Sector Connector: Catholic Institutions
Social Justice: Our Mission to Serve the Public Good
Catholic educational institutions are committed to social justice. This commitment shapes the work that we do, but we do not always have a clear or agreed upon definition of the term “social justice.” In this Sector Connector we will discuss the variety of ways we define social justice both between and within our institutions (e.g., in the academic curriculum it may be defined differently than it is in the co-curriculum), how the varied definitions affect our work, and consider how we understand the impact of our commitment to social justice.
Laura Massa has served as the Director of Assessment at Loyola Marymount University since 2008. In this role she has guided the development and implementation of a university assessment plan, which has included efforts to help the LMU community understand and improve achievement of the WSCUC five core competencies. Through consultations and educational resources, Laura also provides support at LMU for core curriculum assessment, program assessment, academic program review, and program-specific accreditation. She regularly conducts workshops on assessment topics at LMU, as well as at other universities and for WSCUC. LMU was a pilot institution for WSCUC’s revised reaffirmation of accreditation process, giving Laura hands-on experience with the meaning, quality and integrity of the degree component for both undergraduate and graduate degrees. Laura holds a doctorate from the University of California, Santa Barbara in Cognitive Psychology with an emphasis in Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences. She has experience as both a researcher and Assistant Professor in Psychology, specializing in assessment and improving student learning outcomes.
Bethami Dobkin, Ph.D., is the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs of Saint Mary's College of California. She oversees the operational management of the College, with specific responsibility for academic affairs, enrollment, and student affairs.
In her academic leadership role, Dr. Dobkin coordinates student learning inside and outside of the classroom. She serves as an advocate for faculty, particularly in their pursuit of high-quality teaching and distinctive scholarship. In collaboration with faculty members, she articulates the College’s academic vision consistent with its strategic plan.
Dr. Dobkin has a distinguished history in higher education as a faculty member and an academic leader. Previously, she served as Associate Provost of the University of San Diego and was a faculty member in the Department of Communication Studies for 17 years. Dr. Dobkin has achieved national recognition for her research and teaching in the area of media and conflict. Her honors have included a fellowship in executive leadership with the American Council on Education.
Dr. Dobkin earned her doctorate in Rhetoric and Social Order and a master’s degree in Rhetoric from the University of Massachusetts, and received a bachelor’s degree in Speech Communication from Humboldt State University.