Ava Preacher, a professional specialist emeritus who served for 25 years as an assistant dean in the College of Arts and Letters, died Wednesday, July 14, at her residence. She was 67. Preacher first came to Notre Dame in 1985, teaching in what was then the Department of Communication and Theater for six years, then serving as director of the Gender Studies Program for three years. From 1993 until her retirement in 2018, she served in the College of Arts and Letters’ Office for Undergraduate Studies as an assistant dean, advising hundreds of undergraduates every year, including students from across campus who were pursuing law school.
Latest News » General News
In less than six minutes, the new film “Breaking the Cycle” invites caregivers, parents, policymakers, and anyone concerned with child development to adopt more collaborative and peace-inducing strategies for child rearing. The new film, a companion to the website EvolvedNest.org, grew out of groundbreaking research by Darcia Narvaez, Kroc Institute faculty fellow and professor emerita of psychology, with support from current peace studies and psychology Ph.D. student Mary Tarsha.
In new research that is the first to elucidate exactly what occurred at secret facilities in the USSR, Ian Johnson, the P. J. Moran Family Assistant Professor of Military History at the University of Notre Dame, details the inner workings of the German-Soviet alliance that laid the foundation for Germany’s rise and ultimate downfall in World War II. His book, Faustian Bargain, traces the on-again, off-again relationship from the first tentative connections between the sworn enemies in 1919, made “almost before the ink had dried on the treaties ending the First World War,” to Hitler’s betrayal of Joseph Stalin and invasion of the USSR in 1941.
O. Carter Snead, professor of law at Notre Dame Law School and director of the de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture, will receive the 2021 Expanded Reason Award in Research for his book What It Means to Be Human: The Case for the Body in Public Bioethics. Now in its fifth year, the Expanded Reason Award is administered by the University Francisco de Vitoria, in conjunction with the Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI Vatican Foundation, and recognizes excellence in efforts to “broaden the horizons of rationality, based on the dialogue of sciences and disciplines with philosophy and theology.”
Patrick Griffin, the Madden-Hennebry Professor of History and Director of the Keough-Naughton Institute, is one of 25 distinguished scholars, librarians, curators, writers, and artists elected this spring to the American Antiquarian Society.
Thirty active or veteran military members will spend a week on campus this summer as part of the fifth cohort of Warrior-Scholar Project at the University of Notre Dame, an academic preparation program offered to enlisted members of the military.
The research fellowship, which promotes international academic cooperation among distinguished scholars from Germany and abroad, will enable Miseres to spend the 2022 calendar year writing and researching at the Freie Universität in Berlin. “This fellowship is both an honor and a great opportunity to advance in my second book and to strengthen the dialogue between Notre Dame faculty and other distinguished international institutions,” she said. “It is also a meaningful recognition for women with a diverse background in academia — and in particular, for those of us who work with foreign languages and are underrepresented among awardees.”
Shaun Evans, a doctoral candidate in theology at the University of Notre Dame, has been named a 2021 Lilly Graduate Fellow. He is one of 10 Lilly Graduate Fellows from a pool of more than 60 applicants nationwide. Established with a grant from the Lilly Endowment and based at Christ College, the interdisciplinary honors college at Valparaiso University, the Lilly Graduate Fellows Program supports exceptionally well qualified young people who have bachelor’s degrees from Lilly Fellowship Program Network Schools and who are interested in becoming teacher-scholars at church-related colleges and universities in the U.S.
How do you plan and write a dissertation when the world is shutting down? When you’re under lockdown and you can’t travel to do your field research. When the projects critical to your work — really, to your career and your future — have been halted. Three Kellogg Institute-affiliated doctoral students, all comparative political scientists and all working far from home when the pandemic hit, spoke about how COVID has affected their lives and their work in the past year.
As a budding public intellectual, a voice for social justice movements, and a force for good as a researcher, teacher, mentor, activist, and speaker, Emmanuel Cannady is an exemplar among graduate students at Notre Dame. His research as a sociologist explores the internal processes in Black activist organizations. Using an ethnographic approach, Cannady investigates how activists' use of their experiences and knowledge affect the “perseverance process” of their organizations.
Notre Dame junior John “Jack” Boland has been awarded a 2021 Phi Beta Kappa Key into Public Service Scholarship for his academic excellence, leadership and commitment to public service. Boland — a political science major and philosophy, politics, and economics minor from Herndon, Virginia — is one of 20 sophomores and juniors from Phi Beta Kappa institutions selected for the award from more than 800 applicants.
Five Notre Dame professors who specialize in different areas of democracy studies recently signed a strong statement of concern issued by the think tank New America warning of the serious threats to democracy in the U.S. Notre Dame is a longtime leader in research on democratization in comparative perspective through a number of campus institutes, and the American politics subfield that is part of the Department of Political Science emphasizes research on inclusion.
Jay David Miller, who received his Ph.D. in English from Notre Dame in spring 2020, has been awarded a fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies for his project, Quaker Jeremiad. Miller, currently a postdoctoral fellow in the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, focuses his research on early American literature. His dissertation traces the development of Quaker rhetoric on agrarian labor and justice, examining the ways that rhetoric shifts from the beginnings of the Quaker movement in 17th-century England as it moves across the Atlantic and confronts agrarian issues like enslavement and indigenous dispossession.
The degree, conferred at CTU’s virtual commencement ceremony on May 20, was given in recognition of Hilkert’s teaching and research that deepens in others an awareness and understanding of the mystery of our loving God. “Professor Hilkert’s work resonates deeply with the mission of Catholic Theological Union, which is to prepare effective leaders for the church, ready to witness to Christ’s good news of justice, love, and peace,” said Rev. Robin Ryan, an associate professor of systematic theology at CTU. “This is particularly evident in three areas of her research and writing — preaching, feminist theology, and the mystery of suffering.”
Matthew Canonico ’20 has won the Dante Society of America’s Dante Prize for best undergraduate essay — the third time since 2014 that a Notre Dame student has received the award.
A mathematics and Italian major, Canonico combined his two academic interests to explore deeper truths in Dante’s Divine Comedy.
“There are a lot of hidden treasures in Dante,” he said. “Sometimes when reading Dante, something would click, and I’d get tingles down my spine. It’s an inexhaustible piece of art that, 700 years later, is still inspiring scholarship.”
Notre Dame researchers in the Center for Research Computing and Department of Psychology, in partnership with the U.S. Air Force’s (USAF) Business Enterprise Systems Directorate’s product innovation initiative, and Trek10, a cloud engineering innovation company based in the University’s Innovation Park, have developed an adaptive online learning platform to educate members of the Air Force on cloud computing.
Seven seniors in the Department of Economics have secured highly competitive pre-doctoral positions for after graduation — three with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, two at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, and one each at the National Bureau of Economic Research and Northwestern University's Global Poverty Research Lab. “These positions are both prestigious and highly competitive,” said Eric Sims, professor and chair of the department. “In these roles, individuals work as research assistants — and often as coauthors — with leading professional economists on cutting-edge research aimed at solving some of the most pressing issues facing society.”
Five Notre Dame students, representing the Colleges of Arts and Letters, Engineering, and Science, have been selected for a Naughton Fellowship Award for 2021-22. Offered annually, the Naughton Fellowships provide opportunities for students from some of Ireland's leading research universities and the University of Notre Dame to experience international education in the STEM disciplines.
Twenty-six University of Notre Dame students and alumni — including 21 from the College of Arts & Letters — have been awarded Fulbright U.S. Student Program grants to teach or study abroad during the 2021-22 academic year. Notre Dame has been a top producer of Fulbright students for seven consecutive years.
After growing up in a neighborhood where many of his friends didn’t make it to college, senior Diego Reynoso knows firsthand the challenges facing students in low-income communities. Now, as the second person in his family to graduate from college, Reynoso hopes to use his Notre Dame education to empower Latino communities and marginalized individuals. His time in the College of Arts & Letters and the Institute for Latino Studies, he said, have given him the skills, resources, and support to do so. “I do this for my family because they never had the opportunities that I have right now,” he said. “Just doing the most I can to help those who come from similar situations means the world to my family.”
In California, the land is sinking because the groundwater reservoirs have become so depleted; in Florida, groundwater overuse has led to the development of sinkholes, and in Louisiana, groundwater declined 200 feet between the 1930s and the 1970s. Groundwater overuse is nothing new. But in her senior thesis, Notre Dame senior Mika Inoue is taking a new approach. Drawn to major in economics and applied and computational mathematics and statistics based on her interest in the intersection of qualitative and quantitative analysis, Inoue is working with a committee of interdisciplinary professors and researchers to develop a model for integrating real-life scenarios into groundwater pumping models.
Nine faculty members in the College of Arts & Letters have received Rev. Edmund P. Joyce, C.S.C., Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, and another was honored with a Dockweiler Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising. The awards are presented by the Office of the Provost, and the recipients are selected through a process that includes peer and student nominations.
Madeline Owen of Columbus, Ohio, has been named valedictorian and Alexis Waldschmidt from Naperville, Illinois, was selected salutatorian of the 2021 University of Notre Dame graduating class. A neuroscience and behavior major, Owen minored in poverty studies and was a Glynn Family Honors scholar. Waldschmidt, a biological sciences and Chinese major, is a member of the University’s Phi Beta Kappa honor society and Dean’s List.
Senior Dain Kim had never been to Notre Dame before she arrived on campus for orientation. As a student at an international high school in Seoul, Korea, she knew she wanted to go to college in the U.S. — in a city, preferably, like one in New York or California. Instead, she ended up in South Bend. Now a psychology and statistics major with a minor in computing and digital technologies, Kim plans to pursue a career working to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion programs — helping others like herself who need to adapt quickly to entirely new cultures or circumstances.
The University of Notre Dame has launched the Center for Citizenship & Constitutional Government, a new hub of scholarship and education that strives to be a national focal point on Catholicism, constitutional government, and liberal democracy. The new center seeks to cultivate thoughtful and educated citizens by supporting scholarship and education concerning the ideas and institutions of constitutional government.
Luiz Vilaça is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology and a Ph.D. fellow in the Kellogg Institute for International Studies. His research focuses on the sociology of law, organizations, and politics. In this interview, he discusses how state organizations build the autonomy and capacity to investigate corruption, how Brazil startled the world by dismantling multiple schemes of bribery and kickbacks, and why it's important to examine these anti-corruption investigations from a sociological perspective.
A supplementary major in education, schooling, and society (ESS) will be offered at Notre Dame beginning this fall allowing students to take ESS courses and complement their primary major in a more intensive way. ESS explores the questions of how humans learn and how society, politics, and the economy influence that learning. Since its start in 2002, ESS has grown into one of the largest minors in the College of Arts and Letters, with about 115 students in the program each year.
When Brianna Drummond walked into her first Russian class at Notre Dame, she didn’t know much about the language — including that it had its own alphabet. Now, nearly four years later, Drummond is reading poetry and prose in Russian, discussing how they connect to important historical events, and preparing for a full-time IT job at Ford Motor Co. that could draw on her knowledge of Russian. “I was motivated by the challenge (of advanced classes), combined with the fact that I had a team with me, and the professors were always checking in because it’s a small department, so everyone knows you,” she said. “I have so many friends now from the Russian major — it’s a great way to have a little community within the larger Notre Dame community.”
Alexander Beihammer, the Heiden Family College Professor in the Department of History and a faculty fellow in the Medieval Institute, has been awarded a $480,000 research grant from the Austrian Research Foundation for his project, “Medieval Smyrna/Izmir: The Transformation of a City and its Hinterland from Byzantine to Ottoman Times.” The project examines the development of the medieval city of Smyrna — now Izmir, Turkey — from its last heydays under Byzantine rule in the 13th century to the Ottoman conquest in the 15th century.
Nick Nissen ’16 saw his decision to major in Spanish while preparing for a career in medicine as a leap of faith — and one that has paid off. After Notre Dame, he went on to medical school at Brown University and is now completing his residency at Harvard Medical School. In addition to working in a hospital, Nissen is a doctor on the medical unit for ABC News, and recently appeared on Good Morning America to discuss the relationship between insomnia and COVID-19. He's also written and published a children's book on empathy and launched a podcast on mental health. “In the College of Arts & Letters, I felt encouraged by my advisors to go ahead and do something that was really interesting to me. And it worked out perfectly,” he said. “It is so empowering to say, ‘stop thinking about what everyone else is doing, stop thinking about what you feel obligated to do, and start thinking about what your true interests are.’ Because if you pursue your true interest and pursue it well, you'll be able to achieve your career goals through it.”