How should a concerned mother discuss issues of diet and weight with her daughter? Very carefully, according to Erin Hillard, a developmental psychology doctoral student at the University of Notre Dame. In an article recently published in the journal Body Image, Hillard and her colleagues reported on results from their study of a representative group of sixth- through eighth-grade girls and their mothers.
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Did you receive affection, play freely, and feel supported in childhood? Childhood experiences like these appear to have a lot to do with well-being and moral capacities in adulthood. In a forthcoming article in the journal Applied Developmental Science, University of Notre Dame professor of psychology Darcia Narvaez and colleagues Lijuan Wang and Ying Cheng, associate professors of psychology, show that childhood experiences that match with evolved needs lead to better outcomes in adulthood.
Three faculty from the University of Notre Dame received fellowships this week from the National Endowment for the Humanities, continuing the University’s record success winning support for humanities research. Receiving the grants are Julia Douthwaite, a professor of French; Amy Mulligan, an assistant professor of Irish language and literature; and Gabriel Said Reynolds, a professor of Islamic studies and theology. Since 1999, College of Arts and Letters faculty have won 57 NEH fellowships—more than any other private university in the country.
The Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters is launching a new minor in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). The program offers students the opportunity to study linguistics education, learn how to teach English, and develop classroom management and lesson planning skills.
Though Betsy Bohlen ’90 once enjoyed success as a partner at Chicago’s McKinsey and Co., the business leader always knew she eventually wanted to direct her efforts toward nonprofit work, especially within the Catholic Church. “There was a part of me that always felt that, one of these days, I would serve in a more nonprofit capacity,” Bohlen said. “I think there was a calling for me to do that, to apply my leadership skills there.” Today, she is the chief operating officer of the Archdiocese of Chicago, making her the highest ranking woman in Chicago’s Catholic Church.
After nearly 40 years of pop culture relevancy, the Star Wars saga is continuing this month with the December 18 release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Fans are lining up to see beloved characters return to the screen, including Han Solo and General Leia, and to welcome several new ones, including a variety of droids. The enduring popularity of and interest in C-3PO and R2-D2 speaks to the fascination many people have with robotics and artificial intelligence. Although no one will have their own C-3PO soon, a number of University of Notre Dame researchers are working to make droids more science fact than science fiction.
Ballot initiatives, those petition-driven public votes on contested issues, are often disparaged by liberals and conservatives alike for their avoidance of conventional representative democratic processes and their vulnerability to manipulation by well-financed and organized special interest groups. Nevertheless, according to Benjamin Radcliff, professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame, people in states that rely more heavily on such initiatives are, on average, happier than people in other states.
Jessica Payne never dreamed of becoming a rising star in the science of sleep. In fact, until midway through graduate school, she didn’t think much about the subject beyond her own off-and-on problems getting some shut-eye. Now, she can’t keep it off her mind. Payne’s tireless work recently earned her the "Psychonomic Society’s Early Career Award, given to individuals who have made significant contributions to scientific psychology early in their careers.
Notre Dame economics major Melanie Wallskog walked into her professor’s office hours with a question. She walked out with a job. That simple act of reaching out to a professor led to research opportunities in Nicaragua, Ireland, and Chicago. The senior from Bloomington, Indiana, and Glynn Family Honors Scholar has now co-authored a paper with two of her professors and is working on her senior thesis.
During the summer of 2015, Notre Dame history and political science major Matt Souza interviewed laborers in multiple Chinese cities. The goal of his research was to determine whether the official ideology of the Communist Party is still influential amongst Chinese citizens. “All of my findings, they’re actually quite different from all the previous research, and I really want to get my ideas and all my findings out to the public,” he said. Souza’s research was supported by the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program in the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts.
The Notre Dame International Security Center has received a five-year, $3.5 million grant from the Charles Koch Foundation to further develop and expand its role as a forum for broader scholarship on U.S. foreign policy. The grant builds on the significant and wide-ranging support the center has received since it was founded seven years ago—including two grants from the Carnegie Corporation of New York to research how American scholars can contribute to the formation of U.S. national security policy.
Notre Dame Research, together with Notre Dame International, have awarded three new grants for faculty to complete research at the University of Notre Dame’s Rome Global Gateway. Alexander Beihammer, associate professor in the Department of History, will explore the relationship between the Vatican and the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Heather Hyde Minor, associate professor of Renaissance and Baroque Art in the Department of Art, Art History, and Design, will conduct archival research for a book on Johann Joachim Winckelmann.
Graduates of the College of Arts and Letters are in demand in the business world. Through a broad liberal arts education, Arts and Letters students develop problem-solving, analysis, and communication skills—attributes that recruiters from major companies are seeking in college graduates. When companies like Vanguard, Epic Systems, Abercrombie & Fitch, and General Mills come to campus looking to recruit new employees, Arts and Letters students find great jobs.
For married couples, the odds aren’t good when one partner has anxiety or depression. The presence of such a mental issue significantly increases the risk that the couple will get divorced. Notre Dame psychology Ph.D. student Judith Biesen wants to find a way to improve the outcomes for those couples. With an American Dream grant from the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, Biesen is completing a longitudinal study of mental health—specifically, anxiety disorders and depression—and how it relates to marital functioning and satisfaction with the relationship.
A new interdisciplinary fellowship program launched by the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Educational Initiatives will train graduate students in state-of-the-art quantitative methods, allowing them to examine the impact of educational policies, programs, and practices. Beginning in fall 2016, the Rev. James A. Burns Fellowship is open to prospective students applying to Ph.D. programs in economics, political science, psychology, and sociology who plan to pursue educational research.
In a new book, Education and Empowered Citizenship in Mali (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2015), Jaimie Bleck, an assistant professor of political science, explores the relationship between schooling, political knowledge, and political participation in Mali, where access to education nearly tripled in the two decades following the country’s 1991 transition to multiparty democracy.
Three medievalist scholars presented a range of papers on medieval women and religious writings during the Holy Water and Saintly Ink seminar at the London Global Gateway on Nov. 24. Leanne MacDonald and Marjorie Harrington, doctoral students from the College of Arts and Letters and graduate fellows at the London Global Gateway, organized the seminar, while Hetta Howes of the Queen Mary University of London School of English and Drama was also invited to talk.
Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi, assistant professor in the University of Notre Dame’s Department of English, has been named one of the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35. The honor is bestowed to top young fiction writers selected by past National Book Award winners and finalists. Van der Vliet Oloomi, the author of Fra Keeler, was chosen for the list by novelist Dinaw Mengestu, who was a 5 Under 35 honoree after publishing The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears in 2007.
Sarah Tomas Morgan, Scott Copeland, and JesusisLord Nwadiuko were three of 60 College of Arts and Letters students who engaged in an immersive cultural and linguistic experience through the Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures’ Summer Language Abroad program. Through intensive language coursework and daily interaction with native speakers, students rapidly enhanced their command of a foreign language—be it Arabic, Cantonese, Chinese, French, German, Irish, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, or Swahili.
Emmie Mediate, a 2015 graduate of Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters, has been selected to the American Rhodes Scholar Class of 2016. A native of Colorado Springs, Colorado, Mediate was one of 32 Rhodes Scholars selected from a pool of 869 candidates who had been nominated by their colleges and universities. She is Notre Dame’s 17th Rhodes Scholar and the University’s second in two years.
The Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival (NDSF) has announced the titles and audition dates for its upcoming 2016 summer season. In order to explore and celebrate Shakespeare’s final plays, NDSF has selected two works that embody the playwright’s voice at the close of his career. The 2016 season is named “Shakespeare’s Last Words” and will feature adventure, exhilaration, and redemption.
Marie Kissel ’83 traces much of her success back to one key point in her Notre Dame experience: going overseas to Tokyo as an undergraduate. “I’ve got this great job, I’m in a region that’s very exciting—that would not have happened without my opportunities at Notre Dame, especially through the study abroad programs,” she said. Kissel is now vice president for government affairs for Asia at Abbott Laboratories, a global pharmaceuticals and health care products company.
Science and folklore alike have long suggested that high levels of testosterone can facilitate the sorts of attitudes and behavior that make for, well, a less than ideal male parent. It has long been known that among humans (and some other species as well), males who cooperate amicably with their female mates in raising and nurturing offspring often have lower testosterone levels than their more aggressive and occasionally grumpy counterparts. But two University of Notre Dame anthropologists are looking beyond the nuclear family for such effects.
Police are less likely to show up at protests involving religious actors or organizations — unless the protesters are fundamentalist Christians, according to a new study. Notre Dame sociologist Kraig Beyerlein, the lead author of the study, analyzed protest-event data from daily editions of The New York Times published between 1960 and 1995 and found that, in general, police were more likely to leave alone protests from religious groups. However, fundamentalist Christian groups were more likely to be policed than secular groups were.
The University of Notre Dame hosted its 10th annual Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA) orientation in August 2015. Sixty-four scholars from 29 countries gathered at Notre Dame to celebrate their arrival in America and prepare for the upcoming year of teaching their native languages in universities across the U.S.
Anthropologist Rahul Oka has been working with UNHCR and the World Bank on a new refugee camp being built, helping create a template for refugee resettlement. “All the data we’ve collected, both qualitative and quantitative, will inform the new camp. My job is not to tell them that they need a paradigm shift," he said. "My job is to make sure that any development project in which I am involved is informed by on-the-ground analysis and is based on observed reality of local events and behaviors.”
Private school voucher programs are becoming more common, with more than a million U.S. families participating in these programs across the country. A new National Bureau of Economic Research working paper, “Where Does Voucher Funding Go? How Large-Scale Subsidy Programs Affect Private-School Revenue, Enrollment, and Prices,” authored by Notre Dame economist Daniel Hungerman and graduate student Kevin Rinz, provides the first study of how school choice programs affect the finances of private schools and the affordability of a private education.
A football game isn’t the only thing Notre Dame is bringing to Boston in late November. As part of a weekend of events surrounding the Shamrock Series, Notre Dame’s annual home-away-from-home football game, the College of Arts and Letters will host a pair of academic conversations the day before the Fighting Irish face Boston College at Fenway Park. Notre Dame historians will offer an interdisciplinary look at the impact of Irish immigration on American religious and political structures, as well as the role of the U.S. in the 1916 Easter Rising, while economists will discuss research initiatives that aim to change the way humanitarian services help the poor both domestically and abroad.
For students in the College of Arts and Letters, the unparalleled liberal arts education they receive is grounded in and enhanced by the Catholic intellectual life fostered on campus. Catholicism is an essential part of courses that every student takes, such as theology and philosophy, but it also serves as a background for all fields of study, from analyzing the consequences of poverty in an economics class to learning how to use design for social good. Students are encouraged to examine enduring questions and explore cultures and traditions across time and around the world.
Notre Dame faculty from the Department of Psychology have been awarded grants from the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CTSI). Julie Braungart-Rieker, the Mary Hesburgh Flaherty and James F. Flaherty III Professor of Psychology and director of the William J. Shaw Center for Children and Families, was awarded a Community Health Engagement Program (CHEP) Community Based Research Pilot Award for a study, “Reducing Obesogenic Home Environments in Low-Income Households with Mothers of Pre-school-Aged Children.” Jennifer Burke LeFever, assistant research professor in the Department of Psychology, is a co-primary investigator on the grant.