Latest News

New ISLA grant program to increase underserved students’ access to research opportunities

Author: Beth Staples

Categories: Undergraduate News, Research, and General News

The College of Arts and Letters’ Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts is dismantling financial barriers to help a wider range of students take part in faculty-mentored summer research.Starting this May, ISLA’s Research Access Mentoring Program (RAMP) grant will provide awardees from the College of Arts and Letters with a stipend of $3,500, room and board, and a research allowance of up to $1,500 to take part in 10-week, on-campus projects of interest. Recipients also will receive tuition for a 3-credit summer course.

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Economics major Trevor Lwere named Notre Dame’s first Schwarzman Scholar

Author: Erin Blasko

Categories: Undergraduate News, Research, Internationalism, General News, and Catholicism

Notre Dame senior Trevor Lwere will pursue a Master of Global Affairs in Beijing next year as a member of the Schwarzman Scholar Class of 2023. A native of Kampala, Uganda, he is one of 151 Schwarzman Scholars form a pool of nearly 3,000 applicants from around the globe. He is Notre Dame’s first Schwarzman Scholar since the program was established in 2016. Lwere is an economics major and philosophy, politics and economics minor, with a supplementary major in global affairs. He is a member of the Hesburgh-Yusko Scholars Program, the Glynn Family Honors Program and the Kellogg Institute International Scholars Program.

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Sociologist's study sheds light on relationship between COVID-19 vaccine messaging and faith communities

Author: Carrie Gates

Categories: Research, General News, Faculty News, and Centers and Institutes

In the drive to vaccinate Americans against COVID-19, many question where faith communities stand. A new study by Notre Dame sociologist Kraig Beyerlein found that 30 percent of congregants in the United States heard solely encouraging messages about vaccination from faith leaders or fellow members. Another third heard both encouraging and discouraging messaging, and 32 percent heard no messaging at all. Notably, only 5 percent of American congregants received only discouraging messages concerning vaccination from their faith communities.

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Philanthropy and the Common Good class awards $78,600 to local nonprofits

Author: Erin Blasko

Categories: Undergraduate News, General News, and Centers and Institutes

Offered through the Department of Political Science, the Hesburgh Program in Public Service, the Constitutional Studies minor, and the Center for Citizenship and Constitutional Government, Philanthropy and the Common Good is an experiential course that offers students the opportunity to engage with local nonprofits while learning about the history and role of philanthropy in the U.S. Students in the class this semester awarded grants totaling $78,600 to five organizations during a ceremony on the National Day of Giving.

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Kathleen Sprows Cummings, 2021 Sheedy Award for Excellence in Teaching recipient, lauded for making history ‘come alive with connections from today’

Author: Beth Staples

Categories: General News, Faculty News, Centers and Institutes, and Catholicism

On her first day teaching at Notre Dame in the late 1990s, then-doctoral student Kathleen Sprows Cummings asked her undergraduates in Ethnicity and American Identity to share why they were taking the course. “Nothing else was open,” was the first reply. It wasn’t the only one.

Times change. Cummings, now the Rev. John A. O'Brien Collegiate Professor of American Studies and History and director of the Cushwa Center for American Catholicism, is the winner of the 2021 Sheedy Excellence in Teaching Award, the highest teaching honor in the College of Arts & Letters. “She has shaped me into a better student, Catholic, woman, and member of society,” one senior wrote in her letter recommending Cummings for the award. “I strive to become the type of woman and professional that she is.”

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Debuting solo show at Notre Dame, artist-in-residence Reginald Dwayne Betts explores lasting effects of incarceration and the power of the written word

Author: Carrie Gates

Categories: General News, Centers and Institutes, and Arts

When Reginald Dwayne Betts hears the word prison, his first thoughts aren’t about violence or distance or time — he thinks about books. Betts, an artist-in-residence at the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study and the Notre Dame Initiative on Race and Resilience, was sentenced to nine years in prison as a 16-year-old. It was there that a book, slid under the door of his cell, changed the course of his life. Now an acclaimed poet, graduate of Yale Law School and 2021 MacArthur Fellow, Betts presented the debut of his solo show Nov. 17 and 18 in the Regis Philbin Studio Theatre at the University of Notre Dame’s DeBartolo Performing Arts Center.

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Arts & Letters alumna MacKenzie Isaac named 2022 Rhodes Scholar

Author: Erin Blasko

Categories: Undergraduate News, Research, National Fellowships, General News, and Centers and Institutes

Notre Dame alumna MacKenzie Isaac ’20 will study at the University of Oxford in England next year as a member of the U.S. Rhodes Scholar Class of 2022. She is one of 32 Rhodes Scholars selected from a pool of 826 candidates this year, and is Notre Dame’s 21st Rhodes Scholar overall and fourth in the past five years. She graduated in 2020 with a Bachelor of Arts in sociology, minoring in data science and Latino studies.

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Sociologist's research shows gay men earn undergraduate and graduate degrees at the highest rate in the U.S.

Author: Colleen Sharkey

Categories: Research, General News, and Faculty News

Using new data, Notre Dame sociologist Joel Mittleman analyzed how sexuality shapes academic performance in unprecedented detail. Mittleman found that gay men’s academic success doesn’t just subtly outshine straight men’s. Roughly 52 percent of gay men in the U.S. have a bachelor’s degree, while the overall national number for all adults in the U.S. is 36 percent. Six percent of gay men in the U.S. have an advanced degree (J.D., M.D., or Ph.D.), which is about 50 percent higher than that of straight men. 

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The crossroads of everything: Medieval Institute celebrates 75th anniversary, showcasing why the Middle Ages matter to the modern world

Fall Saturdays on Notre Dame’s campus are filled with familiar touchstones. Helmeted competitors preparing to face off. A glint of sunlight reflecting off a majestic wing. Cherished objects brought out for admiring fans. Spectators reveling in the pageantry of it all. But this year, some of those displays predate American football by centuries. Thanks to the Medieval Institute — which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year — home game Saturdays have featured medieval objects and traditions, from fencing demonstrations to falconry, blacksmithing, astronomy, and more. 

“The Middle Ages are amazingly important to understanding the modern world,” said Thomas Burman, the Robert M. Conway Director of the Medieval Institute. “That’s part of the reason we say they are ‘the crossroads of everything.’ There are all kinds of things about modern culture that are medieval in origin, including scientific traditions, universities and representative democracy.” 

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With ISLA grant, musicologist researches The Pilgrim’s Progress in London

Author: Joshua Hubbard

Categories: Research and Faculty News

Christopher Chowrimootoo recently traveled to London to research the history of Ralph Vaughan Williams’ opera The Pilgrim’s Progress. Based on Paul Bunyan’s 1678 allegorical novel, the opera began as a one-act production in 1921 before evolving into a motet in 1940 and a radio dramatization in 1942. In 1951, The Pilgrim’s Progress premiered at the Royal Opera House. Supported by an ISLA Small Grant for Research and Creative Work, Chowrimootoo worked at the British Library for two weeks during the summer of 2019, studying librettos, scores, and photographs of the original production. The research yielded valuable insight into Vaughan Williams’ process and the reception of the work as reported in contemporary newspapers.

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Video: Notre Dame psychologist Theodore Beauchaine on using research and technology to prevent suicide

Author: Todd Boruff

Categories: Research and General News

Theodore Beauchaine, the William K. Warren Foundation Professor of Psychology at Notre Dame, is co-director of the Suicide Prevention Initiative—Research, Intervention, & Training (SPIRIT), located off campus at the Department of Psychology Clinical Studies Building. Along with co-director Brooke Ammerman, Beauchaine is helping to teach children and adolescents in the South Bend community to better regulate their emotions, with the goal of reducing risk factors for suicide. One promising tool he is researching is a pocket-sized music player with earbuds that stimulate the vagus nerve with a low amplitude electrical current. “If one has heart disease, you don't wait until they have a first heart attack to intervene. It turns out that suicide prevention is similar to that,” he said.

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How a PLS professor’s research on the lives of medieval nuns inspired the bestselling novel Matrix

Author: Beth Staples

Categories: Research and Faculty News

Lauren Groff’s bestselling historical novel Matrix captures a medieval world that Notre Dame Program of Liberal Studies assistant professor Katie Bugyis has always imagined. “It’s an extraordinary gift,” said Bugyis, a historian of Christian theology and liturgical practice who reconstructs the lived experiences of religious women in the Middle Ages. “She saw what has been in my mind and that I always hoped other people might see.” Bugyis’s research on routines and rituals of medieval nuns might not seem like an obvious storyline for a National Book Award finalist, but it immediately garnered Groff’s attention.

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History alumnus Christopher Grady ’84 nominated to be vice chair of Joint Chiefs of Staff

Author: Dennis Brown

Categories: General News and Alumni

Notre Dame alumnus Adm. Christopher Grady, the first and only four-star flag or general officer from Notre Dame, has been nominated vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the No. 2 military officer in the country. A history major and three-time monogram winner for fencing, Grady is commander of U.S. Fleet Forces Command, Naval Forces Northern Command, and Naval Forces Strategic Command.

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College of Arts & Letters creates new minor in sport, media, and culture

Author: Josh Weinhold

Categories: Undergraduate News, General News, and Faculty News

Notre Dame is launching a dynamic new minor in sport, media, and culture (SMAC), a program designed for students interested in careers in sports media and diving deep into critical analyses of sports, representation, and power. Led by the Department of American Studies in partnership with the Department of Film, Television, and Theatre, the SMAC minor focuses on the intersection of sports and culture in all forms of media — art, history, journalism, radio, TV, film, and social media. Through an interdisciplinary, scholarly approach to sports studies, students will analyze issues of race, gender, sexuality, class and inequality that shape the modern athletic, business, cultural, and political landscapes.

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How the Program of Liberal Studies prepared John Blasi ’90 for success in consulting and information security — and why he’s always looking to hire liberal arts majors  

Author: Carrie Gates

Categories: Internationalism, General News, and Alumni

As a managing director in Accenture's Information Security group, John Blasi ’90 is constantly evaluating new security technologies. His goal is to stay ahead of would-be hackers and other malicious activity and to protect the company’s more than 500,000 employees worldwide. To do so, the Chicago-based executive needs more than just technical skills in the people he hires — he needs a multidisciplinary team that is creative, adaptive, and responsive. He needs liberal arts majors.

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University of Notre Dame confers honorary degree on Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew

Author: Carrie Gates

Categories: Catholicism

In an academic convocation at the University of Notre Dame’s Basilica of the Sacred Heart on Thursday evening (Oct. 28), His All-Holiness Bartholomew, Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch, received an honorary degree from the University and offered an address on environmental sustainability and the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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College of Arts & Letters launches new minor in health, humanities, and society

Author: Josh Weinhold

Categories: Undergraduate News, General News, Faculty News, and Centers and Institutes

Notre Dame’s College of Arts & Letters has launched a new minor in health, humanities, and society, an interdisciplinary program designed to help students analyze the wide range of social and humanistic issues connected to health and medicine. Housed in the John J. Reilly Center for Science, Technology, and Values, the 15-credit minor will offer courses that give undergraduates interested in health-related careers an understanding of the historical precedent, ethical dilemmas, cultural nuance, social complexity, and political economy associated with medicine — and how to apply those lessons to social health in local, scalable, and transferable ways. 

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Lights, camera … opera: Film premiering at DPAC showcases talent — and pandemic perseverance — of Opera Notre Dame students and faculty

Author: Pat Milhizer

Categories: Undergraduate News, Graduate Students, General News, Faculty News, and Arts

Amidst all the anxiety and upheaval created by the coronavirus pandemic, Opera Notre Dame faced a difficult and unique dilemma. How do you give a voice to voice students when their foremost skill — singing opera — poses a potential health risk to others? As uncertainty reigned, they got creative — to make an opera production that was artistically meaningful, educationally rich, and as safe as possible, they made a movie. Please Look: A Cinematic Opera Experience premieres this week at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center’s Browning Cinema.

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With NSF grant, interdisciplinary Notre Dame team aims to develop national model for community-university partnerships that can help revive Rust Belt cities 

Author: Pat Milhizer

Categories: Research, General News, Faculty News, and Centers and Institutes

An interdisciplinary team of Notre Dame faculty is leading an effort with institutions in Ohio and Kentucky to replicate an experiential learning model for attracting and retaining diverse STEM workforces in Rust Belt cities through university-community partnerships that strengthen quality of life. The three-year project, Replication of a Community-Engaged Educational Ecosystem Model in Rust Belt Cities, is supported by more than $2.5 million from the National Science Foundation’s Improving Undergraduate STEM Education program, $1.1 million of which is directed to Notre Dame. Led by the Center for Civic Innovation — which uses technology and methods to address pressing issues in the South Bend/Elkhart area — the project also involves College of Engineering and Department of Psychology faculty in the effort to understand how CCI’s model for community improvement projects functions in other cities under varying circumstances.

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