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.
Plenty of scholars study governmental problems and failures in developing nations. Erin McDonnell is interested in what’s going right — examining certain pockets of government in Ghana and other countries to determine how they are succeeding. She has spent a total of almost two years in Ghana conducting fieldwork for her upcoming book, tentatively titled Patchwork Leviathan: Subcultures of Bureaucratic Effectiveness in Developing States.
Arnaud Zimmern, a Ph.D. candidate in English who is also pursuing a graduate minor in the history and philosophy of science, discusses why he chose to apply only to Notre Dame, the value of the digital humanities, and conducting research that matters.
Music has the power to inspire, to sustain, and to build community. And students and alumni of Sacred Music at Notre Dame’s Calvin M. Bower Doctor of Musical Arts program are playing a vital role in re-energizing the church and the academy through sacred music. With tracks in choral conducting and organ, the program offers an academically rigorous curriculum with a wide range of opportunities for performance, academic, and community engagement. The latest step forward for the DMA program is a generous gift from James and Molly Perry to endow and rename it in honor of Calvin M. Bower, professor emeritus of musicology.
Laura Dassow Walls, the William P. and Hazel B. White Professor of English at the University of Notre Dame, has won the 2018 Christian Gauss Award from Phi Beta Kappa for her biography, Henry David Thoreau: A Life. The prize, which recognizes outstanding books of literary scholarship, will be presented at a reception in Washington, D.C., in December.
Kristin Valentino is dedicated to understanding how adversity in early childhood — such as chronic poverty or maltreatment — can affect children’s mental and physical health later in life. And she wants to know how psychologists can best intervene and improve outcomes for those children. The William J. Shaw Center for Children and Families Associate Professor of Psychology has been awarded a $2.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to continue exploring these issues in her latest project, “Pathways Linking Early Adversity and Support to Behavior and Physical Health.”
Ernesto Verdeja, an associate professor in the Department of Political Science and the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, will receive the 2018 Sheedy Excellence in Teaching Award. The highest teaching honor in the College of Arts and Letters, the Sheedy Award was created in 1970 to honor the Rev. Charles E. Sheedy, C.S.C., who served as dean of Arts and Letters from 1951 to 1969. Verdeja will receive the award at a reception in his honor in May 2019.
Calvin Zimmermann wants to better understand the fundamental roles that race, gender, and class play in society, and particularly how they affect young children. He focuses his research on African American youth, he said, because they are one of the most vulnerable and oppressed populations in the world. Zimmermann joins the faculty of Notre Dame’s Department of Sociology and the Center for Research on Educational Opportunity this fall, where he will continue to research inequality in school settings.
Notre Dame has launched an interdisciplinary minor in musical theatre — a collaboration between the Departments of Music and Film, Television, and Theatre — which can be customized for students interested in performing, songwriting, directing, conducting, or scholarship. The program begins at a time when dramatic, music-based performances are thriving on campus, including Opera Notre Dame’s recent productions of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte and a world-premiere operatic version of As You Like It as well as FTT musicals such as Cabaret and Little Shop of Horrors.
The American Sociological Association (ASA) has announced that sociologists from the University of Notre Dame will continue to serve as editors of its flagship journal, the American Sociological Review, through 2020. Founded in 1936 and published six times per year, ASR’s mission is to publish peer-reviewed works of exceptional quality and general interest to the discipline.
Robichaud was one of 29 Rome Prize winners this year, chosen from among nearly 1,000 artists and scholars across the United States. The prize allows him to serve as a resident fellow at the American Academy in Rome for the 2018–19 academic year, where he will continue work on his book, the Marsilio Ficino Editions Project.
In this Q&A, Nikolas Churik discusses how the Western tradition was shaped over time, why he was drawn to study late antiquity and the middle ages, and how Notre Dame's Early Christian Studies interdisciplinary master's program helped him land a spot in a Ph.D. program at Princeton.
The article, “Scarlet Fever, Stanley Matthews, and the Cincinnati Bible Wars,” stems from Przybyszewski’s research for an upcoming book, for which she received an NEH Public Scholar grant. Justice Sonia Sotomayor presented the award to Przybyszewski at the Supreme Court Historical Society’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C.
Sara Abdel-Rahim ’17 found her voice in the liberal arts — and she amplified it through research, internships, and leadership roles on campus. As a first-generation American citizen, the political science and Arabic major wants to battle against cultural and religious discrimination.
Vanesa Miseres, an assistant professor of Spanish in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, has won a prize from the International Institute of Latin American Literature for her book Mujeres en tránsito: viaje, identidad y escritura en Sudamérica. The 2018 Premio Roggiano para la Crítica Literaria Latinoamericana recognizes the best book of Latin American literary criticism published in 2016 or 2017.
Rachel Ganson’s path in the College of Arts and Letters led her to China, India, Iceland, Italy, and Spain. And to exactly where she is meant to be. “Visiting these places challenged me and helped me grow — intellectually, spiritually, emotionally,” she said. “When you experience different cultures and talk with people from different backgrounds, you start to figure out what you’re most passionate about and what you hold dear.” For Ganson ’17, who majored in political science, that passion is global food security and sustainability.
When Kacey Hengesbach began her undergraduate career at Notre Dame, she didn’t imagine that it would include traveling 8,000 miles to Ahmedabad, India. But thanks to a new course created by Neeta Verma, she had the chance to spend three weeks there last summer, working collaboratively with students from India’s National Institute of Design. Hengesbach and the other students in Verma’s Social Design course continued their partnership with the NID students throughout the fall semester, hosting them for a two-week visit to Notre Dame in September and communicating via Skype and email for the remainder of the course.
One visit to the Hesburgh Library’s medieval manuscripts collection, and Luke Donahue ’17 was hooked. “I saw them and thought, ‘This is it.’ This is what I want to study,” Donahue said. “I was intrigued that there are all these manuscripts from the Middle Ages that no one has researched, and I was determined — I wanted to help fill that intellectual gap.” While he initially planned to study physics, Donahue decided to major in theology and German and add a minor in medieval studies.
When he got to Notre Dame, Corey Robinson ’17 didn’t know what to major in — because he wanted to major in everything. He met with advisers in more than 20 departments, considering everything from Arts and Letters pre-health to Irish language and literature to aquatic biology. And he still wasn’t sure. That’s when his advising dean suggested the Program of Liberal Studies.
Deak, an associate professor in the Department of History, was awarded the 2018 Austrian State Prize in History for his book, Forging a Multinational State: State Making in Imperial Austria from the Enlightenment to the First World War. The Karl von Vogelsang State Prize, awarded by the federal minister for science and industry, recognizes outstanding achievements in the field of the history of social science.