Vincentian Poverty Studies Minor
Poverty Minor - Mission and Goals
Drawing upon the Vincentian tradition of service to the poor and the community, the goal of the Niagara University minor in Vincentian Poverty Studies (VPS) is to educate NU students about poverty in an in-depth fashion that fully prepares them to deal effectively with the complexities and challenges that are created by poverty. An essential objective is to bring to life NU’s mission, which states in part, “Niagara seeks to inspire its students to serve all members of society, especially the poor and oppressed, in local communities and the larger world.”
To accomplish this, the minor seeks to create a lifelong commitment to combating poverty while providing students - regardless of major - the knowledge, skills and practical experience needed to be effective in combating poverty.
VPS Fellows Mission and Goals
The primary goal of the VPS Fellow option is to enable students in majors (e.g. business, education, hospitality) that offer limited opportunities for electives to study poverty in greater depth than have otherwise been available and to receive recognition for their poverty-related scholarship.
Programs and minors that provide quality education about poverty have largely been absent from undergraduate education in American universities. Niagara University, in the spirit of St. Vincent de Paul, feels that poverty education should be a prominent part of the NU experience. To this end, NU has joined with other universities in an effort to create a national movement to expand poverty and human capability studies throughout the United States. NU is a founding member of The Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty (SHECP). Founding SHECP schools are:
- Baylor University
- Berea College
- John Carroll University
- College of Wooster
- Elon University
- Furman University
- Hendrix College
- Lynchburg College
- Middlebury College
- Millsaps College
- Niagara University
- Spelman College
- University of Arkansas at Little Rock
- University of Notre Dame
- Virginia Military Institute
- Washington and Lee University
The consortium's joint activities include the Shepherd Alliance, a collaborative eight-week summer internship program with student conferences; an annual symposium on teaching poverty in undergraduate and professional education; promising practices meetings for faculty and staff of consortium schools; a website for networking and disseminating information; a sophisticated assessment administered by the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia in order to improve Consortium schools' policies and practices; and collaboration with the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service.