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About the Weissberg Program

Weissberg Program Mission

Using the lens of human rights and social justice, the Weissberg Program at Beloit College inspires and empowers students to take informed action to address complex global problems.

Weissberg Program Desired Learning Outcomes

The mission is supported by programming that enables students to learn to

  • Cultivate compassion and empathy
  • Pursue critical inquiry into issues of human rights and social justice past and present
  • Understand systems of power, privilege, and oppression
  • Develop awareness of their roles contributing to and overcoming local and global challenges
  • Commit to taking action individually and collaboratively

Weissberg Program Strategies

The Weissberg Program deploys the following strategies to help students achieve its desired learning outcomes.

  • Engage students through the curriculum, co-curriculum, and programming grants for their own initiatives
  • Empower faculty and staff to integrate human rights and social justice into the curriculum and co-curriculum through professional development opportunities and programming grants
  • Inspire members of the campus to understand and promote human rights and social justice through personal contact with those at the forefront of change locally, nationally, and internationally  

To achieve its mission, the Weissberg Program draws on a network of alumni and experts to support academic and experiential learning opportunities on the Beloit College campus and beyond.

Program Components

From its beginning in 1999, the Weissberg Program has hosted a leading figure in human rights on the world stage for a seven to ten-day residency as Weissberg Chair. This individual speaks to audiences on and off-campus, discusses a critical issue with experts and practitioners in public forums, and interacts with members of the campus in a variety of formal and informal settings.

Other components of the Weissberg Program are:

  • a project grants program allowing students to gain hands-on experience with human rights during winter and summer breaks
  • scholarships helping to support study abroad for students with a demonstrated interest and commitment to understanding and advancing human rights and social justice
  • a fellows program providing bridge funding to recent graduates to enable them to pursue the next steps toward further engagement with human rights and social justice
  • career exploration, such as job shadowing  
  • a fall forum with alumni who share their educational and post-graduation pathways
  • programming grants for students, staff, and faculty to undertake activities on campus related to human rights and social justice
  • and opportunities for faculty to incorporate human rights into their teaching, advising, and scholarship

Weissberg Program Steering Committee

The Weissberg Program is steered by a committee whose membership includes Atiera Coieman (Office of Academic Diversity and Inclusion), Beth Dougherty (Political Science), Rachel Ellett (Political Science), Donna Oliver (Modern Languages and Literatures), and Pablo Toral (Political Science). Each year, other members of the campus join the committee members in planning Weissberg Week, when the Weissberg Chair is in residence.

The program is administered with the help of Elizabeth Brewer (International Education) and Josh Moore (Intensive Learning).

Program Funding and Founders

The Weissberg Program is funded by the Weissberg Foundation.

Marvin Weissberg, the program founder,  is a retired real estate developer and former member of the Board of Directors for the National Democratic Institute, a member of the Urban Land Institute's International Council, the World Affairs Council, the InterAmerican Dialogue, and the Roosevelt Institute, among other international organizations. He is also active on the boards of several theaters in Washington. He received an honorary degree from Beloit College in 2005. 

Nina Weissberg'84 is President of the Weissberg Corporation and a member of the Beloit College Board of Trustees.  Along with her father and the Weissberg Foundation, she is making it possible for new cohorts of Beloit College students to become involved in the Weissberg Program in Human Rights and Social Justice.

Weissberg Group

Left to right: Jan Egeland, Weissberg Chair 2007-08, Prof. Beth Dougherty,
International Relations, Nina Weissberg'84, Marvin Weissberg.