by Amy Betz | Staff Writer
Dr. Miriam Ragland is developing a brand new Social Justice major program for Presbyterian College. “Rather than writing plays about the need for social change,” the theatre professor said, “I look forward to engaging with the community to actually make change.”
Ragland says that the inspiration for creating the program came from her experience as a facilitator with the National Coalition Building Institute. “I’ve had the opportunity to hear people’s stories of mistreatment, be it from racism, sexism, homophobia, classism, ageism, or some other ‘ism’,” she said. “I’ve found that students, faculty and staff alike are eager to interact, to engage, to communicate and to make a positive change.”
This, combined with her experience of working with PC students to produce plays about hot-button social issues, motivated her to use her talents and influence to create another program at PC– one with an impact that would go far beyond theatre.
Professors from multiple departments at PC have expressed an interest in teaching classes within the major program. Rev. Rachel Parsons-Wells (Religious Life and Service), Jacqueline Chiari (Office of Diversity and Multiculturalism), and Lisa McCoy (Fraternity and Sorority Life) are “working closely […] on developing co-curricular activities that will support the major.”
Dr. Ragland said that there are already organizations on campus which do the kind of social work that the major program is based on. “SVS, Bluefish and Greek Life all regularly participate in service projects,” Ragland said.
The Social Justice major, which Ragland described as “interdisciplinary and incorporating courses from multiple departments”, will include an Introduction to Social Justice course as well as internship opportunities and a capstone requirement. She plans on submitting her proposal for the program before the end of the 2018-2019 academic year, and will begin teaching Introduction to Social Justice as soon as possible.
Overall, the goal of the program will be to educate students on how to initiate positive social changes, and to embody the PC motto, “Dum Vivimus Servimus”. Those who choose this major will receive education and motivation that will prepare them for jobs that involve helping others, such as “counselors, lobbyists, lawyers, advocates, social workers, politicians and political activists”.
Students with an interest in the Social Justice major program are encouraged to contact Dr. Miriam Ragland at firstname.lastname@example.org.