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Most classes on North Campus will be held remotely through the end of the semester on December 12.

Center for Human Rights and Human Rights Education



What Will The Center Do?

The Center for Human Rights and Human Rights Education will focus on training and workshops, curriculum development, and conducting research about human rights by scholars and to provide human rights education and understanding to the general public. Service to better the world in the form of civic engagement and service learning will advance, along with the creation of a human service seal that students can earn to put on their graduation transcript to prove that they understand the importance of human rights. Through this center, opportunities for international collaborations and partnerships will advance, as well as funding, development, and grant opportunities. Students will benefit from increased awareness of global opportunities and study abroad programs as they become aware of their role as global citizens. Examples of these components include the following:

  • General campus training series
  • General campus workshops
  • Trainings for departments
  • Individual faculty consultations
  • DGCE HRE training opportunities
  • Work with the state to provide HRE trainings for the Commonwealth
  • Work with local school districts to provide HRE training
  • Offer HRE trainings through Enterprise Center for businesses
  • Work with local or regional organizations to provide training (DA, hospital, shelters, clinics, social services, etc.)
  • Online regular HRE training opportunities through HREUSA, WERA, AAAS, etc.
  • Human rights training programs that are specifically designed to address the needs of targeted professional groups, such as government leaders, police officers, daycare providers, nurses, social workers, business leaders, teachers, recreation workers, shelter providers, to name a few.
  • Core Fundamentals of Human Rights course, BHS cross-listed with other departments or renumbered as a new independent core course with DPDS (diversity, power dynamics, and social justice designation)
  • Define specific courses that address DEIJ and rights-based issues
  • Rights focused certification programs, including those from the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Center for Childhood & Youth Studies, and others.
  • Work with individual departments to explore how to integrate HRE:
    • As new courses
    • As modules within existing courses
    • In syllabus
    • In assignments
    • In readings, films, links, speakers, etc.
    • In research
    • In practical formats (service learning, volunteerism, field work, etc.)
    • In how classes are structured
    • In interpersonal communication (in-person, online, phone, written forms, etc.)
  • Work with public K-12 schools to develop human rights components for their classrooms
  • Create learning opportunities for teachers around the state
  • Build upon support from NCSS, the National Council for Social Studies, which is interested in enhancing the human rights components for social studies classrooms across the USA
  • Mentoring and consulting with faculty, departments, and community organizations
  • The Salem State Institutional Review Board will ensure that human subjects rights are protected in all research projects. The use of ERIC (Ethical Research Involving Children - )protections will also guide project approvals.
  • Methodology that projects use must be rights protecting
  • Project design must be appropriate for the topic
  • Samples must have their rights protected
  • Survey instruments must be worded in unbiased, rights respecting ways
  • Data collection must follow ethical guidelines
  • Data analysis from multidisciplinary approaches to ensure fair representation of findings
  • Reporting – white pages, publications, reports, tool kits, etc. will help others to know what was learned and how the credible information was obtained
  • Creation of best practices for teaching, curriculum, service, etc. will be a deliverable of research projects
  • Evaluation of impact (formative and summative) of programs and projects will occur so that clients, subjects, recipients, organizations, and funders share transparent information and make changes where needed to routinely move towards the creation of best practices.


  • The center will provide instruction to faculty to impart to students on knowledge and fundamentals of human rights. Students will also be provided opportunities to use their knowledge in practice settings. This can be accomplished through a variety of different course assignments, either as individuals or groups.
  • Students will also be provided opportunities to become volunteers in the community.
  • Students will be provided with service learning opportunities.
  • Students will be provided with opportunities through the Center for Civic Engagement to be involved in community events and activities. 
  • Their involvement will help support Salem State's Carnegie Foundation Civic Engagement authorization and standing.
  • Students will be provided the opportunity to earn a Human Rights Seal that can go on their graduation transcript. 

Many departments on campus such as healthcare studies, nursing, occupational therapy, psychology, School of Social Work, and sport and movement science promote the health and wellbeing of the community, on campus and at large.

The sciences at Salem State are doing fabulous work in protecting the environment and addressing climate change. Access to good public health is central in all of the human rights treaties, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Convention of the Protection of Rights of Migrant Workers and their Families, Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. 

Healthcare studies seeks to protect the health, to prevent illnesses, and provide human care through the instruction of their students about human rights policies and practices.

The Center for Human Rights and Human Rights Education will be situated to significantly increase the amount of grant funding and philanthropic donations specifically due to:

  •    Increase of interdisciplinary and cross-cultural projects
  •    More human rights focused SSU grant applications among faculty
  •    Increase of local partners and joint projects
  •    Increase of state partners and joint projects
  •    Increase of national and international partners and collaboration projects
  •    Practical implementation of DEI and HRE research & demonstration
  •    Increased student enrollment due to HR focus & certification

Increased study abroad and international scholar exchanges, MOUs, etc. Current and pending MOUs exist with: Hope for Children Convention on the Rights of the Child Policy Center in Cyprus, Human Rights Educators USA, Universities Network for Children in Armed Conflict in Italy, Nottingham University in England, Costa Rica Healthcare program, and others.

Salem State faculty have already made a significant contribution to the field of human rights. We have dozens of authors already at the university who we can showcase for their human rights work. Together we can share information about publications and presentation possibilities.

We will hold a series of workshops and a major annual conference on human rights themes. Please contact Dr. Vissing with ideas for presentations.

Many of us on campus have extensive networks with human rights, DEIJ, and peace and justice communities and organizations. It is important that we share our ideas here at SSU that we are also sharing with the larger local, national, and international communities. MOUs, such as with HRE USA (Human Rights Educators USA) that position us to become the major leader in this area.

For instance, I have published with UNICEF and have the opportunity to do more publications and civic engagement surrounding the Child Friendly Cities Initiative (CFCI). In October I am presenting on how to protect children in armed conflict situations at conferences in both Kenya and Italy. I have been invited to present at the United Nations in Geneva regarding the role of human rights in sport.  The international human rights and sports organizations are meeting in early December to launch their new initiatives.  The World Cup is coming to the US in 2026 and Boston is one of the sites for games.  If we want, we could develop a series of human rights in sport activities and promotions around these unique occurrences. Thus SSU is positioned to become a major thought leader around the World Cup, climate issues, and human rights.



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