In Global Classroom, Notre Dame and Ukrainian students examine impact of war through poetry and drama

Author: Paul Lingle

Lviv, Ukraine, home of Ukrainian Catholic University (UCU), is more than 4,500 miles from South Bend, Indiana.

But this semester, Notre Dame and UCU students are examining the impact of war on Ukraine, its people, and its culture together in the course Drama & Poetry in Ukraine at War: Representatives of Injustice and Resilience in Ukraine, 2014-2022.

One student in the historic course at UCU is Bohdana Yakobchuk , who was an exchange student at Notre Dame in 2022.

Three professors — two at Notre Dame and one at UCU — teach the class, which at Notre Dame is cross-listed in English and Film, Television, and Theatre.

 Peter Holland, the McMeel Family Professor of Shakespeare Studies, and Romana Huk, associate professor of English, teach in Notre Dame Studios' Rex and Alice A. Martin Media Center’s Global Classroom. And, Oleksandr Pronkovich, a UCU professor, teaches in Lviv.

Ukraine At War Class 02

How did the idea of a course with Ukrainian students evolve?

The concept originated last year when Taras Dobko, an affiliated scholar with the Nanovic Institute for European Studies and a newly elected UCU rector, raised the possiblity of such a course.

Huk and Holland embraced the idea.

What is the goal?

The intention is for students to explore poetry and drama written by Ukrainians since Russians invaded the country in 2014. Another goal is to use technology to bring students in the United States and Ukraine together to help each other consider a variety of perspectives.

How is the Global Classroom making it possible?

The Global Classroom has successfully created one community: Professors and students share work on multiple large screens and see each other during discussions.

Ukraine At War Class 01

Holland and Huk are exploring ways to stage a dramatic performance by all students. The technology and support available at ND Studios will be key to helping the concept become a reality.

"The teaching studio is a constant revelation of how classrooms halfway across the world from each other can meet — not via isolated participants Zooming in, but via interacting communities of students on either side of the screen, and that has made all the difference," said Holland and Huk.

"Richard Allen Jr.’s (streaming engineer) expertise and guidance and the student workers' fast-acting brilliance in resolving bugs as we go have made the experience what it is: remarkably smooth and natural, powerful and transformative, as we explore traumatic materials together."

Dan Skendzel and Lenette Votava also contributed to this article.

Originally published by Paul Lingle at on November 06, 2023.