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Wealth & Poverty Theme

Themes in Action

CAS 2300, Class #12915 1-credit course provides students with opportunities to actively participate in learning environments beyond the traditional classroom, including community services and research talks on the growing challenges of inequality in our society.

A Curricular Theme at Ohio University

Special Series

About This Theme

What is the Wealth and Poverty theme? Themes like Wealth and Poverty can help students fulfill their course requirements with a purpose. It can be frustrating to take a course simply because you need to meet a requirement only to learn later that a course on a topic that really interests you would have done the same thing. The themes allow students to identify courses that help them to understand an issue they care about and to fulfill Ohio University General Education and/or college distribution requirements as well.

Wealth and Poverty courses help students understand, from a variety of disciplines and perspectives, why there is inequality in the world. Its driving question is why some regions and people have an abundance of resources while others struggle to survive. With that question in mind, some courses explore wealth and poverty in the past and how it has been caused or has changed over time. Other courses explore the way differences in wealth and the experience of poverty exist today and get reproduced. Others, yet, discuss the efforts that have been and continue to be made to address inequality and bring wealth to poverty-stricken regions and peoples. The Wealth and Poverty theme also includes a service-learning course that enables students to participate in initiatives that address poverty in our region and to acquire practical experience and skills.

Why pursue the Wealth and Poverty theme? When you graduate from college you will likely rely on your major to direct you to a job or to find a career that inspires you. Your experience with the Wealth and Poverty Theme will help you along the way. Most professions today inevitably have to deal with issues caused by inequality. Think about educators, policymakers, lawyers, business owners, doctors, etc., anyone really who works with people, products, or ideas that can be affected by or affect the way resources and wealth are distributed around the world. It is almost impossible to remain untouched by or indifferent to the realities caused by inequality today. The information and knowledge that you will have accumulated through your Wealth and Poverty Theme will help you assess, explain, and imagine ways to address inequality. It will prepare you to take an active and leading role in projects that engage with the problems of inequality in your chosen profession and career.

How to complete the Wealth and Poverty theme: The Wealth and Poverty Theme has four key elements: 1) an introductory course; 2) a service-learning course; 3) elective humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences courses; and 4) a capstone Tier III course (T3 4400 Seminar in Wealth and Poverty). See the full list of these Courses.

There is no required number of elective courses students must take to complete the Wealth and Poverty Theme. However, some students might also be interested in completing the Wealth & Poverty Certificate, which will appear on their transcript. The certificate requires the completion of three elective courses, as well as an introductory course, a service-learning course, and the Tier III Seminar in Wealth and Poverty.

When to start working on Wealth and Poverty Theme courses? Freshman at Ohio University can start working on the Wealth and Poverty theme in their first semester. Look for four different theme introductory courses in the fall: AAS 1060 Introduction to African American Studies; GEOG 1310 Globalization and the Developing World; HIST 1330 World History since 1750; and SW 1000 Introduction to Social Work and Social Welfare. The latter three courses also count toward Tier II requirements, and students can start fulfilling university General Education requirements at the same time as they start learning about Wealth and Poverty.

Sophomores, juniors, or seniors can take theme courses, and some may have already taken a Wealth and Poverty theme introductory course and a few elective courses. Students should consult a Wealth and Poverty theme faculty or their own faculty adviser. They might still have to take a service-learning course. CFS 4660 Transitions in Development; ECON 3010 Economics of Altruism; ECON 3120 Economics of Poverty; SW 2601 Social Welfare. The capstone course is T3 4400 Seminar in Wealth and Poverty.

It is not too soon nor too late to start your Wealth and Poverty Theme or Certificate. Make sure you contact a Theme faculty member or a faculty advisor ASAP.

Wealth and Poverty Theme Overview: The Wealth and Poverty theme aims to address economic growth, wealth distribution, poverty, inequality, and empowerment issues in both domestic and international settings. A number of A&S courses already ask why some are so rich and some so poor, but there is no interdisciplinary program or curricular track that allows our students to address and engage with wealth and poverty problems in a systematic manner.

At the heart of the Wealth and Poverty theme is an interdisciplinary combination and sequence of courses that will provide students with a better understanding of the ways class, race, ethnicity, and gender shape inequality of opportunities within and between countries. By encouraging students to actively participate in service learning, the theme will further help them apply their Arts & Sciences education to lifelong learning and community engagement.

Ohio University students come from diverse socio-economic, political backgrounds that in many ways form the basis for their understanding of wealth and poverty. Situated in the fringe of the Rust Belt and in the Appalachian region, Ohio University is well-positioned to engage these students in a meaningful way that they could relate to real-world problems involving inequalities. The knowledge, analytical skills and practical experiences gained in this curricular theme will help students become well-informed, active and critical global citizens.

Contact Us & Get Started

The development of the Wealth and Poverty theme is led by theme coordinator Dr. Yeong Kim of Geography and a Faculty Advisory Board of six faculty members: Dr. Mariana Dantas (History), Dr. Matt Layton (Political Science), Dr. Robin Muhammad (African American Studies), Dr. Steve Scanlon (Sociology), Dr. Rachel Terman (Sociology & Anthropology), and Dr. Edna Wangui (Geography).

How to get started: If you are interested in pursuing the Wealth and Poverty theme or certificate, contact the theme coordinators, Dr. Yeong Kim. Members of the faculty advisory board would also be glad to help you learn more about the theme and certificate and which courses to take. Your faculty adviser, with your home department, can also help you identify courses related to the Wealth and Poverty theme and to understand the requirements of the certificate.