New Poverty and Social Justice Minor the Focus of Conference Presentation

Elon's new interdisciplinary minor in Poverty and Social Justice was the topic of a presentation at the international organization for service-learning and civic engagement.

Elon faculty Amanda Sturgill, Associate Professor of Communications, Amy Johnson, assistant professor of History and Geography and R. Todd Peters, professor of Religious Studies presented their work on developing an interdisciplanary poverty studies program with service-learning components in New Orleans.

The work was presented at the annual conference of the International Association for Research in Service-Learning and Civic Engagement.

The professors investigated student learning outcomes in attitudes towards poverty and in ability to understand poverty as a multi-dimensional issue in students who were at the start and end of the minor. The minor has two service-learning related requirements: one a full internships and the second a project designed to alleviate poverty conducted during the minor’s capstone class.

They found that while attitudes towards the poor did not change significantly, students at the end of the capstone course were able to answer questions about poverty and the poor with more sophistication than at the start of the major.

“We hypothesize that students who elect to take a course called ‘Poverty and Social Justice’ may already have formed attitudes about those in poverty,” Sturgill said.