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Building a Better Future World: Poverty

Poverty, inequality, and a consideration of whose voices are being included in policy decisions affecting our society are just a few of the issues that confront us today. Is equity for all possible or is it a figment of our imagination? In Building a Better Future World: Poverty, students will be introduced to the principles, theories, and methodology of psychology, while exploring how their study of poverty as a factor in their own lives move us towards building a better future world. Students will explore strategies and solutions, and wrestle with the question, can we really make a difference?

PSYC 104 - General Psychology
Instructor Robyn Kelton

Fulfills Goal 3 Social Sciences (GE3S), 3 credit hours

This course provides students with a basic introduction to the science of psychology and helps them develop a foundation of knowledge that builds across fundamental areas of study. Upon completing PSYC 104, students will be able to demonstrate basic competence in the principles, theories, and analytic methods used in social sciences.  In taking this course, students should expect to be able: to develop a fundamental understanding of the science of psychology, the study of thought, feelings, and behavior; to construct a working vocabulary of terminology used in psychology and a familiarity with key people and ideas that have shaped psychology; to practice systematic and technical writing skills as utilized in the psychological sciences; to think critically about the importance of scientific methods and ethical principles of research design, and how these contribute to the body of knowledge about psychology; to understand the connections between content areas within psychology, and how to apply those psychological principles to daily life and new situations; and to create a foundation of psychology knowledge as a prerequisite for all other psychology courses at KU.

Robyn Kelton is a 4th year PhD student in the Cognitive and Brain Sciences program at the University of Kansas. Robyn is a return Jayhawk who graduated with a BA in Psychology from KU in 2005. Before returning to KU, she spent several years conducting research and training in the field of early childhood education. Her main areas of research include child development, memory development, negative autobiographical memory, and how the way we recall our memories for stressful or traumatic events influences our wellbeing.   

SW 177 - Poverty & Inequality in the U.S.: Causes, Consequences, & Solutions
Alice Lieberman, Social Welfare

Fulfills Goal 1 Outcome 1 (GE11), 3 credit hours

The problem of poverty and inequality is “hot” again. Stories about job creation, the “Occupy” movement, the vanishing working class, the Brownback “blueprint” and the debates from left to right about how best to grow the economy all speak to the importance of poverty as a factor in our own lives, regardless of which side of the economic divide we live on. This course will use a variety of field and classroom tools to come to a deeper understanding of the problem, and our potential obligations as citizens to address it.

We will begin with definitions and historical underpinnings, and then move to an exploration of our topic through social, political, economic, and anthropological lenses. Although not central to the course, but critical to a full understanding of the subject, global poverty and its antecedents will also be covered. Major themes will include the measurement of poverty (from the perspective of both “insiders” and “outsiders”), its demographics, why inequality is a serious problem for the rich as well as the poor, and the effectiveness of various solutions attempted throughout history (from “the War on Poverty” to “Reaganomics,” state vs. federal programs vs. private, non-profit entities as service/benefit deliverers).

Professor Alice LiebermanAlice Lieberman is the Chancellor’s Club Professor of Teaching and Chair of the Bachelor of Social Work Program in the School of Social Welfare. She has written and researched extensively in the broad field of child welfare, with particular attention to children in the foster care system. Poverty is a primary correlate of child abuse and neglect; thus her interest in poverty in families is driven by a desire to know more about its impact on children and succeeding generations, and to contribute to the development of solutions for its amelioration.

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