CSU, Chico News

Students Present Research on North State Poverty Dec. 10

Date: 12-09-2014

Sarah Langford
Public Affairs
Thia Wolf, director
First-Year Experience Program

Students in a first-year course at California State University, Chico will present their research tracking poverty in the North State’s 12 counties during a showcase on Wednesday, Dec. 10, from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. in Tehama 116.

The inaugural Poverty Mapping Showcase will feature a graphic display of students’ data, which they gathered using geographic information systems and by conducting interviews with community members and government officials. The event will also feature student research on four of the poorest counties from which CSU, Chico draws its students.

The event was created by faculty in the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences and in the Multicultural and Gender Studies Program. Professors Analia Martinez, Kristen Mahlis, April Kelly and Stephanie Hamel merged an introductory course in multicultural and gender studies with the required course in small-group communication. The result is a U-Course Learning Community, a combined course for first-year students, which has connected the two courses through an ongoing thematic of considering poverty.

CSU, Chico serves counties in which up to 25 percent of its residents live in poverty. In recent months, faculty from several disciplines have worked together to bring attention to the issue of local poverty and incorporate it into coursework, said Thia Wolf, director of the First-Year Experience Program.

“This event is meant especially to serve faculty who are working with social work professor Susan Roll, recreation professor Laurie Browne and civic engagement director Ellie Ertle to develop an ‘impact lab’ focused on poverty,” Wolf said. “The idea is that faculty from across several disciplines will explore a shared theme of public concern in multiple courses, allowing students to examine the issue through more than one disciplinary lens and co-design with communities ways to address public problems meaningfully.”

Members of the public are invited to attend the Poverty Mapping Showcase to learn about poverty in the local region. The event is free of charge.

CSU, Chico’s First-Year Experience Program aims to help new students acclimate to college life by engaging them in civic activities. It includes U-Courses, which combine general education courses to examine public-policy issues with a hands-on approach. For more information, please visit www.csuchico.edu/fye.