Butler University to Make Social Justice a Core Curriculum Requirement

University seeking faculty to advise on developing the SJ requirement

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• November 2, 2017 12:25 pm


Faculty at Indiana's Butler University who "have demonstrated a commitment to social justice and diversity (SJD)" have been invited to serve on an advisory committee that will be charged with developing a new SJD core curriculum requirement.

Faculty have until Friday to submit interest in participating in the committee that will determine which existing courses in the catalogue fit the SJD mandate and review proposals for new SJD-compliant courses, according to the university announcement.

The faculty advisory committee will work with SJD Director Robin Turner, an associate professor of political science, to ascertain which courses "identify and explain the causes and impact of privilege, power, and oppression and cultivate tools for overcoming conflict and promoting equality."

The committee will "build community around this component of the core curriculum."

At least one member from each college and the library is being sought for the committee.

Students are expected to begin taking SJD courses next fall through a pilot program, but the mandatory requirement won't kick in until there are a mass of courses with the designation, according to the Butler Collegian.

To be labeled SJD, a course must "recognize multiple and intersecting dimensions of identity and inequity," and "recognize and critique local, national, or global conditions that enable, perpetuate and/or challenge social injustice and inequity."

All Butler students will have to take three hours of SJD, so that they'll be made "aware of marginalized voices in readings and works of art in coursework and various forms of sexuality and gender in ancient times and in present day," according to the Collegian's outline of the program.

Students will "contrast different religions and cultures and analyze environmental problems," wrote the Collegian.

The university hopes course content that "reflects their experiences" will make diverse students "feel more welcome," according to the report.

Student Emem Udoh told the Collegian that without SJD education "it's almost as if you are choosing the side of the oppressor, so being more aware of things that apply to marginalized groups on campus or being more aware in general would help this campus become more progressive."

The Faculty Senate voted 35-3 to add the requirement in April 2017, following two years of debate.

SJD Director Turner did not respond to request for comment by press time.

Published under: College Campuses