.

SESP 291-2 Peer-Led Learning: Theory and Practice (0.25 Unit)  

SESP 295-0 Theory and Practice of Community Consulting (1 Unit)   Course on the importance of community capacity building and the community-consulting process; start of preliminary work for the Certificate in Civic Engagement capstone project.

SESP 298-0 Student Organized Seminar (1 Unit)   Courses proposed by students and supervised by faculty sponsors on special topics approved by the SESP undergraduate education director. May be taken only once per quarter; pass/no credit only. Consultation with the SESP student affairs assistant dean advised.

SESP 299-1 Civic Engagement Capstone Research (1 Unit)   Independent study courses leading to completion of the Certificate in Civic Engagement capstone project.

SESP 299-2 Certificate in Civic Engagement- Capstone Project (1 Unit)   Independent study courses leading to completion of the Certificate in Civic Engagement capstone project.

SESP 310-0 Causal Methods for Evaluating Policy (1 Unit)   This course will provide students with a framework for understanding causal inference and a toolkit for making causal claims using quantitative data. Prerequisites: Students need to have taken SESP 210-0 or any 200-level STATS course.

SESP 317-0 Gender and the Life Course (1 Unit)   How gender influences major life stages. Focus on the psychosocial effects of gender on children; young, midlife, and old adults; societal institutions; and selected social policy issues.

SESP 320-0 Race and Education (1 Unit)   Conceptual underpinnings of the construct of race and how conceptions of race have influenced the course of education in the United States.

SESP 322-0 Crafting Child Policy (1 Unit)   N/A.

SESP 323-0 Trauma and Atrocity: Holocaust Memory, Memorial and Museums (1 Unit)   What is Holocaust memory? How has Holocaust memory changed over time, and how does the Holocaust continue to affect our understanding of trauma, atrocity, and human rights today? This seminar addresses individual memory, including survivor and witness testimony, memory and trauma, and the impact of the Holocaust on survivors' families and communities.

SESP 324-0 Pedagogies for History and Injustice: Holocaust Education Design (1 Unit)   N/A.

SESP 325-0 Race, Adolescence, and School Discipline (1 Unit)   In recent years, racial disparities in school discipline have attracted the attention of educators, policymakers, parents, and the general public. Why is it so hard for legal, political, and educational institutions to improve school discipline? How do intersections of race, gender, and social class matter for students' experiences of school discipline? Are there schools that are getting discipline right? What does that look like, and to what extent can other schools learn from their successes? In this course, we will learn about evidence-based policy improvements and imagine how to create schools where race does not predict discipline.

SESP 351-0 Special Topics (1 Unit)   Advanced work on special topics.

SESP 351-SA Special Topics (1 Unit)   Advanced work on special topics. This course is limited to students approved to study abroad through the Global Learning Office (GLO).

SESP 384-0 Practicum in Human Development - Washington, D.C. (4 Units)   See description for SESP 382-0. Offered during Summer Session only. Prerequisites: SESP 272-0; consent of SESP practicum director 3 quarters before registration. For participants in the Washington, DC, field studies program only.

SESP 389-0 Practicum in Human Development - San Francisco (4 Units)   See description and prerequisites for SESP 382-0. Offered during Summer Session only. For participants in the San Francisco field studies program only.

SESP 390-0 Research Apprenticeship (1 Unit)   Opportunity to participate in faculty research projects. Prerequisites: consent of the faculty member and the SESP assistant dean for student affairs; submission of completed Request for Independent Study/Special Courses Form at registration.

SESP 391-0 Advanced Research Design (1 Unit)   Overview of research methods that may be used to design and implement the honors thesis. Prerequisites: SESP 210-0 and SESP 272-0 recommended.

SESP 392-0 Experiential Learning: Practicum (4 Units)  

SESP 398-0 Senior Thesis Seminar (1-3 Units)   Students develop, design, implement, and evaluate a research project under a faculty advisor's guidance. Prerequisites: senior status, cumulative GPA by the end winter quarter of the junior year, recommendation for the honors program from SESP 391-0 instructor(s); consent of program director.

SESP 399-0 Independent Study (1 Unit)   Faculty-supervised study of special topics of the student's own choosing and not covered in regular courses. Prerequisites: consent of the supervising faculty member(s) and the SESP assistant dean for student affairs; submission of completed Request for Independent Study/Special Courses Form at registration.