News » Archives » February 2011

Studies on K-12 education explore student and school achievement

Author: Renee Hochstetler

Mark Berends

As debate about how to improve education continues across the country, research currently underway at the University of Notre Dame will significantly contribute to the conversation.

Mark Berends, a professor of sociology and education, is conducting two studies that seek to understand instruction’s role in student achievement.

“It’s not just about assessment data, and it’s not only about evaluation,” Berends says. “It’s to help with school improvement efforts.”

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Notre Dame to host Brazilian Carnaval

Author: Elizabeth Rankin

Brazilian Carnaval

Vibrant Brazilian dance rhythms will transport revelers from South Bend to the streets of Rio de Janeiro during the University of Notre Dame’s 13th annual celebration of Brazilian Carnaval, to be held March 4 (Friday) from 8 p.m. to midnight in Notre Dame’s South Dining Hall. The family-friendly event is free and open to the public.

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Notre Dame virtual case competition names winners

Author: Carol Elliott


You’ve heard of paying it forward? How about brewing it forward?

A marketing plan that combines a love for coffee, charitable giving and a major coffee company’s mission of social responsibility won the Notre Dame MBA Deep Dive Challenge, a virtual case competition sponsored by the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business.

The competition, launched online on Jan. 17, asked participants to analyze a real-life business challenge offered by Green Mountain Coffee Roasters and submit their own one-page proposal for judging by company executives. The challenge involved creating a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) campaign for Keurig Inc. – a Green Mountain business unit – while following the core value structure of the parent company. More than 400 individuals registered for the competition.

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Biologist Belovsky’s research offers important clues about grasshopper population explosions

Author: William G. Gilroy


Literature and films have left us with vivid images of the grasshopper plagues that devastated the Great Plains in the 1870s. Although commonly referred to as grasshoppers, the infestations were actually by Rocky Mountain locusts.

The Rocky Mountain locust became extinct in 1902, but their cousins, grasshoppers and Mormon crickets, today still cause an estimated $1.5 billion (2005 U.S. dollars) in damage to grazing lands in the American West. A long-running research project directed by University of Notre Dame biologist Gary Belovsky, who also is director of the Notre Dame Environmental Research Center (UNDERC), is examining what limits grasshopper populations and the role played by grasshoppers in prairie ecosystems.

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ND study: Unions make both members and nonmembers happier


Benjamin Radcliff

As the Wisconsin battle over union benefits continues to rage, the passion and commitment of people on both sides reflect that the activists are fighting over “a perennial ideological debate in American politics: whether labor unions are good or bad for society,” according to University of Notre Dame political scientist Benjamin Radcliff.

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Research: Google can help predict stock market

Author: Shannon Chapla

Mendoza College of Business

Two University of Notre Dame business professors continue to be recognized for their research that examines the correlation between Google search frequency and investor attention.

Zhi Da and Pengjie (Paul) Gao, assistant finance professors in Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business, found that Google’s public search data can be used to help predict the stock market.

Da and Gao recently were awarded the 2010 Crowel First Prize for outstanding research for their paper, “In Search of Attention,” forthcoming from the Journal of Finance. The Crowel prize is awarded by the Quantitative Research Group at PanAgora Asset Management. The paper also won first place during an academic competition sponsored by the Chicago Quantitative Alliance.

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Films and Faith weekend to be held at Browning Cinema

Author: Chris Sopczynski


The University of Notre Dame’s Department of Film, Television and Theatre, Department of Theology and DeBartolo Performing Arts Center will host “Films and Faith Weekend” on Feb. 25 and 26 in the Browning Cinema. This year’s festival theme is interfaith and feature films including “Vision – from the Life if Hildegard von Bingen,” Feb. 25 at 7 p.m.; “Ajami,” Feb. 26 at 6:30 p.m., and “A Serious Man,” Feb. 26 at 9:30 p.m.

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Notre Dame researchers discover dual-action compound for potential treatment of tuberculosis and malaria

Author: Marissa Gebhard

Plasmodium falciparum

Marvin Miller, the George and Winifred Clark Chair in Chemistry, and Michael Ferdig, associate professor of biological sciences at the University of Notre Dame, are co-authors of a study recently published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society on a potential breakthrough in the fight against tuberculosis and malaria—global diseases that each kill some 2 million people a year.

In an interdisciplinary project, the researchers synthesized an iron transport molecule attached to an antibiotic that the tuberculosis bacterium would gladly ingest as a “Trojan horse,” a method that has proven to be successful for the Miller lab in other studies.

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Notre Dame observes Sexual Assault Awareness Week

Author: Notre Dame News


The University of Notre Dame Gender Relations Center will host a number of events in observance of Sexual Assault Awareness Week, Feb. 20 to 27 (Sunday to Sunday). All events are free and open to the public.

More information can be found online at

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Researcher develops tool for reporting, studying human rights abuses

Author: Renée LaReau

Christian Davenport

Every year, millions of government-supported human rights violations — torture, political arrests, disappearances, censorship, harassment, aggressive protest policing — go unreported, making it impossible to understand fully or address state repression around the world. Victims and those close to them often are voiceless, having no way to document safely what they have experienced or seen. Perpetrators themselves are unlikely to provide information, so scholars and human rights advocates have little to go on except partial or sometimes biased second-hand accounts.

A new Web-based database and research tool, developed by Christian Davenport, professor of peace studies, political science, and sociology at the University of Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, will expand dramatically what academic researchers, international human rights advocates, journalists, students and the public know about government repression. The Illustrative Information Interface (iii) will allow anyone with Internet access to register his or her view of the scope and severity of government abuse for a particular geographic area from 1900 to the present.

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Father Jenkins appointed to national commission on the humanities and social sciences

Author: Dennis Brown

Father John Jenkins

Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., president of the University of Notre Dame, has been appointed to a national commission that will examine how to bolster teaching and research in the humanities and social sciences.

Created by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS), the Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences includes prominent Americans from those two fields, as well as the physical and life sciences, business, law, philanthropy, the arts, and the media. It is co-chaired by Richard Brodhead, president of Duke University, and John Rowe, chair and chief executive officer of Exelon Corp.

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Notre Dame responds to criticism of response to sexual misconduct complaints

Author: Dennis Brown

Notre Dame Blue Seal

In response to criticism directed at the University of Notre Dame for its response to sexual misconduct complaints, the University offers the following:

  • Sexual misconduct is unacceptable and will not be tolerated at Notre Dame.
  • The Notre Dame Security Police Department is staffed by highly trained investigators who thoroughly and professionally investigate every allegation of sexual misconduct in accord with the practices established by our county prosecutor and others in law enforcement.
  • Notre Dame has a long-held belief and policy that our students deserve certain degrees of privacy as part of the educational process, and we stand by that principle, even in the face of the criticism that might invite. In addition, the University, of course, adheres to FERPA regulations protecting privacy.

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Notre Dame approves on-campus filming for Haley Scott movie

Author: Dennis Brown

Haley Scott DeMaria

For just the third time in its history, the University of Notre Dame has given approval for the filming of a motion picture on campus.

Tentatively titled “Two Miles From Home,” the film is the story of Haley Scott DeMaria, the Notre Dame swimmer who was paralyzed for a week after a tragic bus accident in 1992 that took the lives of two of her teammates. The movie is based on DeMaria’s book, “What Though the Odds: Haley Scott’s Journey of Faith and Triumph.”

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Rising historian wins $10,000 Shannon Prize

Author: Monica Caro

Kidnapped Souls by Tara Zahra

The University of Notre Dame’s Nanovic Institute for European Studies is pleased to announce that Tara Zahra has been awarded the $10,000 Laura Shannon Prize in Contemporary European Studies for her book “Kidnapped Souls: National Indifference and the Battle for Children in the Bohemian Lands 1900-1948,” published by Cornell University Press (2008).

The Shannon Prize is presented annually to the author of the best book in European studies that transcends a focus on any one country, state or people to stimulate new ways of thinking about contemporary Europe as a whole, and rotates between the humanities and history and social sciences.

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Researcher Simonetti coauthors important new dinosaur-dating paper

Author: William G. Gilroy

Alamosaurus Sanuanensis Femur

Antonio Simonetti, a research associate professor in the Department of Civil Engineering and Geological Sciences at the University of Notre Dame, is the coauthor of an important new paper describing a novel method for age dating dinosaur fossils.

Simonetti and colleagues from the University of Alberta used a U-Pb (uranium-lead) dating technique to analyze a fossilized dinosaur bone discovered in New Mexico. In a paper in the prestigious journal Geology, the researchers discuss their method and reveal that it determined that the femur bone from a giant hadrosaur dinosaur was 64.8 million years old.

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ND alumnus Rev. Kevin Grove, C.S.C. wins Gates scholarship

Author: Michael O. Garvey

Rev. Kevin G. Grove, C.S.C.

Rev. Kevin G. Grove, C.S.C., a 2009 Notre Dame alumnus, has been awarded a Gates Cambridge Trust scholarship.

The prestigious Gates scholarships, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, provide awards for full-time graduate study and research at the University of Cambridge. Father Grove, who was ordained a Holy Cross priest at Notre Dame last year, is among 30 successful scholarship applicants selected from a field of 800.

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Brennecke, Kamat included in listing of top 100 chemists

Author: William G. Gilroy

Times Higher Education

Two University of Notre Dame researchers are included in a new ranking of the top chemists of the past decade.

Joan F. Brennecke, Keating-Crawford Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and director of the Notre Dame Sustainable Energy Imitative, and Prashant Kamat, Rev. John A. Zahm Professor of Science in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Radiation Lab and concurrent professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, are on a list of the 100 top chemists published by the Times Higher Education group.

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Mexico’s Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas to receive Notre Dame Prize

Author: Elizabeth Rankin

Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas

Mexican democracy advocate Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas will be awarded the Notre Dame Prize for Distinguished Public Service in Latin America at a ceremony in Mexico City on Feb. 16.

Established in 2000 by Notre Dame’s Kellogg Institute for International Studies and funded by The Coca-Cola Foundation, the Notre Dame Prize recognizes the efforts of visionary leaders to enhance the region’s welfare.

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Notre Dame tuition increase same as previous year’s

Author: Brendan O'Shaughnessy

Notre Dame Blue Seal

Undergraduate tuition at the University of Notre Dame will increase 3.8 percent for the 2011-12 academic year to $41,417, the same rate of increase as last year, which was the lowest since 1960. With average room and board rates of $11,388, total student charges will be $52,805.

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ND, Saint Mary’s begin annual free community tax preparation


Tax Assistance Program

University of Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s College accountancy students in the Vivian Harrington Gray Tax Assistance Program (TAP) will provide free income tax return preparation to low-income and disabled taxpayers in various community locations through April 18.

Beginning Saturday (Feb. 12), accounting students, assisted by accounting faculty and local Certified Public Accountant volunteers, will provide income tax preparation help to U.S. citizens and legal residents whose tax earnings are at or below approximately $40,000.

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Much more than a game

Author: William G. Gilroy

Engineering the Wii

Those who have succumbed to the Wii craze are no doubt awed by its dizzying array of games and virtual sports. However, an innovative course offered in the University of Notre Dame’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering is encouraging students to take the innovative technology in new directions, including some that that fit nicely with the College of Engineering ’s emphasis on engineering for the greater good.

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Notre Dame to celebrate Shakespeare and Valentine’s Day with “Sonnet Fest 2011”


Sonnet Fest

Watch Video Video

All of William Shakespeare’s 154 sonnets will be read aloud by University of Notre Dame administrators, faculty and students during “Sonnet Fest 2011,” a free public event that will take place Feb. 14 (Monday) from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Great Hall of O’Shaughnessy Hall on the Notre Dame campus.

“We want people to hear the beauty and power of Shakespeare’s verse,” said Peter Holland, McMeel Family Professor in Shakespeare Studies, “stopping as they pass by to enjoy the sound of such wonderful language.”

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In Memoriam: Rev. Ernan McMullin, Notre Dame philosopher of science

Author: Michael O. Garvey

Rev. Ernan McMullin

Rev. Ernan McMullin, John Cardinal O’Hara Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, died yesterday (Feb. 8) at Letterkenny General Hospital in Donegal, Ireland. He was 86 years old.

At Notre Dame, Father McMullin chaired the philosophy department from 1965 to 1972 and served as director of the history and philosophy of science program and of the Reilly Center for Science, Technology and Human Values before retiring in 1994, continuing to teach on the graduate level until 2003. For the last seven years, he had lived both in St. Paul, Minn., and Donegal.

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Robinson Center celebrates 10 years in Northeast Neighborhood


Robinson Community Learning Center

The University of Notre Dame is celebrating a decade of innovative community collaboration with the 10-year anniversary of the Robinson Community Learning Center.

The center will observe the anniversary with a celebration from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Feb. 18 (Friday) in the center. Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., University president; President-emeritus Rev. Edward A. “Monk” Malloy, C.S.C.; and U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) will be on hand for the event. Annually, the celebration includes the presentation of awards to community leaders and Notre Dame faculty, staff and students whose volunteerism contributes to the center’s vitality.

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ND Expert: Nonviolence key to successful revolution

Author: Joan Fallon

David Cortright

The social change fervor sweeping through Egypt and the Middle East is one of the most dramatic expressions of “people power” in history, says David Cortright, director of policy studies at the University of Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies.

“Never before have people in the region mobilized in such vast numbers to shake off the chains of autocracy. The ramifications of these events are widening every day. Algeria has announced reforms, Jordan’s King Abdullah has dismissed his government, and huge rallies continue in Yemen. History seems to be turning on a hinge.”

Cortright has taught nonviolent social change and peace studies at Notre Dame since 1989. He is the author or editor of 17 books, including “Peace: A History of Movements and Ideas” and “Uniting Against Terror: Cooperative Nonmilitary Responses to the Global Terrorist Threat," with George A. Lopez.

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Notre Dame to host contest in undergraduate nanotechnology research

Author: Arnie Phifer

Undergraduate Researchers

For the first time, the University of Notre Dame is holding a competition to recognize outstanding undergraduates from any university or college who are engaged in research in nanoscience and engineering. This spring and summer, Notre Dame will provide research initiation awards of $500 for students who submit the most promising research proposals. Prizes for the best projects and presentations will be awarded at a conference held at Notre Dame this fall.

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Collins has key roles in malERA study to globally eradicate malaria

Author: Marissa Gebhard

Anopheles gambiae

The Malaria Eradication Research Agenda (malERA) initiative, funded by a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is a rigorous scientific consultative process to identify knowledge gaps and new tools that will be needed to eradicate malaria globally. Frank Collins, the George and Winifred Clark Chair in Biological Sciences at the University of Notre Dame, is one of 14 independent scientists on the steering committee who leads the vector control consultative group.

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Former U.S. Senator Evan Bayh to speak at Notre Dame


Evan Bayh

Former U.S. Senator and two-term Indiana governor Evan Bayh will be the keynote speaker for a featured event of the 2010-11 Notre Dame Forum on Feb. 24 (Thursday) at the University of Notre Dame.

Bayh’s presentation, which is free and open to Notre Dame students, faculty and staff, begins at 7 p.m. in the Leighton Concert Hall of the University’s DeBartolo Performing Arts Center. Tickets are required and will be available at the Performing Arts Center ticket office beginning one hour before the event. There is a limit of two tickets per person.

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