Center for Human Rights and Social Justice at IWU

Career Panel
Careers in Social Justice Organizations
Students were invited to learn about career possibilities in social justice related non-government organizations during the career panel on Tuesday, November 13th.
"Human Rights and Environmental Justice"
IWU's annual workshop, held Thursday, Sept. 13, invited participants to consider local, national and global environmental issues through the framework of human rights and social justice.
IWU Human Rights Undergraduate Research Workshop Group
7th Annual IWU Human Rights Undergraduate Research Workshop
Students presented research related to human rights at the 7th annual IWU Human Rights Undergraduate Research Workshop

About the Center for Human Rights and Social Justice

The Center for Human Rights and Social Justice is committed to creating a campus community that together works to address human rights and social justice concerns. It pursues this commitment by offering opportunities for learning, reflecting, and advocating on behalf of human rights and social justice in a variety of venues. In so doing, we offer support for the IWU mission statement, which states that “The Illinois Wesleyan experience affords the greatest possibilities for realizing individual potential while preparing students for democratic citizenship and life in a global society…” while explicitly mentioning that the University “… is committed to diversity, social justice, and environmental sustainability.”

We further believe that furthering our understanding of and advocacy for human rights and social justice gives meaning to the liberal arts experience. To be a reflective and engaged person in the 21 st century demands that we continually question what it means to be human and how our shared humanity requires us to treat one another. The questions that touch all of us, questions that focus upon equity, fairness, justice, dignity, and responsibility, for each other and our planet, can best be addressed through engagement with the liberal arts and through working with and advocating on behalf of others. A true appreciation of the liberal arts further requires that we open ourselves up to new encounters that expand our understandings of these crucial questions. 

On-going Programs

The Center sponsors and co-sponsors a number of programs that are designed to further these aims. They include the John and Erma Stutzman Peace Fellows Program, the Scholars at Risk Advocacy Seminar, and the Fund for Human Rights, Environmental Sustainability, and Social Justice.

The Center regularly sponsors speakers, films, and panel discussions throughout the year. From 2014-2016 it regularly held a human rights related film series. Noted independent film director John Sayles and academy award nominated actor Jesse Eisenberg are some of guests the Center has sponsored. Others have included Mark Steinberg, Professor of Russian History, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Jonathan Ebel, Professor of Religion at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Alison Bailey, Professor of Women’s Studies, Illinois State University, Janet Bergstrom, Professor of Film Studies at UCLA, and Martha Nussbaum, Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago.

We believe that by creating a community devoted to an exploration of human rights and social justice concerns, we are able to offer students the support and confidence to make a positive difference in people’s lives once they leave IWU. Alumni who have been affiliated with the Center have gone on to pursue careers in law, environmental justice, and the social services. A number have used the academic skills that were polished and refined during their association with the Center to pursue graduate work. 

Human Rights Course Offerings Spring 2020 

IS 222/322

International Human Rights: An Introduction

Irving Epstein

Analysis of Values

PSCS 262/362

Global Environmental Sustainability and Asian Development

Abigail Jahiel

Contemp Social Institutions, Encountering Global Diversity

PSCS 303

International Law and Organizations

William Munro


PHIL 224

Introduction to Social and Political Philosophy

Mark Criley

Analysis of Values


Psychology of Gender

Amanda M. Vicary

Encountering US Diversity

HIS 343

Migration, Ethnicity, and Race

April Schultz

Cultural & Historical Change and Encountering US Diversity

EDUC 225

Education and Social Justice

Margaret E. Evans

Writing Intensive


People's Cultures of East Africa

Rebecca Gearhart Mafazy

Contemporary Social Institutions & Encountering Global Diversity

SOC 230

Race and Racism

Meghan A. Burke

Contemp Social Institutions, Encountering US Diversity

ENGL 139


Molly K. Robey

Literature and Encountering US Diversity

CS 222

Ethics, Values and Issues in Cybertechnology

Mark Criley

Analysis of Values and Writing Intensive

FREN 230

French for Human Rights and Social Justice

Christopher J. Callahan

Analysis of Values & Encountering Global Diversity