The University of Notre Dame has long traditions in the research and teaching of Dante and is considered one of the leading centers in the world for the study of the great Catholic poet. As we approach the 700th anniversary of his death, Dante’s work still speaks powerfully, says Ted Cachey, professor of Italian and the Ravarino Family Director of Italian and Dante Studies. “I am often asked how Dante is relevant for today,” he said. “The answer is very simple: Dante confronted a world that was culturally, politically, and spiritually in profound crisis.”
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Chosen on the basis of their research promise, interdisciplinary potential, and collaborative commitment, each of the graduate fellows is conducting a substantial research project related to resilience, the NDIAS’s organizing research theme for the 2021-2022 school year. Two of the fellows are co-sponsored by the Notre Dame Technology Ethics Center (ND-TEC) and are pursuing research projects that engage with questions related to the ethical use of technology.
Jorge A. Bustamante, the Eugene P. and Helen Conley Professor Emeritus of Sociology, died March 25. He was 82. A sociologist whose research centered on the dynamics of international migration, Bustamante’s work advanced public and academic discourse regarding circumstances at the U.S.-Mexico border. His devotion to advocating for human and labor rights for immigrants worldwide led to his native Mexico nominating him for the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize.
Housed in the Department of Economics, the Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economics Opportuniites partners with organizations across the United States, turning research into action to lift people out of poverty. Interns work side-by-side with leading economists throughout the year, and some are able to travel to partner organizations over the summer to work on-site. “I chose LEO because this was an opportunity that I wouldn't really be able to get anywhere else,” said Josie Donlon, an international economics and Spanish major who spent a summer creating a real-time poverty tracker during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Two virtual events hosted by the University of Notre Dame will examine the recent rise of discrimination and violence against Asians and Asian Americans in the United States, including the shooting deaths in Atlanta on March 16. Under the organizing theme “Anti-Asian Violence in Context: Histories, Connections, Coalition,” these events will feature Notre Dame faculty and students as well as guest activists.
Katie Bugyis, an assistant professor in the Program of Liberal Studies, has been awarded the American Society of Church History’s Franklin S. and Elizabeth D. Brewer Prize, which honors outstanding scholarship in the history of Christianity by a first-time author. She received the prize for her work, The Care of Nuns: The Ministries of Benedictine Women in England During the Central Middle Ages, which reconstructs the history of Benedictine nuns through examination of their own liturgical documents — and recovers evidence of their liturgical functions, including preaching, reading the gospel liturgically, hearing confessions, and pronouncing absolution.
Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi is an associate professor in the Department of English, director of the Creative Writing Program, and the author of the novel Call Me Zebra, winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. In this interview, she discusses how her writing examines how patterns of migration have shaped literature, how history imprints itself on physical landscapes, and her new novel, Savage Tongues, which looks at questions of nationhood, identity, memory.
When Stacy Manrique joined a group of Notre Dame students visiting Mexico’s prestigious Monterrey Institute of Technology two summers ago, it felt like a homecoming. It wasn’t just the fact that Manrique is a native of Monterrey. She was also delighted to connect with students from “El Tec” — young women and men just as passionate about technology and social responsibility as she is. Manrique, who is majoring in computer science and film, television, and theatre through the Reilly Center Dual Degree Program, looks back at this and many other experiences she’s had through the Institute for Latino Studies as touchstones in her educational journey.
The Worker and Family Support Subcommittee at the Ways and Means Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives invited Jim Sullivan, the Gilbert F. Schaefer College Professor of Economics and co-founder of the Wilson Sheehan Lab For Economic Opportunities at the University of Notre Dame, to testify at its upcoming hearing “Health Profession Opportunity Grants: Past Successes and Future Uses.”
Brian Fogarty, director of Notre Dame’s Center for Social Science Research, has received a Rapid Response Research (RAPID) grant from the National Science Foundation to study the prevalence of belief in voter fraud and to identify ways of restoring confidence in U.S. elections. Fogarty, who is also a concurrent associate professor of the practice in the Department of Political Science, sought the grant in order to develop research that could assess public opinion at a critical moment in American history.
The Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study has launched a pilot program to support up to six Notre Dame doctoral students with exceptional academic records whose research and career interests centrally involve interdisciplinary engagement with major ethical questions. The new NDIAS Distinguished Graduate Fellowship Program, funded with support from Michael Wilsey ’65, provides graduate fellows from the College of Arts and Letters with premium stipends, robust research programming, and professional development during the 2021-2022 academic year.
Joy Harjo, the 23rd poet laureate of the United States and the first Native American to hold the position, will speak at Notre Dame on Monday, Feb. 22 at 7 p.m. The online event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. An Evening with Joy Harjo is presented by Multicultural Student Programs and Services, the new Notre Dame Initiative on Race and Resilience, and the Native American Student Association of Notre Dame.
Notre Dame’s Medieval Institute is launching graduate minors in medieval studies and Byzantine studies, a pair of interdisciplinary programs that blend the study of literature, philosophy, art, and science in the Middle Ages. The minor in medieval studies focuses on the texts, culture, and artifacts of Western Europe and the Mediterranean from 500 to 1500 A.D., while the minor in Byzantine studies emphasizes Central Asia, Asia Minor, and the Eastern Mediterranean during that same time period.
The de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture has released a video titled "March On, Notre Dame!" that highlights the University's commitment to building a culture of life, both on-campus and in the wider public square, to coincide with the virtual March for Life on Jan. 29.
Two professors from the University of Notre Dame and the Institute for Educational Initiatives are among the 200 scholars named to the 2021 Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings, an annual listing published by Education Week of academics who had the year’s biggest impact on educational practice and policy. Ernest Morrell, the Coyle Professor in Literacy Education and director of the Notre Dame Center for Literacy Education, ranked 92nd in the 2021 list. Mark Berends, a professor of sociology, an associate vice president of research at Notre Dame and the director of the Center for Research on Educational Opportunity, placed 167th.
Pete Buttigieg, former South Bend mayor, 2020 Democratic presidential candidate and a faculty fellow in the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Advanced Study (NDIAS), has been nominated to serve as Secretary of Transportation by President-elect Joe Biden.
Professor O. Carter Snead’s new book, What It Means to Be Human: The Case for the Body in Public Bioethics, has garnered a great deal of attention since Harvard University Press released it in October. The book has been reviewed in numerous newspapers and magazines and discussed by top legal and political scholars on podcasts and academic panels. And now, the Wall Street Journal has named it one of the year’s top 10 books.
Christopher Waller, the former Gilbert Schaefer Professor of Economics at the University of Notre Dame, has been confirmed to the Federal Reserve’s seven-member Board of Governors in Washington, D.C. Waller, executive vice president and director of research at the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank, was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on Thursday with a vote of 48-47.
Neeta Verma’s teaching and research examines a range of social inequities facing the local community — including homelessness, poverty, and the digital divide. But the issue she finds most pressing is youth violence — and she believes that art and design can play a key role in breaking its vicious cycle. With a grant from the Jessie Ball duPont Fund, she is launching a two-year project that will use community-designed public art installations and youth programming to address this systemic problem.
Each summer and school year, a dimly lit computer lab in the basement of Jenkins-Nanovic Hall on Notre Dame’s campus hums with the activity of undergraduate interns working to find solutions to complex, poverty-related issues. As an intern for the Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities, Emily Merola ’20 helped collect data for the Catholic Charities Fort Worth's Stay the Course project and Padua program. “It was really great to be close to the actual operations of the provider and know that each data point is a person,” Merola said. “I think everybody knows, but sometimes you need that salient reminder.”
When Lily Falzon ’18 started at Notre Dame, she thought she wanted to be a doctor. But a course on culture in medicine she took while studying abroad gave her a different perspective on health care and inspired her to study sociology and Chinese instead. It also led her to research China's success in building an integrative health care system — and her own Chinese ancestry. After graduation, Falzon was named a Yenching Scholar at Peking University in Beijing.
Francie Shaft has discovered intersections between her theology and Japanese majors through her classes and research — both on campus and in Japan. Those opportunities would not have been possible, she said, without the support she found at Notre Dame. “Notre Dame wants you to start pursuing what you’re passionate about, even as a freshman. If I didn’t have these people who have believed in me from the start, I don’t think I would be as creative and as bold in the sorts of experiences I want to have.”
The Homeless Prevention Call Center for the City of Chicago, currently run by Catholic Charities of Chicago, has helped thousands of families stay off the streets. Knowing funding for public programs is never guaranteed, it wanted to prove its method was cost effective and impactful. In 2012, it approached Notre Dame’s Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities (LEO) for assistance. Could LEO researchers measure the call center’s effectiveness rather than volume?
Political science major Oneile Baitlotli spent most of her junior year planning the summer research project abroad she needed to earn a minor in International Development Studies: a study of how to help low-income families in her native Botswana gain access to affordable early childhood education. But in March, the coronavirus largely suspended overseas travel and closed international borders. And Baitlotli and nearly a dozen other juniors in the Kellogg Institute for International Studies’ IDS program were forced to abandon their original capstone projects. With help from their faculty advisors and the Kellogg Institute, they developed new research projects they could do virtually within a matter of weeks.
The John J. Reilly Center for Science, Technology, and Values has announced new leadership for two key programs — Vania Smith-Oka, an associate professor of anthropology, and Amy Hixon, an associate professor in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering & Earth Sciences. Smith-Oka will serve as the inaugural director of the center’s Medicine and the Liberal Arts program, and Hixon has been named director of the GLOBES graduate certificate program.
Sociologist Erin McDonnell and psychologist Nathan Rose have received National Science Foundation Early Career Development (CAREER) Awards for 2020. They are among nine University of Notre Dame faculty members to receive the awards this year. “This is the most prestigious award granted by the NSF to early-career faculty and reflects the quality of Erin McDonnell’s and Nathan Rose’s research,” said Sarah Mustillo, the I.A. O’Shaughnessy Dean of the College of Arts and Letters. “I am thrilled that they are continuing the College’s strong record of success with these awards.”
Teaching English at Oakland High in the late 1990s, Ernest Morrell faced the age-old problem of how to get modern students interested in a canon of long-dead writers and poets. So he and a colleague decided to introduce elements of pop culture such as rap songs into their classrooms as a way to engage the students with topics that kids know and care about. Over the years, Morrell, who now directs the Notre Dame Center for Literacy Education and is a professor of English and Africana studies, has focused his research and teaching around the idea that young students can be trusted to do complex academic work — if the topic is compelling to them and they got the right training.
The Notre Dame Dublin Global Gateway and the Notre Dame-Newman Centre for Faith and Reason have launched a new, four-part international series to celebrate the first anniversary of the canonization of St. John Henry Newman — theologian, poet, convert and founder of the Catholic University of Ireland. “Thinking with Newman: Educating with Intention Today” will explore Newman’s seminal work, “The Idea of a University,” and its contemporary relevance to educational challenges faced today during the coronavirus crisis. The series launches on Oct. 7, and registration is required.
Over the last three years, the Notre Dame International Security Center has added faculty and postdoctoral fellows, expanded its undergraduate and graduate programs, and become a thought leader on issues surrounding national security and innovative approaches to U.S. grand strategy. The center is now continuing to build on that success with $7.66 million in new grants, which will support naming Jim Webb, a former U.S. senator from Virginia and secretary of the Navy, as NDISC's inaugural distinguished fellow; creating a pre-doctoral fellowship program and expanding the current post-doctoral fellows program.
Ernest Morrell, a professor of Africana studies and English, the Coyle Professor in Literacy Education, and director of the Center for Literacy Education at the University of Notre Dame, has collaborated with fellow subject experts to create the first capstone course on the African diaspora for AP Seminar high school teachers and students.