October 28, 2013 at 9:21 am

Wealth and Poverty: Within and Between Countries

By Dr. Yeong-Hyun Kim and Dr. Edna Wangui

College of Arts & Sciences faculty are tackling the challenges of the 21st century by building interdisciplinary and team-taught courses around a new set of curricular themes.

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.

Core Faculty

The development of the Wealth and Poverty theme is led by two theme coordinators—Dr. Yeong Kim and Dr. Edna Wangui of Geography—and a Faculty Advisory Board of five faculty members: Dr. Mariana Dantas (History), Dr. Robin Muhammad (African American Studies), Dr. Julia Paxton (Economics), Dr. Steve Scanlon (Sociology), and Dr. Arthur Trese (Environmental and Plant Biology).

Theme Curriculum

The Wealth and Poverty Theme curriculum is structured around the following four key elements:

  • Introductory Courses – choose one of the following:
    • AAS 1060 Introduction to African American Studies
    • GEOG 1310 Globalization and the Developing World
    • HIST 1330 Introduction to World History Since 1750
    • SOC 2xxx Social Inequalities and Social Change (new course under development)
  • Elective Courses
  • Service Learning Courses – choose one of the following:
    • ECON 3120 Economics of Poverty
    • SOC 3310 Class and Inequality
    • CFS 4640 Children, Families, Poverty
    • GEOG 4xxx Community Geography (new course under development)
    • Students may request a course substitution, when their participation in an internship, study abroad, or volunteer abroad involves a minimum of 10 hours of community outreach service activities.
  • Capstone Seminar – Students complete the theme by taking the following seminar: CAS 4xxx Wealth and Poverty Seminar (new course under development)

Ohio University faculty are invited to attend the first annual “Themes Fest” on Nov. 5 from 2-4 p.m., in the Nelson Commons Reception Area.

Themes Fest provides an update on the curricular themes initiative launched in the College of Arts & Sciences last spring.  [See A&S Faculty Bring Curricular Themes to Life.]

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