2015-16 Course Development Grant Recipients

2015–2016 Course Development Grant Recipients


Human Trafficking: Causes, Responses, and Current Debates

Christine Cervenak, J.D.

Associate Director, Center for Civil and Human Rights

Concurrent Assistant Professor of Law

This seminar will explore a number of overarching themes necessary to understand the complex dimensions of human trafficking, both in the United States and around the world. By the end of the course, students should expect to have a foundational understanding of human trafficking and modern-day slavery, especially related to:

Various typologies of slave-like exploitation today, along with forces that promote them;
Legal frameworks, policy initiatives, and civil society responses to fight modern slavery; and
Current debates over effective strategies to combat human trafficking and support survivors.

Students will have an opportunity to engage state and local governmental officials, activists (especially Catholic religious women), lawyers, and service providers fighting human trafficking in the Midwest, with a focus on Indiana (and possibly Illinois). This engagement will involve off-campus site visits as well as on-campus speakers. Possible site visit locations include Indianapolis (IPATH initiatives) and Chicago. This course will be particularly relevant for students who may work with or on behalf of vulnerable populations—e.g., migrants, including refugee camp residents, communities in conflict and post-conflict settings, people emerging from natural disasters, those living in extreme poverty. 


Practicum: Introduction to Teaching

Brian Collier, Ph.D.

Coordinator of Faculty of Supervision

Fellow, Institute for Educational Initiatives

This course works to pair the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) M.Ed. Teaching Fellows with high quality master teachers to ensure that they learn the best practices in both planning and teaching. These Teaching Fellows spend the summer working with Michiana area students in grades 2–12 in both public and private settings and being mentored by in-service teachers to ensure that Michiana students have the best possible summer programs. These programs enrich the students’ educational experiences all the while preparing the ACE Teaching Fellows to be classroom leaders around the United States come fall. This is an exciting new approach to the practicum as it works to better prepare ACE Teaching Fellows in planning in particular, but also works to include new dynamic topics for middle school students in the area while still providing high quality instruction for local high school students as well. 


Of Cities and People: Peripheries—Case Studies in Urban Phenomenology

Anré Venter, Ph.D.

Director of Undergraduate Studies, Psychology

Lucien Steil, Architecte DPLG

Associate Professor of Architecture

This interdisciplinary course will explore the interrelations between the built environment, particularly location and distance, character, and identity of place and their inhabitants. It focuses in on the dialectics between urban centers and peripheries, and between their populations. The course will examine issues of perception and identification, orientation and adaption,  exclusion and participation, synchronization and creativity, focusing on how these processes shape the experience and culture of the inhabitants of the two types of built environments. 

The course will use methods of “sensuous ethnography” and poetical strategies of “mind-mapping,” “psycho-geography,” and phenomenology in understanding the development of the cultures within these two built environments and their communities. Particular focus will be given to the critical interfaces and micro-geographies of the city where new forms of social, cultural and artistic expressions reveal “creative” conflicts and adaptive processes of marginalized and racialized populations.

The course will draw from firsthand exposure, experience, and knowledge in fieldtrips to Paris, Detroit, and South Bend, as well as comprehensively exploring research literature and films within the context of in-depth seminar lectures and discussions.


Bridging the Gap: Multiple Literacies and Connecting Society, Community, and Self

Andrea Topash-Ríos, M.A. 

Associate Teaching Professor, Romance Languages and Literatures

The criteria for kindergarten-readiness in the State of Indiana are increasingly rigorous. Preschool programs with already constrained budgets find that the attention and time required are difficult to provide, and children from low-income families in Spanish-speaking communities often fall through the cracks. In order to be prepared to learn to read, pre-k children need language engagement and exchange. In this course, each Notre Dame student will be paired with a child and together they will read stories one-on-one in both English and Spanish. Through their reflective assignments, the Notre Dame students will describe how they are growing in their awareness of the connections between self, community, and society, especially with regard to the challenges faced by Spanish-speaking families as they seek a better future for their children. Throughout the semester, the students will be prompted to communicate a budding vision for their future contributions to their world on both micro and macro levels, and will stimulate their personal literacy development in Spanish as they facilitate a child-partner’s progress towards kindergarten-readiness. In addition to gaining skills that prepare them for literacy, the children will lay the groundwork for becoming lifelong readers. More importantly, they will experience the joy of imaginative exploration, which is every child’s human right.

2015-2016 Gray Family Course Development Grant


Design Thinking and Social Concerns

Wendy Angst, M.A.

Associate Teaching Professor, Mendoza College of Business

In this course, students will begin with an immersion in design thinking before beginning work on a semester-long “challenge,” identified by the project sponsor. Students will simultaneously develop a business plan and product or service innovation as they progress through the design thinking methodologies. The resulting deliverable will be a working model of an innovation and a business model and plan that the sponsor and/or students may choose to commercialize. It is hoped that there will be opportunities for students to continue work with the project sponsor in an internship capacity to aid in implementation of the innovation.