Why Applied Social Justice? What is Christian Community Development & social entrepreneurship?
“Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow's cause.” --Isaiah 1:17
Why a graduate program in Applied Social Justice?
Persons of faith and others who wish to help the “least of these” are generally familiar with charity models of helping in which immediate needs such as food and clothing are met through charitable donations. Around the time of the holidays our churches and schools are especially busy collecting food baskets, boxes of school supplies, and winter coats, and serving meals for the homeless; community organizations are collecting toys for tots; and bell ringers from the Salvation Army are collecting cash donations outside supermarkets and malls.
All these efforts are laudable, helpful, and even life-saving when the short term need is acute. However, scholars of social justice point out that exclusive reliance on charity can engrain patterns of dependency in recipients and reinforce social structures that systematically advantage some people and disadvantage others, that can actually make problems more likely to persist indefinitely.
What is needed in addition to charity are longer term approaches that empower people to help themselves and that address root causes of poverty by changing the ways communities and society work, such as increasing access to a good education, job training, and adequate health care; providing access to start-up funding and coaching for would-be entrepreneurs; revitalizing local agriculture and local economies; providing innovative ways to make possible safe and affordable housing, land ownership, and access to reliable transportation.
Social Entrepreneurship (SE) and Christian Community Development (CCD) represent two related, emerging fields that embody this philosophy of social justice and seek to help people by effecting long-term social change and empowering them to help themselves.
- Applied Social Justice/Christian Community Development Track
In collaboration with the Christian Community Development Association, the CCD track will seek to “inspire, train, and connect Christians who seek to bear witness to the Kingdom of God by reclaiming and restoring under-resourced communities.” The Masters of Arts in Applied Social Justice/CCD Track will prepare graduates to assume leadership and support roles in faith-based and other nonprofit organizations projects designed to solve problems of social injustice by applying the eight components of Christian Community Development. These components include Relocation (living among the people), Reconciliation, Just Distribution of Resources, Leadership Development, Listening to the Community, Church-based, Holistic Approach, and Empowerment.
- Applied Social Justice/Social Entrepreneurship Track
According to the Ashoka Foundation, “Social entrepreneurs are individuals with innovative solutions to society’s most pressing social problems. They are ambitious and persistent, tackling major social issues and offering new ideas for wide-scale change. Rather than leaving societal needs to the government or business sectors, social entrepreneurs find what is not working and solve the problem by changing the system, spreading the solution, and persuading entire societies to take new leaps.” The Masters of Arts in Applied Social Justice/SE Track will prepare graduates with interests in missions and business to apply principles of social change and sound business practices to start and build innovative organizations (nonprofit & for-profit) designed to solve problems of social injustice by addressing root causes in ways that can be sustained and replicated in other places.
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Carson-Newman University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) to award baccalaureate and masters degrees including the Masters of Arts in Applied Social Justice.