Fostering Just Communities

In this innovative program, the community becomes the curriculum. The Fostering Just Communities Certificate is an interdisciplinary program designed to encourage and facilitate place-based education in urban settings, with an emphasis on issues of social justice.  Open to all majors, students enrolled in the 12 credit hour FJC Certificate will collaborate with community members in project and place-based approach to learning.


To make the certificate as accessible as possible for a diverse array of Miami students, there are three curricular pathways that can lead to completion of the certificate. Each pathway includes four pedagogical components that build an infrastructure for a learning experience that will foster empathic, community-minded future professionals.

Curricular Pathways

Pathway 1: Urban Cohort

Pedagogical Components

Preparatory: SJS 215 – Empower I

Experiential: Student Teaching or 120-hour Semester Internship (either Immersive Residential or Not)

Reflective: EDT 420A – Junior Seminar (2 credits)

Culminating: EDT 419 – Student Teaching Seminar or FSW 412 or 413 Senior Seminar Social Work I or II OR Senior Seminar in Student's Discipline

Pathway 2: Fall Residency Program

Pedagogical Components

Preparatory: SJS 215 – Empower I (on the Oxford campus)

Experiential: Immersive Residential Semester with community placements or student teaching

Reflective: EDL 377 – Service Learning

Culminating: ARC 427 – American City Since 1940

Pathway 3: Flex Plan

Pedagogical Components

Preparatory: SJS 215 – Empower I

Experiential: 3-Week 120-hour Residential Immersive Internship (CSIP) OR 120-hour Non-Residential Semester Internship in an urban community organization focused on social justice

Reflective: EDT 402 – Pro-Seminar in Fostering Just Communities

Culminating: Approved Course in Student's Discipline + 1-Credit Independent Study

  • ARC 426/526: Architecture and Society (3 credits)
  • ART 395: Art Across the Curriculum (3 credits)
  • GEO 458/558: Cities of Difference (3 credits)
  • GEO 462/562: Public Space (3 credits)
  • GEO 493: Urban Field Experience (3 credits)
  • PSY 325: Psychology of Prejudice and Minority Experience (3 credits)
  • PSY 326: Psychology of Women (3 credits)
  • PSY 328: Psychology of Stigma and Victimization (3 credits)
  • SJS/SOC 323: Social Justice and Change (3 credits)
  • THE 424/524: Practice & Pedagogy in Theatre (3 credits)


The FJC Certificate program helps develop the following competencies actively sought after by employers (statistics are from a survey of employers conducted by Peter D. Hart Associates for the Association of American Colleges and Universities in 2006 and 2011):

(1) Intercultural Skills/Humanitarianism: 71% of employers surveyed want colleges to place more emphasis on intercultural competence (working in diverse groups)

(2) Ethical Reasoning: 75% of employers surveyed want colleges to place more emphasis on ethical decision-making

(3) Civic Engagement: 52% of employers surveyed want colleges to place more emphasis on civic knowledge, participation, and engagement

(4) Problem Solving: 64% of employers surveyed want colleges to place more emphasis on complex problem solving