Aerial photograph of the Immaculate Conception Chapel

Social Justice

Fairness and justice are central concepts of life. Their meaning, however, is complex and varied, woven into the fabric of our lives, as Dr. King observes from Birmingham Jail during his struggle for justice and fairness for African Americans during the Civil Rights Movement. All of us evaluate our experience based on ideas of fairness. Is my grade in a course deserved? Is my employer fairly compensating me for my work? What should colleges and universities consider as part of their admission decisions? Do police and prosecutors process fairly those accused of crimes? Do governments recognize the human rights of all of their citizens and treat them with fairness and dignity? These questions are representative of the social dilemmas that face individuals, institutions, and societies. The Social Justice Cluster encourages students and faculty to explore the many dimensions and meanings of social justice from a variety of perspectives. The quest for social justice permeates all of our lives. People work for and against justice in both obvious and inobvious ways.

Courses in the Social Justice Cluster critically appraise how social, political, and economic institutions work to foster or diminish human dignity. Courses emphasize the interaction among people working within and against these institutions to promote justice. Therefore, courses in the cluster address questions about the distribution of power and resources, rights and liberties, opportunities and status. Further, because people also work and live in all sorts of small groups like families, neighborhoods, interest groups, and religious organizations, courses in this cluster look at how these groups facilitate or retard the quest for social justice.

Courses in the Social Justice Cluster provide students the opportunity to:
  • describe the effects on human development and human dignity of a society's organization of political, social, and economic institutions;
  • demonstrate how relationships among social groups (such as social classes, races, genders, religions, and communities) can inhibit or enhance opportunities for social justice;
  • analyze how social groups (such as social classes, races, genders, religions, and communities) work both within and against social institutions to promote social justice;
  • identify standards by which society and governments should distribute power and resources, rights and liberties, opportunities and status, to its members and citizens;
  • evaluate how equitably resources (e.g. wealth, power, and status) are distributed to individuals by political, social, and economic institutions;
  • identify how small groups (such as families, neighborhoods, interest groups, and religious organizations) can make a difference in promoting social justice;
  • compare how different peoples and groups (in America and around the world) have responded to conditions of injustice;
  • discuss the relationship between individual autonomy and responsibility to others as it relates to social justice.

Cluster Coordinators:
Dr. Fran Pestello
Department of Sociology
St. Joseph Hall, Rm 429A
937-229-2138
Frances.Pestello@notes.udayton.edu

Dr. Jim Biddle
Department of Teacher Education
Chaminade Hall, Rm 207
937-229-4517
James.Biddle@notes.udayton.edu