Lakeland launches new social justice major, minor
Lakeland University has created unique programs in social justice studies that will have students engaging in experiential learning in the community.
Beginning this fall, students attending Lakeland can major or minor in social justice studies. These programs offer coursework coupled with hands‐on, experiential learning in justice and service‐related contexts that will enable students to become agents of social change.
Lakeland becomes just the second higher education institution in Wisconsin to offer a social justice major, and the only program that offers credit‐bearing experiential learning as part of its degree requirements.
“Throughout these programs, students will explore systemic oppression and values-driven responses that alleviate immediate suffering and lead to social transformation,” said the Rev. Karl Kuhn, Ph.D., dean of Lakeland’s School of Humanities & Fine Arts and a longtime Lakeland faculty member.
Coursework and placements, often through Lakeland’s Cooperative Education program, will provide students the background, the conceptual tools and the direct experience necessary to understand the work of social justice.
Faculty teaching courses will have expertise in the fields of ethics, sociology, social justice theory, peace and justice‐based approaches to community organizing, activism and non‐profit service, along with an eagerness to engage diverse student and community-based voices in dialogue about topical social justice matters.
The major and minor include a requirement to select upper‐level courses from various disciplines that address the realities of systemic oppression.
The timing of the major and minor mirrors the rise in diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) training as an emerging field among corporations and organizations. Many have committed to developing DEIB programs for their employees, creating a need for trained professionals. The degree prepares students for this emerging market in for-profit and non-profit organizations.
The degree also prepares students for justice-related service work and multiple positions in non-profit organizations. The degree is excellent preparation for graduate study in many fields, including law, communication, sociology, criminal justice, education and leadership development. As part of their education, minors and majors develop and implement a social justice project involving the wider community.
“The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., urged us to recognize ‘the fierce urgency of now’ in relation to issues of social injustice,” said the Rev. Julie Mavity Maddalena, Ph.D., Lakeland’s Chaplain, a faculty member and director of the Ulrich Center for Faith, Ethics, and Justice. “Lakeland recognizes this need as well as the need to shape leaders who understand the complexities of issues and the lives at stake, leaders grounded in strong values, leaders with experience, leaders prepared to participate in the response to Dr. King’s call."
Students interested in the social justice studies major or minor are encouraged to apply for the Ulrich Scholarship. Students compete for a single full-tuition scholarship and nine $20,000 scholarships.
Learn more at the social justice studies webpage.