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Elon to offer new minor in poverty and social justice

Students may apply to the minor beginning with the fall 2013 semester.

Economic inequality. Intolerance. Social injustice. Hunger and disease. The world has many problems that lead to poverty but few places educate the leaders of tomorrow who will be counted on to solve them.

Elon University is rising to the challenge of educating future leaders by offering a minor in poverty and social justice. Students may apply to the minor beginning with the fall 2013 semester. The program ties into the university's recent partnership with the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty.

Faculty members said the new program builds on Elon students’ interest in helping people in poverty by offering a substantive critical foundation for understanding the multi-factorial causes and realities of poverty. It offers the opportunity to study the root causes and structural patterns that contribute to poverty and focus on processes and strategies of poverty alleviation from a variety of disciplinary perspectives.

“This program and related minor bring together many elements of this work already happening on Elon’s campus through service learning, academic courses and internships,” said Brooke Barnett, interim associate provost for inclusive community. “The benefit of the new program and membership in the consortium provide a synergistic and holistic approach to poverty and social justice that will be more easy identifiable to students.”

The program was designed with integrated experiential components in order to strengthen students’ capacities to address the root causes of poverty at Elon and afterwards, as global citizens and as professionals in a variety of careers. Elon’s PSJ program recognizes that graduates who possess a deep understanding of what contributes to and exacerbates poverty in society can more effectively develop solutions that help reduce and alleviate poverty in their local communities and the world around them.

The PSJ program is coordinated by an advisory committee that includes representation from the arts and humanities, social science, natural sciences areas of the College of Arts and Sciences as well as representatives from the schools of Business, Communication, Education, and Law.

Professor Rebecca Todd Peters, whose primary appointment is in the Department of Religious Studies, has facilitated the development of the new program over the past year and will serve as the inaugural coordinator of the Poverty and Social Justice Program.

Faculty from 14 departments contribute courses to the minor, which includes a required introductory course, three electives, an internship and a capstone course. The program is designed to help students create a learning pathway focused on the study of poverty that can help to integrate and deepen their learning across multiple disciplinary perspectives.

“The opportunity to participate in the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty was the impetus to explore the development of a poverty studies program at Elon,” Peters said. “The internship possibilities for Elon students through the Consortium as well as the opportunities for collaboration on innovative teaching and research on issues related to poverty are all exciting aspects of Elon’s membership in the Consortium.”

For more information, contact Peters at rpeters@elon.edu or (336) 278-5247. Interested students are encouraged to sign up for PSJ 110, 'Introduction to Poverty Studies,' for the fall of 2013.

Eric Townsend,
Staff
5/6/2013 1:40 PM