Social Justice at UI&U
Today’s educational leaders play a critical role in ensuring that the principles of ethics and social justice are reflected in not only our classrooms, but throughout each educational institution and system we touch. At Union Institute & University, we prepare educators to successfully approach such issues through socially relevant curriculum and learning experiences.
UI&U offers academic programs that address real-world issues, preparing our students to produce creative approaches to societal concerns. This dedication to foster social justice is a cornerstone of the UI&U Doctor of Education program, as well, embedded in our program philosophy, our core curriculum, and our expectation of graduates. As the field of education continues to construct the concept and meaning of social justice, UI&U students will engage in an ongoing dialogue regarding the complex nature of social justice and alternative points of view. This ongoing and varied dialogue around issues of social justice takes into account principles of adult learning, particularly adult transformative learning.
The placement of social justice in the forefront of educational leadership concerns is a unique aspect of the UI&U Ed.D. program. Graduates are unusually well-equipped to deal thoughtfully and effectively with such complex leadership challenges as resource allocation, faculty and student diversity, accountability, affordability, use of technology, and community relations.
Introducing the Concept
During the first term, all students participate in a foundational seminar titled “Education and Social Justice.” The seminar introduces students to various conceptions of ethics and social justice and encourages openness to exploring diverse perspectives on social, political, economic, and educational issues. Students have the opportunity to evaluate and apply alternative conceptions of social justice to their own areas of interest in Educational Leadership Pre-K-12 or Higher Education.
Professional Development Practicum
Another important vehicle for developing understanding and honing leadership skills is the Professional Development Practicum (PDP), convened midway through each term. These three-day sessions provide students and faculty with an opportunity to continue seminar work face-to-face, as well as to explore issues of social justice through such avenues as social action projects, film, visual arts, social action, panel discussions, and guest speakers.
Internship & Dissertation
As students advance their studies within the Ed.D. program, the commitment to ethics and social justice continues as well. While completing the program’s internship and dissertation, students are expected to apply and integrate their deepened understanding of social justice principles in leadership practice and original scholarly research.