ND Thinks Big, a student-organized event modeled after TED talks and Harvard Thinks Big, will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 22, in the Jordan Auditorium of the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business. Sponsored by student forum The Hub and the Flatley Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement, the event features 10 speakers from the Notre Dame faculty and administration, who will each deliver a 10-minute talk about their research and current work within their respective fields.
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Notre Dame political scientist Rev. Robert Dowd, C.S.C., and economist Molly Lipscomb have teamed up to conduct a randomized controlled trial in 250 villages of rural Uganda, where contaminated water is a major cause of health problems and premature death. Funded by a $279,000 grant from the John Templeton Foundation, the study will assess whether religious or political leaders are more effective at promoting health-enhancing behaviors.
Okuyamba, a locally produced award-winning short documentary about palliative care in Uganda, will be shown in the auditorium of the University of Notre Dame’s Hesburgh Center for International Studies at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 21. The film is directed by Ted Mandell, a faculty member in Notre Dame’s Department of Film, Television, and Theatre (FTT), and Mike Wargo of the Hospice Foundation.
Before he was Pope Benedict XVI, before he was a cardinal and a Vatican bureaucrat, and before he was archbishop of Munich, the German priest and professor Joseph Ratzinger taught theology at the Universities of Freising, Bonn, Munster, Tubingen, and Regensburg, served as a theological consultant at the Second Vatican Council and wrote several widely acclaimed and influential books of theology. Touching on nearly every imaginable theological topic, that career, uninterrupted and even magnified by the theologian’s election to the papacy, will be the subject of a conference, God is Love: Explorations in the Theology of Benedict XVI, to be held at the University of Notre Dame March 25–27 (Sunday–Tuesday).
Kathleen Sprows Cummings, associate professor of American Studies, has been appointed director of the University of Notre Dame’s Charles and Margaret Hall Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism. Announcing the appointment, John McGreevy, dean of Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters, praised Cummings as “one of the country’s most accomplished scholars of American Catholicism.”
A unique departmental approach to graduate students’ professional development is paying dividends for Notre Dame’s Department of Sociology. Over the past two years, more than 18 students have published a book, article, or book review in a peer-reviewed journal—for a combined total of 26 articles, three books and two book reviews. Nearly half of the publications have appeared in top-ranked journals.
Mark A. Noll, the Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame, and his co-writer Carolyn Nystrom, a Chicago-based freelance writer, have won the 2012 John Pollock Award for Christian Biography for their book, Clouds of Witnesses: Christian Voices from Asia and Africa.
Ying “Alison” Cheng, an assistant professor in Notre Dame’s Department of Psychology, has been named the 2012 winner of the Jason Millman Promising Scholar Award. Given by the National Council on Measurement in Education (NCME), the award honors outstanding scholars “whose research has the potential to make a major contribution to the applied measurement field.”
C. Lincoln Johnson, associate professor of sociology emeritus at the University of Notre Dame, died March 1. He was 70 years old.
Emotion-sensing computer software that models and responds to students’ cognitive and emotional states—including frustration and boredom—has been developed by University of Notre Dame Assistant Professor of Psychology Sidney D’Mello and a colleague from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. D’Mello also is a concurrent assistant professor of computer science and engineering. The new technology, which matches the interaction of human tutors, not only offers tremendous learning possibilities for students, but also redefines human-computer interaction.
In celebration of the 60th anniversary of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, as well as the author’s March 1 birthday, the University of Notre Dame’s Department of English is sponsoring a public reading of selections of the great novel from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. today (Thursday, March 1) in the Great Hall of O’Shaughnessy Hall, where faculty and students will read.
The University of Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study (NDIAS) will host an international conference, Conceptions of Truth, focused on the nature of truth. The interdisciplinary conference, scheduled for April 12-14 (Thursday-Saturday), will bring 17 leading experts to McKenna Hall to address the subject of “the truth.” The conference will include discussion of ideas presented as well as less formal opportunities for scholarly interaction.
At the University of Notre Dame, a new online publication, Church Life: A Journal for the New Evangelization is intended both to celebrate and invigorate Catholic life and mission by exploring aspects of its theology, liturgy, teaching, community, and prayer.
Dianne Pinderhughes, president’s distinguished professor in the departments of Africana studies and political science at the University of Notre Dame, has been named cochair of the new Civic Engagement and Governance Institute launched by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies in Washington, D.C.
Notre Dame Associate Professor Alyssa Gillespie’s elegant translation of “Two Trees Desire to Come Together…” by Marina Tsvetaeva was recently awarded joint third place in the 2011 Joseph Brodsky–Stephen Spender Prize competition. This recognition comes just a few months after Gillespie, co-director of the University’s program in Russian and East European studies, won second prize in the 2011 Compass Awards, another international poetry translation contest.
A research team based at the Julian Samora Library in the College of Arts and Letters’ Institute for Latino Studies (ILS) is one of three hemispheric teams to have its work featured in the launch of the Museum of Fine Arts Houston’s (MFAH) digital archive, which was formally released to the public during an international symposium held January 19–20 in Houston.
University of Notre Dame political scientist Michael Zuckert has been awarded the 2011 Jack Miller Center (JMC) Chairman’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Academic Excellence. According to the prize committee, the honor recognizes Zuckert’s scholarship as well as “his extraordinary ability as a classroom teacher who has provided generations of undergraduates and graduate students a profound understanding of our constitutional heritage.”
What role, if any, does forgiveness play in the context of war, in the wake of unspeakable atrocities? Daniel Philpott, associate professor of political science and peace studies, recently returned from Uganda, where he is exploring the practice of forgiveness among survivors of the two-decades-long civil war between the Lord’s Resistance Army and the Ugandan government.
Political violence and the aftermath of war are known to be harmful to children’s and teens’ mental health and well-being, but until now, few studies have examined how this happens. A new longitudinal study of neighborhoods in Belfast, Northern Ireland, led by University of Notre Dame Psychology Professor Mark Cummings, has found political violence affects children by upsetting the ways their families function, resulting in behavior problems and mental health symptoms among the youths over extended periods of time.
In an early job as a social worker for senior citizens, Cindy Bergeman began to wonder: Why did some of the people she worked with have such a positive attitude while others seemed so dreary? When faced with adversity or stress, why did some weather the storm better than others? Bergeman, now a professor in Notre Dame’s Department of Psychology, has spent more than two decades pursuing the answers to those questions.
The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1992 brought an influx of Soviet mathematicians to U.S. institutions, and those scholars’ differing areas of specialization have changed the way math is studied and taught in this country, according to new research by University of Notre Dame Economist Kirk Doran and George Borjas from Harvard University.
Vania Smith-Oka, assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Notre Dame, has been awarded the Center for Public Anthropology’s Ruth Benedict Global Citizenship Award—an honor granted to just one percent of faculty teaching introductory anthropology courses across the United States.
How did our world come to be as it is? Examining why and how the West was propelled into its current pluralism and polarization over the long term, The Unintended Reformation: How a Religious Revolution Secularized Society (Harvard University Press, 2012), offers new insight into how life in North America and Europe has been shaped over the past five centuries by the Protestant Reformation. Author Brad Gregory, University of Notre Dame historian, traces the relationships among religion, science, politics, morality, capitalism and consumerism, and higher education from the Middle Ages through the Reformation era to the present.
Professor Michael Desch, chair of Notre Dame’s Department of Political Science, has been awarded a second grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York to expand his research on how American scholars can contribute to the formation of U.S. national security policy.
According to University of Notre Dame theologian and historian Timothy Matovina, “bold proclamations about Latino voters determining presidential elections have become a regular feature of political commentary.” Matovina, professor of theology and director of Notre Dame’s Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism, is the author of a recent history titled Latino Catholicism: Transformation in America’s Largest Church. “In fact,” he says, “the electoral significance of Latinos is growing steadily, but not as exponentially as such commentaries suggest.”
Even with the endorsements of three Latinos with strong name recognition in the Latino community, Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney could alienate a good portion of Latino voters in Florida with his hardline position on immigration, according to University of Notre Dame political scientist Ricardo Ramírez.
Former Notre Dame College of Arts and Letters Dean Mark Roche has been named winner of the 2012 Frederic W. Ness Book Award from the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U). The Ness award is given annually to the book that best illuminates the goals and practices of a contemporary liberal education. Roche’s winning book, Why Choose the Liberal Arts? (University of Notre Dame Press, 2010), “outlines the benefits of a liberal education for all students striving for success in today’s tough economy,” says Pomona College President David W. Oxtoby, the Ness Book Award committee chair.
Three University of Notre Dame psychologists have been recognized for their work to more precisely measure a wide range of research topics, from happiness and depression to educational achievement. Specialists in the demanding subfield of quantitative psychology, Scott Maxwell, Zahng Guangjian, and Ying “Alison” Cheng design the statistical scaffolding needed to support measurable research into what are some of the most ephemeral of human conditions and concepts.
The study of constitutions dates back to Aristotle, yet remains as relevant today as it was then. “It’s a perennial subject that I think is getting renewed attention, first with the fall of the Soviet Union and the constitution writing that went on with that, then the democratization movement in Latin America, and now the revolutions in the Arab world,” says Vincent Phillip Muñoz, Tocqueville Associate Professor of Religion and Public Life at the University of Notre Dame.
By now, most people are aware of the environmental effects of air or water pollution; University of Notre Dame philosopher and scientist Kristin Shrader-Frechette has devoted herself to bringing to light a less known concern, the inequitable distribution of pollution’s human toll. “Polluters ‘target’ poor and minority communities to locate noxious facilities because they know that residents often are unable to defend themselves,” she says. For her efforts, Shrader-Frechette was recently awarded the Dr. Jean Mayer Global Citizenship Award from Tufts University’s Institute for Global Leadership.