University Of Iowa Now Offering A Degree In Social Justice


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Blake Neff Reporter
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The University of Iowa (UI) is the latest school to offer a bachelor’s degree in social justice, following approval from the school’s board of regents.

The degree’s proposal, approved Thursday, promises a strong focus on oft-politicized topics like race and gender.

“Students will explore the intersections of race, class, gender, culture, economics, history, nationality, and human rights,” the proposal says. “They will approach social justice through the arts, history, literature, comparative religious studies, political science, philosophy, health education, and gender, women’s, and sexuality studies.”

School officials said the new degree was prompted by a surge of students who want to work as activists and advocates with either the government or various non-profits, according to the Iowa City Press-Citizen. The school already has a popular “Justice For All” housing option for students who want to live around other people committed to social justice.

Last year, the school offered a course titled “Social Justice After Ferguson,” which expressly encouraged students to organize politically on typically progressive issues, like income inequality and criminal justice reform.

Instead of creating a brand new department, the new degree program will be a cross-disciplinary one, with classes and professors drawn from other departments at the school. The program will primarily be hosted by UI’s women and gender studies department.

UI is a public school, meaning taxpayer funds will be going directly to finance the awarding of the social justice degrees. The school claims the program will have few if any costs, though, since it doesn’t require hiring any new faculty or establishing new classes.

The school anticipates that 125 students will be pursuing the new major within seven years.

UI isn’t the first school to concoct a degree in social justice. Numerous other schools, such as UMass Amherst and Eastern Kentucky University, have crafted similar programs.

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