About the Minor

2014 - 2015 Catalog

Poverty and Human Capability Studies minor

A minor in poverty and human capability studies requires completion of seven courses as follows. In meeting the requirements of this interdisciplinary minor, a student must use at least nine credits not also used to meet the requirements of any other major or minor.

  1. POV 101 or 103
  2. POV 450 or 453
  3. At least 10 credits (9 credits for those completing POV 103) chosen from among the following:
    ECON 234, 235, 236, 237, 280; EDUC 369; ENGL 260; HIST 354; JOUR 241; PHIL 242; POL 215; POV 102, 214, 295 (LAW 221); PSYC 235; SOAN 202, 228, 290; approved independent-study courses that focus on poverty and human capability; or other course offerings ("related courses" on the Shepherd website) that devote a segment to poverty and enable students to write a paper that addresses poverty and human capability. These "related courses" must be approved in advance by the director of the Shepherd Program and the course instructor.
  4. A capstone study that culminates in a major research paper on a topic proposed by the student that focuses on poverty and human capability. This course will typically be POV 423. It may be an independent study, senior thesis, honors thesis, or WGS 396, when the research projects fit the criteria above and are co-advised by Shepherd Program faculty. These substitute courses must be approved in advance by the director of the Shepherd Program and by the participating instructors.
  1. Take one course from:
    • POV 101 - Poverty and Human Capability: An Interdisciplinary Introduction

      FDR: HU
      Faculty: Pickett, Staff
      Planned Offering: Fall, Winter
      Credits: 3


      An exploration of the nature, scope, causes, effects and possible remedies for poverty as a social, moral, political and policy, economic, legal, psychological, religious, and biological problem. The course focuses on domestic poverty but also considers poverty as a global problem.

      Fall 2014:

      POV 101 FS: Poverty and Human Capability: An Interdisciplinary Introduction (3). First-Year seminar.

    • or
    • POV 103 - Poverty and Human Capability: An Interdisciplinary Introduction and Fieldwork

      FDR: HU
      Faculty: Pickett, Staff
      Planned Offering: Spring
      Credits: 4


      Students may not take for degree credit both this course and POV 101 and 102. An exploration of the nature, scope, causes, effects, and possible remedies for poverty as a social, moral, political and policy, economic, legal, psychological, religious, and biological problem. The course focuses on domestic poverty in the United States but also considers poverty as a global problem. This spring term version of the course integrates service fieldwork into the introductory course taught in the fall and winter and offers the same credit as POV 101 and 102 combined.

  2. Take one course from:
  3. POV 450 or 453

    • POV 450 - Shepherd Summer Internship

      Faculty: Pickett, Staff
      Planned Offering: Fall, Winter
      Credits: 0


      Prerequisites: POV 101 or POV 103 and successful application for the Shepherd Consortium.

      Eight-week summer internship working with individuals and communities. Supervised work with agencies in business and economic development, community organizing, education, environmental advocacy, health care, law, religious ministry, and social services that engage impoverished persons and communities. Eight weeks of full-time work is preceded by an orientation to prepare the interns to reflect critically on what they have learned. W&L students work with students from other participating colleges. Students keep journals reflecting on their work. Financial support is available; in rare instances the Shepherd Program director may approve other internship programs to meet this requirement, but approval must be in advance with special conditions and stipulations.

    • or
    • POV 453 - Shepherd Summer Internship

      Faculty: Pickett, Staff
      Planned Offering: Fall, Winter
      Credits: 3


      Prerequisites: POV 101 or POV 103 and successful application for the Shepherd Consortium.

      Eight-week summer internship working with individuals and communities. Supervised work with agencies in business and economic development, community organizing, education, environmental advocacy, health care, law, religious ministry, and social services that engage impoverished persons and communities. Eight weeks of full-time work is preceded by an orientation to prepare the interns and followed by a closing conference for interns to reflect critically on what they have learned. W&L students work with students from other participating colleges. Students keep journals reflecting on their work. Financial support is available; in rare instances the Shepherd Program director may approve other internship programs to meet this requirement, but approval must be in advance with special conditions and stipulations. This course may not be repeated, but students who complete POV 453 may apply for a different second internship and receive recognition without credit for POV 450.

  4. At least 10 credits (9 credits for those completing POV 103) chosen from among the following:
    • ECON 234 - Urban Education: Poverty, Ethnicity and Policy

      Faculty: Diette
      Planned Offering: Spring 2012 and alternate years
      Credits: 4


      Prerequisite: ECON 101 and instructor consent. Not open to students with credit for EDUC 369.

      Students explore the determinants of education achievement and attainment in urban education through three weeks of fieldwork in schools in the Richmond area (Monday through Thursday each week) and seminar meetings in Lexington. Students observe and work to understand critical components of teaching and learning in the urban classroom. The readings and experience challenge students to consider factors including early childhood development, the role of the family, school finance, teachers, and curriculum. The students then evaluate the current policy proposals for school reform in the United States such as teacher merit pay, charter schools, and student accountability. In addition, students develop and present their own policy proposal for improving public schools. Housing is provided through alumni in Richmond.

    • ECON 235 - The Economics of Social Issues

      Faculty: Goldsmith
      Planned Offering: Winter
      Credits: 3


      Prerequisite: ECON 101, and POV 101 or 103 during initial registration.

      This seminar is based on readings that set out hypotheses developed by economists and other social scientists regarding the causes and consequences of a wide range of social problems. Evidence examining the validity of these hypotheses is scrutinized and evaluated. The course is writing intensive and interdisciplinary since readings are drawn from a wide variety of fields. Topics discussed include, but are not limited to, poverty, education, health, crime, race, ethnicity, immigration, and fiscal matters.

    • ECON 236 - Economics of Education

      Faculty: Diette
      Planned Offering: Fall or Winter
      Credits: 3


      Prerequisite: ECON 101 and POV 101 or EDUC 200 during initial registration; then only ECON 101.

      Investigation of the role of education on outcomes for both nations and individuals. Understanding of the factors in the education production function. Emphasis on the challenges of pre-K-12 education in the United States; secondary coverage of postsecondary education. Analysis of the effect of existing policies and potential reforms on the achievement and opportunities available to poor and minority students.

    • ECON 237 - Health Economics

      Faculty: Diette
      Planned Offering: Winter
      Credits: 3


      Prerequisite: ECON 101.

      An overview of the determinants of health using standard microeconomic models to analyze individual behavior, markets, institutions, and policies that influence health and health care. The primary focus of the course is the United States but also includes comparisons to health systems in other developed countries and very limited coverage of developing countries. Particular emphasis is given to challenges faced by disadvantaged groups. The course includes an optional service-learning component with placements involving health issues and/or health care services in Rockbridge County.

    • EDUC 369 - Urban Education and Poverty

      Faculty: Ojure, Sigler
      Planned Offering: Spring 2015 and alternate years
      Credits: 4


      Prerequisites: One course chosen from EDUC 200, EDUC 210, 300-level EDUC courses, ECON 236, POV 101, POV 103, or instructor consent.

      Not open to students with credit for ECON 234. In this course, students explore pedagogy, curriculum, and social issues related to urban education by working in schools in the Richmond area for three weeks. Students read about and discuss the broader social and economic forces, particularly poverty, that have shaped urban schools and the ramifications of those forces for school design. The Richmond schools provide the opportunity to observe critical components of teaching and learning in the urban classroom. Housing is provided with alumni during the week. Students return to Lexington for Friday seminars and for the fourth week of the term for seminars and discussion.

    • ENGL 260 - Literary Approaches to Poverty

      FDR: HL
      Credits: 3


      Prerequisite: Completion of FW requirement.

      Examines literary responses to the experience of poverty, imaginative representations of human life in straitened circumstances, and arguments about the causes and consequences of poverty that appear in literature. Critical consideration of dominant paradigms ("the country and the city," "the deserving poor," "the two nations," "from rags to riches," "the fallen woman," "the abyss") augments reading based in cultural contexts. Historical focus will vary according to professor's areas of interest and expertise.

      Winter 2015 topic:

      ENGL 260: Literary Approaches to Poverty: Medieval Poverty and Labor (3). Is poverty an ideal state of existence or a socioeconomic plight in need of fixing? Should the poor be put to work? In the Middle Ages, poverty was both a blessed condition of being and a dire social crisis. This course explores medieval experiences of poverty: estates, piety, charity, mendicancy, labor, gender, the Great Famine, Black Death, and urbanization. Texts include saint's lives (St. Francis of Assisi), Thomas Aquinas, Piers Plowman, Shepherds' Plays, Sir Orfeo, patient Griselda, and the legends of Robin Hood. We pay close attention to medieval understandings of poverty and labor, as well as modern parallels. All texts are read in modern English translation. (HL) Kao.

    • HIST 354 - Seminar: The History of the American Welfare State

      FDR: HU
      Faculty: Michelmore
      Credits: 3


      Prerequisite: Junior or senior standing.

      This course surveys the history of the U.S. welfare state from its origins in the poorhouses of the nineteenth century to the "end of welfare as we knew it" in 1996. The historical development of the American welfare state is covered, touching on such key policy developments as Progressive Era mothers' pension programs, the Social Security Act of 1935, Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty, and the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act. Although this course focuses primarily on the United States, students are also asked to compare the U.S. case with the welfare states of other western democracies - including Great Britain, France and the Scandinavian nations - to understand how and why the United States took such a different path. Moving beyond simple policy history, students engage such questions as how the U.S. welfare state has reflected, reinforced, and in some cases produced class, racial, and gendered identities.

    • JOUR 241 - Media and Poverty: The Poor in Journalism and Film

      Faculty: Staff
      Planned Offering: Spring
      Credits: 4


      Not open to students with credit for JOUR 240.

      This course offers an in-depth examination of portrayals of poverty, chiefly in the United States, from the late 19th century to the present through an intensive review of distinguished print journalism, nonfiction books, documentary film, and movies. By consulting social science literature as well, students gain a deeper understanding of the various conceptual paradigms through which poverty has been understood and explained.

    • PHIL 242 - Social Inequality and Fair Opportunity

      FDR: HU
      Faculty: Bell
      Planned Offering: Winter
      Credits: 3


      An exploration of the different range of opportunities available to various social groups, including racial, ethnic and sexual minorities, women, and the poor. Topics include how to define fair equality of opportunity; the social mechanisms that play a role in expanding and limiting opportunity; legal and group-initiated strategies aimed at effecting fair equality of opportunity and the theoretical foundations of these strategies; as well as an analysis of the concepts of equality, merit and citizenship, and their value to individuals and society.

    • POL 215 - International Development

      FDR: SS2
      Faculty: Dickovick
      Planned Offering: Fall or Winter
      Credits: 3


      A study of international development and human capability, with a focus on Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The course analyzes theories to explain development successes and failures, with a focus on the structures, institutions, and actors that shape human societies and social change. Key questions include measuring economic growth and poverty, discussing the roles of states and markets in development, and examining the role of industrialized countries in reducing global poverty. The course explores links between politics and other social sciences and humanities.

    • POV 102 - Fieldwork in Poverty and Human Capability

      Faculty: Pickett, Staff
      Planned Offering: Fall, Winter
      Credits: 1


      Prerequisites: Prerequisite or corequisite: POV 101. Not eligible for POV 102 if POV 103 completed.

      Sustained critical reflection on pivotal issues in poverty studies based on supervised volunteer work, journals, and weekly discussions and papers related to the readings in 101.

    • POV 241 - Poverty, Ethics, and Religion

      FDR: HU
      Faculty: Pickett
      Planned Offering: Winter 2015
      Credits: 3


      This course introduces students to some of the most influential and compelling ethical arguments (both secular and religious) about our moral obligations regarding poverty. The course also examines the benefits and challenges of doing comparative religious and philosophical ethical analysis of a pressing moral and social problem. In particular, students will consider the arguments for and against including religiously inflected arguments in public deliberation about anti-poverty policy.

    • POV 295 - Child Abuse and Neglect Seminar (LAW 221)

      Faculty: Shaughnessy
      Planned Offering: Winter 2014 and alternate years
      Credits: 2


      Prerequisites: POV 101 and at least junior standing or instructor consent.

      This seminar examines the response of the legal system to issues of child abuse and neglect. Attempts by courts and legislators to define abuse and neglect are reviewed and critiqued. The seminar also explores the legal framework which governs state intervention to protect children from abuse and neglect. Attention is paid to both state and federal law, including the federal constitutional issues which arise in many child abuse and neglect proceedings. Issues relating to the professional responsibilities of lawyers involved in abuse and neglect proceedings are examined.

    • PSYC 235 - Effects of Poverty on Families and Children

      Faculty: Staff
      Planned Offering: Offered when interest is expressed and departmental resources permit
      Credits: 3


      Prerequisite: PSYC 113 or POV 101.

      This course explores the problem of child and family poverty, the issues it raises for psychologists and social policy makers, and the implications that poverty and social policy have for children's development. This class explores how children's perceptions of the world, or their place in it, are affected by economically stressed families.

    • SOAN 202 - Contemporary Social Problems

      FDR: SS4
      Faculty: Eastwood
      Planned Offering: Winter 2014 and alternate years
      Credits: 3


      A study of the relationship of social problems to the cultural life and social structure of American society. An analysis of the causes, consequences, and possible solutions to selected social problems in American society.

    • SOAN 228 - Race and Ethnic Relations

      FDR: SS4
      Faculty: Novack
      Planned Offering: Fall
      Credits: 3


      Prerequisite: At least junior standing. Instructor consent required.

      An analysis of minority groups in America. Theories of ethnicity are examined focusing on the relationship between class and ethnicity, and on the possible social and biological significance of racial differences. Attention is also given to prejudice and discrimination, as well as to consideration of minority strategies to bring about change.

    • SOAN 290 - Special Topics in Sociology

      Planned Offering: Offered when interest is expressed and departmental resources permit
      Credits: 3 in Fall or Winter, 4 in Spring


      A discussion of a series of topics of sociological concern. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

    • approved independent-study courses of at least three credits each that focus on poverty and human capability; or other course offerings (“related courses” on the Shepherd Web site) that devote a segment to poverty and enable students to write a paper that addresses poverty and human capability. These “related courses” must be approved in advance by the director of the Shepherd Program and the course instructor.
  5. A capstone study that culminates in a major research paper on a topic proposed by the student that focuses on poverty and human capability
    • POV 423 - Poverty and Human Capability: A Research Seminar

      Faculty: Pickett, Staff
      Planned Offering: Winter
      Credits: 3


      Prerequisites: At least junior standing, POV 101 or POV 103, POV 453, or instructor consent.

      An inquiry into principal factors or agents responsible for the causes, effects, and remedies of poverty. This examination is conducted through reading appropriate in-depth studies from various disciplines and perspectives, and it culminates with an independent research project into specific aspects of poverty drawing on students' internships and respective areas of study and looking forward to their professional work and civic engagement. This seminar serves as a capstone for undergraduate poverty studies and includes second- and third-year law students in Law 391.

    • It may be an independent study, senior thesis, honors thesis, or:
    • WGS 396 - Advanced Seminar in Women's and Gender Studies

      Faculty: Staff
      Planned Offering: Offered when interest is expressed and faculty re-sources permit
      Credits: 3


      Prerequisites: WGS 120, junior or senior standing, or instructor consent.

      This course provides an opportunity for advanced students to explore in detail some aspect of women's studies. Specific topics may vary and may be determined, in part, by student interest. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

    • when the research projects fit the criteria above and are co-advised by Shepherd Program faculty. These substitute courses must be approved in advance by the director of the Shepherd Program and by the participating instructors.