Sarah A. Mustillo, department chair and professor of sociology at the University of Notre Dame, has been appointed I.A. O’Shaughnessy Dean of the College of Arts and Letters by University President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C. She succeeds John T. McGreevy, who is stepping down July 1 after serving 10 years as dean. An expert in the social causes of childhood mental illness and statistical methods used in social science research, Mustillo joined the Notre Dame faculty in 2014, after serving seven years as a professor of sociology at Purdue University and six years on the faculty at Duke University School of Medicine. She has served as chair of the Department of Sociology since 2016.
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The College of Arts and Letters is planning renovations in O’Shaughnessy Hall that will open up the café and gallery areas to create a welcoming space with double the current seating of Waddick’s, more natural light, and extensive views onto South Quad. New tables and counter seating will be added, along with couches and comfortable chairs, and multiple outlets for charging phones, computers, and other electronic devices. Unlike at present, the entire space will be open whenever the building is open, morning till night.
For a team of Notre Dame psychologists, virtual reality is more than a game — it is the next frontier in mental health treatment. Nathan Rose, Jennifer Hames, and Michael Villano are conducting research on the use of virtual reality environments in exposure therapy for participants with a fear of heights. The technology also holds promise for treating phobias like the fear of flying and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Mary Ellen Konieczny, the Henkels Family Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Notre Dame, died Feb. 24 as a result of complications from cancer. She was 58. A faculty fellow of the Center for the Study of Religion and Society and the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, she studied religion and conflict, the family and public politics.
New research from the University of Notre Dame discovers people appear to stop conceiving babies several months before recessions begin. The study, “Is Fertility a Leading Economic Indicator?” was published in the National Bureau of Economic Research’s working paper series. It is coauthored by Notre Dame economists Kasey Buckles and Daniel Hungerman, and Steven Lugauer from the University of Kentucky.
Rev. Daniel G. Groody, C.S.C. is associate professor of theology and global affairs and the director of the Kellogg Global Leadership Program. His research interests include migration and the US-Mexican border, international migration, and refugees.
Twenty-nine University of Notre Dame students and alumni were awarded Fulbright U.S. Student Program grants during the 2017-18 academic year, placing Notre Dame second among all research institutions in the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Of the 29 students to receive Fulbrights last year, 22 were Arts and Letters students — which would place the College eighth in the nation among all doctoral institutions. Arts and Letters alone produced more Fulbright winners than the University of California at Berkeley, University of Pennsylvania, Stanford University, Cornell University, and Johns Hopkins.
Michael Feijoo loves finding ways his everyday life relates to big-picture questions. That’s one of the many reasons the junior finds value in majoring in theology and Arts and Letters pre-health. His combination of academic passions also brought him twice to Ecuador, where served with Timmy Global Health, a nonprofit organization that provides sustainable medical care to South American countries.
Six new faculty have joined the Department of Economics this year, bringing expertise in a wide variety of subfields and significant experience conducting research at the federal level. The new additions — professor of the practice Timothy Dunne; assistant professors Kirsten Cornelson, Illenin Kondo, Benjamin Pugsley, and Jasmine Xiao; and research assistant professor Sarah Kroeger — join a department undergoing remarkable growth. It has added 22 faculty members in the last five years, thanks in part to its selection as one of 10 essential research areas through the University’s Advancing Our Vision program.
Kristin Valentino is the William J. Shaw Center for Children and Families Associate Professor of Psychology. Her research interests include child development and child psychopathology.
Agustín Fuentes, the Rev. Edmund P. Joyce, C.S.C., Endowed Chair in Anthropology, has been selected to deliver the 2018 Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. Founded by the jurist Adam Lord Gifford, the renowned lecture series invites pre-eminent scholars to address topics related to theology, philosophy, and science. Fuentes is the second consecutive College of Arts and Letters faculty member to be chosen.
When Francesco Tassi arrived at Notre Dame, he was sure he would major in finance. But a lecture on refugees set him on a different path — one that led him to travel through Italy for three months to study refugee integration firsthand. Tassi, who was born in Italy and moved to the United States in third grade, traveled widely in high school and spent time living with host families in several countries. Those experiences sparked a passion for learning about and understanding cultures.
A new book by a Notre Dame political science professor has sparked a fire in the public sphere, garnering significant discussion in major media outlets over his arguments about liberalism and modern society. In Why Liberalism Failed, Patrick Deneen — the David A. Potenziani Memorial Associate Professor of Constitutional Studies — argues that liberalism is built on a foundation of contradictions.
This is the third installment in an ongoing Q&A series with Arts and Letters graduate students. Brandy Sky Martinez, a Ph.D. stduent in the Department of Psychology, discusses her research on stress and coping strategies.
Matthew Wilkens is associate professor of English at the University of Notre Dame. His research interests include contemporary American fiction, digital humanities, and computational literary studies.
Roy Scranton, an assistant professor in Notre Dame’s Department of English, has won a fellowship from the Lannan Foundation in recognition of his fiction writing. Since 1989, the foundation has given literary awards and fellowships to both established and emerging writers “of distinctive literary merit who demonstrate potential for continued outstanding work.”
One week into her senior year, Natasha Reifenberg headed to an academic health conference in El Salvador, presenting a policy brief based in research she had been involved in for the last two years. An opportunity usually reserved for distinguished academics, the trip was just one of many highlights in an outstanding undergraduate career that includes internships at the Global Fund for Women and United Nations Development Program and independent research opportunities centered around women’s issues and rights. Reifenberg attributes her accomplishments to her education in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters — particularly her philosophy major.
For Ross Jacobucci, quantitative psychology is a chance to invent, to improvise — and to create new tools to answer complex questions. As a new assistant professor in the Department of Psychology, he wants his students to see that side of it, too. Jacobucci, who joined Arts and Letters in the fall after receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Southern California, specializes in structural equation modeling and data mining.
“At the heart of the mission of a Catholic university is service to the Church,” said Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., president of Notre Dame. “John Cavadini, whether through his leadership of the McGrath Institute for Church Life or his work as a theologian, has been tireless in seeking ways in which Notre Dame can better serve the Church.”