Massachusetts Board of Higher Education granted the university and its partners Massasoit Community College and UMass Law $150,000 to start the Transformative Justice Program and Center.

UMass Dartmouth was recently awarded a grant of $150,000 by the Massachusetts Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) to develop a Transformative Justice Practitioner’s Certificate Program that will serve pupils from UMass Dartmouth, Massasoit Community College as well as UMass Law. The grant also supports the process of establishing a Transformative Justice Center at UMass Dartmouth. This grant follows an earlier $150,000 grant awarded in the spring of 2021 to fund the research process and collection of data for developing an inter-campus Transformative Justice Practitioner’s course.

The Principal Investigators, Dr. Viviane Salesh-Hanna, Dr. Tammi Arford, and Dr. Erin K. Krafft, all Crime and Justice Studies faculty members, have been in charge of a multi-campus group to create the infrastructure to establish the new Certificate Program while setting the stage for the construction of a Transformative Justice Center on the UMass Dartmouth Main Campus.

“The information we collected last year via Campus Justice Climate surveys and intensive focus groups held at three campuses, which included faculty, students, and administrators, revealed an overwhelming demand and desire to implement Transformative Justice Programming and Services,” said Drs. Saleh-Hanna Arford and Krafft.

Its Transformative Justice Practitioner Certificate Program, which is offered through the UMass Dartmouth’s Crime and Justice Studies Department, is essential to the health of the region as well as its development by providing students with an understanding of the historical contexts and concepts of Transformative Justice and instruction in the practical practices of Transformative Justice, including conflict mediation, trauma-informed facilitation and the creation and development of Transformative Justice responses to both structural and individual harms as well as violence.

“Massasoit always seeks opportunities for students to use what they’ve learned. In a context of transformative justice is not just a unique and meaningful learning opportunity, but could also mean much for our students and the community,” said Pamela Witcher, Vice Provost of academic affairs at Massasoit.

The Center will function as a research and development hub that will serve as a research hub for Transformative Justice scholars and practitioners and will collaborate in conjunction with students in the Certificate Program, and be an important resource for the implementation of Transformative Justice practices through collaborative methods of addressing the effects of harm and creating a community. Creating a replicable model for this Center and its program will allow students who have completed the Certificate program to establish Transformative Justice Centers and services on their institutions and in their communities.

“The Transformative Justice Practitioner program offers a great opportunity for law students at UMass Law to have a significant impact on the social well-being in their community,” said Eric Mitnick, Dean of UMass Law. “UMass Law is delighted to be a part of this important initiative.”

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