Discuss the integration of teaching, research, and service directed towards policies and interventions to confront poverty and inequality.
The Learning Community on Poverty and Inequality (LCPI) promotes opportunities to link the research, policy and service, and teaching interests of faculty for whom poverty and inequality are some of the compelling core roots of their scholarship. We bring together macro- and micro-oriented faculty and students who approach poverty and inequality with widely disparate perspectives. We welcome particpants who bring multi-level and diverse theoretical and methodological orientations.
The LCPI was established in 2011 at the requests of both faculty and students to focus more academic opportunities around poverty and inequality issues. In its first years the group hopes to develop a unique curricular “space” for these concerns in order to enhance new research and program directions while providing stronger ties with policy makers and practicioners.
Many courses currently include content on poverty and inequality, but none are specifically focused on the topic. Mini-courses directly confront specific issues, which is why the development of mini-courses focusing on specific target groups and/or causes and consequences of poverty and inequality are necessary. The LCPI will merge teaching and research by engaging students and faculty in this process. Students would be encouraged to consider and act on research directions proposed in their coursework or field placement.
The Learning Community will work with the Office of Field Instruction and field agencies directly to explore learning opportunities, potential research collaborations, and additional field placement options. Collaborations could take the form of program evaluation assistance, joint development of needs assessments, and use of emerging research technologies to support improved analyses of administrative data and the design of interventions.
Joint program Ph.D. students have developed and now direct a Rackham Interdisciplinary Group on Poverty and Inequality and draw many students across the campus to their events and student research presentations.
The learning community anticipates that, as a tight-knit group of faculty and students, there will be increased opportunities for collaboration on products that contribute to the understanding of poverty and equality and inform solution-oriented practice. These opportunities could lead to policy briefs, articles, grant proposals, or a published book.
The learning community will serve as a forum to discuss current policies and proposals and how they might impact low-income families. As a result of this discussion, there is potential for students to collaborate on writing policy memos or op-ed articles presenting information that summarizes the current issue and suggests future action. This type of work could be useful for state policy makers, human services executives, and could even lead to co-authored publications.
Associate Professor of Urban and Regional Planning
School of Natural Resources and Environment
School of Education