Founded in 1804, Ohio University is the oldest public institution of higher learning in the state of Ohio and the first established in the Northwest Territory. It is a large, public, state institution that strives to be the best student-centered, transformative learning community in the United States with a mission and vision focused on the intellectual and personal development of students who realize their promise, faculty who advance knowledge, staff that achieves excellence, and alumni who become global leaders. Nearly 18,000 undergraduates attend Ohio University’s main campus in Athens which is also home to 950 full-time faculty members hailing from 250 academic programs. The main campus and its satellite campuses in other locations throughout the region attract many first generation college students—approximately 25% of each year’s freshman class. Ohio University is located in a small college town situated along the Hocking River in the rural and picturesque southeastern corner of the state in Athens County, known for its active arts, crafts, and music scene, great festivals, outdoor recreation, progressive politics, and an outstanding locavore community defined by its excellent farmer’s market, microbreweries, restaurants, and vibrant food economy, At the same time, Athens is officially designated as a “distressed” Appalachian county by the Appalachian Regional Commission and is consistently one of the poorest in the state.

Poverty studies at Ohio University is centered on the interdisciplinary Wealth and Poverty Theme that emerged from an initiative established by the College of Arts and Sciences to enhance the student learning experience in the liberal arts and general education requirements. Over 100 faculty members from across the various colleges and departments at the university claim affiliation with the theme. The centerpiece of poverty studies is a Wealth and Poverty Certificate program for undergraduates that addresses economic development, empowerment, poverty and inequality, and wealth distribution in the United States and throughout the world. Students complete a rigorous and rewarding curriculum that combines service learning and education abroad opportunities with a variety of academic offerings that include introductory courses addressing poverty and inequality from the perspective of several disciplines, an extensive list of elective course options, and a capstone experience in the form of a wealth and poverty seminar. Beyond the classroom the Wealth and Poverty Theme further promotes learning through sponsorship of and engagement with speakers from across the country, field trips, film series events, ongoing dialogue connected with theme weeks promoting important poverty related topics, and community outreach in Athens and beyond.

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SHECP Council Member
Stephen J. Scanlan, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Sociology
[email protected]

Academic Director
Matthew L. Layton, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Political Science
[email protected]

Internship Director
A. Rachel Terman, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Sociology
[email protected]