Loyola University Chicago

Loyola University Chicago

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Tanya Cochran
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Seeking Social Justice in Academics and Teaching
Conference to Highlight Research of Loyola Faculty, Staff and Students

CHICAGO, February 17, 2004 When people who are homeless receive support in the areas of job training, medical and mental health care, they, in turn, are more successful in securing permanent housing. This conclusion was reached through a collaborative project between Loyola University Chicago, United Power for Action and Justice-an advocacy organization-and 10 Chicago agencies demonstrating the university’s desire to seek social justice.

“Justice focused research betters the community by dealing with issues of inequality,” said Chiara Sabina, community collaborative researcher at Loyola’s Center for Urban Research and Learning. “Social justice means using my skills and knowledge to help better the lives of others.”

This week, Sabina, along with several other members of the Loyola community, will discuss social justice issues in relation to academics and teaching during a conference at the university. “A Calling to Teach Justice: An Afternoon of Sharing Ideas for Loyola Faculty and Staff,” will take place on Friday, Feb. 20, from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m., at Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus, and “A Calling to Justice: An Interdisciplinary Academic Conference Exploring Social Justice in the Professions and Disciplines,” takes place on Saturday, Feb. 21, at the Water Tower Campus.

“This conference is designed to encourage people to think about how they can contribute to areas of social justice,” said Mary Taylor-Johnson, program coordinator for Project Evoke, one of the organizations sponsoring the conference. “Jesuits stand for academic excellence and service for others.”

Day one of the conference provides an opportunity for faculty and staff to share concrete ideas and practical ways about addressing social justice, Taylor-Johnson said. Participants will hear various speakers and will engage in discussions. Day two will include presentations on research related to social justice in the areas of business, education, health care, life sciences, psychology, pastoral studies and social work, to name a few. Faculty and students will share highlights of their research projects and shed light on areas where justice has not occurred. “This is more than an academic pursuit for some people,” Taylor-Johnson said. “But rather a reflection of their real service commitments.”

Presentation topics include “But How Do We Build God’s Kingdom? The Jesus of History and Our Political Imagination,” “Ethical Hacking-Is it Ever Ethical to Break into a Computer System?” “Faith Orientation and Social Knowledge: Teaching Roman Catholic Social Thought through Service Learning,” Health Disparities: The Response of Nursing Faculty,” and “Addressing the Needs of Sexual Minority Youth in the Chicago Area: A Study of Attempts to Change.”

For Sabina, who will present “Breaking the Cycle of Homelessness: United Power Supportive Services for Homeless Individuals Demonstration Project,” the conference will provide an opportunity for her to show how collaborative university and community partnerships are justice oriented. “I feel these types of projects exemplify justice,” she said. “Furthermore, I hope to create discussion regarding the role of the university in policy-making.”

For more information, contact Taylor-Johnson at 773.508.8022.

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