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placeholder April 9, 2012   •   VOL. 50, NO. 7   •   Oakland, CA
The chapel on the campus of Saint Mary's College.

Saint Mary's to offer degree in social justice leadership

Applications are being accepted for the inaugural cohort of the master's degree in leadership with a concentration in social justice at Saint Mary's College of California. This program joins an established master of arts degree program in leadership on the Moraga campus.

Social Justice Institute
The Social Justice Institute is planned for June 18-19 at the Saint Mary's College. Keynote speaker is educator Sharon Daloz Parks. This year's theme is "Thriving at the Intersection of Leadership, Social Justice & Spirituality." Cost is $40 for Saint Mary's College students, faculty, staff and alumni; $40 for representatives of nonprofits; and $75 general admission. Registration is available at http://wwws.stmarys-ca.edu/forms/academics/cilsa/social-justice/form.html.
The leadership program with the social justice concentration will begin in June of each year. It will require 19 months of study, with each cohort coming together about every eight weeks for a full Saturday and Sunday, and a retreat at its conclusion.

Jennifer Pigza, academic chair of the Graduate Program in Leadership for Social Justice, is also associate director of the Catholic Institute for Lasallian Social Action.

She described the new program as "part of President (Brother Ronald) Gallagher's vision of the future of the college, to increase the presence of social justice education at the undergraduate and graduate levels."

The college's Catholic and LaSallian traditions challenge the students not only to explore social justice, but to assume leadership positions, she said.

"We have a platform to ask these kinds of questions," she said, "We can engage our students in the conversation."

Students who might find the program appealing are those already working in the social justice field, perhaps as community organizers. The leadership program also might be the next step, she said, for people completing service in the Peace Corps or other volunteer programs.

Pigza said she had heard from potential applicants who included someone working in green energy; a student finishing a bachelor's degree with interest in Native American studies; and a person interested in pursuing social justice work in a parish.

April 16 is the college's preferred deadline, but Pigza said program representatives will hear from prospective students who are still deciding after that date or might have an application in process.

Cost for the program is $29,965. Financial assistance in the form of loans may be available to students.

The application is available online at www.stmarys-ca.edu/ma-in-leadership/how-to-apply

The first group of students, which Pigza said will number about 20, will attend the college's sixth annual Social Justice Institute in June on the Moraga campus. Others working in the social justice field are also welcome to register to attend the event, which will explore the intersection of leadership, social justice and spirituality.

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