The Center for Public Justice seeks to equip students to respond to God’s call to pursue justice for all. 

In this semester-long project, students will write a comprehensive research report on a social safety net program’s impact on vulnerable families in their campus' local community.

Awards of $5,000 will be made to three juniors or seniors at a Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) institutions in the United States, or at institutions with a Christian Study Center. Students must have a faculty advisor for this project. Advisors receive a $1,500 stipend.

All applications must be submitted by midnight on Sunday, October 21st. 


Purpose: Reframing the Social Safety Net

This series is designed to inspire and equip Christian college students to make an enduring, normative case for why the social safety net ought to exist.

Conversations about the social safety net are often highly charged and polarized. However, this narrow dialogue misses the larger questions that we as a society have a responsibility to address: How do we define human flourishing? What is the proper role of government and civil society in serving the vulnerable? What is our responsibility as citizens?

Through connecting with your local community, studying the effects of a particular social safety net program, and applying a public justice framework, you can help to reframe the conversation.


Is the Student-Faculty Research Prize for you?

Do you wish to engage with your community in a meaningful, impactful way?

Do you enjoy qualitative research and creating content that communicates your results effectively?

Do you have an interest in learning more about social safety net programs, their impact, and how they can be strengthened?

Are you eager to apply a Christian lens to an important policy issue?

If so, Shared Justice's Student-Faculty Research Prize can provide you the opportunity to advocate for justice in your community.


How It Works

1. Identify a faculty advisor to work with you throughout the process.

2. Choose a safety net program to research in the community in which your campus is located. Programs can include, but are not limited to: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Medicaid, Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Public Charge, or Tax Credits.

**Programs should exclude the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and the Housing Choice Voucher Program, as these programs were the subject of prior research for the Student-Faculty Research Prize.

3. Work with the Center for Public Justice and your faculty advisor to produce a 5,000 word policy report on your research findings.


For Faculty

Expectations for faculty advisors include:

1. Provide your student with your CV and a 500 word or less statement answering “Why are you interested in participating in this research?”. This will be included in your student’s application package.

2. Attendance at the November 30- December 1 orientation in Washington, DC.

3. A commitment to guide the student in their research from December to May 2019. This includes meeting monthly with the student, assisting the student in engaging with the social safety net program in the community, and providing resources and feedback throughout their research and report writing process.

3. Communicate with Shared Justice every other month via a Skype or phone call.


Orientation in Washington, DC

If selected as a recipient of the Student-Faculty Research Prize, both student and faculty member will be asked to attend an orientation in Washington D.C on Friday, November 30 through Saturday, December 1. Travel, lodging, and meals are covered by the Center for Public Justice.

The 2018 Recipients and Reports

The Housing Choice Voucher Program

The Case for a Culturally Competent WIC Program

Improving Refugees’ Access to WIC


What is the social safety net?

The social safety net is a diverse array of services and programs that provide basic support to vulnerable members of society in times of need. Much of the safety net is provided by government, and yet civil society institutions like churches and nonprofits also provide vital services to people and families in need.

Am I eligible?

To apply, students must be a junior or senior with a GPA of 3.5 or above at a CCCU member school or an institution with a Christian Study Center, and must be a full-time student at the campus for Spring 2019.

I am a student at a cccu member school in canada. can i apply?

Unfortunately the scope of this research project is limited to social safety net programs in the United States. 

How much time should I expect to devote this research?

This project should be as a time commitment similar to that of an independent study. The Center for Public Justice will guide the student through this process. From early December- late April 2018, the student will be expected to:

1. Meet with the faculty advisor once a month

2. Communicate with Shared Justice monthly via Skype and/or phone

3. Conduct research in their community, interviewing community members and experts in the field

4. Compile results and write a policy report due April 2019

Will there be an opportunity to present my research?

The Center for Public Justice will work with students to identify appropriate venues and conferences for presenting research. Last year’s recipients presented at the annual Christians in Political Science Conference.  

For further questions, please contact Shared Justice Program Director Katie Thompson at