Student Learning Objectives


  • To have a basic understanding of the theories regarding the causes of poverty in the United States and around the globe.
  • To have developed knowledge of the resources available to assist low- and moderate-income individuals and families, and formal efforts made to combat poverty in the United States.
  • To have developed an understanding of federal and state policies and programs designed to create opportunity for Americans to become self-sufficient.
  • To have developed an understanding of the impact of the economy and economic policy on social service programs.
  • To recognize the extent which structures and values may oppress, marginalize, alienate, or create or enhance privilege and power and the relationship of these constructs to poverty.


  • To have examined their values in light of Vincentian values and those values promoted by various approaches to addressing poverty.
  • To have a lifelong commitment to helping those in need and to addressing poverty regardless of major or long term career choices.
  • To be able to show sensitivity to the issues of poverty facing diverse populations, especially people of color.
  • To be able to discern the importance of culture for diverse groups and its impact on addressing poverty.


  • To be able to distinguish between a pathology approach and a strengths approach to addressing poverty.
  • To be able to evaluate social policies in consideration of general principles of social and economic justice.
  • To be able to distinguish between conservative, liberal and radical heritages.
  • To develop skills in the application of scientific knowledge and procedures to the analysis and development of social services and policies.
  • To develop beginning skills in political advocacy and policy development.


  • To have direct exposure to those living in poverty, such that cognitive distancing and other forms of separation are broken down.
  • To have empathy for those living in poverty.
  • To bring knowledge and values learned in the classroom to life in the real world.