Social Justice and the Curriculum

Higher education is a public good. To support the broad and diverse population of students we now serve, our pedagogical approaches need to acknowledge the real challenges students face in light of the new economics of college.

College has become the place America loves to hate. The contemporary mythology about college students is similarly aggressive—they are “coddled” “snowflakes,” too distracted by their cell phones and social media, and “not prepared” for the work of college. Some claim that students are “harder to teach these days.” Data and evidence contradict these assumptions. Rather today’s students work long hours with far less support than prior generations and are enduring high rates of food and housing insecurity.

As educators, we need to design our pedagogies for the students we have, not the students we wish we had. That requires a pedagogy that is responsive, inclusive, adaptive, challenging, and compassionate. This work can’t happen in isolation from students. We must find more ways, with our pedagogies and policies, to bring students fully into the conversation about their own education. This track will explore the landscape students and teachers face, and we will work together and with models as our guide, to design approaches that make immediate practical sense for us, our unique institutions, and the students we work with. We will look to projects like #RealCollege and the work of The Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice at Temple University—a research center focused on rethinking and restructuring higher education and social policies, practices, and resources—with an eye toward imagining how that work can manifest in our classrooms.


Jesse Stommel
Jesse Stommel is co-founder of Digital Pedagogy Lab and Hybrid Pedagogy: an open-access journal of learning, teaching, and technology.
Sara Goldrick-Rab
Sara Goldrick-Rab is Professor of Higher Education Policy & Sociology at Temple University, and Founder of the Wisconsin HOPE Lab.
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