Social Justice Research Initiative - Coastal Carolina University
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Social Justice Research Initiative

The mission of Coastal Carolina University’s Social Justice Research Initiative (SJRI) is to promote and integrate community-based research, experiential learning and project-based community service by collaborating with diverse community partners to promote social justice and change. To meet its objective to educate future social justice leaders, SJRI promotes engaged and critical thinking that connects classroom knowledge with hands-on experience through interdisciplinary academic programs and other opportunities for growth.

SJRI supports innovative research, scholarship, and pedagogy for social change.

Check out our most recent event: “3-Minute Talk: All About the Bans,” on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023! 

Three core components comprise SJRI's work:

⦁    Education: SJRI coordinates student community engagement related to experiential learning initiatives and related activities that support community centered inclusion and diversity efforts.
⦁    Research: SJRI facilitates research opportunities for faculty and students to work in partnership with community organizations and to bring additional needed resources to the community.
⦁    Action: SJRI supports opportunities for students, faculty, and staff to learn about people taking action to make the world a more just and inclusive place, and to engage in activism themselves by connecting with local and regional organizations.

These three core components are interwoven and mutually reinforcing in all of SJRI’s work.

Dr. Tiffany Hollis leads SJRI’s focus on educational initiatives by directing post-secondary and P-12 outreach and programming. In this capacity, Dr. Hollis develops an annual calendar of speakers around educational equity, racial justice, and other issues supported through the Social Justice Research Initiative, in partnership with Women and Gender’s Studies, Intercultural and Inclusion Student Services, and other university partners. In addition, Dr. Hollis serves as the college liaison with external agencies and representatives in coordinating outreach and recruitment activities for aspiring educators and other students who want to be involved in creating equitable educational opportunities for students. SJRI educational outreach and programs provide a sense of belonging for Coastal students while emphasizing the importance of socially just and culturally inclusive classrooms for all. Dr. Hollis is currently developing the Nancy Cave CEED (Coastal Educational Equity and Diversity) Fellows program for SJRI.

Dr. Jaime McCauley develops transdisciplinary community-based research and experiential learning opportunities with university and community partners. Nearly 200 students have engaged in collaborative, cross-class, community-based research and service learning with university partners from Sociology, Sustainability, Honors, Political Science, Marine Science, Inter-Disciplinary Studies and more. Students work with community partners as diverse as Churches Assisting People, Shepherd’s Table, Fyrebird Recovery, the Association for the Betterment of Bucksport, American Rivers, Coastal Conservation League, and more. These partnerships yield results that benefit students and communities alike, such as planting community gardens, gathering needs assessment data, conducting housing assessments, mapping locations of community concern, oral history and photo-voice projects, and other activities that meet community-identified needs. These initiatives have served as a springboard for a number of individual student research projects which resulted in student presentations at local, regional, national, and international conferences.

Dr. Hannah Liebreich directs SJRI’s events and programs. SJRI's flagship events include the annual Three Minute Talks and Ella Baker Day. The Three Minute Talk series features a panel of faculty, staff, and students who each give a three-minute presentation on a topic related to current events (like book bans, critical race theory, or other topics) followed by Q&A. These events are informal and always lead to lively discussions. We also feature a keynote speaker and other events each year in honor of Civil Rights activist Ella Baker. These events support and raise awareness for the broader campaign to designate an official, state-recognized Ella Baker Day. In addition to these flagship events, SJRI supports direct service and social action for change related to other current events. In the past we have hosted rallies that focus on Black Lives Matter and Stop Asian Hate, organized field trips to local and regional sites of historical significance, and traveled to the state capital to actively engage with elected officials. SJRI supports opportunities for students, faculty and staff to connect with community partners to work collaboratively on issues of social justice.