Date of Dissertation

5-2017

Degree Type

Dissertation

Department

Social Work

Abstract

Humane education is a form of education focusing on the intersectionality between human rights, environmental preservation, and animal protection. It is a solution-focused discipline striving for a healthier world for people, the environment, and animals. The argument throughout this banded dissertation is that humane education can potentially inform and collaborate with social work and social work education for expanding the ecological, person-inenvironment perspective to include the natural world and other living species.

The first product is a conceptual article making the case that humane education is an inter-disciplinary bridge for helping social workers and educators continue to expand their definitions of environmental justice (eco-centrism) and human-animal relationships so that student ecological consciousness includes the welfare of humans, animals, and the broader ecosystem.

The second product is research-based disseminating findings from interviews with social work educators and humane educators. Utilizing a qualitative research method, this exploratory study consisted of six semi-structured interviews exploring the similarities and differences between social work, social work education, and humane education. Three were conducted with social work faculty from the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work’s Institute for Human-Animal Connection, and three with faculty from the Institute for Humane Education.

The third product is a conceptual article making the case for humane education in social work education as an integration of the Christian faith tradition and social work. For Christian social workers and educators, additional arguments are made for humane education and social work education based on Biblical mandates that involve caring for God’s creation.

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