The Initiative


“SP2 Penn Top 10 Social Justice & Policy Issues” is a multimodal initiative in which experts from the School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2) analyze and address some of the most crucial social justice and policy issues in our nation.

Each “Top 10” issue is tied to thought-provoking essays, educational animations, “Behind the SP2 Penn Top 10” author interviews, author biographies, abridged essays and more.

The project was officially launched at the SP2 Penn Top 10 Homelessness Colloquium in Washington, DC in May 2016. Here, the school also released a dynamic, user-friendly workbook, which featured all “Top 10″abridged essays, key statistics, policy recommendations and voter resources to inform conversations and decisions leading up to the 2016 presidential election.

Each topic was also represented by an SP2 Penn Top 10 Fellow, all of whom are SP2 graduate students. These elite fellows spent months analyzing and reporting on each topic as part of an online/on-the-ground course: Journalism for Social Change. Launched in 2012 by journalism nonprofit, Fostering Media Communications, the course required Fellows to produce blogs, op-eds and feature stories that have real impact on public and social policy.

Since the launch in 2016, the School of Social Policy & Practice released Social Policy and Social Justice – an academic volume tied to the initiative, edited by Jackson and published by Penn Press. The release took place on November 10, 2016 – just two days after the election – in conjunction with a moderated post-election panel that explored how the next presidential administration should strategically address these “Top 10” issues.

Soon after, the project also came out with a massive open online course (MOOC), Top 10 Social Issues for the President’s First 100 Days. The online course – launched on Inauguration Day, January 20, 2017 – started a national discussion in real-time on these, and many more, social issues that impact our lives and our communities. Watch a special message about the course from SP2 Dean John L. Jackson, Jr. here.

Most recently, the SP2 Penn Top 10 team has continued to facilitate thoughtful conversations, increase awareness, and spark social change, via the following actions and events:

  • An SP2 Penn Top 10 Talk Speaker Series of public, live-streamed forums with panels of academic experts, local government officials, and skilled practitioners on child welfare, education, and mass incarceration
  • Partnering with Need in Deed to educate Philadelphia-area youth on SP2 Penn Top 10 topics
  • Creating the Franklin SP2 Social Innovation Prize, in which teams of students compete to develop innovative projects that address the SP2 Penn Top 10 issues
  • Adding more expert articles on significant justice and policy topics, including education, immigration, trans youth, and health care reform.


The SP2 Penn Top 10 essays featured on this website were edited and adapted by Frank Scussa of Perfect Communications.


SP2 Penn Top 10 seeks to educate, enlighten and empower a diverse audience of voters and policymakers from all walks of life.