Advocacy for Social Change


Advocacy for Social Change applies knowledge to the resolution of the most important social ills of our time or those resulting in injustice.  Students will gain an understanding of the historical, political and social underpinnings of contemporary problems of injustice, including those based on race, class, gender and sexual orientation. Via the study of past and contemporary social movements and political accomplishments, students will learn to appreciate the ability of people, individually and collectively, to bring about meaningful change.  The minor will begin to develop the practical skills necessary to become agents of change as students will complete an internship or culminating project that engages in social advocacy.  This minor will appeal to all majors who seek to understand and address injustice, and will cultivate specific skills useful in a diverse array of careers, including but not limited to victim advocacy, health care advocacy, public policy, environmental preservation, and social services.


  • POL1400 Introduction to American Politics
  • SOC1400 Social Problems
  • SOC4899 Internship in Sociology

Choose one from the following courses:

  • COM1281 Introduction to Mass Communication
  • COM2630 Writing for Media
  • ENG2213 Public Speaking
  • MKT1450 Principles of Marketing
  • SWK2401 Introduction to Social Work
  • VDA2614 Graphic Design I

Choose two* from the following courses:

  • CRJ3530 Victims and Witnesses in the Criminal Justice System
  • CRJ3636 Community Relations and the Criminal Justice System
  • CRJ3844 Ethics in Criminal Justice
  • COM3201 Public Relations
  • HST3413 The American Radical Tradition
  • MKT3620 Social Media Marketing
  • POL2500 American National Elections
  • POL2520 Politics, Media and Pressure Groups
  • POL2630 Civil Liberties
  • PCH3031 Public Health Policy
  • PCH3632 Program Planning and Evaluation
  • PSY3609 Social Influence
  • SOC2420 Sociology of American Institutions
  • SOC3825 Special Topics in Sociology: Social Movements
  • SWK3201 Social Case Work

*Courses must be selected from two different departments

Course Descriptions

This course provides an overview of American politics and government, focusing on Constitutional principles, national institutions of governance, and politics actors, such as political parties and the media.

This course examines what makes a social problem and an analysis of present areas of tension and social maladjustment, especially those associated with recent rapid social changes.

This course will examine the nature and significance of the American radical tradition from the American Revolution to the present-day. Among the radical philosophies and movements to be covered will be the American Revolution; abolitism; utopian experiments; womens rights; the labor movement; populism; socialism and communism; civil rights; Black power; feminism; the New Left; environmentalism; the gay and lesbian movement; and the global justice movement. Examination of the American radical tradition suggests that radicalism has been a persistent and significant feature of American history.

The object of the internship program is to give the student practical experience in a social agency, business, organization, or institution. Intern assignments will be made in keeping with the student’s future vocational plans. Course work includes related readings, maintaining a journal, and a final paper summarizing the internship experience. Credits awarded will be determined by instructor and department chair.

Students will explore theories of Public Opinion, Mass Communication and Audience Research and apply that learning toward creating targeted messages in media such as print, direct mail, broadcast and cable television, web and mobile phone applications.

A course designed to explore the interpersonal expectations and relationships between criminal justice practitioners and community members. The content will focus on basic psychological and sociological principles (including attitudes, perception, self-image, stereotypes, subcultures, and rumor), as well as discretion, and their application to the interaction between criminal justice practitioners and community members.

This course introduces students to a conceptual model and the skill techniques that characterize an effective interpersonal interaction. The course provides students with an understanding of the dimensions of individual and interpersonal functioning that contribute to constructive relationships at home, school, and work within the community. It involves brief supervised practice sessions of the research-tested interpersonal skills related to these dimensions. Students will be provided with assistance in understanding the application of the skills to the fulfillment of professional responsibilities in corrections, counseling, nursing, business, and management.

Marketing is a key activity that enables businesses and organizations to achieve their goals by satisfying the needs of others through mutually beneficial relationships. This course will provide students with an understanding of important marketing theory and practices, including: the marketing concept; the marketing environment; market segmentation, product positioning; product and brand strategies; pricing strategies, marketing communication strategies; distribution strategies; consumer and business buying behavior; and electronic marketing.

This course focuses on the plight of victims and witnesses of crime from legal, social, and psychological perspectives. Topics include the history of victimology, victim experiences, victim’s rights, and official criminal justice system responses to victims and witnesses. Restorative justice concepts are explored throughout this study.

The ethics curriculum is designed to further the goals of professionalization of the criminal justice system. The course is designed to lay a foundation for our students to better make moral decisions as they face inevitable ethical dilemmas as practitioners in the field of criminal justice. Students will first be required to analyze various theories of moral decision making, including, but not limited to, the theories of moral imperativism and utilitarianism. Throughout the semester, students will be applying these theories to practical situations. This will be accomplished by presenting hypotheticals to the class, and requiring the class to analyze the hypotheticals individually and in-group discussions.

This course is devoted to the study of the fundamental principles and processes of an economic system, with special emphasis on the coordination and control of the United States economy. Emphasis is on the macroeconomic approach.

This course focuses on the politics, institutions, and policy processes of state and local governments. State and local governments provide essential services, suchas education and policing, and are considered the building blocks of democracy. In this course, comparisons will be made among states but much attention will be paid to the state of Massachusetts and city of Springfield.

This course will introduce students to social influence – from the theoretical origins in psychology to its applications in psychology, sociology, political science, and business. The main goal of the course is to illuminate the social forces that impact people’s daily lives – from choosing a brand of toothpaste to implementing organizational changes. By seeing how social influences operate in everyday situations, student can better understand why they feel and act as they do. Additionally, students will become more aware of attempts to influence them, and will be more adept at influencing others.

This course explores the operation and structure of complex organizations and bureaucracies. Particular emphasis is placed on corporations, government agencies, and educational institutions.

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