Social Justice Institute

A15C Crawford Hall
Phone: 216.368.7568
Ayesha Bell Hardaway, Co-Director; Mark Chupp, Co-Director

The Social Justice Institute strives to create a just world. We examine the root causes of social injustice and develop innovative solutions by supporting creative research, scholarship, and pedagogy; social justice leaders on and off campus; and relationships within the university and into the community. We work to eradicate all systems of oppression by redistributing and expanding resources and opportunities while exalting human dignity.

We believe in:

  • action
  • community involvement
  • education
  • empathetic relationships
  • equity
  • human dignity
  • inclusiveness
  • intergenerational collaboration

The Social Justice Institute believes that university communities should be educators and leaders in advancing an inclusive and just society that raises awareness of social injustice; enhances moral courage; promotes critical thinking about power, privilege and equity; and encourages action and equitable solutions. 

Undergraduate students from across the university have the opportunity to pursue a minor in Social Justice that prepares them to address local, national and global inequities. An interdisciplinary and flexible approach allows students majoring in the humanities or in STEM fields to address a wide range of crucial issues. The curriculum emphasizes the history, theory and practice of social justice work.  It examines the distribution of power, resources and opportunities, and appropriate individual and collective remedies for social injustice. 

Academic Program Faculty

Ayesha Bell Hardaway, JD
Assistant Professor, School of Law; Director, Social Justice Law Center, School of Law; Co-Director, Social Justice Institute

Mark Chupp, PhD, MSW
Assistant Professor, Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences (MSASS); Chair, Concentration in Community Practice for Social Change, MSASS; Founding Director, Community Innovation Network, MSASS; Co-Director, Social Justice Institute

Cristian Gómez Olivares, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures

B. Jessie Hill, JD
Judge Ben C. Green Professor of Law; Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, School of Law

Marilyn Sanders Mobley, PhD
Professor, Department of English

Diana L. Morris, PhD, RN, FAAN, FGSA
Florence Cellar Associate Professor of Gerontological Nursing, Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing; Executive Director, University Center on Aging and Health

Dana Prince, MPH, PhD
Assistant Professor, Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences

Ben Vinson III, PhD
Provost and Executive Vice President; Hiram C. Haydn Professor of History

Founder/Inaugural Director

Rhonda Y. Williams, PhD

The Social Justice minor is open to all undergraduate students. The minor requires a total of 15 credit hours, including the required core course (SJUS 100 Introduction to Social Justice, 3 credits).  In addition to the required course, students must take one course from each Focus Area below, plus one additional elective from any Focus Area. 

The courses listed below are accepted toward the minor. Approved electives are added every year; students may request that relevant SAGES seminars be applied for elective credit.

Focus Area 1: Ethics, Politics and Economics

Are existing arrangements just? To what extent are current thought systems amenable to change? What are the preferred alternatives and how can they be realized?

HSTY/ETHS 393Advanced Readings in the History of Race3
PHIL 316African Political Thought3
PHIL 325/425Philosophy of Feminism3
PHIL 334/POSC 354/454Political and Social Philosophy3
PHIL 384Ethics and Public Policy3

Focus Area 2: Social Inequality, Power and Privilege

What is a fair distribution of resources? How do cultural practices, social relations, social structures and institutions reproduce, reduce or eliminate inequalities? What are the consequences of social inequality for the health, development and well-being of individuals and communities? How are distributions and uses of power connected to social inequalities?

ETHS/WGST/FRCH/WLIT 335/435Women in Developing Countries3
HSTY 208Social History of Crime3
HSTY 257Immigrants in America3
HSTY 259Introduction to Latina/o Studies3
HSTY/WGST/ETHS 318History of Black Women in the U.S.3
HSTY 363/463Gender and Sexuality in America3
MPHP 101Introduction to Public Health3
ORBH 370Navigating Gender in Organizations3
RLGN 338/WGST 339Black Women and Religion3
SOCI 202Race and Ethnic Minorities in The United States3
SOCI/WGST 326Gender, Inequality, and Globalization3
SOCI 349Social Inequality3
SOCI 366Racial Inequality and Mass Imprisonment in the US3
SPAN 342Latin American Feminist Voices3
WGST/SOCI 201Introduction to Gender Studies3

Focus Area 3: Social Movements and Social Change

What are competing models of social change? What role have social movements played in U.S. and global history? How do social movements form? How have states responded to social movements? What is the relationship between democracy and social movements? How have different technological innovations advanced or impeded social movements? What knowledge and skills are necessary to implement social change?

HSTY/ETHS 280History of Modern Mexico3
HSTY 381City as Classroom3
POSC 322Political Movements and Political Participation3
POSC 346/446Women, Power, and Politics3
SASS 369Social Networking and Community Organizing in the 21st Century3
SOCI 328Urban Sociology3
SOCI 380Social Movements and Social Change3
SPAN 315Latin American Cultural Conflicts3


SJUS 100. Introduction to Social Justice. 3 Units.

Quests for justice and struggles against injustice have shaped human understanding, behavior and relationships for centuries. Individuals operate within community contexts created through interactions and relationships structured by sociability, belonging, and responsibility. Probing broad questions, this signature core course will encourage students to think critically and expansively about the social world and the conditions of humanity. The course will provide a foundational exploration of social justice concepts, issues, and remedies, thereby developing the necessary analytical tools and information to assess inequality and injustice and address historical and contemporary issues. Following an interdisciplinary, case-study approach, featuring faculty from different schools and departments at CWRU, this course also will provide students with multiple frameworks for understanding the interconnections between what are often perceived as disparate and disconnected fields of study and inquiry. Three primary questions guide the course: What is social justice? Why does social justice matter? What can be done? Counts for CAS Global & Cultural Diversity Requirement.