Advancing Healthy and Socially Just Schools and Communities: An Interdisciplinary Graduate Program

Lynn Corcoran
Athabasca University

Deinera Exner-Cortens
University of Calgary

Lana Wells
University of Calgary

Advancing Healthy and Socially Just Schools and Communities is a four-course graduate certificate program collaboratively developed by an interdisciplinary team comprised of faculty from the fields of Social Work and Education at a Canadian university. The aim of this program is to facilitate systems-level change through enhancing the knowledge and skills of graduate students from disciplines such as social work, education, and nursing who work with youth in schools and communities. The ultimate goal of this systems-level change is promotion of healthy youth relationships and prevention of violence. The topics for the four courses in the program include the following: promoting healthy relationships and preventing interpersonal violence, recognizing and counteracting oppression and structural violence, addressing trauma and building resilience, and fostering advocacy and community in the context of social justice. The development and pedagogy of the certificate program are described, along with findings from a pilot study designed to examine the utility and feasibility of the initial certificate offering. Experiences with the program to date highlight the potential for improvements in graduate students’ attitudes, beliefs, and confidence regarding what constitutes violence and their role in responding to it.

Copyright © 2019, International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education