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Paul W Speer

Paul W Speer

Degrees

  • Ph.D., Baker University

Paul W. Speer, Ph.D. is a Professor and Department Chair in Human and Organizational Development, Peabody College at Vanderbilt University. His research is in the area of community organizing, participation, social power and community change.  His work is focused on how community organizing settings and contexts support sustained civic engagement, as well as the social network properties within those different contexts that are associated with strong participation. He studies how these organizational contexts then translate that participation into the exercise of social power to achieve system-level changes in the broader community. Additionally, he studies how engagement with groups exercising social power alters psychological and behavioral characteristics for individual participants. He also examines how groups conceptualize social power, and the kinds of social change associated with these different conceptualizations. He is currently co-investigator on a research project focused on youth violence prevention funded by the CDC with a focus on youth-led consciousness raising in relation to systemic racism. He is PI on a California-based organizing project examining new methods of relationship building to cross racial and other boundaries. He is working with RWJF’s Lead Local program on analysis of the relationship between health equity and community power. He has published over 50 articles and chapters in a variety of journals including the American Journal of Community Psychology, Health Education & Behavior and the American Journal of Public Health.  He currently is on the editorial boards of the Journal of Urban Affairs and the American Journal of Community Psychology. He teaches courses in Community Development Theory, Action Research, and Community Organizing.