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How Adler aids students in developing socially responsible practice


Are you ready to be a social justice change agent?

By Sheri K. Lewis, Ph.D.

Sheri K. Lewis, Ph.D., is the Social Justice Practicum Coordinator and Faculty Administer on the Online Campus. She received her doctorate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in Educational Policy, Organization and Leadership. Her research interests are critical pedagogy, black girlhoods, hip hop feminism, qualitative methodology, where she specifically explores the utility and creative potentials of popular culture mediums among youth as critical sites for pedagogy and methodology.

Adler University is all about social justice – in fact, it’s a vital piece of our mission. But what is Social Justice? And, why does it matter?
If we define social justice as ensuring the equitable distribution and access to economic, political, and other resources, we can see how it would be relevant to almost any component of our everyday lives.

At Adler, we believe everyone has a responsibility to advance social justice in some capacity. Inequities, lack of access, and accountability do not change on their own. Rather, ordinary people – such as you and me – must create and activate changes that ultimately benefit us all.

Through our degree programs, we prepare students to be those change agents through socially responsible practice. Socially responsible practice is core to our mission, where we are committed to helping students:

  • Develop a values-based execution of behaviors and actions that build upon global movements for social justice and equity.
  • Take an inward look to explore their own connection to social issues.
  • Explore the origins of social issues, analyze the systems which perpetuate them, and take outward steps to resolve them collectively.
  • Gain a deep understanding of ongoing socially bound environmental factors that must also be addressed.
  • Critically analyze the history of oppression and anti-oppression work.
  • Build intentional connections with the global community to collectively work toward and ensure equitable health and wellness.

Each program incorporates socially responsible practice into the curriculum, and students graduate with the knowledge and skills to responsibly inform institutional decision-making from organizational strategic planning to community organizing. Moreover, our graduates develop the intellectual capacity to mobilize and motivate people towards a common goal.

What does this look like from a practical standpoint? A graduate from our Master of Public Administration program, for example, will utilize socially responsible practice to leverage government policy to ensure equitable access to resources in their community. Graduates from our Organizational Leadership or Industrial and Organizational Psychology programs learn to influence leaders and organizations from a social justice standpoint. And graduates from our counseling programs work to ensure that all communities have equal access to mental health resources.

Socially responsible practice is no easy task, as it takes commitment and genuine interest in creating optimal environments for people and community. But by remaining committed, you will gain a super-power and your social justice sensory will enhance, for sure.

Want to know more about how you can become a socially responsible change agent? Contact our Admissions team today!