Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Spring 3-31-2023

Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education


Steven Hecht

Committee Member

David Weintraub


honors, social justice, 2-year college, intersectionality


An Exploratory Study of Honors College Students’ Conceptualizations About Social Justice on and Off Campus. Quakish Beatrice Williams Liner, 2023. Applied Dissertation, Nova Southeastern University, Abraham S. Fischler College of Education and School of Criminal Justice. Keywords: honors, social justice, 2-year college, intersectionality

This applied dissertation explored how honor students perceived social justice and how those perceptions shaped actions on-or off-campus to show what experiences influenced how social justice perceptions develop. This study was a basic qualitative research design generic study because the inquiry centered on students’ perceptions of social justice.

Twenty college honors students discussed accounts of their subjective beliefs related to their experiences to describe an external social phenomenon: social justice conceptualizations. Participants participated in semistructured interviews. The results of the qualitative data analysis revealed seven themes used to answer the research questions. College honors students believed that social justice entailed equality, manifesting in equal rights, opportunities, and treatments regardless of sex, gender identity, race, citizenship, and other social statuses. Participants developed social justice from their college experiences, privileges, and personal attributes and experiences. Some perceived social justice differently after experiences with peers and mentors in college, resulting in actively joining organizations in and out of school to advocate for people with less privileges and more struggles than them. Participants emphasized respecting the rights of others as central in social justice. The participants believed that their South Florida college could improve student awareness and engagement in activities to help them better understand social justice.

Despite the findings, the literature gap behind the research remains: It is unknown how college honors students perceive social justice. One reason is that participants varied significantly in their views of social justice. Due to the remaining gap and limitations, several recommendations for future research were provided. The information from this study was used to develop several policy and practice recommendations.

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