John Carroll University, founded in 1886 as Saint Ignatius College, is located in University Heights, Ohio, in suburban Cleveland. The University was renamed in 1923 to honor America’s first Catholic Bishop, John Carroll of Maryland. Its Jesuit Catholic mission inspires individuals to excel in learning, leadership and service in the region and the world. John Carroll University is recognized nationally for an exceptional four-year graduation rate, teaching excellence, and a commitment to living a faith that does justice as central to its mission. John Carroll is one of 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States and has an enrollment of 3,000 undergraduate students and 700 graduate students.
John Carroll’s poverty studies program began in 2006 as the Poverty and Solidarity Program. Our goal in developing the program was a hope that our students, in their lives as citizens and working in professions such as business, journalism, education, science, medicine, politics, and law, will use their skills and influence as friends and allies of the poor. The summer internship was an 8-10 week paid experience that carried academic credit. Students were paired with a non-profit or government organization that served those most in need. They were also paired with a faculty member to guide their independent research project related to their area of work. Students interned four days a week and met in the classroom one day each week. The experience culminated with student presentations of their learning from the internship, research, and coursework.
With funding from the McGregor Fund, John Carroll faculty developed or enhanced 60 courses focused on increasing students’ understanding of the causes and consequences of poverty and possible solutions to poverty from a variety of perspectives, including economic, social, moral and scientific. Courses with a significant focus on poverty occur across the curriculum in disciplines such as biology, religious studies, economics, and political science. A First Year Seminar course for incoming freshman focuses on the theme of poverty and social justice, providing students with an opportunity to examine issues of poverty and class stratification in America, to think deeply and creatively about poverty in Cleveland, and to engage in weekly service with underserved populations in our community. Students in a Poverty and Social Welfare course explore the causes, consequences and effects of poverty and welfare reform through traditional coursework at JCU one day a week and through an embedded learning experience held on-site with a community partner the second day of the week.
In the hope of building on these initial efforts, John Carroll is in the process of revising our academic program in poverty studies.
Margaret O. Finucane, Ph.D.
Chair and Associate Professor, Tim Russert Department of Communication and Theatre Arts
Philip J. Metres, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of English
Associate Director, Center for Service and Social Action