Centre News

Centre College becomes part of Shepherd Consortium on Poverty

January 10, 2013 By Elizabeth Trollinger       
Shepherd Consortium Centre is now part of the Shepherd Higher Education
Consortium on Poverty, a group of 20 schools dedicated to
academic opportunities and internship experiences that
highlight poverty on a local, national and global level.

Centre College recently joined the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty, a colloquium of 20 colleges and universities dedicated to an academic focus on poverty as well as internship experiences for students to alleviate need in local communities.

In the Shepherd Consortium, Centre is in the company of such other schools as Berea College, Furman University, Middlebury College, the University of Notre Dame, the College of Wooster and many others.

“This program is experiential learning at its best,” says Associate Professor of Religion and College Chaplain Rick Axtell, on the exploration committee for the Shepherd Consortium at Centre. “Participation in internships will be informed by academic work in the classroom, and course work will be enhanced and deepened by the internships.”

To prepare students for the internship program, as well as for possible career and volunteer work in the future, the College will integrate learning on poverty into the curriculum and options outside of class.

Axtell, who has spoken about poverty issues with the Huffington Post, is glad that the Shepherd Consortium will give students such an array of opportunities.

“The exploration committee appreciated the breadth of emphasis within the Consortium that takes ‘poverty studies’ beyond a focus on preparation for careers in anti-poverty work in favor of preparing people who will be educated about poverty in whatever field they choose,” Axtell says.

Internships offered through the Shepherd Consortium will give students a better understanding of the issues of poverty facing the country as well as local communities, and ways they can confront those issues head-on.

“Selected students will be able to choose from superb, challenging opportunities throughout the country that will give them first-hand, street-level experience of the realities of poverty in America and of innovative approaches to addressing it,” Axtell says. “These experiences will be enlightening and transformative.”

Centre already offers a variety of classes that explore topics of poverty and need across the world—and being part of the Shepherd Consortium will allow faculty to expand those options while becoming involved in a wider conversation with other institutions.

“The exploration committee was enthusiastic about bringing issues of economic and social class to the forefront of discussion and study at Centre. Considering the dimensions, persistence and complexity of the problem of poverty, this is something Centre ought to be doing,” Axtell says. “By connecting us to other schools with similar commitments, the program will give structure and focus to what we do in poverty studies and impel us to create an infrastructure for improving and expanding it. It will help us coordinate with one another in both curricular and extracurricular realms.”

To apply for a Shepherd Consortium internship, click here. Applications are due by Jan. 25, and those students who receive an internship will be notified in late March. For more on Centre’s involvement with the Shepherd Consortium, click here.

Have comments, suggestions, or story ideas? E-mail elizabeth.trollinger@centre.edu with your feedback.

Centre College, founded in 1819, is a nationally ranked liberal arts college in Danville, Ky. Centre hosted its second Vice Presidential Debate on 10.11.12, and remains the smallest college in the smallest town ever to host a general election debate. For more, click here.

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