Sheedy Teaching Award

The Sheedy Excellence in Teaching Award is presented annually to an outstanding teacher in the College of Arts and Letters.

The Sheedy award was founded in 1970 in honor of Rev. Charles E. Sheedy, C.S.C., who served as dean of the College from 1951–69, and acknowledges a faculty member who has sustained excellence in research and instruction over a wide range of courses. This individual must also motivate and enrich students using innovative and creative teaching methods and influence teaching and learning within the department, College, and University.

John Sitter, 2014 Sheedy Award winner

2014 Award Recipient

Professor John Sitter
The Mary Lee Duda Professor of Literature
Department of English

Professor Sitter will be formally presented with the 2014 Sheedy Award on Tuesday, December 2, 2014, at 3:30 p.m. in McKenna Hall. Professor Julia Douthwaite, the 2013 Sheedy Award winner, will introduce Professor Sitter, who will then deliver a brief reflection on teaching.

Faculty profile >


Julia Douthwaite, 2013 Sheedy Award winner

2013 Award Recipient

Professor Julia Douthwaite
Department of Romance Languages and Literatures

Douthwaite is known for her innovation within and outside the classroom. “I have been consistently impressed by Julia’s creativity and rigor,” says one colleague, “which have produced exceptionally important initiatives such as the DIGNITY project she brought to campus [in 2012].”

The DIGNITY project, which honored the tricentennial of Swiss philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s birth, included a series of guest lectures and a powerful photography exhibit on poverty and human rights in conjunction with Amnesty International. Douthwaite collaborated with several of her students to bring the exhibit to the Snite Museum of Art. She credits them for helping make the project a reality and says she has learned from their ebullience.

“That spirit of ‘Why not? Let’s try it!’ is inspiring,” she says. “We laughed together thinking we were going to do this—and then we did it. It was a wonderful experience.”

Watch the video >
Read more about Julia Douthwaite >
Faculty profile >


Peter Holland

2012 Award Recipient

Professor Peter Holland
The McMeel Family Professor of Shakespeare Studies
Department of Film, Television, and Theatre

“Teaching ‘Shakespeare and’ as I usually do—Shakespeare and Film, Shakespeare and Performance, Shakespeare and Editing, for instance—is not the same as teaching some version of ‘Shakespeare’ tout court, something I’ve not yet done at Notre Dame. One of the series I’m involved in as a General Editor, is Oxford Shakespeare Topics, an Oxford University Press series, which I run with Stanley Wells, and currently stretching to 22 volumes, nearly all with titles in the form ‘Shakespeare and’ (and Text, and Masculinity, and the Drama of His Time, and Material Culture, and the Bible and so on), leavened with a few ‘Shakespeare in’s (in America, in Eastern Europe, in the 18th century). It seems to be the way my mind works and my discipline thinks but it involves a complex interrogation of the copula; as I try to make plain in my course on ‘Shakespeare and Film’, the ‘and’ in the middle is a really complex dynamic, not a simple linkage. How one might get from the one side of ‘and’ to the other is the crucial question, in either direction.”

Read more of his acceptance speech >
Watch the video >
Faculty profile >


Thomas Noble

2011 Award Recipient

Professor Thomas F.X. Noble
Department of History

“For as long as I can remember, I have had a voracious curiosity. At some level, almost everything interests me. I believe that the capacity to be curious about a wide array of subjects has helped me to be curious about the different students I have encountered, to be open to them, to be interested in them. I have also found ways, more or less subtle depending on circumstances, to mix preparation and curiosity in such a way as to draw students into my world, my subject, my passions, my interests.”

Read more of his acceptance speech >
Faculty profile >


Jim Collins

2010 Award Recipient

Professor James Collins
Department of Film, Television, and Theatre

“All of [my] teaching experiences gave me insights I would have never otherwise acquired if I hadn’t tried to enrich the conversations I have with my undergraduates. They made me a better teacher because, quite simply, I became a better learner. Being a student of teaching means you have to remain constantly open to how other teachers practice their crafts. One of the most important things I’ve learned about teaching is how to make what seems to be simple far more complicated than it might appear but also how to take what seems overwhelmingly complex and show how simple it can be if you ask the right questions.”

Read more of his acceptance speech >
Faculty profile >


Richard Pierce

2009 Award Recipient

Associate Professor Richard Pierce
Africana Studies

“It is so very easy to teach facts, formulas, and method, but it is so much more difficult to teach students to be creative. So often creativity is defined and marked by performance: a virtuoso musical performance, a new twist to an old painting style, or an athlete who brings beauty to an old form. But academics can also be creative. It’s the marriage of knowledge, insight, and courage.”

Read more of his acceptance speech >
Faculty profile >



To view a list of additional former recipients of the Sheedy Excellence in Teaching Award as well as a selection of past acceptance speeches, visit the Award Recipients page.

Arts and Letters News

  • Video: Arts and Letters Alumnus Bob Conway, Senior Director, Goldman Sachs

    Bob Conway ’66

    “The breadth of studies that I had at Notre Dame, whether it was in philosophy, or theology, or economics, or history, all developed a context for me and will for any liberal arts student,” said Bob Conway ’66. Conway is senior director for The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., in London, England. He feels that the writing and communication skills he gained as a government major were critical to his success and are essential in any career. Read More >

  • Sociologist Jennifer Jones to Convene Afro-Latino Conference

    Jennifer Jones

    Jennifer Jones, Institute for Latino Studies faculty fellow and assistant professor in Notre Dame’s Department of Sociology, will convene a conference on Afro-Latinos in Movement: Critical Approaches to Blackness and Transnationalism in the Americas on October 31, 2014. The conference and an accompanying volume, for which Professor Jones will serve as co-editor, explore broad questions of black identity and representation, transnationalism and diaspora, with a particular interest in research on Afro-Latinos in the United States. Read More >

  • Notre Dame Sociologist Explores Enduring Influence of Ku Klux Klan in Contemporary Political Polarization

    Rory McVeigh

    The notorious activities of the Ku Klux Klan nearly a half-century ago continue to exert an influence on contemporary American politics, according to Rory McVeigh, professor and chair of the Department of Sociology at the University of Notre Dame. Read More >

  • FTT Students Shine at National Auditions

    Zuri Eshun '14

    “Imagine a kind of live, national GRE exam where students audition in open competition against one another, evaluated by representatives from the best graduate theatre programs,” said Professor Jim Collins, chair of the Department of Film, Television, and Theatre (FTT). Notre Dame had record success in 2014 at the national auditions organized by the University/Resident Theatre organization (URTA), with six of the seven FTT students who auditioned receiving offers from graduate programs in attendance. Read More >