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Historian Paul Ocobock awarded American Historical Association prize for book on the role of age in Kenyan violence

Author: Carrie Gates

Categories: Faculty News, Internationalism, Research, and General News

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.

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In memoriam: Donald Kommers, 86, the Joseph and Elizabeth Robbie Chair in Government and International Studies

Author: Josh Weinhold

Categories: Faculty News and General News

Donald P. Kommers, the Joseph and Elizabeth Robbie Chair in Government and International Studies and a concurrent professor emeritus of law, died Dec. 21 at his home in Holy Cross Village. He was 86. A member of the Notre Dame faculty since 1963, he was a renowned scholar of German and American constitutional law. 

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Book club, led by A&L majors, ‘elevates’ language for Spanish-speaking Catholic middle-school students

Author: Erin Blasko

Categories: Faculty News, Internationalism, Undergraduate News, and General News

Every Thursday, Notre Dame junior Julia Cogan drives the six minutes from campus to Holy Cross School, a Catholic school on South Bend’s near northwest side. There the sociology major leads a heritage book club for middle-school students in Clare Roach’s introductory Spanish class. The students speak Spanish at home — easily conversing with Spanish-speaking family members — but struggle to read and write in Spanish because it is not the traditional language of education in South Bend.

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In memoriam: Gary Knoppers, John A. O’Brien Professor of Theology

Author: Josh Weinhold

Categories: Faculty News and General News

Gerald “Gary” N. Knoppers, the John A. O’Brien Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame, died Dec. 22 from pancreatic cancer. He was 62. Knoppers’ research specializations included Hebrew scriptures, ancient historiography, ancient Near Eastern and biblical law, inner-scriptural exegesis, textual criticism, and the history of early Jewish and Samaritan relations.

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Three faculty awarded NEH fellowships, continuing record funding for humanities research

Author: Amanda Skofstad

Categories: Faculty News, Research, and General News

Three University of Notre Dame faculty members — Rebecca Tinio McKenna, Sarah McKibben, and Vincent Phillip Muñoz — have been offered fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities in the 2018 award cycle. With 65 total awards, scholars in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters have received more NEH fellowships any other private university in the United States since 1999. 

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Emergency financial assistance reduces homeless shelter entry and violent crime, Notre Dame economists find

Author: Colleen Sharkey

Categories: Faculty News, Centers and Institutes, Research, and General News

Homelessness in the U.S. is a persistent and complex problem. Each year more than 2.3 million people experience homelessness, 7.4 million people live “doubled up” with friends or family for economic reasons, and many more are on the brink of homelessness. A new study conducted by researchers at the Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities shows that emergency financial assistance for people facing homelessness not only reduces shelter entry, but also reduces criminal behavior.

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For musicologist studying the ‘middlebrow,’ interdisciplinary opportunities make PLS the perfect home

Author: Emily McConville

Categories: Faculty News, Research, and General News

For Christopher Chowrimootoo, there’s nothing unusual about a musicologist teaching in the Great Books program. That’s because, like his research, the Program of Liberal Studies is fundamentally interdisciplinary. He primarily tries to bring music into wider conversations about the “middlebrow” in literature, film studies, and cultural history. This originally pejorative term implied cultural aspiration, using “highbrow” art to achieve a higher social and aesthetic status. 

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Small changes to cafeteria design can get kids to eat healthier, professor of psychology and architecture finds

Author: Amanda Skofstad

Categories: Faculty News, Research, and General News

Assistant professor Kim Rollings’ research examines how built and natural environments impact mental and physical health. In collaboration with Nancy Wells, professor of design and environmental analysis at Cornell University, she recently developed an assessment tool that scores elementary school cafeteria environments, suggesting improvements that promote healthier eating.

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Scholars of Spanish and Italian culture and literature join Arts and Letters faculty

Author: Carrie Gates

Categories: Faculty News, Research, and General News

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.

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Sociologist Christian Smith wins book award for research building innovative theory of religion

Author: Josh Weinhold

Categories: Faculty News, Research, and General News

Christian Smith, the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Sociology at Notre Dame, has won the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion’s 2018 Distinguished Book Award. The honor, conferred upon the most outstanding book published by an SSSR member in the past two years, lauded the “impressive accomplishment” of Smith’s Religion: What It Is, How It Works, and Why It Matters. Smith’s book aims to help the social sciences better understand and explain religion by building an innovative theory of religion that builds on developments in science, theory, and philosophy.

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Economist awarded NSF grant to explore effectiveness of preschool programming and parent education

Author: Carrie Gates

Categories: Faculty News, Centers and Institutes, Research, and General News

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.

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On the ground in Ghana, Notre Dame sociologist studies how developing nations build effective areas of government

Author: Carrie Gates

Categories: Faculty News, Internationalism, Centers and Institutes, Research, and General News

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.

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U.S. poverty numbers continue to decline, economists find

Author: Colleen Sharkey

Categories: Faculty News, Centers and Institutes, Research, and General News

A more accurate measure of the poverty rate, based on how much people consume, highlights the dramatic decline in poverty over the past four decades, a fact that is missed by the official government poverty numbers. This can be visualized in a new poverty dashboard developed by professors James Sullivan of the University of Notre Dame and Bruce Meyer of the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago.

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Notre Dame psychologist explores ethnic identity and self-esteem with undergraduate research assistants in Vietnam

Anre Venter, director of undergraduate studies in the Department of Psychology, designed a project to provide three Vietnamese-American undergraduate research assistants an opportunity to explore their identity in Vietnam. While research has been conducted in the area of ethnic identity development in minority groups, Venter believes little has been done in comparing the process of ethnic identity development within particular ethnic groups.

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Historian Patrick Griffin awarded distinction of honorary professor at University of Edinburgh

Author: Mary Hendriksen

Categories: Faculty News, Internationalism, Centers and Institutes, and General News

In recognition of his scholarship and innovative teaching and mentoring initiatives with students, Patrick Griffin, Madden-Hennebry Professor of History and director of the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies, has been awarded the distinction of honorary professor at the University of Edinburgh’s School of History, Classics, and Archaeology.

 

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Bower Doctor of Musical Arts program empowers students to re-energize sacred music in church and academy

Author: Carrie Gates

Categories: Faculty News, Catholicism, Alumni, Research, General News, and Graduate Students

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.

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Psychology professor to improve assessment testing for high school students

Author: Brandi Klingerman

Categories: Faculty News, Centers and Institutes, Research, and General News

Ying Alison Cheng, associate professor of psychology and fellow of the Institute for Educational Initiatives at the University of Notre Dame, will lead a $1.4 million project funded by the Institute of Education Sciences to develop the intelligent diagnostic assessment program (i-DAP) for high school statistics education. 

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Historian Brad Gregory wins Expanded Reason Awards honorable mention

Author: Kristian Olsen

Categories: Faculty News, Catholicism, Internationalism, Centers and Institutes, Research, and General News

Brad Gregory, director of the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study and Dorothy G. Griffin Professor of Early Modern European History, received a 2018 Expanded Reason Awards honorable mention for his book, The Unintended Reformation: How a Religious Revolution Secularized Society.

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Video: Africana studies and English professor Mark Sanders on print culture in the Americas among the African diaspora

Author: Todd Boruff

Categories: Faculty News, Research, and General News

“African-American cultural experience is one that can't be bound by national boundaries,” said Mark A. Sanders, a professor of English and Africana studies at the University of Notre Dame. Sanders researches early 20th-century American and African American literature and culture. He has worked extensively on the Harlem Renaissance, writing one book and co-editing another on the poet Sterling Brown. He is now working to bring together scholars to translate work by African-descended writers from across the Americas.

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English professor Laura Dassow Walls wins 2018 Phi Beta Kappa Book Award

Author: Carrie Gates

Categories: Faculty News, Research, and General News

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.

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Anthropologist and psychologist's study shows fathers’ postnatal hormone levels predict later caregiving

Author: Colleen Sharkey

Categories: Faculty News, Research, and General News

In a first-of-its-kind study, Notre Dame anthropologist Lee Gettler and psychologist Patty Kuo focused on how dads’ biology around the birth of their children relates to their parenting down the road. Dads whose cortisol levels were elevated while they held their newborns on the day of their birth – either skin to skin or clothed – were more likely to be involved with indirect care and play with their infants in the first months of their lives.

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Video: English professor Kate Marshall on the 'poetics of the outside' in contemporary novels

Author: Todd Boruff

Categories: Faculty News, Research, and General News

Kate Marshall is associate professor of English at the University of Notre Dame. Her research interests include media theory, narrative, and the philosophy of science. "I spend a lot of time working on problems in contemporary fiction and how they relate not only to the long history of the novel and other forms of literary representation but also the way that they relate to other ways of thinking in the contemporary world," she says."

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Psychologist Kristin Valentino awarded $2.7 million grant to evaluate interventions to improve mental and physical health in maltreated children

Author: Carrie Gates

Categories: Faculty News, Centers and Institutes, Research, and General News

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.”

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Video: Notre Dame international security expert Joseph Parent on what happens when great powers decline

Author: Todd Boruff

Categories: Faculty News, Centers and Institutes, Research, and General News

Joseph Parent, an associate professor of political science and associate director of the Notre Dame International Security Center, recently studied how states respond to shifts in power, questioning the conventional wisdom that great powers become more aggressive when they are falling. “In fact, decline is one of the biggest causes of peace,” he said. “It turns out that states were very aware of their declining power and they knew that if they started something, it would end badly for them.”

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Study confirms adopting truth commissions and justice measures in post-authoritarian regimes lowers homicide rates

Author: Colleen Sharkey

Categories: Faculty News, Research, and General News

According to new research led by Notre Dame Associate Professor Guillermo Trejo, nations that adopt transitional justice measures, such as truth commissions and judicial prosecutions for past human rights violations, experience lower homicide rates and lower levels of criminal violence.

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Ernesto Verdeja, associate professor of political science and peace studies, to receive 2018 Sheedy Award

Author: Carrie Gates

Categories: Faculty News, Centers and Institutes, and General News

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.

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