skills and provide creative arts, computer, and conflict resolution skills. Equally as important, these programs provide a
free, safe space and adult supervision for children whose
parents are struggling to provide basic necessities and recognize the roles that colleges must play in “leveling the playing
field” for children from impoverished backgrounds.
For the last five years, the coordinator of community
service has run a small, highly successful summer program,
Students with a Brighter Future, for a group of students from
a Baltimore City middle school. This program extends the
after-school program by providing a summer “bridge” for
academic skill-building and social/cultural activities. Of the
13 students that began the program in 2002, five students
just completed their first year of college and two more
students enrolled in college this fall.
Prior to orientation for first-year Goucher students, new
students can choose an “early-immersion” program to begin
their affiliations with the college. One of those programs,
SERVE, puts students to work in a Baltimore neighborhood
helping to build homes as a part of Habitat for Humanity.
The program gives students a clear view of housing issues in a
disadvantaged neighborhood. Students frequently remark
about the transformative experiences of working so closely
with neighborhood residents.
In addition to the “morning of service” that first-year
students can opt to participate in (163 students provided 326
hours of service in fall 2006), a student-run organization
sponsors teams of students to volunteer in schools, soup
kitchens, nursing homes, shelters, and a host of other non-profit agencies. Students routinely serve as mentors and tutors
in elementary schools, a family resource center, and in an
Upward Bound program. This past year, 57 students
contributed more than 4,000 hours in these programs. For
many students, participation provides a different mirror in
Build Social Justice Skills
For Educators and Practitioners
July 19– 22, 2008, at San Jose State University in
San Jose, Calif.
The Social Justice Training Institute (SJTI) provides a
forum for the professional and personal development of
social justice educators and practitioners to expand and
refine their skills and competencies in designing and facilitating diversity awareness experiences.
The institute provides an intensive developmental
opportunity for social justice educators to examine the
complex dynamics of race and racism and to develop
personal competencies as trainers and practitioners.
which to see how resources are allocated and how many voices
are not heard. For other students, these programs help them
develop empathy for the disenfranchised and subsequently
develop a desire to contribute to change.
The coordinator of our community service program is also
a half-time instructor in the peace studies program, a recently
developed major. Students majoring in the peace studies
program have sponsored programs and speakers that highlight
inequities domestically and abroad and provocatively challenge student assumptions and privilege.
For a number of years, Goucher has sponsored travel
abroad programs that help students become more aware of
and responsive to social justice issues in developing countries
around the world.
In summer 2006, Goucher College began a program to
encourage promising students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds to attend the college. In collaboration with
faculty and admission administrators, and with funding from
the Jessie Ball duPont Foundation and two private donors,
Goucher launched the Educational Opportunity Program to
provide tuition, fees, and room and board for five first-generation students who met the financial aid criteria. A four-week,
residential summer bridge program focuses on college math
and writing skills, and students participate in social/cultural
events and workshops on time management, organizational
skills, and transition concerns. Students receive stipends and
laptop computers and are assigned peer mentors and peer
tutors. The program sends a clear, tangible message about the
college’s commitment to social justice programs.
Gail Neverdon Edmonds is vice president and dean of students at
Goucher College in Baltimore.
SJTI – The Student Experience
May 22– 25, 2008, at the University of Illinois
The SJTI provides an intensive developmental opportunity for students to examine the complex dynamics of
oppression and to develop strategies to foster positive
change on their campuses and in their communities. This
experience is for undergraduates who have completed a
significant amount of work on social justice issues.
Students explore the identities that make up who they
are and better understand how these identities impact all
they do. Each student works with a “partner” from his or
her home campus to develop a Social Justice Commitment
(SJC) detailing personal growth goals, a home campus
intervention and ways to contribute to the community.
For more information on these institutes,