Despite the defections of two high-ranking Syrian officials in the past week and the apparent unraveling of Syria’s government, the fall of President Bashar al-Assad still is not imminent, according to University of Notre Dame Political Science Professor Michael Desch. “There’s no doubt that the Assad regime is under siege, as Wednesday’s defection of the Syrian Ambassador to Iraq once again ighlights,” says Desch, an expert on international relations and homeland security.“But we need to be cautious in overestimating how much trouble Assad is in.”
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Every six years, Mexicans go to the polls to elect a new president, and students erupt in protest, says University of Notre Dame historian Jaime Pensado, a fellow at the University’s Kellogg Institute for International Studies. An expert on Mexican youth culture and student movements, Pensado says this year has been no different, as tens of thousands of students organized through social media took to the streets in the “Yo Soy 132” movement.
The International Criminal Court yesterday sentenced former Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga to 14 years in prison for using children as soldiers in his rebel army—the first sentence handed down by the world’s only permanent war crimes tribunal. “The criminal prosecution of Lubanga does not go far enough for international justice,” according to Daniel Philpott, associate professor of political science and peace studies at the University of Notre Dame.
University of Notre Dame economist Joseph Kaboski has been awarded the 2012 Frisch Medal for a paper evaluating the impact of microfinance, widely used as a tool to fight poverty in developing countries. First awarded in 1978, the Econometric Society presents the Frisch Medal biennially for the best empirical or theoretical applied paper published in Econometrica within the previous five years. The Frisch medal is not only one of the top three prizes in the field of economics but also the most prestigious “best article” award in the profession, says Rich Jensen, Gilbert F. Schaefer Professor of Economics at Notre Dame and chair of the Department of Economics.
The University of Notre Dame has entered into a historic partnership with the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) that aims to improve learning for Indiana children. Rev. Timothy R. Scully, C.S.C., of the University of Notre Dame, and Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Tony Bennett announced the partnership at a press conference in South Bend. This new research partnership will allow scholars at Notre Dame’s Institute for Educational Initiatives and others from around the country to conduct independent research to inform policymakers as they seek strategies to improve educational quality in Indiana.
In the first two years following the death of a child, there is a 133 percent increase in the risk of the mother dying, a new study from the University of Notre Dame shows. Researchers William Evans, a health and labor economist at Notre Dame, and Javier Espinosa of the Rochester Institute of Technology studied 69,224 mothers aged 20 to 50 for nine years, tracking the mortality of children even after they had left the household. It is the first study of its kind using a large, nationally representative U.S. data source.
Most of us assume that confidence and certainty are preferred over uncertainty and bewilderment when it comes to learning complex information. But a new study led by Sidney D’Mello of the University of Notre Dame shows that confusion when learning can be beneficial if it is properly induced, effectively regulated, and ultimately resolved. The study will be published in a forthcoming issue of the journal Learning and Instruction.
Sabine MacCormack, Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., Professor of Arts and Letters at the University of Notre Dame, died Saturday (June 16) after suffering a heart attack while gardening at her home in South Bend. She was 71. MacCormack, a historian and classicist who taught and wrote about religion and culture in ancient Rome and colonial Latin America, was unusual among her international colleagues for the prominence of her scholarship in those two very different areas. She also was among Notre Dame’s most popular and affectionately regarded teachers.
Anne García-Romero, an assistant professor at the University of Notre Dame, has been accepted to the prestigious Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference this summer. One of just eight playwrights selected out of nearly 1,000 applicants, García-Romero will spend the month of July at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center in Connecticut, working with acclaimed theatre professionals to workshop her play Provenance. Also among the honorees is Notre Dame English alumna Theresa Rebeck ’80, an award-winning playwright and creator of the television show Smash.
Parents who fight in front of their kindergarten-aged children could be setting them up for depression, anxiety, and behavioral problems as adolescents, according to new research from the University of Notre Dame. A new longitudinal study finds that the impact of destructive marital conflict on children in their kindergarten years is long-lasting and can lead to emotional problems and difficulties in adolescence.
Gabriel Said Reynolds, Tisch Family Associate Professor of Islamic Studies and Theology at the University of Notre Dame, will be co-director of an international consultation to develop a plan for the formation of an independent association of Quranic scholars. The three-year initiative, sponsored by the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) with a $140,000 grant from the Henry Luce Foundation, will bring together scholars of the Quran to discuss the potential establishment of a Society for Qu’ranic Studies (SQS) to foster scholarship in an expanding and increasingly diverse academic field.
A ridership survey designed and implemented by University of Notre Dame sociology students will yield valuable information for TRANSPO, South Bend’s public transportation system, says Jeanette Pancoas, TRANSPO marketing manager. “Not only do we have more comprehensive information about our riders, but the presence of the students surveying riders on the bus conveyed a genuine concern for customer feedback.”
In the first study to measure the temporary impact of highly skilled immigrants on native populations, University of Notre Dame economist Abigail Wozniak and Fairfield University’s Thomas J. Murray—a former Notre Dame graduate student—found that when highly skilled immigrants move to a city or town, the U.S. natives in that area who are also highly skilled tend to move away. However, the study found that the same immigrant group’s presence decreases the chances that low-skilled natives would leave.
The board of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) has responded to a Vatican assessment reprimanding the organization for “serious doctrinal problems” and announcing plans to place it into a sort of “receivership” overseen by three American bishops. According to Kathleen Sprows Cummings, associate director of the University of Notre Dame’s Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism, the response of the LCWR, which represents most of the nation’s Catholic nuns, “will surprise no one who is familiar with how sisters operate.”
The 2012 Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival (NDSF) will run July 14 through August 26, highlighted by the Professional Company’s production of Hamlet, directed by David H. Bell. Other performances include A Midsummer Night’s Dream, presented by the Young Company at outdoor spaces throughout the Michiana region; Beyond the Stage, a performance-based lecture series, which will be presented at select venues in July and August; and ShakeScenes, which will open the festival with performances at historic Washington Hall on July 14 and 15.
Notre Dame Assistant Professor Michael (Tzvi) Novick has been appointed Abrams College Chair of Jewish Thought and Culture in the College of Arts and Letters’ Department of Theology. Novick holds both a Ph.D. and a J.D. from Yale University. His scholarship ranges across a broad spectrum of themes and genres in late antiquity: from rabbinic law and ethics, to liturgical poetry, to narratological analysis of biblical and Second Temple Judaism texts.
Notre Dame Professor Jon T. Coleman is interested in the truths that hide in lies. In his new book, Here Lies Hugh Glass: A Mountain Man, A Bear and the Rise of the American Nation, the historian uses a whopper of a story to explore not how the west was won but how its image was built.
Though the social barriers of race and gender were largely overcome during the last U.S. presidential campaign, religious affiliation (in this case, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormonism) is still a significant hurdle, according to a new study by University of Notre Dame Political Science Professor David Campbell and colleagues from Brigham Young University and the University of Akron.
Grant Mudge has been named the Ryan Producing Artistic Director of the Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival. Mudge succeeds Jay Paul Skelton, who departs after the conclusion of 2012 season of the Festival to pursue a research degree in England. “We chose Grant after an extensive national search,” says Peter Holland, associate dean for the arts in the College of Arts and Letters at the University of Notre Dame. “His success in building the Richmond Shakespeare Festival shows that he has the track-record and the talent to help us take the Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival forward to an ever more exciting future.
Theologian James VanderKam and historian John Van Engen have been named co-recipients of the University of Notre Dame Graduate School’s annual James A. Burns, C.S.C., Award. Named after the first Notre Dame president with an advanced degree, the award recognizes exemplary contributions to graduate education. The two College of Arts and Letters faculty members will be presented with their awards during the Graduate School’s Awards Dinner on May 18, 2012.
Notre Dame historian Olivia Remie Constable has been awarded a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation for her book project Christian Perceptions of Muslim Identity in Medieval Spain. Among other things, her work will examine Christian attitudes toward Muslim dress and appearance and whether Muslims could engage in public religious expressions, teach Arabic to their children, and maintain bathhouses, schools, cemeteries, and other separate spaces important to the continuity of their culture and religion.
In the spirit of ubuntu, or “togetherness,” University of Notre Dame faculty, students, and alumni, Kgosi Neighbourhood Foundation, and Pellegrino Collaborative have joined forces to develop together+, a multifaceted campaign designed to unite a South African community divided by xenophobia, and to inform, inspire, and empower its most marginalized citizens.
Gary Anderson, Hesburgh Professor of Catholic Theology at the University of Notre Dame, has been named a fellow of the American Academy of Jewish Research (AAJR). The AAJR is the oldest organization of Judaic scholars in North America, and fellows are nominated and elected by their peers. The group has approximately 100 members in the United States—and Anderson is one of a select few who are not Jewish.
Robert Goulding, an associate professor in the University of Notre Dame’s Program of Liberal Studies, was recently awarded a grant from the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) to support a research project that combines mathematics, philosophy, and Renaissance science. Goulding, who also teaches in the History and Philosophy of Science graduate program, says his work focuses on English scientist and mathematician Thomas Harriot (1560–1621), whom he calls “a really unusual figure” in intellectual history.
Large-scale microfinance programs are widely used as a tool to fight poverty in developing countries, but a recent study by University of Notre Dame economist Joseph Kaboski and MIT colleague Robert Townsend suggests that microfinancing can have varying results for participants and may not be the most cost-effective use of funds for many situations. The study was published in a recent issue of Econometrica. Kaboski and Townsend used the Thai Million Baht Village Fund, one of the largest government microfinance initiatives of its kind, to evaluate and understand the benefits and disadvantages of microfinance interventions.
University of Notre Dame engineer James Schmiedeler received the 2012 Rodney F. Ganey, Ph.D., Faculty Community-based Research Award for a project that uses the Nintendo Wii Fit platform to assist individuals dealing with weakness, paralysis, or impairments in balance and mobility as a result of strokes, accidents or illness. Schmiedeler, associate professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering, developed “WeHab” with colleagues from the College of Engineering and College of Arts and Letters, working in collaboration with the therapy staff at Memorial Hospital in South Bend.
Art. Sacred music. Medieval history. And the digital humanities. Margot Fassler, Keough-Hesburgh Professor of Music History and Liturgy at Notre Dame, brings them all together in her current research on Hildegard of Bingen—research for which she has been recently awarded fellowships from both the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Adding to these accolades, Fassler, who co-directs the Master of Sacred Music program in the College of Arts and Letters, today received the 2012 Otto Gründler Book Prize for The Virgin of Chartres: Making History Through Liturgy and the Arts (Yale University Press, 2010).
Wikipedia is often in the top results when people search for information online, but it isn’t always the most credible source. Enter a group of advanced Notre Dame undergraduates in psychology who have taken on the challenge to update, correct, or, in some cases, write new entries for the online encyclopedia. It’s all part of the new Association for Psychological Science (APS) Wikipedia Initiative—and Assistant Professor Gerald Haeffel’s Science and Pseudoscience in Psychology class is one of a select few across the country selected to participate.
A two-day working conference titled Learning In and Out of School: Education Across the Globe will bring a dozen researchers to the Notre Dame campus May 22–23 to share and discuss a broad range of perspectives on the nature of learning. “We’re taking a critical look at conventional schooling and bringing insights from other domains to understand human learning and to improve schooling—which is one of my goals as a teacher and researcher,” says organizer Susan Blum, professor and chair of the Department of Anthropology.
A new book by University of Notre Dame Anthropology Professor Agustín Fuentes titled Race, Monogamy, and Other Lies They Told You: Busting Myths about Human Nature counters these pernicious myths and tackles misconceptions about what race, aggression, and sex really mean for humans. Presenting scientific evidence from diverse fields, including anthropology, biology, and psychology, Fuentes incorporates an accessible understanding of culture, genetics, and evolution, requiring us to dispose of notions of “nature or nurture.”