A new social justice major will soon be an option for Miami University students.
Whether they are undecided or motivated to double major, all Miami students are encouraged to explore the new major.
After several years of discussion about the creation of a social justice major at Miami, the proposed major is now in its final stages of approval.
This semester, two social justice classes are available for students to take, and both classes are full.
“There was interest before, and the minute we started offering the classes, they were filled immediately,” said Jean Lynch, chair of the department of sociology and gerontology.
The proposed new major entails 40 hours and students can choose to pursue either the social justice and equalities track or the crime, law and social justice track.
“The courses are really exciting,” Lynch said.
In the course bulletin the major is described as, “a sociologically-based foundation of knowledge and skills to examine the essential connections between social values, structured inequalities and social change.”
C. Lee Harrington, professor of sociology, was a major force behind the effort to establish the new major.
Harrington said the creation of the social justice major is something that Miami has talked about for years.
“We are excited that this might bring students to the university,” Harrington said.
Harrington hopes the new major will draw in both first-year students and undecided students.
“I actually think if a student had taken a number of these classes already, they could add it as a double major,” Lynch said.
Lynch said students have always asked why Miami does not have a social justice major.
“It is a very interdisciplinary major,” Lynch said.
Harrington said at universities around the United States the social justice major is placed within a wide range of departments from economics to English.
However, at Miami, the best fit for the major is in the sociology and gerontology department.
“We created this using a lot of the classes we already had on the books,” Lynch said.
Social justice related classes exist all over campus, she said.
Harrington said students who choose to pursue the social justice major will have the opportunity to look at the ideals and realities of justice.
“There’s a lot of reflection and action and critical thinking in these courses — a lot of connection to the external world,” Lynch said.
Although the social justice major will be a part of the sociology department, Harrington said it is unique in itself.
“(The major) provides a brand new core rooted in social justice studies rather than sociology,” Lynch said.
Lynch said the major will prepare students for the changing world.
“It will teach students to think critically, write policy and solve problems,” Lynch said.