Founded in 1842 by Edward Sorin, a priest of the Congregation of Holy Cross, Notre Dame is an independent, national Catholic research university located adjacent to the city of South Bend, Indiana, and approximately 90 miles east of Chicago. The University of Notre Dame provides a distinctive voice in higher education that is at once rigorously intellectual, unapologetically moral in orientation, and firmly embracing of a service ethos. The university is organized into four undergraduate colleges—Arts and Letters, Science, Engineering and the Mendoza College of Business—the School of Architecture, the Law School, the Graduate School, 14 major research institutes, two dozen centers and special programs, and the University Library system. Enrollment for the 2010-11 academic year was 11,985 students overall and 8,437 undergraduates. The Graduate School, established in 1918, encompasses 40 master’s and 24 doctoral degree programs in and among 25 university departments and institutes.
The Shepherd Program at Notre Dame is located in the Poverty Studies Interdisciplinary Minor (PSIM ), which is jointly supported by the College of Arts and Letters and the Center for Social Concerns. PSIM is a 15-credit program including a core course; two, three-credit electives; a senior capstone; and a three-credit experiential learning requirement. The first poverty studies course was offered in the spring semester of 2008. At the end of the 2012 spring semester, 80 undergraduates were enrolled as PSIM minors. PSIM shares the intent of Washington and Lee
University’s Interdisciplinary Study of Poverty and Human Capability —to prepare students for lives aimed at diminishing poverty and enhancing human capability through professional and civic efforts—as well as several other features:
- The program is open to all undergraduates from every college and major—at present the percent distribution across colleges is Arts and Letters, 42; Science, 39; Mendoza Business, 14. The School of Architecture and the College of Engineering each have one student enrolled.
- Students combine interdisciplinary and disciplined-based coursework on poverty with experiential learning in their areas of special interest in order to supplement their major areas of study—the vast majority fulfill their experiential requirement by participating in the Center for Social Concerns Summer Service Learning Programs that place more than 250 students in eight- to 10-week service internships across the United States and in 16 developing nations, bringing them into contact with marginalized and vulnerable populations.
- Affiliated faculty from Notre Dame’s various colleges support the program—currently 62 faculty members from the natural and social sciences, humanities, fine and performing arts, engineering, and business divisions offer about 50 unduplicated, disciplined-based courses each year.
- PSIM coursework culminates in either a capstone seminar or a research project that connects their concerns about poverty to their future careers.
Notre Dame joined SHECP in April 2011 and placed its first two Shepherd interns in the summer of 2012. To be eligible for a Shepherd internship students must have completed either the three-credit PSIM gateway course, “Introduction to Poverty Studies,” or the Catholic Social Tradition’s minor core course.
SHECP Council Member and Academic Director
Connie Snyder Mick, Ph.D.
Director of Community-Based Learning and co-director of the Poverty Studies Interdisciplinary Minor
Lulama “Lulu” Moyo
Assistant Director, Community-Engaged Learning Program, Center for Social Concerns