TOI-3 Diversity, Equity, and Social Justice

The dynamics of power and privilege produce inequalities at individual, structural, and cultural levels. Human identities develop through cultural values, social group membership, and lived experiences. How societies perceive and manage this cultural, social, and biological diversity can foster or suppress human identity in democratic life, thereby shaping social and individual experiences. Local, national, and global systems contribute to social inequity through structures that privilege select groups over others. Advancement of social justice through the creation of equitable models, policies, and practices requires an exploration of the ways in which societies perceive and manage cultural, social, and biological diversity; communicate hierarchies of worth; perpetuate injustice; and reflect on people, systems, and cultures beyond one’s own.

Courses within this Topic of Inquiry category must meet two or more of the TOI-3 Learning Objectives:

TOI-3 Learning Objective 1: Through dialogic engagement, students will be able to examine cultural, social and/or biological diversity within national and/or global contexts and the effects power and privilege have on various social group identities.

Sample Course Objectives

  • Explain the concepts of diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice, and the historical and cultural factors that have shaped them
  • Describe the role of power and privilege in social relations
  • Evaluate institutions, organizations, policies and systems where structural forms of oppression exist
  • Illustrate how interlocking systems of oppression function to support systems of privilege and inequity
  • Analyze the ways in which societies construct difference and create marginalized and centralized groups of human identities
  • Demonstrate basic skills of dialogue participation and facilitation (listening, empathy, understanding, expressing, and perspective taking)
  • Collaborate in a dialogic or deliberative forum on an issue of public concern
  • Examine a range of cultures and the various values, norms, and traditions that comprise them

TOI-3 Learning Objective 2: Students will be able to recognize and discuss basic issues of social injustice and how their own identities intersect with structural forms of oppression and empowerment, and how to be respectful and responsible allies (and accomplices) to individuals and groups they do not identify with.

Sample Course Objectives

  • Identify best practices and steps societies have taken to improve social relations and create equitable access to resources
  • Define and appropriately utilize the basic language of social justice
  • Describe examples of implicit bias and mechanistic consequences of it (e.g. micro aggressions, discrimination, prejudice) and how to correct them
  • Practice self-reflection and self-awareness to understand one's own biases, values, and assumptions, and assess how they may impact interactions with others

TOI-3 Learning Objective 3: Students will be able to discuss the foundations of social inclusion and democracy and the actions that can create and maintain them within national and/or global contexts.

Sample Course Objectives

  • Analyze the barriers to social equity, inclusion, and justice
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the fundamentals of advocacy including community engagement
  • Describe the fundamental aspects of a democratic society
  • Develop ideas and approaches to bring about social change on multiple levels
  • Explain the basic tenets of human rights
  • Examine effective ways of disrupting injustice
  • Define a purposeful, thoughtful approach to being in community with one another, developing an intentional relationship with one another, and finding ways to care for others that are rooted in respect and empathy

TOI-3 Learning Objective 4:  Students will be able to recognize and critically investigate the various socio-political forces that have historically and currently excluded individuals from societies across the globe, the structures of various kinds of oppression (e.g. racism, gender discrimination, sexual harassment and violence, etc.), the different levels on which they occur, and the forces that create, maintain, and perpetuate them.

Sample Course Objectives

  • Describe White privilege and White supremacy (to include whiteness and anti-blackness), along with steps to address it
  • Explain the various types and levels of oppression such as: classism, racism, antisemitism, xenophobia, sexism, Heterosexism, Homophobia, transmisogyny, transphobia, gender oppression, ableism
  • Analyze the impact of social inequality, bias, and discrimination on individuals and groups, and their intersections with race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, ability, and other identities
  • Define what comprises the cycle of socialization
  • Interrogate structures of power and institutions from the standpoint of cultural inheritance
  • Evaluate factors contributing to colonial thinking and how to address it
  • Utilize critical thinking and analysis skills to evaluate and challenge systems of oppression and privilege, and identify strategies for promoting social justice