Lectures and workshops: Attend online classes and conversations led by Penn faculty and Teaching Fellows as well as community leaders, political representatives and experts from a range of subjects. Ask questions, debate issues, and participate in lively class discussions as you develop specialized knowledge and leadership skills. Students will have online access to Penn’s Van Pelt Library and other University resources, including the program’s Canvas course website for additional content and homework assignments, and daily Zoom class meetings with teaching staff and guest speakers.
As a result of the transition to an online program this summer, we will have a Monday - Friday schedule geared primarily for different US time zones: 11-5 p.m. EST with a break for lunch. All Zoom class sessions (including large and small group discussion meetings) will be synchronous to help foster a sense of community and engagement, and every session will be recorded. We will strive to make arrangements for international students.
Virtual site visits: Tour historical and cultural landmarks in Philadelphia such as the National Constitution Center and Independence Hall, Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church, Chinatown, and visit nonprofit organizations for service-learning activities such as the Mural Arts Program and Philabundance.
Capstone project: Drawing from coursework and your own interests, develop a research question around program themes. Explore the answer to your research question using the University’s world-class resources and guidance from Teaching Fellows. Capstone projects can take the form of a traditional academic paper or a creative project in the medium of your choosing and could include a project in your own community. Previous capstone projects have included: a paper on Hollywood’s portrayal of Asians in film and subsequent stereotypes, a spoken word performance surrounding gun deaths among Black men in Philadelphia, a video on redlining, a slide show about the reception of American Muslim women who wear a hijab or not, a statistical comparison of international human rights laws and violations, a graphic novel comparing sex education in China to that in the US, an immersive art installation depicting sweatshop conditions, and a restaurant business plan offering job training for the homeless.
Download the 2020 Social Justice Research Academy syllabus (PDF).
Read an article from Penn News Today about the 2017 Social Justice Academy class experience.
Penn Summer online system requirements
We recommend that all operating systems, browsers, Flash, and other software be up to date before the start of each online class. Most courses use Canvas for assignments, discussion, and watching video, and synchronous sessions can happen in a variety of platforms. Students will receive all important information before the beginning of class.
See more system requirements >
Program Director: R. Scott Hanson
R. Scott Hanson is a lecturer in the Department of History at the University of Pennsylvania, where he teaches courses in American history on a range of topics. He earned his PhD from the University of Chicago in 2002 and has been at Penn since 2012. Dr. Hanson is also an affiliate of the Pluralism Project at Harvard University and the author of City of Gods: Religious Freedom, Immigration, and Pluralism in Flushing, Queens (New York: Fordham University Press, 2016).