For world-changers aiming to get their graduate degree, the University of Central Florida has some heavy news.
Folks wanting to top their bachelor’s certification with something socially conscious can partake in the new Social Justice in Public Service program.
The degree will be offered through the College of Community Innovation and Education.
UCF’s website provides a description:
Students will obtain a theoretical background in social justice, exploring topics such as human rights, income distribution and the role of markets.
What determines whether someone succeeds in America? The program has answers:
Students will understand factors that contribute to inequity among various groups, with a focus on providing a theoretical background and methods to analyze social justice issues in public service. They will understand principles of social justice as they apply to government and nonprofit sector in education, health, transportation, and housing policy domains among others.
It appears designed to train activists:
The Social Justice in Public Service graduate certificate seeks to develop leaders who can influence policy to create social justice.
So…what exactly is social justice?
In a United Methodist Church article, Rev. Ryan Dunn asked people from “different parts of the community” how they’d define the term.
Rev. Gregory Boyle responded thusly:
“Jesus took 4 things seriously: Inclusion, non-violence, unconditional loving kindness, compassionate acceptance. We want to take seriously what Jesus took seriously. Social justice will be a byproduct of our nurturing of the Beloved community…a community of kinship such that God might recognize it.”
Spiritual songwriter Michael Gungor said, “I think it’s about seeking shalom in the realm of human relationships and power structures.”
Pastor Rudy Rasmus replied, “Social justice relates to the struggle for equality among all people groups in spite of race, gender, age, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, education, and mental or physical ability.”
According to Kent State Online, social justice seeks “the redistribution of power to enhance the well-being of individuals through equal access to healthcare, justice and economic opportunity” through access, equity, diversity, participation, and human rights.”
Ben Shapiro’s got a less laudatory take:
“Social justice…is an actual evil. … Add ‘social’ in front [‘justice’], and you’re inherently saying injustice is better than justice. … If you’re a member of a group, then you must pay the price for something that you didn’t do. Social justice suggests…I’m responsible for paying slavery reparations…even though all of my ancestors were busy getting killed by Cossacks in Russia at the time that slavery was taking place. And less than 5%…of white Americans alive today had ancestors who ever held slaves. Every white person in America, though, has to pay because of group justice. How is that just? It’s not. But it’s group justice. It’s social justice.”
How could one of the buzziest phrases in America — and now, the focus of a degree program — lack an agreed-upon definition?
Perhaps because it’s 2021.
Whatever the term means, one thing’s for sure: It isn’t simply justice; otherwise, it’d be called that.
Potential electives for the new program include:
Women and Public Policy
At the bottom of the program’s webpage, the school lists career opportunities:
Government Affairs Researcher
Government Affairs Specialist
International Relations Professor
Local Governance and Citizen Participation Specialist
Member of Congress
Political Research Scientist
Political Theory Professor
Public Policy Professor
Tribal Council Member
So if you’re wanting to improve the planet, the University of Central Florida can get ya started.
Back to the meaning of social justice, Rev. Ryan put it this way:
“If we begin with loving relationships, then…social justice may occur and the benefits to all will be inarguable.”
I think it’s gonna take a little more than that. But UCF’s got us covered.
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