Criteria for Social Justice Education & Research
Within the context of social work education and research, some of the following areas are operational meanings of social justice that guide the Center in reviewing requests for funding.
Alleviation of Poverty/Suffering and Improvement of Services to Vulnerable Populations
Many studies indicate that there has been an increase in income inequality and in relative poverty in the U.S. over the past 25 years. One of the areas that the Center seeks to address is the improvement of the availability, accessibility, and affordability of services for vulnerable populations within local communities and within the society at large.
The Center may provide funding to students that participate in activities such as case management, needs assessment, research, and policy development that would help to address poverty and suffering within the populations served.
For instance, the Center has provided funding for Collaborative Research projects that evaluated a jail-based substance abuse program and another project that evaluated a facility that uses a harm-reduction approach for people with dual diagnoses (mental illness & substance abuse) in order to improve services to a vulnerable population.
Development of Educational Programs and/or Policies that Lessen Discrimination
Our society continues to be challenged by discrimination against a number of groups on the basis of:
- Race & ethnicity
- Class/Socioeconomic status
- Physical & mental ability
- Immigrant and/or displaced status
- Sexual orientation
In order to lessen discrimination against such populations, the Center may fund students and research projects that seek to educate others regarding the stereotypes and prejudices against the populations they work with and/or seek to promote legislation to lessen such discrimination.
Social Action for Social Change
The Center funds students that seek to increase the participation of underserved groups in grassroots efforts to improve their neighborhoods or to improve services through community organizing, long-term structural change, legislative work at all levels of government, labor organizing and/or protests, rallies, and demonstrations.
" . . .most social workers limit their professional activities to those of helping people live with and adjust to conditions of injustice and oppression by alleviating symptoms, (but) a minority of social workers address the roots of injustice and oppression and help people organize for empowerment" (Gil, 1998).
The Center seeks to support social work students and research projects that are working to address the root causes of social injustice and oppression, and advance systemic change.
Whether in the U.S. or abroad, the Center is concerned with global social justice issues such as human rights, immigration, international economic development, militarization, workers' rights, and the impacts of globalization. The Center enables students to engage in social work and global justice issues through practicum, research, service, coursework and activism opportunities. The Center also encourages faculty to explore international social work and global justice issues through collaborative research projects based outside the U.S. or focused on immigrant and refugee issues within the U.S.