The Center for Responsibility and Justice (CRJ) plans to keep moving forward with the educationally-focused programs it started last year.
Under the direction of Professor Laurie Giles, the CRJ will mainly focus on two projects: Keys to Success and the production of a literary magazine.
The Keys to Success initiative helps under-prepared students make the transition from high school to college and gives them a support network throughout their college career.
The literary magazine is made up of short stories, poetry, photography, and other media contributions from ENC students and faculty, all based on the issue of social justice in education
The focus of both of these programs is social justice in education.
“All of our projects kind of surround that issue of ‘how do we close the achievement gap’,” Giles said, “How do we make it so that regardless of gender, ethnicity, whether or not someone is a first generation college student, they are getting an equal education? That’s what we’re trying to promote, equal education for everyone.”
Professor Giles is beginning her second year as head of the CRJ.
Initially, Giles planned on shifting the focus of the CRJ’s projects every semester. She has decided, however, to stick with the issue of the achievement gap, due to the success they had last year.
“Our focus has narrowed as opposed to expanded, as was our original plan.” Giles said, “We’ve had several programs that we’ve been really happy with. When something is really working, the theory is that we make it work even better.”
The CRJ’s most successful program has been its Keys to Success initiative, which is in its third year. The Keys for Success initiative has improved academic performance as well as retention among its members.
Giles stated that, of the Keys to Success target population, the traditional retention rate is 20% for those who do not participate in summer CAP and 40% for those who do participate. ENC’s Keys to Success program has seen much different percentages.
“We’ve had a huge percentage of those students be on the honor role and Dean’s List. From last year’s freshman, we have 100% retention, which is completely unheard of,” Giles remarked.
The CRJ’s other main project is the literary magazine, the previous issue being released last April. Giles plans to put out at least one issue in the upcoming year. With that in mind, she desires to see more publicity for the magazine, as well as more involvement from students and faculty.
“If someone has something that’s interesting to them that has to do with social justice, we would love to hear about it,” Giles said, “Our door is always open.”