Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the Social Justice Colloquium?
    The Social Justice Colloquium (SJC) is an option for first-year Bachelor of Arts students that integrates three first-year subjects with a service learning experience focused on the theme of social justice. The SJC is taught in special sections of History, Anthropology and Women’s and Gender Studies. If you want to understand why inequality exists and explore what we can do to change it, this path is for you.
  2. What does social justice mean?
    In the SJC you and your classmates will ask what an equitable society might look like. Then you will decide how to work at the grassroots level to create a society in which everyone can participate fully. Your professors will encourage you to consider concepts of privilege and oppression as they apply to your own life and to the lives of others. In the classroom, you will engage with concepts, and when doing service learning you will put these ideas into practice. That's what social justice means.
  3. What is service learning?
    Service learning is an innovative way to integrate experiential learning, academic study and community service. StFX has been offering service learning experiences since 1996 and is recognized as the pioneer of service learning in Canada. Service learning draws on the University's tradition of social responsibility and brings a philosophy of outreach to the undergraduate academic experience.

    All students in the SJC will complete a service learning experience to learn how community work relates to social justice. Your community service will be with a non-profit organization in Antigonish and will teach you about community building from experts who work in the field. Your service learning experience may be with seniors, children, adults with intellectual disabilities, or people who are economically vulnerable. The experience will challenge you to question your assumptions about yourself and other people. This community learning will be integrated into your classroom learning in all three SJC subjects. Furthermore, by doing service learning in your first year, you will prepare yourself to participate in other course-based or immersion service learning experiences later in your academic career.
  4. How are courses organized in the Social Justice Colloquium?
    When you select the SJC, a space will be reserved for you in special sections of Anthropology 111 and 112, History 141 and 142 and Women’s Gender Studies 100. These sections will be restricted to the students in the SJC. The three professors teaching the SJC will coordinate their lectures and discussions so that the material discussed in one course will be reinforced in the other two. They will also share the teaching of key concepts related to service learning and community engagement and will jointly supervise your service learning experience. Because these courses have integrated assignments, especially those related to service learning, they will be jointly designed by your professors to enhance your learning.
  5. Why should I enroll in the Social Justice Colloquium?
    First: check out the student testimonials section of the website to hear why you should enrol from former SJC students!

    The Social Justice Colloquium is designed to encourage you to ask difficult questions about the balance of power in our world, as well as provide you with some, although not all, of the answers. Perhaps you are confused and saddened by the inequities you see around you and want to learn more about why some people have so much and others so little. You might have travelled to other parts of the world where people live quite differently from you and now you want to understand the cultural, political and economic variations you observed. Maybe you were involved in projects aimed at social change in your high school or community and want to do more of this kind of work. For whatever reason, you want to learn how to make a difference in the world.

    One of the advantages of the SJC is that three of your first-year subjects will complement each other thematically. In addition, you will be able to put your academic learning into practice through your service learning experience. Unlike the community service you may have done in high school, the goal of service learning is to integrate your experiential learning with academic learning. The SJC provides an ideal setting to practice being an experiential learner, a skill you will use throughout your years at StFX and after graduation.

    Finally, the SJC is exciting. You will work closely with a small group of like-minded students, you will get to know your professors and you will be involved in the Antigonish community.
  6. What other courses should I take to complement my Social Justice Colloquium courses?
    The courses in the SJC make up 18 credits of the 30 credits students normally take in their first year. You need to choose 12 more credits, that is, the equivalent of two other full courses, to fill out your first year of study. Depending on your interests you may decide to take Faculty of Arts courses in sociology, religious studies, political science, economics, English, modern languages, art, music, Catholic Studies or philosophy. For instance, students who want to pursue a major in Development Studies should take Psci 100 and Econ 101/102. Those with a more humanist bend may prefer to enroll in English, religious studies or philosophy. Students who meet eligibility requirements may select courses from the Faculty of Science. The choice is yours.
  7. Will enrolling in the Social Justice Colloquium limit my choice of major?
    Taking the SJC does not limit your opportunity to complete a major in any Faculty of Arts subject. If you are thinking of majoring in a subject not presently part of the SJC, make sure you enrol in a 100 level course in that subject as one of your other options.
  8. Will my workload be heavier than that of other first-year students?
    No. The content of your courses is similar to that of other sections of the same courses. Service learning assignments are designed to fit into your schedule and the time you spend doing your service work is spread between 18 credits of course time. Being in a class of like-minded students will help you organize your work, making your study time more efficient. In short, the SJC is not more work; rather, it is a different way of working.
  9. How do I enroll?
    Any student admitted to the Bachelor of Arts program is welcome to enroll in the SJC, though the program size is limited to 40 students. If you are interested in the SJC, when you apply to StFX indicate that you would like to join the SJC on your application form. If you have already applied to StFX, send an email to the Admissions Office at @email (902) 867-2219 indicating your interest.
  10. I have more questions.
    Please send an email message to the interim coordinator of the Social Justice Colloquium, Dr. Nancy Forestell,


Social Justice Colloquium

2333 Notre Dame Avenue
Antigonish NS B2G 2W5