Why I Chose Loyola's Curriculum and Instruction for Social Justice Program
I chose Loyola University Maryland’s Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction for Social Justice (CISJ)
program because I am the president and co-founder of Williams & Wynder’s Institute of Fine Arts, a non-profit organization that will be a comprehensive fine arts high school serving a 60% population of disadvantaged and marginalized students. My greatest fear when starting the program at Loyola was to be surrounded by educational practitioners who had years of experience and education in the field and be lost in the conversation due to my lack of teaching experience. However, the fear went away when I entered Loyola’s CISJ program. Before discovering the program, I thought I had to create the equitable practices needed to ensure the best education for all of my students from scratch. Not only did this program give me the education I needed to be a strategic leader and a change agent, but it helped build a level of confidence in my abilities to be an educational practitioner. There is a unique balance of social justice and curriculum and instruction courses which allowed me to connect the two subjects, to develop a deeper understanding of how I can make a difference and provide students with a more equitable schooling experience.
My experience in Loyola’s Curriculum and Instruction for Social Justice program
Class discussion was a particularly important component of each course. The professors incorporated both past and present moments in our personal classrooms. Having this hands-on experience at Loyola made the theory and history concrete. As a non-educational practitioner at the beginning of the program, I was given the opportunity to learn so much from the stories of my classmates and professors regarding experiences at their schools. During class discussions, I was able to discuss my goals and ideas for Williams & Wynder’s Institute of Fine Arts, and my colleagues and professors provided feedback and insight from a teacher’s perspective, which I ultimately incorporated into the structuring of the institution.
This program allowed me to practice social justice. The goal of Jesuit educational teaching is to take what you learn and positively impact the world. I am so glad that I chose an educational institution with this ideology because the Curriculum and Instruction for Social Justice Master of Arts degree program aligned with my educational goals. I basically built the structural foundation of Williams & Wynder’s Institute of Fine Arts in each course because the program allowed me to focus on different aspects of the institution. My final Capstone project in fact, was creating a business plan for Williams & Wynder’s Institute of Fine Arts. The idea was to create something my institution would use to guide and help us grow after I completed my degree. My business plan was composed of selections from every paper I wrote for the various courses in the program. This allowed me to incorporate the teachings and theories of social justice scholars, as well as the innovative methods of curriculum and instruction into the structure of Williams & Wynder’s Institute of Fine Arts.
I have learned so much from Loyola’s Curriculum and Instruction for Social Justice program. I feel more empowered as a person who can now assertively be an educational practitioner. This program has changed my way of thinking. Now I view life through a critical perspective, always thinking of how I can possibly make things better for the next generation. It was an amazing experience, and I am so blessed and grateful that I had the opportunity to interact and learn from such amazing professors and colleagues. If you are in the field of education and are looking to ensure you are providing students with an equitable experience, then this is the program and school for you. I promise you will receive more than a great education, but a life changing experience.
-Brian Wynder, Jr., ’20, M.A. Curriculum & Instruction for Social Justice.
Wynder is the first graduate of the Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction for Social Justice
Excerpts from my Curriculum and Instruction for Social Justice program Senior Capstone
Williams & Wynder’s Institute of Fine Arts’ mission and purpose is to produce the next generation of creatives, leaders, and socially aware and active citizens by providing an experiential fine arts education and a rigorous academic curriculum.
Williams & Wynder’s Institute of Fine Arts is devoted to the betterment of students’ lives and futures through providing ethical education and experience in their chosen fine arts field. Williams & Wynder’s Institute of Fine Arts values excellence, specifically guiding students to be the best version of themselves. We pride ourselves on encouraging students to be their unique selves, live in their truth, and to own their many identities. Our goal is to teach our students to respect and honor both their identities and others. As a socializing agent, we seek to teach moral and ethical knowledge that the concept of “normal” is a social construction. Our goal is to teach students to use society’s constructions and illusions to create a better reality for themselves and others. As we are producing the future leaders, we will students teach ethical business etiquette and social responsibility.
After conducting research about what our curriculum should encompass for students to lead successful post-secondary lives, we found three common themes: education and experience, social capital, and preparedness for life after school. Our solution is to assist high school students’ gain a competitive advantage by starting their professional careers the moment they enter through the doors of Williams & Wynder’s Institute of Fine Arts. Our mission is to provide a free education for students especially marginalized students, who experience systemic obstacles. Our job is to help students level the playing field.