Department Information

Community and Justice Studies

Professors Martin and Roncolato (Program Coordinators), Moore

Community and Justice Studies (COMJ) investigates challenges facing communities, analyzes key methods of social action, develops ethical reasoning, and directly engages students in responsible engagement in our community. COMJ offers students an intellectual framework for understanding social systems, structures, movements and how these shape society, especially in relationship to power and oppression. The course of study has the following objectives: 1) to provide students with the tools to develop deep civic knowledge, sophisticated civic skills, and life-long civic values; 2) to support the development of thoughtful and ethical democratic engagement; 3) to embed students’ experiences of engagement in a broader social, political, and economic context of place; 4) to equip students for complex thinking about social issues by providing them with theoretical and empirical tools for understanding communities and the dynamics of change within them; 5) to encourage students to examine and perhaps revise their beliefs about community life and its needs and assets, as well as responsibilities to one’s community.

Note: students may not complete programs in both Community and Justice Studies and Values, Ethics, and Social Action.

Community and Justice Studies Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete a program in Community and Justice Studies are expected to achieve the following outcomes in each of the listed areas:

  • Civic Knowledge
    1. Understand one’s sources of identity and their influence on civic values, assumptions, and responsibilities to a wider public*;
    2. Understand how her/his experiences of engagement relate to broader social, political, and economic contexts of place;
    3. Understand systematic and group influences on social problems from theoretical and applied perspectives;
    4. Understand theories of organizational decision-making, democratic change, or dynamics of community change;
    5. Gain civic and intercultural knowledge.
  • Civic Skills
    1. Demonstrate skills of deliberation and bridge building across differences*;
    2. Function effectively in cross-cultural environments to create change ;
    3. Use frameworks of multiple academic disciplines for ethical analysis of societal issues and conducting community research.
  • Civic Values
    1. Develop a concern for issues of justice and equality;
    2. Develop a commitment to increase efficacy in public life, whether through everyday citizenship, service, professional work, or activism;
    3. Demonstrate a determination to raise social and ethical issues and questions in and about public life;
    4. Develop a responsibility to a larger good*;
    5. Examine personal motivations and how they affect one’s own active citizenship**;
    6. Demonstrate the ability to reason ethically about social issues and to connect them to philosophical models of value.
  • Collective Action
    • Demonstrate effective engagement in local and global contexts;
    • Participate in a significant project that recognizes and responds to real community needs and desires in ways that move beyond the charity model;
    • Navigate political systems and processes, both formal and informal*.

* AAC&U, Crucible Moment, p. 4
** Taken from Learning Outcomes developed by Tufts University