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.
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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.”
Rev. Daniel G. Groody, C.S.C., associate professor of theology and director of the Center for Latino Spirituality and Culture at the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Latino Studies, has received the 2012 Touchstone Award from the National Federation of Priests’ Councils (NFPC). In announcing the award, the NFPC, which represents 26,000 priests nationwide, praised Father Groody’s work in the Latino community and his scholarship in migration issues and theology.
José E. Limón, one of the country’s foremost scholars of Latino literature, has been tapped to lead the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Latino Studies (ILS). As the new director of ILS, he will hold the Julian Samora Chair in Latino Studies. Timothy Matovina, a leading expert on Latino Catholicism, will serve as executive director of the institute, which is housed in the College of Arts and Letters. Both appointments take effect July 1, 2012. Established in 1999, the Institute for Latino Studies supports a variety of interdisciplinary initiatives to foster understanding of the U.S. Latino experience.
Twelve College of Arts and Letters faculty members have received 2012 Rev. Edmund P. Joyce, C.S.C., Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and one was honored with a Dockweiler Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising.
Robert C. Johansen, who retired this year as professor of political science and peace studies and a founding faculty member of the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, was recently honored with a conference titled “Global Governance and the Future of Strategic Peacebuilding.” It focused on a central theme of Johansen’s scholarship and teaching: the importance of strengthening ethical and legal norms and international institutions that contribute to peace and justice.
Karen Richman, a Notre Dame anthropologist who studies Haitian culture and popular religion, has been honored with the 2012 Award for OpenCourseWare Excellence. Her free, online Creole Language and Culture class was one of five winners in the text and still image category—selected from among the 17,000 courses shared by universities worldwide through the OpenCourseWare Consortium.
Michael J. O’Brien, a political science major in the College of Arts and Letters, has been named valedictorian of the 2012 University of Notre Dame graduating class and will present the valedictory address during Commencement ceremonies May 20 (Sunday) at Notre Dame Stadium. O’Brien is editor-in-chief of Beyond Politics: Undergraduate Journal of Politics, and serves as president of the Notre Dame College Democrats, leading one of the most active College Democrats chapters in the nation.
Notre Dame theologian Jean Porter has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS), one of the nation’s most prestigious honorary societies. Porter, the Rev. John A. O’Brien Professor of Theological Ethics, specializes in Christian ethics and the history and interpretation of the natural law tradition in Catholic ethical reflection, particularly the moral theology of St. Thomas Aquinas.
A signature work of the Bard just became more accessible thanks to a new iPad app developed by University of Notre Dame Associate Professor of English Elliott Visconsi and Bryn Mawr College colleague Professor Katherine Rowe.
Assistant Professor Elizabeth Aura McClintock, a recent hire in Notre Dame’s Department of Sociology, maintains a professional interest in a field that most of us at one time or another have tried an amateur hand at: mapping out the rules of attraction in dating and marriage. “My research focuses on gender and inequality in the context of romantic and sexual relationships, particularly in partner selection and relationship formation and in the dynamics of negotiation and compromise within established relationships,” she says.
“Ideas matter, and they can be a powerful force for global political change,” says Eileen Hunt Botting, a University of Notre Dame political theorist who charts early thinking on women’s rights in countries around the world. Botting and political science major Sean Kronewitter ‘13 cowrote an article on the subject which was recently accepted for publication in the academic journal Political Theory.
Olivier Morel’s film On the Bridge, about veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), has been selected for more than a dozen festivals, won multiple awards, and has been the subject of countless media interviews since its fall 2011 release. But all of that recognition pales in comparison with a chain of events that occurred earlier this year, the director and Notre Dame faculty member says.
A new blog produced by the Center for the Study of Social Movements (CSSM) at the University of Notre Dame is bringing scholars, activists, and policymakers together like never before to discuss social movements and change.
James H. Walton, professor emeritus of English at the University of Notre Dame, died Saturday after a brief illness. He was 74 years old. Walton was graduated from Notre Dame in 1959 and earned master’s and doctoral degrees in English from Northwestern University in 1960 and 1963, respectively. He joined the Notre Dame faculty in 1963, teaching popular courses on the English novel and 18th-century literature until his retirement in 2003.
Notre Dame Associate Professor Meredith S. Chesson investigates the extensive looting—mostly by economically struggling local residents—that for decades has affected the area in and around the Jordanian cemetery at Fifa. Her work questions traditional ways of thinking about both archaeologists and looters.
Kathryn Kerby-Fulton, professor and Notre Dame Chair in English, has been awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for her book project titled Professional Reading Circles, the Clerical Proletariat, and the Rise of English Literature. She was also recently named a fellow in the Medieval Academy of America.
The film Bully, opening in some theaters today, addresses an issue that is verging on an epidemic with more than 18 million young people reportedly being bullied in the United States this year alone. All too often, the suggested solution to bullying will be a “one and done" event—an ineffective approach, according to a University of Notre Dame psychologist F. Clark Power.
Two years ago, Julia Douthwaite, a professor in Notre Dame’s Department Romance Languages and Literatures, adapted her altered-book assignment for undergraduates so that the South Bend schoolgirl she mentors every week could create her own hardback book. “I’m basically the production assistant and the illustrator,” explains Douthwaite, who also writes promotional blurbs for the back cover. “She’s the author. She’s so thrilled that she’s now the author of two books,” both treasured Christmas gifts for the girl’s mother.
The 2012 Nuclear Security Summit fell short of its goal of securing vulnerable nuclear materials around the world, as top officials of some 50 countries gathered earlier this week in South Korea in an effort to reduce the threat of nuclear terrorism. Much of the discussion focused on North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile activities, the post-tsunami problems at the Fukushima nuclear reactor plants and about Iran’s nuclear capabilities—all of which University of Notre Dame Political Science Professor and Chair Michael Desch believes “occupy a disproportionate place in our psyche.”
If practiced safely, co-sleeping with your baby is safe and beneficial, according to James McKenna, University of Notre Dame biological anthropologist and world-renowned expert on sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Nodding off in class may not be such a bad idea after all. New research from University of Notre Dame psychologist Jessica Payne shows that going to sleep shortly after learning new material is most beneficial for recall.
Whenever two or more candidates win significant numbers of delegates, a brokered convention is always a possibility—and in the best interest of the two trailing candidates in this presidential election, according to a University of Notre Dame political scientist. But a brokered convention in 2012 is both “unlikely and unhappy” for the Republican Party, says Geoffrey Layman, an associate professor of political science who specializes in American politics, political parties, public opinion, and voting behavior.
Biological anthropologist Lee Gettler ’05 made national news last year with his research on the linkage between fatherhood and testosterone, reporting that the hormone decreases in men once they have children and drops even more in dads who are very active in caring for their children. Currently completing his Ph.D. at Northwestern University, Gettler will bring his attention-getting work to Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters this fall as an assistant research professor in the Department of Anthropology.
Hundreds of thousands of people around the world work for humanitarian organizations devoted to the sick and injured, refugees, and victims of wars and disasters. In recent years, this work has become even more dangerous, as growing numbers of humanitarian workers have been attacked, kidnapped, or killed, according to Larissa Fast, assistant professor of conflict resolution at the University of Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies and Department of Sociology.
Wielding a gun increases a person’s bias to see guns in the hands of others, new research from the University of Notre Dame shows. Notre Dame Associate Professor of Psychology James Brockmole, who specializes in human cognition and how the visual world guides behavior, together with a colleague from Purdue University, conducted the study, which will appear in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance.