The Shepherd Consortium (SHECP) is pleased to welcome its newest member, Manchester University (MU), to membership. Located in North Manchester, Indiana, MU sits in a rural part of the state, in a community of 6,000. With a student body of 1,300, nearly 30 percent of Manchester’s students arrive to campus as first-generation students. Katharine Gray Brown, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Peace Studies and Director of Manchester’s Peace Studies Institute, sees MU’s membership in SHECP as an opportunity to widen students’ experiences beyond Indiana:
Joining the Shepherd Consortium will provide [a] network—a nationwide list of sites that will provide meaningful and secure internship experiences with housing, transportation, and supervision already arranged and a cohort/community for Manchester students. SHECP’s level of experience and student support at sites across the country will be particularly attractive to Manchester students, many of whom have little experience living far from home.
The SHECP program at MU will operate under the direction of Dr. Gray Brown as faculty director within the Peace Studies program—an interdisciplinary major that includes faculty from Philosophy, Social Work, Religious Studies, and Political Science. A new course, “Concerning Poverty,” will serve as the gateway class for the SHECP internship and will be available to all students in Spring 2019. Completion of the gateway course will make students eligible to apply for SHECP’s eight-week summer internship program, during which time students live and work in poverty-challenged communities across the country.
MU’s membership furthers the diversity of SHECP institutions, according to SHECP Academic Director Stephanie Rolph. “Manchester’s location in a rural area of Indiana,” she says, “and the significant number of first-generation students it welcomes, means that not only will Manchester’s students benefit from the internship opportunities that SHECP provides, but students from other institutions will be enriched in their interactions with MU students. It’s a win-win for the Consortium.”
SHECP’s founder and Executive Director Harlan Beckley applauds Manchester’s integration of poverty with peace studies, noting Mahatma Gandhi’s suggestion that “poverty is the worst form of violence.” MU’s new membership in the Consortium, Beckley states, “demonstrates the integration of its historic mission with a seamless extension and honing of that tradition.” That history is noteworthy. In 1948, Manchester, under the direction of Dr. Gladdys Muir, established the first peace studies program in the world and required students to complete Rural Economics as part of their coursework. “We view understanding and alleviating poverty as a central challenge for peacemaking,” Gray Brown reflects, “and are grateful for the opportunity to join forces with other members of the Shepherd Consortium in this work.”
Manchester University joins the University of Notre Dame as the second SHECP member in Indiana, and is welcomed by 23 institutions across the country committed to “the study of poverty as a complex social problem, by expanding and improving educational opportunities for college students in a wide range of disciplines and career trajectories.” SHECP institutions support undergraduates toward “a lifetime of professional and civil efforts to diminish poverty and enhance human capability.”