The Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty (SHECP) encourages the study of poverty as a complex social problem, by expanding and improving educational opportunities for college students in a wide range of disciplines and career trajectories. Through its programs, SHECP and its member institutions prepare students for a lifetime of professional and civic efforts to diminish poverty and enhance human capability, while also supporting connections among students, faculty, staff, and alumni engaged in the study of poverty.
SHECP’s core purpose is to support and enhance the unique education provided by our member institutions. We emphasize the value of multidisciplinary coursework combined with hands-on field experience. It is our mission to collaborate to understand and address poverty through innovative, comprehensive, and diverse educational opportunities and to inspire and equip the next generation of change makers to carry on the efforts of diminishing poverty while respecting the dignity of every person.
SHECP began in 1998 as the Shepherd Poverty Alliance. It was founded at Washington & Lee University and allied with Berea College and Spelman College. The Alliance incorporated as SHECP, an independent nonprofit in 2013, and since then, has grown into a 19-member consortium of colleges and universities that provides coordinated internships, coursework, and co-curricular support. In 2021, SHECP’s academic home returned to Washington & Lee University.
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SHECP’s governance structure includes a 10-person board and a full Council. The Council includes representatives appointed by Member Schools and at-large members including program alumni, community partners, and others who bring experience, expertise, or energy to the Consortium.