The University of Vermont strengthened its commitment to better understand and create solutions that reduce societal inequities caused by poverty by joining the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty (SHECP).
“The consortium supports curriculum and experiential learning experiences that shine a light on these critical societal challenges and highlights the fact that human beings are our most valuable natural resource,” said UVM Dean Cindy Gerstl-Pepin.
The consortium, a 21-member organization of colleges and universities, encourages the exploration of poverty as a complex social problem by expanding and improving educational opportunities for college students. The partnership gives UVM’s College of Education and Social Services (CESS) the ability to work with member institutions to develop and integrate a rigorous classroom study of poverty with tailored summer internships and co-curricular activities during the academic year.
“Joining the consortium is a natural extension of our work in the college,” said Cindy Gerstl-Pepin, interim dean of CESS and an expert on the implications of how poverty and other forms of discrimination contribute to inequitable education outcomes. “Social workers and educators are on the front lines of dealing with how poverty can affect academic achievement, personal health, and stable employment and housing. The outcomes of poverty such as food insecurity, lack of access to affordable healthcare and quality early childhood education can have a deep impact on a child’s development and opportunity to lead a meaningful and fulfilling life. The consortium supports curriculum and experiential learning experiences that shine a light on these critical societal challenges and highlights the fact that human beings are our most valuable natural resource.”