Grant to Fund Teaching Conference at Millsaps College

Louwanda Evans, assistant professor of sociology at Millsaps College, won a grant from the Associated Colleges of the South (ASC) to sponsor a workshop for ACS faculty to discuss the gateway poverty course offered by all twenty-two Shepherd Consortium schools.  The grant from ACS will support up to two faculty participants from each of the six ASC schools that are SHECP members: Centre College, Furman University, Hendrix College, Millsaps College, Spelman College, and Washington and Lee University.  SHECP has invited faculty from other member schools to join this two-day discussion of the gateway, introductory, interdisciplinary course on poverty by which students become eligible for SHECP summer internship.

Faculty from these schools will gather at Millsaps College on June 23 and 24 to discuss learning the most promising approaches to teach the course and to explore ways in which interdisciplinary, discussion-based courses can be blended with collaborative use of electronic technology. They will explore interactive lectures and classes, common projects for students from different schools, making resources available on-lined to all Consortium faculty and students, and joining to hear and exchange ideas with scholars and practitioners who have contributed to the national discussion of poverty and how to diminish it.

Anita DeRouen, Assistant Professor of English and Director of Writing & Teaching at Millsaps College, will offer examples of blended learning she has used. Faculty will depart the conference with an agenda for incorporating blended learning into their courses and proposals for SHECP to utilize its resources to execute these new ventures.  The results will enrich introductory poverty courses at all of the Consortium schools and become a model for other institutions to unite in benefitting from collaborative blending-learning projects focused on poverty.

The initiative for this conference emerged from a promising practices meeting at SHECP’s most recent closing conference in August 2013.  Rebecca Todd Peters, Director of Poverty and Social Justice and Professor of Religious Studies at Elon University, and James Calvin Davis, Professor of Religion at Middlebury College and Chair of the Shepherd Consortium Board of Directors, led that meeting. They have thanked Professor Evans for following up on their recommendation for a sustained meeting to discuss collaboration to enrich Consortium teaching on poverty.  They anticipate multiple new collaborative initiatives across the Consortium schools.