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  1. Diversity and Engaged Communities: Perspectives of Faculty Members, Students, and Community Partners on Social Justice

  2. Presenters • Michael S. Miller, Vice President for Student Affairs & Enrollment Services, HNU • Sr. Susan Wells, Special Assistant to the Vice President & Coordinator of the Center for Social Justice & Civic Engagement, HNU • Sr. Maureen Hester, CBL Coordinator for Faculty Development & Emeritus Professor of Psychology, HNU Hello!!!

  3. Overview & Outcomes • Learn about the Project on Social Justice and Diversity at Holy Names University. • Learn about some of the research and assessment we are conducting as part of the project. • Consider tools you can use for assessment and research on issues related to civic engagement and social justice • Focus Groups • CIRP Data on Social and Civic Responsibility • Conduct a Focus Group

  4. Center for Social Justice and Civic Engagement • Ongoing Efforts • Campus Compact Matching Grant to Expand Community-Based Learning Programs • Send faculty member to Oglethorpe University for training to open an office of community-based learning • Faculty development sessions • Develop four new community-based learning courses for spring 2009 • Vision Planning Process

  5. Center for SocialJusticeandCivicEngagement • Mission and Strategic Plan • Goal: Effective Citizens • Strategy: CBL that fosters adaptability, accountability, compassion, and cultural competence • Action Plan: CSJCE • SERVICE Initiative Seeks to Address Seven Core Values as Objectives • Social Justice • Exchanging Skills • Reflecting and Acting • Valuing Objectives that Support Student Learning and Community Partners • Initiating Civic Responsibility • Collaborating across Diverse Cultures • Empowering for Leadership

  6. Research and Assessment on Social Justice & Civic Engagement @ HNU • This research is part of the larger project on Social Justice and Diversity. • Differential impacts that social justice related experiences have for individual students. • How to best integrate teaching and learning within a social justice framework to promote and develop leadership for social change. • The purpose of this study is to explore the subjective meanings of students, faculty members, and community partners of the term social justice. • We are particularly interested in the vocabulary students, faculty members & community partners use to reference and construct meaning around the idea of social justice. • Involves looking @ three things: • Themes from focus group discussions on the meaning of the term social justice. • Emerging trends from items related to social action and community orientation from the FR Survey (CIRP). • The mission and values of Holy Names University and the Charism of the Sisters of the Holy Names.

  7. Research Question • How do various constituents associated with HNU define social justice?

  8. Participants • Students = 25 • Faculty Members = 11 • Ethnicity (US Students and Faculty): • African American, South American • Latino, Pacific Islanders • Afghan-American, Central American • Caucasian • Gender: Males = 5; Females = 31

  9. Holy Names University is one of the most diverse institutions of higher education in the United States.

  10. Assessment and Research Tools • Focus Groups • Freshman Survey (CIRP) through the Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) at UCLA • Language, Values, Behaviors and Life Goals • Trends from 2006, 2007 and 2008 • Social Activism & Civic Responsibility • Social change agents • Make a positive difference in the world • Political, environmental & social factors

  11. CIRP Items: Social Activism &Civic Responsibility • Activities Performed • Community service as part of a class • Volunteer work • Socialized with someone from another racial or ethnic group • Tutored another student • Intent in College • Participate in volunteer or community service work • Important Objectives • Becoming a community leader • Helping others who are in difficulty • Influencing social values • Participating in a community action program • Helping promote racial understanding • Realistically, an individual can do little to bring about changes in our society

  12. Activities Performed During the Last Year of High School: Comparison of CIRP Percentages for EFRFall 2006, 2007, 2008

  13. Student Estimates of Chances to Participate in Volunteer or Community Service Work: Comparison of CIRP Percentages for EFRFall 2006, 2007, 2008

  14. Objectives Considered to be Essential or Very Important: Comparison of CIRP Percentages for EFRFall 2006, 2007, 2008

  15. Objectives Considered to be Essential or Very Important: Comparison of CIRP Percentages for EFRFall 2006, 2007, 2008

  16. Attitudes that Students’ Agree Strongly or Somewhat: Comparison of CIRP Percentages for EFRFall 2006, 2007, 2008

  17. Big Ideas from the Focus Groups • From the students’ responses we see consistently that social justice is associated with doing something to help others. • “I know it refers to, like, humanity and things like that – helping out the world.” • “Providing assistance to those who do not have a voice…make people realize that they do have rights and they do matter and they do count.”

  18. Big Ideas from the Focus Groups • “To me, basically it’s like submitting yourself as a servant unto others, helping out, lending a hand, learning to be uncomfortable, learning to be comfortable while yet uncomfortable like getting outside of your comfort zone because it’s only for a time period or whatever.”

  19. Big Ideas from the Focus Groups • From the students’ & Faculty members’ responses we see consistent references to equity and fairness to what they referenced as basic rights like health-care, housing, education & legal matters. • “I believe social justice is when groups of people get together to provide a certain area or certain group of people something that we assume is a given, like education, food, shelter.” Student • “It provides for the minimum needs of all…individuals and communities in a manner that supports and promotes human dignity and the common good.” Faculty Member

  20. Big Ideas from the Focus Groups 3. The student responses were significantly more personal and responsible in comparison to faculty responses that were significantly more academic and movement-oriented. • “I think throughout human history, people have struggled for liberation…through our geographical regions, our ethnic identity, our racial identity, our sexual identity, our gender identity, or whatever all these different identities must be.” Faculty Member

  21. Big Ideas from the Focus Groups • “It’s been part of adult life for all of us. It is not a new term. Both as a term and the realities that it is about – these are movements and struggles that are part of our adult lives…since the fifties and sixties.” Faculty Member • “I think that if we as a society like took responsibility, if we realize the mistakes we make…we would all learn and rise above the injustice – I think we are not taking responsibility.” Student • “Maybe not everyone will have a house or food, but you’ll have a neighbor who will offer you a place to stay, or maybe some food or some water. Maybe that would be a good place to start.” Student

  22. Big Ideas from the Focus Groups 4. Students were more likely to talk about social justice from the perspective of injustice or from the perspective of just “knowing”what it is. • “I thought of this stuff beforehand, but it wasn’t labeled social justice, until I go to high school. It’s like I just knew it was wrong.” • “So to me, that’s what it is. I can’t really explain it but you know it when you see it.” • “It’s something that needs to change because it is wrong.”

  23. What Does All this Mean? • Social justice defined involves all discriminatory practices that involve unequal power distributions (Chizhik & Chizhik, 2002). • Sociocultural learning theory suggests that students and faculty members would differ in their understandings of social justice because of the personal contexts in which each person learns about social justice.

  24. Common Ground • Shared understandings about social justice theoretically enhance student learning (Personal/Intercultural). • Common understandings about HNU’s mission, values and individuals’ conceptualizations about social justice theoretically lead to enhanced student learning (Systemic).

  25. Core Values • Full Development of the Human Person • Education in the Faith • Hospitality • Dedication to Women and Children • Dedication to Justice • Service to People who are Poor or Marginalized • Commitment to Liberating Action • Love for the Names of Jesus and Mary

  26. Mission Holy Names University, an academic community committed to the full development of each student, offers a liberal education rooted in the Catholic tradition, empowering a multicultural student body for leadership and service in a diverse world.

  27. Building a Bridge from Where Students/Faculty are to…

  28. Focus Groups 101 • A qualitative research method, or instrument, used to collect data to understand deeply a particular issue or phenomenon. • “An informal discussion among selected individuals about specific topics relevant to the situation at hand” (Beck, Trombetta, and Share, 1986). • Core elements • Informal assembly • 6 to 12 members who are relatively homogeneous in their experiences of the topic • Purposeful sample • Informed moderator with prepared questions

  29. Steps • Identify the topic - Establish the purpose, goals, research questions, desired outcomes, & information NOT wanted • Develop the moderator’s guide • Determine the number of groups that will be needed • Select the location and address the logistics • Content Analysis (Software) and Results

  30. Analysis • Stage 1: Read, listen, and note the Big Ideas. • Stage 2: Identify the discreet units of data (e.g., behaviors, actions, and practices) and place them into categories (Guba, 1978).

  31. The Focus Group Experience • Questions • How familiar are you all with the term social justice? • When did you first hear about the term? • How did your thinking about social justice change over time?? • What is it about an issue that makes it a social justice issue?

  32. The Focus Group Experience • Moderator’s guide • Arrangements prior to the group (#, participants/sample, room arrangements, documents, and recording devices) • Pre-group activity/Note Taker • Introduction: (welcome, practice, research, statement, confidentiality & recording) • Terms • Questions • Follow-up Questions • Member Check • Closing statements

  33. Wrap-up • Reflections on Conducting Groups • Questions

  34. References • Astin, A. W. & Sax, L. J. (1998). How undergraduates are affected by service participation. Journal of College Student Development, 39(3), 251-263. • Astin, A. W., Sax, L. J., & Avalos, J. (1999). Long-term effects of volunteerism during the undergraduate years. The Review of Higher Education, 22(2), 187-202. • Chizhik, E. S. & Chizhik, A. W. (2002). Decoding the language of social justice: What do privilege and oppression really mean? Journal of College Student Development, 43(6), 792-808. • Gibbs, A. (1997). Focus groups. Social Research Update, Department of Sociology, University of Surrey, available at:, Vol. 19. • Vaughn, S., Schumm, J. S., & Sinagub, J. (1996). Focus group interviews in education and psychology. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. • Sax, L. (2009). Citizenship and spirituality among college students: What have we learned and where are we headed? Journal of College Character, available at: • Sax, L. (2003). Our incoming students: What are they like? About Campus, 8(3), 15-20.

  35. Contact Information • Michael S. Miller •, • 510-436-1360 • Sr. Maureen Hester • • 510-436-1549 • Sr. Susan Wells • • 510-436-1280

  36. Handouts • Research Guide • Moderator’s Guide • Questions • Confidentiality Statement