Social Justice Leadership Program

Social Justice Leadership Program

Listen. Learn. Lead.

You want to help create a more just world. But how do you move beyond a good heart and good intentions to create lasting change? What does “change” really mean when there are so many complex and interdependent challenges? And what happens when stakeholders disagree on what change should look like?

The Social Justice Leadership Program creates the opportunity for you to explore these urgent questions of social, economic, and environmental equity, while gaining the practical skills necessary to be an effective leader for change in any community or profession.

One of only a handful of such programs in the nation and offering a unique combination of experiences, the Social Justice Leadership Program is a cohesive, intensely experiential four-year journey, combining rigorous academic studies, co-curricular activities, ongoing mentoring, and a paid internship–all focused on social justice.

It’s a program that builds on much of what’s best about Hanover College: individualized attention, a strong sense of community, close connections to socially conscious faculty and staff, and a location at the crossroads of America.

Make a donation to the Social Justice Leadership Program.

Whether you’re an experienced activist or someone who’s just beginning to explore your role as a changemaker, we welcome your application.

As a Social Justice Leader, you can:

Choose any major. All fields and professions are confronting issues of equity and justice. Social Justice Leaders have majored in areas ranging from psychology to economics to biochemistry—and they’ve found that their experience helps them stand out with graduate schools and employers.

Discover new ways of thinking about change. In a program of study designed especially for Social Justice Leaders, you’ll examine the roots of inequality and injustice, discover how social movements are born and mobilized, and learn what kinds of actions lead to lasting social transformation.

Leave Hanover ready to make an impact. With four years of hands-on learning and experience under your belt and a Social Justice Leadership Program certificate, you’ll be ready to take on the challenges facing our world and make your mark for social justice.

Express any passion. There isn’t one definition of social justice or effective activism. As a Social Justice Leader, you’ll get the support and structure to help define your personal goals, enhance your capacity to listen deeply, and develop a leadership style that’s tailored to your strengths.

Turn your ideals into on-the-ground organizing skills. You’ll learn how to build consensus, frame a persuasive argument for different audiences, write grant proposals, navigate systems of power, and develop action plans. The skills you will build will equip you to lead change.

Join a living-learning community. You’ll arrive at Hanover with a peer group already in place: All first-year Social Justice Leaders share a suite-style residential community. You’ll also meet monthly with Social Justice Leaders across other class years and collaborate on projects to improve campus life.

Learn from social justice innovators. We’ll connect you to advocates and activists working in rural, urban, and online settings. And through your paid internship–thanks to Hanover’s strong connections throughout the Cincinnati-Louisville-Indianapolis region – you’ll gain firsthand experience in becoming a catalyst for change.

Apply now!

Deadline: December 15

Hanover created the Social Justice Leadership Program in memory of Benjamin Templeton, the first African-American student to attend Hanover in 1832.

Participating students receive a $2,500 renewable scholarship as part of the program. To qualify for consideration, you must have been admitted or submitted your completed application for admission to Hanover College, filed your FAFSA and completed the scholarship application by Dec. 15.

Program Requirements

In order to maintain good standing with the Social Justice Scholarship Program, scholars must fulfill all requirements of the program:

Co-Curricular Requirements

  • Scholars will live in the SJLP Living-Learning Community during their first year in the program.
  • Attend regularly scheduled individual meetings with an assigned mentor (first and second year scholars). 
  • Attend the annual SJLP retreat.
  • Attend monthly All-Scholar meetings with all SJLP cohorts. 
  • Participate as an active member of at least one student organization during all terms while at Hanover College.
  • Hold a leadership position in a student organization, team, or employment in one of the campus’s paid student leader roles. 
  • Scholars are required to participate in a reflective conversation with the SJLP intern once per term.
  • Actively participate in the delivery and implementation of programs organized by scholars.

Academic Requirements

  • SJ 161. Introduction to Social Justice. An interdisciplinary introduction to diverse philosophies of social justice and strategies for change. Prerequisite: permission of instructor. Satisfies the S ACE.
  • SJ 257. Social Justice Internship. This course will provide students with practical, hands-on training in social justice work. In addition to working with a non-profit and/or political campaign, students will reflect on their daily internship work in conversation with various theories of social justice in order to participate in the praxis of justice work: reflection-action-reflection-revised action. Prerequisite: permission of instructor.
  • SJ 412. Project Implementation. In this course students will learn the skills of implementing a social justice project from vision to completion. Each year’s cohort will focus on two to three campus projects. Over the course of project implementation, students will work on the skills of writing grant proposals, preparing and monitoring budgets, competing for funding, creating project plans, implementing those plans, reflecting on project successes and failures, and assessing the achievements of their plans. Prerequisite: permission of instructor.
  • 2 courses across the curriculum that are “Defining Social Problems”
    • Students select two courses from two different departments which define social problems. Courses in the defining social problems category explore how social problems are defined, who gets to participate in the definitions, how those definitions impact communities, and how they shape the formulation of solutions.
  • 2 courses across the curriculum that are “Addressing Social Problems”
    • Students select two elective courses from two different departments which address social problems. Courses in the addressing social problems category examine how various communities understand justice and how they attempt to use theories of social justice to address social problems. These courses place greater emphasis on how communities attempt to address social problems.


As a part of the Social Justice Leadership Program, each scholar receives a mentor from the Hanover College administrative staff. Mentors volunteer their time and higher education experience to serve as both an academic and personal support system. Scholars meet with their mentor weekly to stay abreast of all upcoming academic responsibilities and campus involvement and leadership opportunities.

Scholarship Application

To be considered, students must apply for admission to Hanover College and complete the Social Justice Leadership Program application by December 15.

A scholarship application will be complete and ready for review when the following items have been received:

  • Completed Hanover College Admission Application
  • Completed Social Justice Application
  • One Letter of Recommendation (Optional)
    • Letters of recommendation may be sent to Chris Hitchcock, Executive Director of Admission at
  • The “Un-Essay”
  • Completed FAFSA indicating Hanover College as a recipient (code: 001801)