From philosophy to musical theatre to economics, Arts and Letters faculty are using technological innovations — as well as creativity, patience, and empathy — to continue the educational experience for their students as the University shifts to online classes in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The sudden shift has prompted adaptation in the face of adversity — from defending a dissertation via Zoom meeting to posting and analyzing behind-the-scenes clips of rehearsal for a musical that won't be performed — but it has also already helped faculty and students forge new bonds with each other.
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In a letter today to the Class of 2020, University of Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., announced that the University Commencement Ceremony on May 17 will be held online rather than in Notre Dame Stadium, and that an on-campus celebration has been scheduled for the spring of 2021. Father Jenkins made the decision after discussions with experts on infectious diseases, University deans, and student government and class officers as he continued to monitor the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The University of Notre Dame is donating personal protective equipment from labs across the University in response to the coronavirus pandemic, which has led to a shortage of such equipment among local doctors, nurses and first responders on the front lines of the outbreak. Labs across campus are donating gloves, masks, face shields, goggles, isolation gowns and other personal protective equipment for delivery to St. Joseph County Unified Command. In addition, Liang Cai, an assistant professor of history, is organizing the donation of personal protective equipment from China with help from Notre Dame alumni and the parents of Notre Dame students in that country.
Notre Dame’s International Security Center (NDISC) has named James Webb its first distinguished fellow. Webb — a Vietnam Marine combat veteran, former senator, and former secretary of the Navy — is a national security and foreign policy specialist and the author of 10 books. “It is an honor and a distinct pleasure to be working with the leadership and students of Notre Dame,” Webb said. “I look forward to both teaching and learning through my interactions over the coming months.”
In the face of the continuing threat of the novel coronavirus, and to mitigate its impact on campus, University of Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., announced today a suspension of all in-person classes on campus beginning Monday, March 23, through at least Monday, April 13.
English major Isabel Weber worked last summer as exhibitions development intern at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. Duties included writing text for displays, cataloging artifacts, and collaborating with other developers and interns on exhibit installations. Career discernment is a critical aspect of internships for many students, and Weber’s experience was no exception. “I went into this summer knowing that I wanted to do museum work, not really sure what kind,” she said. “I've really fallen in love with exhibitions development.”
When neuroscience and behavior major Revell Cozzi decided to add a minor in philosophy, religion, and literature (PRL), she was driven by more than just an academic interest. Cozzi felt the minor provided her with a piece of herself she’d been missing in college life. “One of Notre Dame’s application essays asked us what Father Basil Moreau’s quote, ‘Education is the art of helping young people to completeness,’ meant to us,” the senior said. “I feel like having that interdisciplinary aspect is the best way to bring people to completeness."
The University of Notre Dame is launching a bachelor of arts in computer science major, offering undergraduate students the opportunity to obtain rigorous training in the rapidly advancing areas where computer science intersects with the arts, humanities, or social sciences. Housed in the College of Arts and Letters, the program will involve significant coursework in the College of Engineering’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering while offering enough flexibility for students to enroll in an Arts and Letters program — a major, supplementary major, minor, or 15-credit hour course sequence of their own design.
A neuroscience and behavior major, Giglia traveled to Ireland four separate times as an undergraduate — once for a semester at University College Dublin through the Dublin Global Gateway, and three times for Summer Language Abroad programs at Oideas Gael in County Donegal. After graduation, she was awarded a Naughton Fellowship to complete a master’s degree in neuroscience at Trinity College Dublin. She now works as a research assistant in the neurology department at Trinity, focusing on motor neuron disease.
University of Notre Dame alumna Ashley Zhou will study medical science at the University of Cambridge this fall as a member of the Gates Cambridge Scholar class of 2020. Zhou is a 2019 Notre Dame graduate from Gaithersburg, Maryland. She received a bachelor of arts degree in neuroscience and behavior and minored in innovation and entrepreneurship.
Gabriel Said Reynolds, professor of Islamic studies and theology at Notre Dame, has been appointed by Pope Francis as consultor to the Commission for Religious Relations with Muslims, which is part of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. The appointment lasts five years, and the commission meets annually in Rome to debrief and advise on the Church’s relations with Muslims.
In this Q&A, Brooke Ammerman, an assistant professor of psychology, discusses her research on the risk factors and protective factors for self-injurious behaviors, how her work maps onto the University mission, and why undergraduate and graduate students are essential to her research.
Mark Berends, the director of the University of Notre Dame’s Center for Research on Educational Opportunity and a professor of sociology, has been elected to the National Academy of Education. The Academy advances high-quality research that improves education quality and practice. Members are elected on the basis of outstanding scholarship related to education.
David Lummus, assistant director of the Notre Dame Center for Italian Studies and the Devers Family Program in Dante Studies, has won an award from the Modern Language Association of America for his manuscript about the poet’s role as an authority in the political arena in the 14th century. Lummus accepted the Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Publication Award for a Manuscript in Italian Literary Studies at the MLA’s annual convention in Seattle last month for The City of Poetry: Imagining the Civic Role of the Poet in Fourteenth-Century Italy.
Notre Dame was 23rd among all research institutions with 15 Fulbright students for the current academic year, according to results published Monday (Feb. 10) in The Chronicle of Higher Education. In applying for the award, student winners worked closely with the Graduate School’s Office of Grants and Fellowships or the Flatley Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement (CUSE).
Therese Cory is the John and Jean Oesterle Associate Professor of Thomistic Studies at the University of Notre Dame. Her research focuses on 13th century philosophy and uncovering different ways of "modeling" the mind and its activities. “The project of understanding reality is not something that one person or one culture does by themselves,” she says. “But it's really a kind of joint project and that really gives us hope for seeing how these cultures which were often thought to be very much in conflict politically have this sort of fruitful intellectual exchange in the Middle Ages.”
Paul A. Rathburn, a professor emeritus in the Department of English at the University of Notre Dame and founder of the Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival (NDSF), died Wednesday (Feb. 12). He was 85. Rathburn, who joined the Notre Dame faculty in 1965, retired from teaching in 2000. He founded NDSF the same year and served as producing artistic director for its first five years.
A recent study, co-authored by a Notre Dame sociologist, shows how educators’ racial and gender biases affect their assessments of students’ academic skills based on noncognitive skills, which include behavior, class participation, self-discipline and interpersonal skills. Using a national dataset, Calvin Zimmermann examined how first-grade teachers’ perceptions of students’ approach to learning can affect how they rate those students’ academic skills.
Brennan O’Malley, an economics and film, television, and theatre major, interned at AMC Networks in New York City during the summer of 2019. She worked in the scheduling department, doing competitive research and helping the team develop each day’s programming schedule for the company’s networks, such as AMC, BBC America, and IFC. A grant from the Arts and Letters Summer Internship Program (ALSIP), administered by the Meruelo Family Center for Career Development, made it possible for O’Malley to cover living expenses and other costs during her internship.
As a medical anthropologist, Notre Dame associate professor Vania Smith-Oka is interested in how larger institutions shape the lives of the people who interact within them. In her current research, she wants to know how some medical professionals, tasked with caring for patients, create a system that abuses some of their most vulnerable patients. She and graduate students are spending time in hospitals and doctor’s offices in Mexico to understand how such a culture evolves.
What is the English major like at Notre Dame? "The English major prepares you go anywhere you want — anywhere the world calls you to go," said English major Matt Rusin. English majors pursue their passions while developing skills such as analysis, clear writing, critical thinking and empathy.
New research from the University of Notre Dame is shedding light on the unexpected effects climate change could have on regional instability and violent conflict. Previous studies have linked drought to instances of intense conflict. As climate change is expected to bring hotter, dryer conditions to certain regions around the world, with it has come the expectation that conflict, too, will rise. But this notion is more nuanced, according to the Notre Dame study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
A Century of Votes for Women: American Elections Since Suffrage, from Notre Dame professor of political science Christina Wolbrecht, is the only complete source of information on how women have voted since suffrage through the present day. The professors’ research dispels the illusion of the homogenous “woman voter,” showing how changing political, social and economic realities swayed votes and how assumptions about women as voters influenced politicians, the press and scholars.
Mary Cecilia Mitsch ’10, director at the Marianne Boesky Gallery in New York, works with visual artists represented by the gallery to prepare their works for sale. Understanding and cultivating the emotional connection with the artworks is central to her role at the gallery. “To get to work with these objects that mean something bigger than us or are reflective of humanity is really important to me,” she said.
More than 20 million people were killed and another 20 million or more were injured in World War I, but it’s difficult for Americans today to wrap their minds around just how catastrophic the conflict was. The last survivors have died, the war wasn’t fought on American soil, and it ended more than a century ago. But a group of Notre Dame students now has more than numbers, texts, or photos to help them understand the devastation. As part of their Great War and Modern Memory class — an interdisciplinary course designed and team-taught by Robert Norton, a professor of German, and John Deak, an associate professor of history — they traveled to Europe to visit battlefields and World War I memorials along the western front.
When summer comes, Notre Dame students travel around the world — to build their language and cultural skills, undertake independent research, and explore career options — growing intellectually and emotionally along the way. With funding from a wide range of sources, three Arts and Letters students spent last summer researching racism in Paris, interning at the U.S. Embassy in Benin, and speaking Swahili on the streets of Tanzania. Deadlines for applications for summer research, internship, and language immersion funding are fast approaching, with some due at the end of January.
Junior Aaron Benavides is pursuing faith through service, building community through writing and design, and understanding where in the world he stands through the study of politics and theology. Through all of those activities, on campus and abroad, he is further exploring his heritage — and contemplating its significance.
Tim Morton joined the College of Arts and Letters faculty last spring as director of the collaborative innovation minor and associate professor of the practice in the Department of Art, Art History, and Design. The minor, which centers on the principles of design thinking as an approach to solving real-world problems, draws students with a wide variety of majors from across the University — with more than 65 students taking the introductory Design Matters course last semester alone.
Kraig Beyerlein, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Notre Dame, has been awarded a $290,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to study change over time in characteristics of protests in the United States, such as size, demographic composition, presence of counterdemonstrators, and the use of disruptive tactics.
Brooke Guenther's research trip — six days at the London Metropolitan Archives, transcribing files from 60 facial reconstruction surgeries performed during and after World War I — was the first to be funded by a grant through the new Medicine and the Liberal Arts program at Notre Dame’s Reilly Center for Science, Technology, and Values. Guenther is studying Sir Harold Gillies, the father of modern-day plastic surgery, exploring the relationship between patients and the surgeon and studying societal reaction to survivors of wounded veterans who underwent plastic surgery.