2019-2020 University Catalog 
    Feb 27, 2024  
2019-2020 University Catalog archived

Poverty and Human Capability Studies (POV)

Poverty and inequality pose some of today’s most pressing moral and social challenges. The Shepherd Program integrates thought and action to prepare students from different majors, different career paths, and different political perspectives to understand and address the causes and consequences of poverty in ways that respect the dignity of every person.  

Students weave together poverty-related courses across campus (economics, education, law, philosophy, politics, sociology, and more) and related service and internship experiences across the county, the country, and the world. Those pursuing a minor in poverty studies also complete capstone research that connects their concerns about poverty and inequality with their future civic and professional lives.

Interdisciplinary Learning. This interdisciplinary program combines thought and action to prepare students to understand and address the causes and consequences of poverty in ways that respect the dignity of every person. Our unique combination of academic coursework and community-based learning complements any undergraduate major or course of study in the law school. Undergraduate students may pursue a minor in poverty studies, which integrates introductory and advanced courses, volunteer and research opportunities as well as subsidized summer internships (local, domestic, and international) in partnership with social impact organizations and their surrounding communities. See Poverty and Human Capability Studies minor  .

Community-Based Learning and Leadership. In addition to coursework and summer internships, Shepherd students also participate in and serve as leaders of our community-based learning programs, including the Bonner Program, the Campus Kitchen at Washington and Lee, the Community-Academic Research Alliance (CARA), Nabors Service League, and Volunteer Venture (a pre-orientation service trip that connects incoming students with one another, with upperclass trip leaders, and with anti-poverty organizations in the surrounding region). 

Career Paths. Whether they plan to minor in poverty studies or not, students choose from a wide variety of academic and internship opportunities that help develop insights and skills to inform their future professional, academic, and/or civic lives. Although there are as many particular paths through Shepherd as there are students, common career pathways for Shepherd students include business, education, health care, law, politics, and social services. Seniors and young alumni can continue their learning beyond graduation through the Elrod Fellowship, a one-to-two-year opportunity for employment with a public-interest agency that serves low-income communities in the Baltimore and Washington, D.C. areas. Elrod Fellows are supported by alumni mentors and alumni-sponsored seminars for continuing education.

Our History. Made possible through an initial gift from Tom (Class of 1952) and Nancy Shepherd and subsequent gifts from many additional donors, the Shepherd Program was established in 1997 and is committed to the University mission: to prepare graduates for “life-long learning, personal achievement, responsible leadership, service to others, and engaged citizenship in a global and diverse society.”

Program Head: Howard Pickett

Core Faculty

First date is the year in which the faculty member began service as regular faculty at the University. Second date is the year of appointment to the present rank.

N. Melina Bell, Ph.D.—(2005)-2017
Professor of Philosophy and Law
Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania

Timothy M. Diette, Ph.D.—(2004)-2019
Professor of Economics
Ph.D., University of North Carolina

Jonathan Eastwood, Ph.D.—(2006)-2010
Associate Professor of Sociology
Ph.D., Boston University

Arthur H. Goldsmith, Ph.D.—(1990)-1996
Jackson T. Stephens Professor of Economics
Ph.D., University of Illinois

Christopher M. Handy, Ph.D.—(2013)-2013
Assistant Professor of Economics
Ph.D., Cornell University

John D. King, J.D., LL.M.—(2008)-2013
Associate Clinical Professor of Law
LL.M., Georgetown University

Deborah Miranda, Ph.D.—(2004)-2013
John Lucian Smith Jr. Professor of English
Ph.D., University of Washington

Karla K. Murdock, Ph.D.—(2005)-2013
David G. Elmes Professor of Psychology
Ph.D., University of Georgia

Marcos Emilio Pérez, Ph.D.—(2018)-2018, 2019
Assistant Professor of Sociology and Anthropology and Adjunct Professor of Law
Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin

Howard Y. Pickett, Ph.D.—(2011)-2019
Associate Professor of Poverty and Human Capability
Ph.D., University of Virginia

Joan M. Shaughnessy, J.D.—(1983)-1994
Roger D. Groot Professor of Law
J.D., University of Chicago

Katharine L. Shester, Ph.D.—(2011)-2011
Assistant Professor of Economics
Ph.D., Vanderbilt University

Erin Taylor, Ph.D.—(2016)-2016
Assistant Professor of Philosophy
Ph.D., University of California at Los Angeles