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Engaging University Administration in Bringing Human Rights to Campus


Author: Keri Iyall Smith


  1. Jeff Toney, Senior Vice President for Research, Kean University, Visiting Scholar, Department of the History of Science, Harvard University, Visiting Scholar, Department of Linguistics and Philosophy, MIT
  2. Jonathan Drake, Senior Program Associate, American Association for the Advancement of Science Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program


Session Summary

After introducing himself and his experience, Dr. Jeff Toney discussed strategies that engage students in the study of human rights at the course level. These approaches can involve utilizing a case study or thematic/topical model. Barriers may include political bias and knowledge or trust of the practice of science.  Without strong support from leadership, initiatives for human rights may stall or struggle to get off the ground.



  1. Many disciplinary and experiential backgrounds can inspire work in human rights.
  2. Human rights are relevant across myriad disciplines, and also offer opportunities to bridge disciplines.
  3. Student engagement with human rights can drive the success of bringing human rights to our campuses.



  1. Leadership support is essential to the success of growing the role of human rights on our campuses.
  2. Human rights offer many opportunities to build connections and synergies—for students, researchers, artists, performers, community members, k-12 education, incarcerated students, grassroots groups, and more.


Key Words

  1. Human Rights
  2. Interdisciplinary
  3. Curriculum
  4. Case study
  5. Student engagement


Other Resources:

  1. AAAS Syllabi on Science and Human Rights
  2. Dialogue on Science, Ethics and Religion
  3. Kean University Human Rights Institute