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Social Theory and Practice (Major)

The Social Theory and Practice (STP) Major is open to ALL LSA Students 


RCSTP 290 students learn with three STP graduating seniors

What is Social Theory and Practice (STP)?

STP is a justice-focused major

  • Students critically, collaboratively, and creatively integrate theory and practice to explore, analyze, and meaningfully effect social justice change across contexts. 

STP is interdisciplinary

  • Students take classes in and draw inspiration from Sociology, Psychology, Women’s and Gender Studies, American Culture, Environment, Education, Political Science, and many other disciplines. 

STP is personalized and individualized

  • In collaboration with peers, instructors, and advisors, students develop their own path through the major, identifying the social justice topics, questions, classes, mentors, and community-based learning experiences that comprise their STP journey.  

STP is a tight-knit, collaborative, cohort-based community

  • Faculty and students learn and work closely together across many semesters. STP students take 3 “cohort classes” together. 

Every student works closely with a faculty advisor on their Senior Project (or Honors Thesis). It’s common for STP students to take multiple classes with the same STP instructor and to form long-standing mentorships with STP faculty. It is also very common to double-major with STP and/or to add one or more minors.


Courses and Requirements

Minimum Credits: 30

Note: Because the STP Major is individualized, it’s recommended to schedule an advising appointment with the STP Program Head & Advisor, Becca Pickus, to discuss your unique social justice interests and passions!

F23 Senior Project Presentations Event

Common STP Focus Areas

STP students, classes, and focus areas are linked by a common commitment to social justice theory and practice. However, there is a wide range of topics, questions, and contexts in which STP students and faculty pursue this work. 

Social Theory & Practice Faculty and their Research Interests

David Burkam schooling; gender, race & social inequities in educational access; research methods; statistics

Theresa Braunschneider critical pedagogies; gender, race, class, & higher education; feminist theory; history of sexuality

Sueann Caulfield Latin American & Brazilian history; gender, sexuality & human rights

Angela Dillard American & African-American intellectual & political history; critical race theory; religious studies; social movement history & theory; conservative thought

Jeff Evans creative process; clinical psychology; neuropsychology; arts in healthcare; narrative methods

Leila Kawar legal theory & culture; migration & citizenship; comparative social policy

Nora Krinitsky: United States and African American history, urban studies, crime and justice, policing, prison and incarceration, law and society

Ashley Lucas arts practice & incarceration; theatre for social change; impact of incarceration on families; Latina/o Studies; comparative ethnic studies

Virginia Murphy environmental activism; American environmental literature & travel narratives; food justice, sustainable agriculture & agricultural labor issues; climate & environmental justice

Becca Pickus critical pedagogies; racial justice; restorative justice & incarceration; grief, loss & trauma; trauma-responsive practices

Ian Robinson comparative & international political economy; unions & labor movements; organizing for social justice; trade policy & alternative models of North American integration; Mexican labor migration; experiential & community service learning

Mabel Rodriguez linguistics (second language acquisition, bilingualism, translation); migrant outreach & education; experiential & community service learning

Teresa Sanchez-Snell Spanish language-based Internships; service learning within the Latinx community; study of Latinx experiences in the United States

Heather Thompson American history; crime & justice; policing; prisons; labor; Detroit

Stephen Ward African-American history; Black Power Movement; community-based political activism; urban studies; Detroit

Additional faculty members regularly offer courses within STP, enriching our curriculum with their unique expertise. Additionally, faculty members from other programs and departments often serve as advisors for STP students pursuing their Senior Project or Honors Thesis.  

Revised 02.14.24