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Sep 25, 2014 06:54 AM EDT

EKU Becomes First State School to Offer Bachelor’s Degree in Social Justice

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Eastern Kentucky University will become the first school in the state to offer a bachelor's degree program in Social Justice Studies, effective fall 2015.

The interdisciplinary program will critically examine the cultural, economic and political dynamics of societal conflict and struggles for social justice among and between various groups and institutions.

The program will focus on various fields of study including American Studies, anthropology, cultural and political geography, sociology, political economy and cultural studies among others. In an attempt to better understand justice and develop strategies to solve problems of injustice, the program will also bring in diverse perspectives and viewpoints to the students.

According to Appalachian State University, social justice is defined as the promotion of a just society by challenging injustice and valuing diversity.

The Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education officially approved the degree program on Sept. 16. The Council said that such programs are necessary to educate students in enhancing the social, cultural and environmental health of the state.

SJS degree, housed in the School of Justice Studies in the University's College of Justice and Safety, is significantly different from a Criminal Justice and Criminology degree. The University officials said that the study of justice involves economic, political and social context and goes beyond the study of crime, law and the criminal justice system.

The SJS major at EKU will expose students to pressing social problems and civic engagements to prepare them for careers in public, private, non-profit and community-based sectors of employment including activism, alternative media, community organizing, conflict resolution, domestic non-profit and social services, environmental advocacy, human relations, political campaigns and public policy analysis.

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