An interdisciplinary team of Notre Dame faculty is leading an effort with institutions in Ohio and Kentucky to replicate an experiential learning model for attracting and retaining diverse STEM workforces in Rust Belt cities through university-community partnerships that strengthen quality of life. The three-year project, Replication of a Community-Engaged Educational Ecosystem Model in Rust Belt Cities, is supported by more than $2.5 million from the National Science Foundation’s Improving Undergraduate STEM Education program, $1.1 million of which is directed to Notre Dame. Led by the Center for Civic Innovation — which uses technology and methods to address pressing issues in the South Bend/Elkhart area — the project also involves College of Engineering and Department of Psychology faculty in the effort to understand how CCI’s model for community improvement projects functions in other cities under varying circumstances.
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For nearly 1,000 years, there has existed a sad division between two branches of the Christian family. Another step on the long path toward reconciliation between the Orthodox and Catholic Churches will be taken this month, when His All-Holiness Bartholomew, Orthodox Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome, visits the University of Notre Dame. “His coming here is, first and foremost, a sign of solidarity among Christians, between East and West,” said Alexis Torrance, the Archbishop Demetrios Associate Professor of Byzantine Theology. “And because Notre Dame is a global university, it is also an indication of how members of the academy, across disciplines, want to address the crises we all face — at the level of human relationships, economic injustice and environmental tragedy — in solidarity.”
Ask Charles Leavitt IV to name movies influenced by Italian cinema, and there’s not enough time in the day for the conversation. “The short answer is, it’s everything,” said Leavitt, a Notre Dame associate professor of Italian in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures. Leavitt’s book on the Italian neorealism movement has received significant acclaim — it won the 2020 Book Prize in Visual Studies, Film and Media from the American Association of Italian Studies and is one of five finalists in American nonfiction for The Bridge / Il Ponet literary prize.
Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., extended his congratulations to Notre Dame alumnus Joe Donnelly on his nomination today as U.S. ambassador to the Holy See. “Joe has been an exemplary public servant in Congress, an invaluable friend of Notre Dame and of me personally, and he is an ideal choice to represent the United States at the Vatican,” Father Jenkins said. “He will bring to this role a deep understanding of the issues currently facing our nation and the world, a genuine Catholic faith and an understanding of the role the Church can play in our world. On behalf of the Notre Dame family, I offer my congratulations and prayers as he prepares for this new responsibility.”
Two faculty members in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters have been awarded memberships at the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) in Princeton, N.J., one of the world’s foremost centers for intellectual inquiry into the sciences and the humanities. Karen Graubart, an associate professor of history, and Gabriel Radle, the Rev. John A. O'Brien, C.S.C., Assistant Professor of Theology, are two of the 271 new and returning scholars of history, cosmology, mathematics, and countless other disciplines, with whom they’ll share seminars, meals, and conversations this year.
Nicole Woods, a Notre Dame assistant professor of art history, has received the Leonard A. Lauder Visiting Senior Fellowship from the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, a world-renowned institution that brings scholars to Washington, D.C. She will spend much of the spring semester in the nation’s capital, working in the archives of the National Gallery of Art as well as the Smithsonian and the Library of Congress. Woods is studying the paintings of Bob Thompson, an African American painter from Kentucky who ran in the Beats' social circles in Greenwich Village after World War II.
Walter Nugent, the Andrew V. Tackes Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Notre Dame, died Sept. 8 in Seattle. He was 86. Nugent taught undergraduate and graduate courses primarily on U.S. migration, the Gilded Age and progressive era, and the U.S. West. His research focused on westward migration in the United States, populism and demography. He was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and Beinecke Fellowship, the Warsaw University Medal of Merit and two Fulbright Awards.
Reginald Dwayne Betts, the current artist-in-residence at Notre Dame’s Institute for Advanced Study and the Initiative on Race and Resilience, has been named to the 2021 John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship Class. Betts is one of 25 fellows to be selected for the honor, commonly known as a “Genius Grant,” which aims to recognize “talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction.”
Yury Avvakumov, an associate professor in the University of Notre Dame’s Department of Theology and a faculty fellow in the University’s Medieval Institute, has been appointed by Pope Francis to the Vatican’s International Theological Commission. The commission, established under Pope Paul VI in 1969, is tasked with examining doctrinal questions of great importance and advising the pope and the Holy See through the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Members of the Hispanic Alumni of Notre Dame (HAND), a University of Notre Dame Alumni Association affinity group, gathered virtually Sept. 21 for the second annual Hispanic alumni success stories panel. The event is one of several hosted by the Institute for Latino Studies in celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month.
Five Notre Dame graduate students, including two from the College of Arts & Letters, have been accepted into the inaugural cohort of the Navari Family Center for Digital Scholarship Pedagogy Fellows for the 2021-2022 academic year. The new fellowship program is an opportunity for Notre Dame Ph.D. students from Arts & Letters and the College of Science to build their teaching expertise, gain instructional experience, and engage in a life-long community of practice.
The University of Notre Dame will host the 31st annual meeting of the Black Catholic Theological Symposium on Oct. 7-9, featuring two public lectures and an inculturated Mass led by Cardinal Wilton Gregory, archbishop of Washington, D.C. Sponsored by the Department of Africana Studies and Department of Theology, the event also includes two days of private meetings for symposium members and an invitation-only listening session for Black Catholic students, community members, faculty, and staff.
The Department of Film, Television and Theatre mourns the death of its friend and colleague, professional specialist Karen Heisler. Heisler died Sept. 19. Heisler's Sports and TV class was legendary, as was her dogged insistence on proper grammar and proofreading. As the department internship coordinator, she shepherded countless students through their first experiences in the professional world.
“Ripe for Rivalry? U.S.-China Relations Under the Biden Administration” will feature a discussion of U.S.-China relations featuring a former senior diplomat and think tank president Ivo Daalder, business leaders Girish Rishi and Leo Melamed and a noted strategic analyst, Notre Dame professor Eugene Gholz. The panel will be moderated by Michael Desch, Notre Dame’s Packey J. Dee Professor of International Relations and the Brian and Jeannelle Brady Director of the Notre Dame International Security Center.
Daniel Philpott, a professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame, and Katharina Westerhorstmann, a professor of theology at Franciscan University, will host a public lecture and a day-long consultation session at Notre Dame on Thursday and Friday (Sept. 23 and 24), examining the Church’s sex abuse crisis and the lessons that may be derived from national truth and reconciliation processes for healing and restoration.
Art history majors at Notre Dame pursue their passions while developing skills such as visual literacy, analysis, communication, and information synthesis. "Art history helps us gain a better understanding of the world in today's visual culture," said Cruz Martinez. After graduation, students go on to top graduate and professional schools and work in a variety of professions and industries. “It's very much about storytelling," said art history major Meg Burns. “That's really what drew me to art history and continues to really excite me about coming back to the subject every day.”
Morgan Widhalm Munsen knows that effective communication is key for scientific research to have real life implications. So, in addition to conducting significant research of her own as a fourth-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Psychology, Munsen also pursues community-based projects that make science more accessible and understandable to the general public. “It’s not like you can do research and then suddenly expect it to be meaningful to people,” Munsen said. “Which is why I think it’s so important for scientists and researchers to tell stories about their research and help to make it as relevant as possible to people.”
The event, titled “Call to Action: Crossing the Political Divide to Address Climate Challenges,” featured American studies alumna Anne Thompson and U.S. Sen. Chris Coons exploring the global climate crisis broadly while also focusing on changes big and small that could help turn the tide. When asked if the political will to do something about the climate crisis has changed, Coons indicated that he thought it has, “but the challenge is that it has not been changing fast enough,” he said. Citing significant technology breakthroughs on various sustainability fronts, such as solar, wind and other renewable energies, the senator broadened the conversation to focus on the moral and human toll.
While many scholars have examined the early connections between Europe and the Americas, most approach the issue from one perspective or the other. Americanists tend to emphasize that the Spanish influence was an imposition and that indigenous culture was destroyed, while scholars of European history focus on evangelization and acculturation. Notre Dame Medieval Institute Ph.D. student Carlos Diego Arenas Pacheco seeks a balance between the two, however, arguing that indigenous culture in Mexico did not disappear — it was remade into something different, not only by the hands of the Europeans, but also by the hands of the indigenous peoples themselves.
U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas will deliver the 2021 Tocqueville Lecture for the Center for Citizenship and Constitutional Government on Sept. 16. As part of his visit, Thomas will co-teach a one-credit undergraduate course with Vincent Phillip Muñoz, who is also the founding director of the Center for Citizenship and Constitutional Government.
Sept. 13 marks the 700th anniversary of Dante Alighieri’s death. The great Italian poet is being celebrated around the globe and especially in Italy where gala concerts, exhibits, and dramatic readings are underway. In this interview with the University of Notre Dame Press, Theodore J. Cachey — a Notre Dame professor of Italian, the Ravarino Family Director of Italian and Dante Studies, and the founder and co-editor of the William and Katherine Devers Series in Dante and Medieval Italian Literature — discusses the Devers series' contribution to the study of medieval Italian literature and Dante studies, its new publications, and what's ahead in the future.
Chinese majors take classes like Literary Dreams, An Asia of Global Affairs, and The Chinese Economy while developing skills such as language proficiency, critical thinking, communication, and empathy. After graduation, students go on to top graduate and professional schools and work in a variety of professions and industries. “I'm just certain Chinese is going to help regardless of what I do," said Chinese major Nick Abouchedid. "Whether I go into business, academia, journalism, teaching, or medicine, these four years are going to be well spent."
Notre Dame Law School’s Exoneration Justice Clinic welcomed its first cohort of summer interns this year, including three political science majors, who collectively contributed to more than 50 cases. Offering the internship experience to undergraduates as well as law school students gave those students an opportunity to do meaningful law-focused work, and helped solidify their intention to pursue law school. “My expectations were exceeded by miles,” law professor Jimmy Gurulé said. “These students are bright, hardworking, and passionate, and made an invaluable contribution to the work of the EJC.”
Entrepreneurial tycoons, inventors, and shop-floor workers are often celebrated throughout history, but the story of the engineer isn’t something that’s taught in school. Notre Dame historian Ted Beatty aims to change that, thanks to a $250,000 research grant from the National Science Foundation that will fund a book, several articles, and an interactive database that will showcase the critical-but-often-overlooked role engineers played in shaping society as we know it. He seeks to tell the story of the rise of engineers — not just at outdoor worksites and inside factories but also in corporate boardrooms and government agencies across the globe.
Throughout the College of Arts & Letters — and across Notre Dame’s campus — faculty and staff are launching podcasts to share engaging conversations with audiences everywhere. From the de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture’s Ethics and Culture Cast to the Department of Theology’s Minding Scripture show to the Notre Dame International Security Center’s speaker series podcast, many programs have found the form to be an effective way of inviting the world into Notre Dame’s vibrant intellectual community. “I feel really committed to delivering content to a broad audience, especially to people who wouldn’t get it otherwise,” said Gabriel Said Reynolds, the Jerome J. Crowley and Rosaleen G. Crowley Professor of Theology. “It’s a gift to teach Notre Dame students, so I’m really grateful for the opportunity and I don’t take that for granted, but there are many people who will never have access to institutions like Notre Dame.”
What is the studio art major like at Notre Dame? "It's so supportive," Mallory Spiess said. “There's a whole different environment when you're surrounded by a lot of other creators and artists and designers." In studio art, you'll begin with required courses in drawing, 2D and 3D foundations, and art history, and then choose one of five concentrations. Majors pursue their passions while developing skills such as creativity, comfort with ambiguity, empathy, and communication.
As an Arts & Letters undergraduate, Sara Ferraro is contemplating big ideas like the pursuit of social justice and human dignity — and developing concrete, sustainable solutions for communities in need. And the Program of Liberal Studies and data science minor have enabled them to implement tangible strategies for organizations and communities from Appalachia to Guatemala. “I believe in the common good, and I want to figure out my place in contributing to it,” Ferraro said. “Health is the overarching term that I can apply to all my experiences so far, whether that is environmental health, physical health, emotional health, or resilience.”
Nicholas Roberts completed his Ph.D. in history at Notre Dame in May, focusing on modern Islamic history. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in music performance and history from Syracuse University in 2009 and his Master of Arts in global, international, and comparative history from Georgetown University in 2014. This fall, he is joining Norwich University as assistant professor of Middle Eastern history. In this interview, he discusses why he chose Notre Dame, his research on the history of the Omani Empire in the Indian Ocean, and why places like the Middle East, Africa, and the Indian Ocean should be more of a focal point in historical narratives.
What is the anthropology major like at Notre Dame? “You study human biology, human evolution, human behavior, language and culture — so many different aspects of what it means to be a human,” said anthropology major Noemi Toroczkai. Anthropology majors pursue their passions while developing skills such as critical engagement, data analysis, empathy, and a holistic perspective, then go on to top graduate and professional schools and work in a variety of professions and industries.
Matthew Bisner believes knowledge is best used when applied to the real world — and that’s why he’s spent much of his time at Notre Dame using what he has learned in the classroom to strengthen the community. A senior political science and peace studies major with a gender studies minor, Bisner looks to his coursework for tools and inspiration to improve the world around him — from aiding students in the midst of a pandemic to campaigning for a more inclusive campus.