For 75 minutes every fall Tuesday afternoon, junior Grace Ryan steps, slides, marches, smiles, and laughs. The business analytics major who’s pursuing a career in aerospace was hesitant to sign up given her already busy schedule, but she eventually agreed to try it out. Now she’s hooked — and that combination of having fun while becoming proficient in Irish traditions is exactly why the Department of Irish Language and Literature began offering 1-credit old-style Irish dancing course and tin whistle courses this year.
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Researchers know that experiencing a high number of adverse events in childhood correlates with worse health outcomes in adulthood. These studies have led to an emphasis on trauma-informed practice in schools and workplaces in an attempt to mitigate the harm of early adversity. At the other end of the spectrum, focusing on wellness, Darcia Narvaez, emerita professor of psychology, has helped identify humanity’s baseline for childhood care. In a first-of-its-kind study conducted by Narvaez and doctoral student Mary Tarsha and published in the journal Anxiety, Stress and Coping, results show that positive childhood experiences can help buffer the effects of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) on physiological health in adult women.
The U.S. Senate today confirmed the nomination of University of Notre Dame alumnus and former senator Joe Donnelly as ambassador to the Holy See. A 1977 graduate of Notre Dame with a bachelor’s degree in political science, Donnelly went on to earn his law degree from the University four years later. He represented Indiana’s 2nd Congressional District, which includes Notre Dame, for three terms and served one term in the U.S. Senate.
Spanish majors pursue their passions while developing skills such as language proficiency, intercultural competence, critical thinking, and analysis. “By the end, I feel 100 times more competent in Spanish than when I came into college," said Spanish major Natalie Reysa. "The Spanish program really enhanced and enriched my experience at Notre Dame, and I would have never had it any other way."
Three faculty members in the College of Arts & Letters — philosopher Sara Bernstein, theatre scholar Tarryn Chun, and historian Katie Jarvis — have won National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships, extending Notre Dame's record success with the federal agency committed to supporting original research and scholarship. The University also received a significant grant for a digital scholarship project that will develop a new platform that makes digital archives easier to analyze, present, and reuse. Since 2000, Arts & Letters faculty have received more NEH fellowships than any other private university in the country.
The Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures at Notre Dame has launched the Globally Engaged Citizens program, designed to reward students for their engagement with language and culture studies and encourage participation by students who are not required to take language classes. Through a combination of coursework and cultural experiences, the program offers Notre Dame students from all colleges and schools the opportunity to demonstrate that they have spent time during their college experience preparing to be a global citizen.
The image of Black inmates working in fields where enslaved African Americans once toiled has been seared into Notre Dame senior Aysha Gibson’s mind since she went on a high school field trip to the Louisiana State Penitentiary. Gibson, a history and neuroscience and behavior major, is now writing her senior thesis about the prison to provide a deeper understanding of America’s penal system. The independent research project, advised by associate professor Rebecca McKenna, considers race, morality, state law, labor, and geography — and is the culmination of an undergraduate career full of academic and service experiences that helped her consider how to support communities experiencing hardship.
Russian majors pursue their passions while developing skills such as language proficiency, cultural empathy, communication, and analysis. "Being in the classroom, getting to interact with friends and colleagues in Russian, making jokes in Russian, is something I really enjoy," said Russian major Patrick Brady. "The professors do a great job of making the classes really fun and engaging."
An annual launching pad for student filmmakers as they begin their careers in the film, television and entertainment industries, the Notre Dame Student Film Festival screens films that were made by undergraduate students during the past year as class projects in the Department of Film, Television and Theatre.
The Rooney Center for the Study of American Democracy is launching The January 6th, 2025, Project — a research, teaching, and public engagement initiative devoted to understanding and averting looming threats to U.S. democracy. Through in-depth study and analysis of the social, political, psychological, and demographic factors that led to the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, the project’s members hope to offer insight into how to protect and strengthen the American electoral system before a likely attack on Jan. 6, 2025, the day the results of the 2024 presidential election will be certified by Congress.
Many associate philosophy with the study of abstract theories of logic, human nature or the universe. But for Notre Dame philosophers Meghan Sullivan and Paul Blaschko it is also a practical approach to the issues of everyday life. Philosophy, they say, offers a sustainable, holistic and battle-tested approach to setting goals and finding meaning. In their new book, The Good Life Method: Reasoning Through the Big Questions of Happiness, Faith, and Meaning, Blaschko and Sullivan examine how the tenets of philosophy can help readers chart their course and ultimately determine what it means to live a good life.
The University of Notre Dame has been awarded nearly $1 million from Lilly Endowment Inc. to equip students in the Master of Divinity Program (M.Div.) and Master of Arts in Theology program to better serve in and learn from a diverse, ever-changing world. The grant will support cultural immersion programs and Spanish proficiency courses for 13 to 18 lay and seminarian students, as well as opportunities to meet with and learn from peers at other colleges.
Carmen-Helena Téllez, a professor of conducting in the University of Notre Dame’s Department of Music, died Friday (Dec. 10) after a battle with cancer. She was 66. A member of the Notre Dame faculty since 2012, she served for several years as head of the Graduate Conducting Studio in the Sacred Music at Notre Dame program and was the first to lead its doctoral program in choral conducting. At Notre Dame, she conducted and designed a series of musical works with new modes of interdisciplinary presentation.
Six projects led by faculty in the College of Arts & Letters at Notre Dame, along with their collaborators at partner universities, have been awarded funding through Notre Dame Research’s Internal Grants Program. The program seeks to support faculty researchers and programs with the goal of advancing the University’s research enterprise, scholarly output, and creative endeavor.
The College of Arts and Letters’ Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts is dismantling financial barriers to help a wider range of students take part in faculty-mentored summer research.Starting this May, ISLA’s Research Access Mentoring Program (RAMP) grant will provide awardees from the College of Arts and Letters with a stipend of $3,500, room and board, and a research allowance of up to $1,500 to take part in 10-week, on-campus projects of interest. Recipients also will receive tuition for a 3-credit summer course.
Notre Dame senior Trevor Lwere will pursue a Master of Global Affairs in Beijing next year as a member of the Schwarzman Scholar Class of 2023. A native of Kampala, Uganda, he is one of 151 Schwarzman Scholars from a pool of nearly 3,000 applicants from around the globe. He is Notre Dame’s first Schwarzman Scholar since the program was established in 2016. Lwere is an economics major and philosophy, politics and economics minor, with a supplementary major in global affairs. He is a member of the Hesburgh-Yusko Scholars Program, the Glynn Family Honors Program and the Kellogg Institute International Scholars Program.
In the drive to vaccinate Americans against COVID-19, many question where faith communities stand. A new study by Notre Dame sociologist Kraig Beyerlein found that 30 percent of congregants in the United States heard solely encouraging messages about vaccination from faith leaders or fellow members. Another third heard both encouraging and discouraging messaging, and 32 percent heard no messaging at all. Notably, only 5 percent of American congregants received only discouraging messages concerning vaccination from their faith communities.
Offered through the Department of Political Science, the Hesburgh Program in Public Service, the Constitutional Studies minor, and the Center for Citizenship and Constitutional Government, Philanthropy and the Common Good is an experiential course that offers students the opportunity to engage with local nonprofits while learning about the history and role of philanthropy in the U.S. Students in the class this semester awarded grants totaling $78,600 to five organizations during a ceremony on the National Day of Giving.
On her first day teaching at Notre Dame in the late 1990s, then-doctoral student Kathleen Sprows Cummings asked her undergraduates in Ethnicity and American Identity to share why they were taking the course. “Nothing else was open,” was the first reply. It wasn’t the only one.
Times change. Cummings, now the Rev. John A. O'Brien Collegiate Professor of American Studies and History and director of the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism, is the winner of the 2021 Sheedy Excellence in Teaching Award, the highest teaching honor in the College of Arts & Letters. “She has shaped me into a better student, Catholic, woman, and member of society,” one senior wrote in her letter recommending Cummings for the award. “I strive to become the type of woman and professional that she is.”
When Reginald Dwayne Betts hears the word prison, his first thoughts aren’t about violence or distance or time — he thinks about books. Betts, an artist-in-residence at the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study and the Notre Dame Initiative on Race and Resilience, was sentenced to nine years in prison as a 16-year-old. It was there that a book, slid under the door of his cell, changed the course of his life. Now an acclaimed poet, graduate of Yale Law School and 2021 MacArthur Fellow, Betts presented the debut of his solo show Nov. 17 and 18 in the Regis Philbin Studio Theatre at the University of Notre Dame’s DeBartolo Performing Arts Center.
Notre Dame alumna MacKenzie Isaac ’20 will study at the University of Oxford in England next year as a member of the U.S. Rhodes Scholar Class of 2022. She is one of 32 Rhodes Scholars selected from a pool of 826 candidates this year, and is Notre Dame’s 21st Rhodes Scholar overall and fourth in the past five years. She graduated in 2020 with a Bachelor of Arts in sociology, minoring in data science and Latino studies.
Using new data, Notre Dame sociologist Joel Mittleman analyzed how sexuality shapes academic performance in unprecedented detail. Mittleman found that gay men’s academic success doesn’t just subtly outshine straight men’s. Roughly 52 percent of gay men in the U.S. have a bachelor’s degree, while the overall national number for all adults in the U.S. is 36 percent. Six percent of gay men in the U.S. have an advanced degree (J.D., M.D., or Ph.D.), which is about 50 percent higher than that of straight men.
Fall Saturdays on Notre Dame’s campus are filled with familiar touchstones. Helmeted competitors preparing to face off. A glint of sunlight reflecting off a majestic wing. Cherished objects brought out for admiring fans. Spectators reveling in the pageantry of it all. But this year, some of those displays predate American football by centuries. Thanks to the Medieval Institute — which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year — home game Saturdays have featured medieval objects and traditions, from fencing demonstrations to falconry, blacksmithing, astronomy, and more.
“The Middle Ages are amazingly important to understanding the modern world,” said Thomas Burman, the Robert M. Conway Director of the Medieval Institute. “That’s part of the reason we say they are ‘the crossroads of everything.’ There are all kinds of things about modern culture that are medieval in origin, including scientific traditions, universities and representative democracy.”
Theodore Beauchaine, the William K. Warren Foundation Professor of Psychology at Notre Dame, is co-director of the Suicide Prevention Initiative—Research, Intervention, & Training (SPIRIT), located off campus at the Department of Psychology Clinical Studies Building. Along with co-director Brooke Ammerman, Beauchaine is helping to teach children and adolescents in the South Bend community to better regulate their emotions, with the goal of reducing risk factors for suicide. One promising tool he is researching is a pocket-sized music player with earbuds that stimulate the vagus nerve with a low amplitude electrical current. “If one has heart disease, you don't wait until they have a first heart attack to intervene. It turns out that suicide prevention is similar to that,” he said.
Notre Dame alumnus Adm. Christopher Grady, the first and only four-star flag or general officer from Notre Dame, has been nominated vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the No. 2 military officer in the country. A history major and three-time monogram winner for fencing, Grady is commander of U.S. Fleet Forces Command, Naval Forces Northern Command, and Naval Forces Strategic Command.
Notre Dame is launching a dynamic new minor in sport, media, and culture (SMAC), a program designed for students interested in careers in sports media and diving deep into critical analyses of sports, representation, and power. Led by the Department of American Studies in partnership with the Department of Film, Television, and Theatre, the SMAC minor focuses on the intersection of sports and culture in all forms of media — art, history, journalism, radio, TV, film, and social media. Through an interdisciplinary, scholarly approach to sports studies, students will analyze issues of race, gender, sexuality, class and inequality that shape the modern athletic, business, cultural, and political landscapes.
As a managing director in Accenture's Information Security group, John Blasi ’90 is constantly evaluating new security technologies. His goal is to stay ahead of would-be hackers and other malicious activity and to protect the company’s more than 500,000 employees worldwide. To do so, the Chicago-based executive needs more than just technical skills in the people he hires — he needs a multidisciplinary team that is creative, adaptive, and responsive. He needs liberal arts majors.
Notre Dame’s College of Arts & Letters has launched a new minor in health, humanities, and society, an interdisciplinary program designed to help students analyze the wide range of social and humanistic issues connected to health and medicine. Housed in the John J. Reilly Center for Science, Technology, and Values, the 15-credit minor will offer courses that give undergraduates interested in health-related careers an understanding of the historical precedent, ethical dilemmas, cultural nuance, social complexity, and political economy associated with medicine — and how to apply those lessons to social health in local, scalable, and transferable ways.
Amidst all the anxiety and upheaval created by the coronavirus pandemic, Opera Notre Dame faced a difficult and unique dilemma. How do you give a voice to voice students when their foremost skill — singing opera — poses a potential health risk to others? As uncertainty reigned, they got creative — to make an opera production that was artistically meaningful, educationally rich, and as safe as possible, they made a movie. Please Look: A Cinematic Opera Experience premieres this week at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center’s Browning Cinema.
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.