SMC One: Cornerstone

This program has been retired and replaced with the Gilson Seminar in Faith and Ideas as of Fall 2017.

Offered by St Michael’s College & University of Toronto

SMC One: Cornerstone

The justice, culture and community course is an interdisciplinary exploration of the theory, development and practice of social justice in local, Canadian and North American contexts.

SMC One: Cornerstone is a full year experiential and service-learning course designed for students with an interest in the theory and practice of social justice. Through involvement with Toronto community, students become active participants in change by helping to return a voice to the silenced and re-imagining the theory behind our social power structures.

Through lectures, small seminar discussions, community and academic guest speakers and service-learning placements you and your classmates will reflect on questions about equity and justice as we encounter them in our everyday lives.

Every student in Cornerstone receives a community placement in which you’ll experience connection and gain hands on experience that will stay with you beyond your academic career. Whether you are serving in a homeless shelter or long-term care facility, doing advocacy work for a local NGO or helping in a community food bank, SMC One will allow you to reflect on major questions of meaning as they manifest themselves in lived experiences of power and privilege in the intersecting contexts of race, class, gender, religion and ethnicity.

The Cornerstone program is sponsored by St Michael’s College. The program and its courses are open to all students in the Faculty of Arts and Science.

2016-17 online application is no longer available. For information, please contact the Program Coodinator, Jenna Brooke

Program Overview

Number of Credits: One

Breadth Requirement: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2) + Society and its Institutions (3)

Program Structure:

  • 25 students in each theme-based seminar group
  • 1 hour lecture + 1 hour seminar per week
  • A community service-learning placement

Eligibility Requirements: 
Must be a full-time, first year student.
Must have applied to a Faculty of Arts and Science program at the St George campus.

Application: Online application

Seminar Stream Descriptions

Mediums of Justice and Culture

Lecture: R12-1
Tutorial: T1-2
Students in this stream explore social justice issues relating to media and its impact on cultural consciousness and the formation of social identity. Topics discussed include censorship, cyber bullying, journalistic integrity, media conglomeration, celebrity culture, freedom of accessibility to information, social networks, and “the right to know.”

Constructing the Self and Community

Lecture: R12-1
Tutorial: T2-3

Students in this stream explore the relationship between selfhood and community with particular attention given to the conflicting and interconnecting political and religious ideas of peace, justice and equity. Social justice issues to be explored include the historical, philosophical, literary and religious frameworks of societal thought in premodern and contemporary cultures.

Poverty and Politics

Lecture: R12-1
Tutorial: W11-12
Students in this stream reflect on diverse conceptions of poverty, identity and community in Christian and non-Christian traditions, past and present. They will also explore questions of political engagement in relation to efforts by religious persons and institutions to confront or transform social structures for a common good.

Resistance and Rebellion

Lecture: R12-1
Tutorial: W12-1
This stream discusses topics such as minority language rights, colonialism and resistance, expressions of cultural identity and media coverage as they surface in struggles of resistance and rebellion. Celtic experiences serve as examples to examine and compare contemporary relationships between identity and society in the context of ethno-religious conflicts.

Contact Us

Program Coordinator

J. Brooke
Odette Hall Room 016
416-926-1300 ext: 3212

Office Location

Odette Hall (OH)
50 St Joseph Street
Toronto, ON

Mailing Address

SMC One: Cornerstone
St Michael’s College
University of Toronto
81 St. Mary Street
Toronto, ON M5S 1J4


SMC Social Justice Student Society Facebook Group