Members of the Student Government are pleased to inform you of the following proposal that is currently before the Curriculum Committee. After meeting with the deans to discuss the social justice concentration, we believe that it is a fantastic idea and a great way for UST Law students to both focus their legal education on social justice and to add extra validation of their interests in social justice to potential employers.
The Curriculum Committee has been asked to review the proposal and to make an official recommendation to the faculty for approval. If you have any questions or feedback, please contact one or all of the student representatives who currently serve on the committee: Paul Haverstock (3L), MaryCathleen Fenske(3L), and Sarah Demers (2L).
What follows is a summary of the proposal, written by Dean Thomas:
Dean Mengler submitted a proposal for a new Social Justice Concentration to the Curriculum Committee last month. I researched and drafted this proposal, with input and review from Dean Mengler and UST faculty who teach in the School of Law, Seminary, and School of Social Work. The proposal presents a Concentration built around the core principles of Catholic social teaching on social justice. Dean Mengler asked the Committee to make a recommendation to the full faculty. If the faculty accepts this proposal, our students will be able to elect the Social Justice Concentration starting in Fall Semester 2010.
The Concentration would provide two primary benefits to students: 1) a credential; and 2) guidance. The Concentration would also allow us to improve our communication of our social justice work to prospective students, students, and employers. It would also be another avenue for marketing the School of Law to prospective students, much like the Rome Summer Study Abroad Program we established in 2007. Because of our mission, Social Justice is a logical legal area in which to base our first concentration at the School of Law.
Specifically, the proposed Social Justice Concentration would consist of 3 requirements: 1) a course work requirement; 2) a writing requirement (the writing would also satisfy the upper level writing requirement); and 3) a public service requirement. We would strongly recommend, but not require, that our students add an experiential learning component to their concentration through enrollment in one of the three clinic courses, a MJF clerkship, or a social justice job. The proposal also includes an alternative option for the School of Law to establish a Social Justice Certificate with an enhanced course work requirement and a grade point average requirement.
The Course Work Requirement
Students would be required to earn 15 credits in courses approved for the Social Justice Concentration. Students would be required to take Administrative Law (3 credits). The remaining 12 credits would consist of at least one course from each of the three Concentration course categories, and one additional course from the any of the three course categories.
The Concentration courses would be grouped into the following three categories: 1) Serving the Needs of the Poor and Vulnerable; 2) Protecting Economic, Social, and Cultural Participation in Society for All and the Rights of Workers; and 3) Community and the Common Good-Advocacy for Social Change
The Writing Requirement
Concentration students would be required to complete a paper on a social justice topic of their choosing that satisfies all of the existing Upper Level Writing Requirement criteria. Specifically, students would be required to write on either 1) charity-serving the vulnerable; or 2) justice-advocacy for social change. Concentration students would be allowed to use their paper to satisfy both the Upper Level Writing Requirement and the Concentration Writing Requirement.
The Public Service Requirement
Concentration students would be required to complete 75 hours of “qualifying public service” as that term is defined in the Public Service Requirement. Concentration students would be required to complete 10 of their 75 hours by doing “qualifying public service” work that involves advocacy for social change. This represents a 50% premium over the number of public service hours required to graduate, and imposes the additional requirement of completing 10 hours of advocacy for social change work.
If the faculty accepts this proposal, Dean Mengler would appoint a full-time faculty member to serve as Concentration Advisor. The Concentration Advisor would administer the Concentration in close collaboration with the Law Registrar and the Public Service Board.