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K-State Today

February 17, 2015

College of Education offers social justice education certificate

Submitted by Patrice Scott

The College of Education is launching a groundbreaking graduate certificate program in social justice education, with enrollment opening in March and classes beginning in May.

Courses for the program, which is 15 credit hours, can be taken exclusively online or as a hybrid with electives being taken on campus. This program is truly unique in that it was a coordinated, collegewide effort that included faculty and graduate students from every department and its applications extend far beyond similarly named programs, which are typically limited to K-12 education.

Linda P. Thurston, associate dean for research, and Lydia E. Skeen endowed professor, coordinated the efforts to develop and implement the certificate program.

"We see this as a great fit for students and professionals in many fields who want to learn more about pedagogical practices to promote social justice in all sorts of educational settings, from a rural preschool to an extension program to higher education," Thurston said. "This is the first social justice education certificate designed for both formal and informal educational settings and includes learners of all ages."

The certificate focuses on the principles of social justice education that promote equitable, sustainable and transformative change. The program consists of a focused collection of courses that relate to social justice education in school, community and organizational settings, with theory-to-practice central to the program.

Susan Yelich Biniecki, assistant professor of educational leadership, served as co-chair for the college's steering committee that developed the certificate program.

"The goal was to develop a certificate program to help students, including many working professionals in a variety of disciplines, better understand the world around them and issues of inequity that need to be addressed," Yelich Biniecki said. "The program illustrates how to take theory to practice and collaboratively create meaningful and sustainable changes in communities and workplaces such as neighborhoods, companies, schools, the military and nonprofits."

For more information about the social justice education certificate, contact Yelich Biniecki at susanyb@k-state.edu or Thurston at lpt@k-state.edu.