Emily Nickles, Page Editor
Last week, TWU’s Global Connections and the College of Arts and Sciences hosted a visit and lecture by Associate Director of the Center for Social Concerns of the University of Notre Dame Dr. Connie Mick. Mick is also the Co-Director of the Poverty Studies Interdisciplinary Minor at Notre Dame. In light of her pioneering the Poverty Studies minor at her university, Mick outlined the learning goals and benefits of having the program.
Her focus is to supply students from any major the opportunity to learn about poverty and to become active in community outreach programs — which will become helpful especially in jobs that interact with the nation’s poorest populations. Mick emphasized the importance of listening to people and then asking questions before passing judgment.
In an interview, Mick shared how she became interested in poverty studies: “I was an English major all through undergraduate and graduate school, and literature really helps you to understand deeply the human experience. It helps us to ask those deep questions about who we are and who we should be for each other. So I moved from studying literature to studying real people and the real stories — the lived stories.”
At the end of the lecture, Mick left the audience with a quote by Susan Sontag: “Compassion is an unstable emotion. It needs to be translated into action or it withers.” In Mick’s Poverty Studies courses, this quote is the leading directive for her program with a combination of classroom and real-world experience.