For a team of Notre Dame psychologists, virtual reality is more than a game — it is the next frontier in mental health treatment. Nathan Rose, Jennifer Hames, and Michael Villano are conducting research on the use of virtual reality environments in exposure therapy for participants with a fear of heights. The technology also holds promise for treating phobias like the fear of flying and post-traumatic stress disorder.
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Mary Ellen Konieczny, the Henkels Family Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Notre Dame, died Feb. 24 as a result of complications from cancer. She was 58. A faculty fellow of the Center for the Study of Religion and Society and the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, she studied religion and conflict, the family and public politics.
New research from the University of Notre Dame discovers people appear to stop conceiving babies several months before recessions begin. The study, “Is Fertility a Leading Economic Indicator?” was published in the National Bureau of Economic Research’s working paper series. It is coauthored by Notre Dame economists Kasey Buckles and Daniel Hungerman, and Steven Lugauer from the University of Kentucky.
Rev. Daniel G. Groody, C.S.C. is associate professor of theology and global affairs and the director of the Kellogg Global Leadership Program. His research interests include migration and the US-Mexican border, international migration, and refugees.
Six new faculty have joined the Department of Economics this year, bringing expertise in a wide variety of subfields and significant experience conducting research at the federal level. The new additions — professor of the practice Timothy Dunne; assistant professors Kirsten Cornelson, Illenin Kondo, Benjamin Pugsley, and Jasmine Xiao; and research assistant professor Sarah Kroeger — join a department undergoing remarkable growth. It has added 22 faculty members in the last five years, thanks in part to its selection as one of 10 essential research areas through the University’s Advancing Our Vision program.
Kristin Valentino is the William J. Shaw Center for Children and Families Associate Professor of Psychology. Her research interests include child development and child psychopathology.
Agustín Fuentes, the Rev. Edmund P. Joyce, C.S.C., Endowed Chair in Anthropology, has been selected to deliver the 2018 Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. Founded by the jurist Adam Lord Gifford, the renowned lecture series invites pre-eminent scholars to address topics related to theology, philosophy, and science. Fuentes is the second consecutive College of Arts and Letters faculty member to be chosen.
A new book by a Notre Dame political science professor has sparked a fire in the public sphere, garnering significant discussion in major media outlets over his arguments about liberalism and modern society. In Why Liberalism Failed, Patrick Deneen — the David A. Potenziani Memorial Associate Professor of Constitutional Studies — argues that liberalism is built on a foundation of contradictions.
Matthew Wilkens is associate professor of English at the University of Notre Dame. His research interests include contemporary American fiction, digital humanities, and computational literary studies.
Roy Scranton, an assistant professor in Notre Dame’s Department of English, has won a fellowship from the Lannan Foundation in recognition of his fiction writing. Since 1989, the foundation has given literary awards and fellowships to both established and emerging writers “of distinctive literary merit who demonstrate potential for continued outstanding work.”
For Ross Jacobucci, quantitative psychology is a chance to invent, to improvise — and to create new tools to answer complex questions. As a new assistant professor in the Department of Psychology, he wants his students to see that side of it, too. Jacobucci, who joined Arts and Letters in the fall after receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Southern California, specializes in structural equation modeling and data mining.
“At the heart of the mission of a Catholic university is service to the Church,” said Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., president of Notre Dame. “John Cavadini, whether through his leadership of the McGrath Institute for Church Life or his work as a theologian, has been tireless in seeking ways in which Notre Dame can better serve the Church.”
The U.S. government has a good idea of where oil prices are headed and why, but the demand side is less clear. So the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), a part of the Department of Energy that collects and distributes data on energy and the economy, recruited Notre Dame economist Christiane Baumeister to develop an indicator for future energy demand. With a two-year, $120,000 grant, she’ll collect data on possible determinants of oil demand and create models to figure out which of those factors actually determine future demand. Having that information, she said, tells us about more than just oil.
Notre Dame’s Department of Political Science has added four new faculty members, bolstering its expertise in international relations issues. The new faculty — Eugene Gholz, Joseph Parent, Rosemary Kelanic, and Jazmin Sierra — join an elite group of academics advancing research and teaching in a vibrant department. “International relations remains one of the most important areas of political science with direct relevance to the challenges of peace, prosperity, and trust among nations,” said Luis Ricardo Fraga, acting chair of the department. “Understanding these challenges in today’s ever-changing and complex world of politics requires analyses that are nuanced, evidence-driven, and grounded in the development of new theory.”
Michael Desch is professor of political science and director of the Notre Dame International Security Center. His research interests include international relations, American foreign policy, and American national security.
John Liberatore is captivated by the glass harmonica, an archaic 18th-century instrument invented by Benjamin Franklin. And he is fascinated by how the latest technological innovations are changing music composition and performance. The juxtaposition of the two is at the heart of his next composition — titled “In White Spaces” — which has been commissioned by the Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard University. He is one of just 12 composers to receive the prestigious commission this year.
Jessica Payne, the Nancy O'Neill Collegiate Chair and Associate Professor of Psychology at Notre Dame, has been named a 2017 Kavli Frontiers of Science Fellow by the National Academy of Sciences. She was one of 12 scholars invited to present their research at the Kavli’s Japanese-American-German Symposium in Germany in September. Kavli Fellows are chosen from among young scholars who have received prestigious national fellowships and awards and who have been identified as future leaders in science.
Soprano Kiera Duffy, recently appointed as head of undergraduate voice studies in Notre Dame's Department of Music, will make her debut with the Berlin Philharmonic in late January 2018 in Ravel's opera L'enfant et les sortilegès. The Berlin Philharmonic is consistently rated among the preeminent orchestras in the world.
Why Russian literature has a lot to say about the medical humanities, narrative medicine, and the value of proper medical treatment.
Researchers from Notre Dame’s Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities (LEO) and the University of Maryland evaluated a program that pairs undergraduates with trained social workers who can help them navigate important non-academic hurdles — including child care and transportation — that often lead students to drop out. Students who participated in the comprehensive case management program were significantly more likely to stay enrolled and to graduate within six years.
The legacy of Notre Dame philosopher Alvin Plantinga will continue on for years thanks to support from the John Templeton Foundation. He was named the 2017 Templeton Prize Laureate this spring — joining the ranks of previous winners Mother Teresa, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Charles Taylor, Jean Vanier, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama — and his work will now be chronicled in a series of 10 short, animated videos, which will present many of his central arguments in a visually captivating style designed to appeal to a wide audience. With funding from the Templeton Foundation, the project will be led by two Notre Dame philosophy professors.
The conference titled “The Whole is Greater than its Parts: Christian Unity and Interreligious Encounter Today” will be held at the University’s Rome Global Gateway Jan. 8-10. This is the second such international gathering hosted by Notre Dame’s World Religions World Church program.
Notre Dame political scientist Susan Collins has been awarded a 2018 fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities, extending the University’s record success with the NEH. Since 1999, faculty in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters have won a total of 62 NEH fellowships — more than any other university in the country.
Philosophy faculty members Michael Rea and Samuel Newlands have been awarded a grant from the John Templeton Foundation to pursue questions related to the nature of the self. The grant supports the planning phase of a large, interdisciplinary project Rea and Newlands are developing — “Narrative Conceptions of the Self in Psychology, Philosophy, and Theology.” In January, the philosophers will bring together scholars in philosophy, psychology, neuroscience, anthropology, and theology to present cutting edge research from their fields toward answering the question, “how can we understand and make sense of the narrative conceptions of the self?”
“The medieval Mediterranean world is the one really impressive laboratory we have for studying how Jews and Christians and Muslims interacted with each other over a long period of time,” said Thomas Burman, professor of history and Robert M. Conway Director of the Medieval Institute at the University of Notre Dame. Burman’s research focuses on the scholars of the Middle Ages in Spain and the Middle East. His current project is on Ramon Marti, a Dominican priest who was proficient in Arabic and read extensively on Islam, yet almost exclusively engaged with Judaism in his writings.
Led by Jason Ruiz, associate professor of American studies, the two-day seminar brought local educators together with Notre Dame Professors to examine a variety of cultural objects, from early textbooks to modern dramas, to understand how media and popular culture shape “ideas about race” in America. The seminar, part of the Teachers as Scholars program, also provided practical strategies for approaching sensitive topics of race in the classroom setting.
Lee Anna Clark, the William J. and Dorothy K. O’Neill Professor of Psychology, along with a small team of other experts, wants researchers and clinicians to revisit how mental illnesses are approached. In a new paper published in the invitation-only journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest, Clark and her team present the challenges in using three major diagnostic manuals from a scientific perspective and offer some recommendations for re-conceptualizing the mental disorders they describe.
Notre Dame anthropologist Alex E. Chávez published a new book, Sounds of Crossing: Music, Migration, and the Aural Poetics of Huapango Arribeño through Duke University Press this week. Chávez came to his research not only as a trained scholar, but also as a performer, trained in classical and jazz. At an early age, he was also exposed to huapango arribeño. This understudied folk music originates in Guanajuato, San Luis Potosi, and Queretaro, in the heart of Mexico.
The first social psychology course that Jessica Collett took as an undergraduate left her wanting more. While the topic was fascinating, the examples in the textbook were dated and didn’t resonate with her or her fellow students. Now an associate professor in Notre Dame’s Department of Sociology, Collett has won the 2017 Sheedy Excellence in Teaching Award, the highest teaching honor in the College of Arts and Letters. And she’s now the co-author of that same textbook from her first sociology class.
Associate Professor of English Matthew Wilkens is fascinated by the use of geography in literature over time. How, for example, did the Civil War affect the importance of certain places in American literature, and what can literature tells us about Americans’ sense of place? The answer can be found in books written during that period — potentially thousands of them, many more than Wilkens could ever read and analyze himself. He was recently awarded a $325,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to bolster Textual Geographies, a database and suite of tools he is developing that allow users to find, map, and analyze more than 14 billion place name mentions from books and journals in English, Spanish, German, and Chinese.