News » Archives » July 2009

Susan Ohmer appointed assistant provost at Notre Dame

Author: Shannon Chapla

Susan Ohmer

Susan Ohmer, the University of Notre Dame’s William T. and Helen Kuhn Carey Associate Professor of Modern Communication and chair of the Committee on Women Faculty and Students, has been appointed assistant provost, effective Aug. 1.

Ohmer’s responsibilities will include coordinating efforts to recruit and retain women faculty, oversight of the Hesburgh Library and Notre Dame Press, and serving as the provost’s liaison to the Early Childhood Development Center (ECDC).

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Notre Dame hosts Regional Undergraduate Research Symposium

Author: Marissa Runkle

Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium

The University of Notre Dame is hosting the fourth Regional Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium today (July 31) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Jordan Hall of Science. More than 150 undergraduate researchers from Notre Dame, Hope College and the University of Michigan will present the results of their summer research at the symposium.

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Hispanic Catholic leaders gather at Notre Dame for conference on the Bible in church life

Author: Michael O. Garvey

Bible conference

Hispanic Catholic leaders from around the world are meeting Friday and Saturday (July 31 and Aug. 1) at the University of Notre Dame for a conference titled “Camino a Emaús: The Word of God and Latino Catholics.”

The conference, sponsored by the American Bible Society and Notre Dame’s Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism, is intended to deepen appreciation of the Bible and its role in the life and mission of the Church.

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New book explores water-rock interactions pertaining to environmental nanoscience and climate change

Author: William G. Gilroy

Patricia Maurice book cover

Patricia A. Maurice, associate dean of engineering research and professor of civil engineering and geological sciences at the University of Notre Dame, is the author of a new book titled “Environmental Surfaces and Interfaces from the Nanoscale to the Global Scale.” The book, recently published by Wiley, offers an advanced analysis of water-rock interactions.

In the comprehensive study, Maurice explores topics from the theory of charged particle surfaces to how minerals grow and dissolve, from the concept that plants and microorganisms are environmental surfaces to environmental nanoscience and climate change.

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Notre Dame professor pays a scholarly visit to Berlin

Author: Michael O. Garvey

Donald Kommers

Donald Kommers’ account of how he spent last semester might at first remind a listener of a high-spirited adolescent’s description of a particularly exhilarating vacation.

“I was living, working, writing, dining and interacting daily with a diverse group of astounding people,” he said. “I was surrounded for five months with 11 of the smartest people I’ve ever met.”

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Notre Dame historian moonlights as consultant for video game

Author: Julie Hail Flory

Margaret Meserve

It isn’t exactly the type of scholarly work Margaret Meserve had in mind when she chose to pursue an academic career in the field of modern European history.

But it was her expertise in the Italian Renaissance and the urban histories of Florence and Rome that landed her in the somewhat unlikely position of advising a group of video game developers in the creation of Assassin’s Creed 2, an adventure game set in Renaissance Italy, where assassins, nobles and merchants battle it out for land and fortunes, all the while navigating a world of conspiracies, secrets and hidden code books.

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Notre Dame professor’s book sees stars in a different light

Author: Megan Grebe

Christine Becker

Brad Pitt walks around his neighborhood with photographers in tow. Britney Spears can’t pass by a newsstand without seeing herself on multiple tabloids. And teen sensation Miley Cyrus—aka Hannah Montana—reserves Disneyland to celebrate her birthday with 5,000 of her “closest” friends.

With lifestyles like these, it’s no surprise we tend to see celebrities as somehow different from ourselves.

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PayScale ranks Notre Dame No. 8 for best-paid graduates

Author: Shannon Chapla

PayScale Survey

The University of Notre Dame is ranked No. 8 on PayScale’s recently released “College Salary Report,” a list of salaries of graduates from hundreds of colleges and universities.

The numbers represent 1.2 million users of PayScale’s Web site who reported their salaries and educational credentials in a survey over the last year. The rankings are by median mid-career salary (minimum 10 years out of school).

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New Notre Dame program focuses on K-12 education leadership

Author: Carol Elliott and Melissa Harraka

Mendoza College of Business

The University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Educational Initiatives (IEI) and Mendoza College of Business recently named Christopher Clemons as the inaugural director of the new Notre Dame Educational Leadership Program.

In this position, Clemons will oversee the program’s development and successful implementation, recruiting top-tier faculty to teach in the program’s Summer Institute, as well as school leaders to participate in the Mendoza College Executive MBA program. Clemons also will teach leadership and education policy during the six-week Summer Institute.

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Physicist Furdyna receives medal from Polish Academy of Sciences

Author: Marissa Runkle

Jacek Furdyna

Jacek Furdyna, professor of physics at the University of Notre Dame, has been awarded the Nicolaus Copernicus Medal by the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw, Poland. The medal is the Academy’s highest honor.

Furdyna, who holds the Aurora and Thomas Marquez Chair of Information Theory and Computer Technology in Notre Dame’s Department of Physics, was recognized for his world-renowned contribution to the design and development of new semiconductor materials, including magnetic semiconductors aimed at performing new and extremely fast functions in computers.

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Reinbold named managing director of Advanced Diagnostics and Therapeutics Initiative at Notre Dame

Author: William G. Gilroy and Nina Welding

Kirk Reinbold

Kirk A. Reinbold has been named managing director of the Advanced Diagnostics and Therapeutics (AD&T) Initiative at the University of Notre Dame.

Created last year, the AD&T designs micro-sensing devices for personalized health care and environmental monitoring. Working on the nanoscale, researchers from chemical and biomolecular engineering, computer science and engineering, electrical engineering, biological sciences, and chemistry and biochemistry are developing miniaturized systems that can capture and detect a few distinct molecules in order to provide physicians and scientists with more accurate information for medical diagnoses or environmental assessments.

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Moonwalk memories

Author: William G. Gilroy

Apollo 11 Moon Landing

If you are of a certain age, you may well be remembering where you were and what you were doing 40 years ago. July 20, 1969, is one of those “Where were you?” dates, like Nov. 22, 1963, that became etched in the minds of many.

It was 40 years ago that Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong exited the LEM (lunar excursion model) Eagle, set one foot onto the surface of the moon, and said, “That’s one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind.”

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Lead poisoning research benefits science, community

Author: Carol C. Bradley

Jody Nicholson

Jody Nicholson is known around South Bend as “the lead lady.”

A graduate student in developmental psychology at the University of Notre Dame, she is completing her dissertation on a project called “Get the Lead Out,” a Notre Dame Center for Children and Families community-based research project that aims to test the effectiveness of various interventions on 84 local families whose young children have subclinical lead exposure.

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Notre Dame joins Yellow Ribbon Program

Author: Julie Hail Flory

G.I. Bill

The University of Notre Dame is among hundreds of institutions across the country participating in the Yellow Ribbon Program, a special provision authorized in the new Post 9/11 GI Bill, an initiative of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Scheduled to begin Aug. 1, the new GI Bill provides a basic benefit from the Veterans’ Administration to eligible veterans up to the cost of the highest priced public school tuition in the state, not to exceed the institution’s tuition and fees. Additional support also is available up to $1,000 annually for books, as well as monthly housing allowances.

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Notre Dame launches new career services program for alumni

Author: Angela Sienko

Alumni Association Logo

The University of Notre Dame Alumni Association, in collaboration with the University’s Career Center, Mendoza College of Business and Notre Dame Law School, has established ONWARD: Alumni Career Development, a comprehensive career and networking program.

The ONWARD Web site ( provides tools for job seekers and those looking to network with other alumni. It includes job postings, webinars on career topics, links to articles, and access to the alumni mentor program. In addition, there are career advisors available to answer questions and provide guidance.

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Notre Dame faculty receive grants for peace research

Author: Joan Fallon

Kroc logo

Six University of Notre Dame professors who are fellows of the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies have received grants for research that intersects with issues of peace and conflict.
Receiving Kroc Faculty Fellow Research Grants are:

  • Viva Bartkus, associate professor of management, for a project in which she and Notre Dame MBA students investigated the role of business in post-war reconstruction efforts in Bosnia and Lebanon

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Templeton grants Notre Dame philosophy center $1.4 million to study problem of evil

Author: Katie Louvat

Michael Rea and Samuel Newlands

For ages, philosophers and theologians have sought to reconcile a belief in the existence of a benevolent God with the reality of a world plagued by evil. Adding to this body of thought are University of Notre Dame philosophers Michael Rea and Samuel Newlands, who recently were awarded more than $1.4 million from the John Templeton Foundation for their project “The Problem of Evil in Modern and Contemporary Thought.”

According to Rea, a professor of philosophy who also is director of Notre Dame’s Center for Philosophy of Religion, the multi-faced project will place special emphasis on questions about how the problem of evil was raised and addressed by important historical figures in the 16th and 17th centuries,

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Sociologists’ paper explores gender differences in religious practice

Author: Ted Fox

Jessica Collett and Omar Lizardo

Though not quite the stuff of a Norman Rockwell painting, a husband reluctantly heeding his wife’s request to abandon the couch and go to church is an appropriate scene to depict what two University of Notre Dame sociologists call “one of the most consistent findings in the sociology of religion”: Women are more religious than men. But why?

Jessica Collett and Omar Lizardo, assistant professors of sociology, believe the risk-aversion hypothesis developed by the late Alan Miller and Baylor University’s Rodney Stark is the best explanation. It draws on a considerable amount of data that indicates women aren’t as likely as men to engage in high-risk behavior, such as committing a crime. Miller and Stark applied the same principle to people’s attitudes about faith, arguing that the more prone someone is to follow society’s rules, the less inclined he or she will be to ignore religion and risk losing the supernatural rewards associated with it.

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Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival to present “ShakeScenes” July 18 and 19

Author: Aaron Nichols


As part of its 10th anniversary celebration, the Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival will present “ShakeScenes,” a collection of excerpts taken from the works of Shakespeare and performed by Michiana community groups, high school students and grade-schoolers, Saturday and Sunday (July 18 and 19) at 2 p.m. in Notre Dame’s Washington Hall. All performances are free and open to the public.

“Playing Shakespeare has always been a delight for me,” said Deborah Girasek-Chudzynski, “ShakeScenes” coordinator and local educator. “Now, because of the Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival, I get to invite all the members of our community to come and share in the joy. What a gift to me and our community.”

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ND Expert: A Catholic historian’s predictions on the Vatican investigation of American religious women

Author: Michael O. Garvey

Kathleen Cummings

The Vatican’s investigation, or “apostolic visitation,” of American communities of religious women is more than just a friendly visit, according to Kathleen Sprows Cummings, assistant professor of American studies and associate director of the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism at the University of Notre Dame.

Noting that the investigation was ordered by Cardinal Franc Rodé, who directs the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Cummings, author of “New Women of the Old Faith: Gender and American Catholicism in the Progressive Era,” said that Cardinal Rodé observed last year that “all is not well with religious life in America” and more recently criticized nuns who “have opted for ways that take them outside communion with Christ in the Catholic Church.”

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ND Expert: Harry Potter films demonstrate fierce moral motivation

Author: Shannon Chapla

Darcia Narvaez

“Harry Potter and his friends again brandish heroism—bravery and cleverness—in the face of evil,” says University of Notre Dame psychologist Darcia Narvaez of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” the sixth film based on the popular J.K. Rowling series which hits theaters Wednesday (July 15).

Director of Notre Dame’s Collaborative for Ethical Education, Narvaez researches issues of moral development and education in children, with specific focus on the effects of violent video games and other media on the developing brains of children and teens. Narvaez directs Notre Dame’s “Good Media Good Kids” project, which features her Rating Ethical Content System (RECS). The system measures ethical content in children’s books and films by providing ratings for ethical sensitivity, judgment, focus and action, and their opposites

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Notre Dame ranks high in Teach for America volunteers

Author: Michael O. Garvey

Teach for America

The University of Notre Dame is among the top 20 medium-sized colleges and universities sending graduates to Teach for America’s 2009 corps.

Notre Dame, which tied with Princeton University for 10th place among institutions with enrollments of between 3,000 and 9,999 undergraduates, will be represented by 29 members of the class of 2009 committed to teaching for two years in urban and rural public schools across the country.

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Master of divinity students receive national fellowships

Author: Shannon Chapla

FTE Fellowships

Rebecca Guhin and Joseph Kolar, both entering master of divinity students at the University of Notre Dame, have been recognized as young leaders who demonstrate exceptional gifts for ministry by the Fund for Theological Education (FTE).

Both were recipients of 2009 FTE Volunteers Exploring Vocation Fellowships, which supported attendance at the FTE Conference on Excellence in Ministry, “Becoming Rich toward God: Pastoral Leadership and Economic Justice,” held last month in Alexandria, Va.

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ANDkids World Film Festival to open July 23

Author: Julie Hail Flory

ANDkids World Film Festival

The University of Notre Dame will present the first ANDkids World Film Festival from July 23 to 25 (Thursday to Saturday) at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center and various locations around the South Bend community.

The festival line-up features live action and animated features, shorts, repertory classics, documentaries and outdoor screenings, all showcasing culturally diverse cinema for children. It also includes opportunities for children and families to interact with actors, directors and musicians through workshops and discussions.

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The intimate study of “terrorism”

Author: Shannon Chapla (Originally appeared in Notre Dame Magazine)

Cynthia Mahmood

A productive day for Cynthia Mahmood, associate professor of anthropology at the University of Notre Dame, is the stuff of nightmares for many others.

“I walk nonviolently among the most violent people on Earth,” Mahmood said. “To win their trust, I interact with them peacefully and try not to be fearful.”

That isn’t to say she has done so unscathed.

When terrorists — or as she prefers to call them, militant extremists — want to meet with her, she considers the invitation an opportunity for ground-level peace building.

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Notre Dame identified as “great place to work”


Golden Dome

The University of Notre Dame has been identified as one of the top 10 higher education workplaces in the country in a survey by the Chronicle of Higher Education, a leading resource for higher education news and information.

The “Great Colleges to Work For” survey places Notre Dame among 10 large universities that have achieved multiple high marks in such categories as overall job satisfaction, employee benefits, quality facilities, safety, and employee commitment to the institution’s mission. Other leaders in the category, comprised of four-year institutions with more than 10,000 students, include Cornell Duke and Emory Universities.

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Faculty promotions and advancements announced


Blue Seal

The Office of the Provost at the University of Notre Dame has announced the promotion of 52 faculty members within the University’s colleges and First Year of Studies Program.

Information on faculty who have been promoted, including those who have achieved tenure, tenure-track or emerita/emeritus status also is available online via the Provost’s Office Web site at

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ND Expert: President’s proposed financial fix is “nanny-state regulation”


Paul Schultz

President Obama’s push for a formalized, financial regulatory consumer structure to aid the nation’s recovery from one of the worst financial crises in history would be “the worst kind of nanny-state regulation,” according to Paul Schultz, John W. and Maude Clarke Professor of Finance at the University of Notre Dame.

“The proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) is intrusive, petty and probably very expensive,” says Schultz, who specializes in market microstructure and corporate finance.

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ACE to host school choice forum July 10 to 12

Author: Shannon Chapla

ACE Logo

The Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) program at the University of Notre Dame will host a Summer Fellowship Forum to examine the issue of parental choice in education (often referred to as “school choice”) Friday to Sunday (July 10 to 12).

Guest speakers include Anthony Williams, the former mayor of Washington, D.C., and a prominent figure in the national school choice movement through his support for the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program; Gerard Robinson, president of the Black Alliance for Educational Options; and Patrick McCloskey, author of “The Street Stops Here,” who will deliver the opening address and hold a book signing.

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Notre Dame public safety departments to conduct training exercise on campus July 11

Author: Dennis Brown

The Notre Dame Security Police and Fire Departments will conduct a training exercise from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 11 (Saturday) near the corner of Bulla Road and Leahy Drive on campus.

People who will be in the area are advised that the exercise will include dramatic enactments of emergency situations and involve numerous emergency vehicles.

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