James Burnett and Donald Clelland Social Justice Scholarship

James Burnett and Donald Clelland Social Justice Scholarship

The aim of Burnett/Clelland Scholarship is to provide financial support to students actively engaged in social justice work addressing contemporary social inequalities.

Dr. James Burnett’s work as educator and social justice advocate focused on the intersection of inequities of race/ethnicity and the criminal justice system. With his book, Hood II Hood: Helping Prisoners Transition to Freedom, Dr. Burnett used his own experiences to attempt to help others who shared a similar experience in the criminal justice system. His other publications in the area of convict criminology furthered his efforts to bring justice to the criminal justice system. Dr. Burnett’s efforts challenge existing criminal justice practices and intend to aid individual’s exit from the criminal justice system.

During his employment at the University of Tennessee, Dr. Donald Clelland participated in social justice work both in and outside of the classroom. After retirement, Dr. Clelland continued to mentor students and expanded his scholarship. Even though he was not teaching classes, he would routinely provide specialized reading courses for students who benefitted greatly from his knowledge. Dr. Clelland’s research accelerated, culminating in his work on “dark value” which continues to garner increasing attention. His notion highlights the contribution to corporate profits by people not traditionally recognized for their labor.

While very different people with very different biographies, they both embody the values of social justice and the intellectual and spiritual growth of those around them. Both Dr. Burnett and Dr. Clelland passed away on Earth Day 2021, poignantly highlighting their commitment to positive change. The scholarship was created by Dr. Paul Prew whose life was profoundly affected by both men.