The School of Social Research and Justice Studies desires to provide a rich context for research and teaching as it relates to understanding modern society, especially the role of justice in society. The broad vision of the school enhances our contributions to the mission of the University of Nevada, Reno. The academic mission of the school is to contribute to the understanding of how societies are organized and function, and to improve the quality of thinking and research about social justice. Teaching about social justice requires an interdisciplinary approach and the scope of concern is necessarily global. Both humanistic and social science approaches are integrated in the new school's focus. Successful teaching
about modern society and social justice requires diversity in outlook and background in the faculty and in the student body. The approach must be change-oriented and linked to the pressing justice concerns of our time. Focusing on critical inquiry, we seek to develop critical reading, thinking, and problem-solving skills in our students. Our research mission is to conduct research designed to further an understanding of modern societies and the realization of social justice in our free democratic society. Interdisciplinary research efforts fostered by the new school will most often be the key to the realization of these goals.
Goals and Objectives
Creation of the School of Social Research and Justice Studies will lead to a more efficient teaching process. Existing resources would be more efficiently utilized, resulting in an increase in the number upper-division courses offered by the separate elements of the school, more classes at the graduate level, and more students taking classes outside departmental boundaries from other units within the school. It is also appropriate to expect that the creation of additional graduate degree offerings would allow advanced graduate students to teach specific lower-division classes, thereby releasing faculty time for more graduate and upper-division teaching.
The School of Social Research and Justice Studies, following its establishment as an interdisciplinary research and teaching organization, should generate considerable research and grant activity. Individually, each of the elements of the new school has had moderate to good success with grant acquisition, and all have been strong producers of academic research. What has made the grant acquisition process more difficult has been the paucity of time available due to teaching responsibilities and the absence of administrative assistance with the grants, as well as a lack of available and qualified graduate students to work as research assistants on the grants. After the school has become established, any overlap among classes eliminated, and the faculty have been allowed to focus more on research and
grant writing, the acquisition of more research funding should be a natural result. Furthermore, with the placement of the Grant Sawyer Center within the school, grants obtained by any of the elements of the school will be more easily administered without placing any additional administrative strains on the individual departments of the school. The acquisition of more grants will, of course, allow more graduate students to be supported in the units as Research Assistants.
All units that will form the new school have public service responsibilities, given that they are affiliated with the university, which is a Land Grant institution. This is especially the case with the Sawyer Center, which is part of the university's statewide programming designed to serve the public statewide. The new school will be an interdisciplinary organization. Social service and governmental agencies that interact with one of the elements of the school will have the opportunity to more conveniently receive assistance from other departments within the school. Again, this increased access to interdisciplinary perspectives will improve the quality of assistance offered to these agencies, and may create new research opportunities for those elements previously unassociated with these agencies or individuals.