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Title page for ETD etd-11212017-113224

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Hollingsworth, Charrise Phillips
Author's Email Address charrise.hollingsworth@vanderbilt.edu
URN etd-11212017-113224
Title Defining Social Justice through Service: Implementing Social Justice Curricula in a Human Services Context
Degree Master of Science
Department Community Research and Action
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Kimberly Bess Committee Chair
Douglas Perkins Committee Member
  • experiential learning
  • social work education
  • social justice curricula
  • adult learning
  • social services
Date of Defense 2017-11-15
Availability restricted
Recent research has suggested that a social justice education (SJE) increases students’ awareness of social issues affecting communities, while simultaneously equipping students with skills they can apply in a real-world context. As an extension to the more traditional civic curriculum or traditional service-learning opportunities, scholars suggest that SJE in classroom and community settings provide students with a more expansive understanding of what it means to be a productive and contributing citizen in society. However, there is limited research about human service organizations as an additional site for providing social justice education to individuals. By using a civic praxis theoretical framework, this study explores how young adults’ conceptualization of social justice evolves throughout a summer educational program hosted by a human services organization. Through participatory observations and interviews with students, significant components of the curriculum are compared to traditional SJE goals and objectives as students develop emerging definitions of social justice. Findings suggest that the human services context provides students concrete experiences through the organization’s activities and services that ground students’ emerging conceptualization of social justice. Furthermore, a human services orientation to SJE addresses many, but not all, of the key components of traditional social justice curricula.
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