From philosophy to musical theatre to economics, Arts and Letters faculty are using technological innovations — as well as creativity, patience, and empathy — to continue the educational experience for their students as the University shifts to online classes in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The sudden shift has prompted adaptation in the face of adversity — from defending a dissertation via Zoom meeting to posting and analyzing behind-the-scenes clips of rehearsal for a musical that won't be performed — but it has also already helped faculty and students forge new bonds with each other.
In this Q&A, Brooke Ammerman, an assistant professor of psychology, discusses her research on the risk factors and protective factors for self-injurious behaviors, how her work maps onto the University mission, and why undergraduate and graduate students are essential to her research.
Paul A. Rathburn, a professor emeritus in the Department of English at the University of Notre Dame and founder of the Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival (NDSF), died Wednesday (Feb. 12). He was 85. Rathburn, who joined the Notre Dame faculty in 1965, retired from teaching in 2000. He founded NDSF the same year and served as producing artistic director for its first five years.
Tim Morton joined the College of Arts and Letters faculty last spring as director of the collaborative innovation minor and associate professor of the practice in the Department of Art, Art History, and Design. The minor, which centers on the principles of design thinking as an approach to solving real-world problems, draws students with a wide variety of majors from across the University — with more than 65 students taking the introductory Design Matters course last semester alone.
Alison Rice, an associate professor of French and Francophone studies, conducted 18 filmed interviews in Paris over eight years with authors originally from Iran, Korea, Senegal, and Bulgaria, among other countries. She compiled, edited, and translated the interviews to create an online archive, accessible to scholars and students worldwide, and is now completing a book project based on the interviews.
Erin walked into the fall career fair her senior year — and walked away with a job at the Federal Bureau of Investigation. She visited the FBI’s booth, secured an interview for the next day, and was promptly offered an entry-level position. “My job hunt was very easy because of that one choice,” she said. “I just went to the career fair, and that was it — that was how it all started.” Now an analyst, Erin has connected to a network of Notre Dame alumni at the FBI — and said graduates from every major are valuable to the bureau.
Philip Byers discusses why the role of external money in organized religion deserves some focused attention, and why Notre Dame is the right place for anyone interested in American religious history.
Jason Ruiz, an associate professor in the Department of American Studies, has won the 2019 Sheedy Excellence in Teaching Award, the highest teaching honor in the College of Arts and Letters. Created in 1970, the Sheedy Award honors Rev. Charles E. Sheedy, C.S.C., who served as dean of Arts and Letters from 1951 to 1969. Ruiz will accept the award at a reception in his honor on December 3. “It means the world to me to be recognized in this way, he said, “especially because the College is full of great teachers I admire.”
In less than three years, Ellen Pil has conducted research in Germany, traveled to the Galápagos Islands, worked for a nongovernmental organization in South Africa, and interned with a nonprofit health center in Chicago. A Hesburgh-Yusko Scholar and a member of the Glynn Family Honors Program, Pil said she is amazed by the support she’s received in identifying opportunities and funding to cultivate her interests and discover intersections between her fields of study.
Student engagement has long been recognized as key to academic success. Most research, however, has focused on engagement generally, across the school setting. Quantitative psychologist Ying “Alison” Cheng is working to better understand the link between student engagement and learning outcomes in a specific course — and how adaptive testing can help.
Being in the right place at the right time can change everything. For Nina Glibetić, witnessing a chance discovery changed her research focus — and the trajectory of her career. While at St. Catherine's Monastery on Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, a librarian discovered a folio of parchment that didn't look like others in the collection. She immediately recognized the rare language that was on it, and has since been working to translate and interpret the 11th-century folio — which is one of, if not the, oldest Glagolitic texts in existence.
Mike Schur — creator of The Good Place and Parks and Recreation and a writer and producer on The Office — came to Notre Dame last week to talk to students in the 1-credit The Good Class, which focuses on the philosophy and production of his current NBC show, as well as multiple sections of the God and the Good Life introductory philosophy course.
Paul McEldowney discusses why he believes the best way to appreciate and do mathematics is to engage with it on a philosophical level — and why philosophy is best done by engaging with current scientific and mathematics research.
Laura Miller-Graff, an assistant professor of psychology and peace studies, along with co-principal investigator Kathryn Howell of the University of Memphis and a team of Notre Dame faculty members, will evaluate the intervention program through a randomized, controlled trial involving more than 200 women and their infants.
For Rebecca McKenna, the piano’s history is about much more than just manufacturing or marketing — it’s about issues of race, class, and gender at the turn of the 20th century. It’s about transnational trade and the debut of a new genre of music. McKenna, an assistant professor in the Department of History, is exploring all of these issues for her new book project, with support from a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship.
For his work in the classroom, Verdeja has been selected to receive the 2018 Sheedy Excellence in Teaching Award — the highest teaching honor in the College of Arts and Letters — which will be presented at a reception in his honor on May 7 at 3:30 p.m. in the McKenna Hall auditorium.
Hesburgh, a critically acclaimed documentary to be released nationwide on May 3, tells the story of Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C. — reaching far beyond the borders of the Notre Dame campus to tell an epic American saga. But the making of Hesburgh is very much a Notre Dame story. Documentary filmmaker Patrick Creadon ’89 has a history of hiring Notre Dame students and alumni — and sought out no less than 19 of them to help create Hesburgh.
The award is named for Notre Dame professor Frank O’Malley, who taught classes on the philosophy of literature for more than 40 years. Recipients are nominated by undergraduates and approved by the Student Government. Jennifer Newsome Martin, an assistant professor in the Program of Liberal Studies with a concurrent appointment in the Department of Theology, received the award at the annual Student Leadership Banquet and will also be recognized at commencement.
Chicago is home to hundreds of works of Latinx public art that are both captivating and politically provocative. But there’s no good place to go for comprehensive information on where they are, who made them, or how they reflect the Latino experience in Chicago. Jason Ruiz is changing that. Ruiz has been awarded a Whiting Public Engagement Fellowship to create a set of walking tours and digital tools to explore Pilsen — the changing neighborhood at the heart of Chicago’s Latinx community — through its vibrant, historic murals.
An innovative Notre Dame course, God and the Good Life, is not only transforming the way students are introduced to philosophy — it is changing their perspectives, trajectories, and lives. Nearly 1,200 students have enrolled in the course since philosophy professor Meghan Sullivan launched it two years ago, and for many, it has become a defining experience in their undergraduate education. It's also drawn an array of prominent guest speakers — including an upcoming appearance by Michael Schur, creator of the philosophy-focused NBC comedy The Good Place.
Growing up in Germany, it wasn’t just unusual that Elisabeth Köll wanted to study Chinese. It was so rare for students at Bonn University to focus on it, there was even a term for it — an “orchid subject.” Nevertheless, Köll was fascinated by China, and her decision to spend two years as an undergraduate in a government exchange program at Fudan University in Shanghai deepened her interest in Chinese history — and launched her global career.
Holly Levin-Aspenson discusses why it's important to improve how psychologists describe and measure mental health problems and what makes Notre Dame's Ph.D. in psychology program distinctive.
Like the character he created, Jorge “Jay” Rivera-Herrans is exuberant and tenacious, but no one could mistake him for a cop out. A junior film, television, and theatre major, he has written the book, lyrics, and music for a new musical — Stupid Humans, which opens Thursday and runs through March 3 — and is also playing the leading role.
Three decades after its founding, the Gender Studies Program is thriving, with more than 70 students currently pursuing gender studies majors, supplementary majors, and minors at the undergraduate and graduate levels, as well as more than 50 associated faculty across campus. Hundreds of students have found a home in the program over the years — including Sarah A. Mustillo ’96, the I.A. O’Shaughnessy Dean of the College of Arts and Letters.
Kenya has been troubled by ethnic violence for many years, especially surrounding elections, and most histories of the country focus on the issue of ethnicity. But there is another factor that is just as important, Paul Ocobock argues — age. He was awarded the 2018 Morris D. Forkosch Prize for his exploration of the centrality of age and masculinity in the lives of young men in his book, An Uncertain Age: The Politics of Manhood in Kenya.
In the past three years alone, Notre Dame student Mary Elsa Henrichs’ passions for theatre, English literature, and German have converged in many memorable ways. She’s attended performances of Hamlet in Berlin. She’s worked as a research assistant to two German professors, helping to bring book projects to publication. And she’s spending next semester studying in Heidelberg, Germany, where she hopes to secure a theatre internship. The arts, she said, are a through line between her majors in German and English.
Zhiyong Zhang, an associate professor in the Department of Psychology, has been awarded the 2018 Cattell Early Career Research Award from the Society for Multivariate Experimental Psychology.
The Department of Romance Languages and Literatures has added expertise in modern Spanish and Italian culture and literature this year with two new faculty hires — Pedro Aguilera-Mellado and Charles Leavitt IV. Aguilera-Mellado, who comes to Notre Dame from the University of Michigan, focuses on modern and contemporary Spain. Leavitt, who received a Ph.D. from Notre Dame in 2010, returns to the University after teaching Italian studies at the University of Reading.
By the time children are 5 years old, there is already a distinct gap between those ready for kindergarten and those who aren’t. And for the children who lag behind — most often those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds — that gap may never close. Chloe Gibbs ’00 wants to determine how preschool can best prepare those children for kindergarten and for success later in life. An assistant professor in the Department of Economics, she has been awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation for her project, Parenting, Preschool, and the Production of School Readiness and Later Academic Outcomes.
Kayla Pierce discusses why she's fascinated by small-group interactions, how emotions can travel from person to person, and why a person's status may matter in that process.