Beginning in fall 2020, an interdisciplinary group of John Jay College faculty collaborated on development of a series of new courses, HUM 300: Landmark Supreme Court Cases to be offered as an option in the college’s 300 level Justice Core requirement for General Education. The Justice Core at John Jay reflects the college’s mission to Educate for Justice through critical analysis, research and writing into questions of justice in the U.S. and around the world. Landmark Cases courses develop students’ understanding of the social, political, economic, and cultural contexts of the struggles for justice in the United States; create opportunities for them to analyze how struggles for justice have shaped U.S. society and culture; and differentiate between multiple perspectives on the same subject.
Landmark Cases courses are designed for transfer students who have completed an associate degree, either as a graduate of a CUNY Justice Academy affiliated degree program at a CUNY Community College, or at another 2-year degree granting institution. Since a majority of transfer students at John Jay major in Criminal Justice or a related social science, the courses are designed to develop transfer students’ familiarity with the legal framework in which the United States’ Criminal Justice system is enacted, and the histories and sociocultural context that inform the decisions of the Supreme Court. Students employ strategies to read and interpret legal texts, make connections between varied perspectives on the legal issues at stake in each case, and develop a sense of the impact of these decisions on individuals and their communities through writing, active learning experiences, and multi-modal virtual works. The course experience is complemented by the support of a Peer Success Coach, who works closely with transfer students in their first semester, and integrated advising to support students’ academic and post-graduate planning.