This semester marks the first opportunity for students to minor in Peace and Social Justice Studies. The 18-credit hour interdisciplinary program is available to students as a complement to any major.
David Dillman, professor of political science, said the minor was not limited to a specific major, but was offered to any student interested in various aspects of peace or social justice.
“It is designed to create a deeper understanding of problems we face today and to provide hopeful alternatives for those problems,” Dillman said.
Social and Ethnic History in US is the only course offered this semester specifically for the new minor. Dillman said more classes would be offered in the spring after new classes are created and coordinated by the seven departments that contribute to the program.
Colleen Ashley, junior political science major from American Samoa, signed up for the minor and enrolled in the class. Being a political science major, Ashley said she thought a peace and social justice minor would help her accomplish post-graduation goals. She plans on attending law school to be a human rights attorney or work with an organization such as International Justice Mission. She said she thinks the minor will help focus her studies in the right area.
“I feel like every little bit helps when you are doing undergrad, especially if you are wanting to do graduate school,” Ashley said.
Ashley’s decision to minor in Peace and Social Justice Studies was based on the minor’s distinct ability to focus on aspects of her major that are sometimes forgotten.
“I am hoping that it will humanize political science,” Ashley said. “Peace and Social Justice Studies brings it away from the bureaucracy and policy and puts it at a personal level where you are learning about people, which I think is the core of what political science is about.”
Dillman said the minor would also be valuable on a resume; however, that is not necessarily why it was designed.
“I think employers are always looking for people who have a broad prospective and thoughts about these topics,” Dillman said.
Helping students graduate with all the answers is not the goal of the program, Dillman said. Instead, the purpose is to encourage students to be optimistic about their ability to address important global issues in a positive way.