Justice and Equitable Technology (JET) Studio

The Justice and Equitable Technology (JET) Studio is co-directed by Columbia School of Social Work faculty Courtney D. Courtney and Desmond Patton. Drs. Cogburn and Patton share a commitment to leveraging technology to map and address complex social ecologies and to inform the development of digital tools designed to broadly address social inequalities in health (mental, physical, communal). The laboratory will initially build on the innovative work of Drs. Patton and Cogburn that a) links artificial intelligence ( e.g. machine learning, chatbots) to understand and intervene upon root causes of community based violence b) explores the use of technological tools (e.g. virtual reality) as a tool for shaping empathy, behavior and structural competence in relation to multiple dimensions of racial inequality.

Emergent Tech Media and Society (EMS) Minor 

Columbia School of Social Work

Co-Chairs: Desmond U. Patton and Courtney D. Cogburn

The Emergent Technology, Media and Society (EMS) minor at Columbia School of Social Work seeks to train the 21st-century social worker by providing courses, field placements, and experiences as well as network development opportunities that (1) raise awareness of existing and emerging technology tools, (2) engage key stakeholders and institutions in the private, non-profit and public sectors involved in technology innovation, development and policy, (3) and provides a social, conceptual and technical fluency necessary to explore applications of artificial intelligence (e.g. machine learning, natural language processing) and other emergent technologies (e.g. virtual reality) to complex social issues. Students who participate in the minor will interrogate how social work practice intersects with advances in technology and our most pressing social problems (e.g. poverty, violence, racism, systemic bias, mental health, privacy, safety). Our goal is to create a paradigm shift in which the field of emergent technology and efforts to steward public interest meaningfully leverage the contributions, values, and ethics of social work. We also aim to help social work students identify their roles and contributions to emergent technology development, application, and other forms of engagement. The course will go beyond infusing ethics into technology, but rather to help ensure technology development and applications are firmly grounded in the principles of social justice, which includes integrating social work students into various technological domains.  


To successfully complete the minor, students will be required to take an Introduction to Emergent Technology, Media and Society (EMS) and Hacking for Social Impact *Not being offered Fall 2021* Additional courses for the minor requirement vary depending on a) related courses being offered by CSSW faculty and b) electives identified by students *For any courses that you feel are relevant to the EMS minor, please email Dr. Patton ([email protected]) and Dr. Cogburn ([email protected]) to verify the eligibility of fulfilling the minor.



EMS Fall 2021 Courses 

Three courses are offered for the EMS minor this Fall. More courses and information can be found here: EMS minor course offerings. If you find any courses that you feel are relevant to the EMS minor, please email Dr. Patton ([email protected]) and Dr. Cogburn ([email protected]) to verify the eligibility of fulfilling the minor.

1. T6009.006 HUMAN CENTRD DESIGN SOC JUSTICE - in person and joint with the School of Engineering

Call Number: 17489 Points: 3  

Day/Time: R 1:10pm-3:40pm

Instructors: Desmond Patton and Harry West and Lydia Chilton

Introduction to Human-Centered Design and Innovation. Unpack the role of design in the market economy for an individual consumer, for a designer/developer and for an enterprise or other organization. Consider how designing in good faith for most can lead to injustice for some. Examine how - to use the PROP framework of the Columbia School of Social Work- power, race, oppression, and privilege can be executed through the design process. Equip students with tools to engage in the design process and to facilitate the engagement of others. Explore strategies for guiding design and innovation towards more just solutions.

2. T6009.007 ADVOCACY IN DIGITAL MEDIA & SOCIETY  (required course for EMS minor) - on Zoom

Call Number: 17627 Points: 3

Day/Time: T 11:10am-1:00pm

Instructor: Jaclyn M Sawyer

This course is designed to build a critical foundation for understanding the role technology plays in social welfare and social change and the important role of social workers in this space. This course will provide an overview of the role that technology plays in civic engagement and social movements in the digital age, in the United States, with some international examples. Students will develop the ability to critically analyze technology tools in a social welfare context and make recommendations for how these interventions might go further in their intended mission.  This is a practitioner-led course using contemporary and academic readings, and guest lectures from technologists in the field will require students to investigate and critique current tools (apps and platforms).

3. Statistical Thinking For Data Science with Python Lab (in Stats department) - Online

Call Number: 13028 Points: 4  

Day/Time: MW 2:40pm-3:55pm & Day/Time: W 1:10pm-2:25pm (lab)

Instructor: Anthony Donoghue

The advent of large-scale data collection and the computer power to analyze the data has led to the emergence of a new discipline known as Data Science. Data Scientists in all sectors analyze data to derive business insights, find solutions to societal challenges and predict outcomes with potentially high impact. The goal of this course is to provide the student with a rigorous understanding of the statistical thinking behind the fundamental techniques of statistical analysis used by data scientists. The student will learn how to apply these techniques to data, understand why they work and how to use the analysis results to make informed decisions. The student will gain this understanding in the classroom and through the analysis of real-world data in the lab using the programming language Python. The student will learn the fundamentals of Python and how to write and run code to apply the statistical concepts taught in the classroom.

Example Electives Courses:

  • Statistical Thinking with Python Lab
  • Business and product development
  • UX/UI Design
  • The Public sector and technology
  • Theoretical, empirical, and technological basics of XR
  • Narratives + Medicine
  • Various School of Journalism, SIPA courses
  • Civic Engagement through Media 
  • Narratives in Social Work
  • Potential SIPA courses

Field Placements


Examples of potential placements opportunities may include:

  • R-labs
  • Local NYC start-ups ( in partnership with R lab)
  • NYCx (Mayor’s office; public sector)
  • NYC Media Lab
  • Civic Hall
  • Games for Change
  • CSSW Emergent Technology Research Labs (e.g. SAFElab; Cogburn Research Group, JET Studio).
  • Praekelt.org 
  • Black Public Media (media/tech intersection)
  • Firelight Media (media/justice, Harlem based)




1001 Cut Journey 

Interested in working with the JET Studio?

Contact Courtney Cogburn ([email protected]) or Desmond Patton ([email protected])