2018-2019 Course Development Grant Recipients


2018–2019 Course Development Grant Recipients

London as Art Capital
Lois Oliver
Adjunct Associate Professor, University of Notre Dame (USA) in London
Jennifer Scott
Sackler Director, Dulwich Picture Gallery
Jane Findlay
Head of Learning, Dulwich Picture Gallery
London as Art Capital is an immersive course, encouraging students to develop an understanding of how art markets, museums, and galleries operate in a major metropolis. Students visit art museums and contemporary art galleries to consider their impact in relation to the varying parts of London where they are situated; they analyze issues of display, conservation, and acquisitions; they explore auction houses and the changing fortunes of the art market; and engage with the world of public relations and journalism.
As part of the course, students also engage actively with London communities by working as volunteers on the pioneering museum outreach programs run by Dulwich Picture Gallery, designed to combat social isolation and economic disadvantage within the city. By contributing to these projects, students gain an intimate insight into the ways in which the arts can support education, health, and wellbeing. A field trip outside the capital also enables students to explore the impact of cultural regeneration projects on cities in Northern England such as Liverpool (European Capital of Culture 2008) and Hull (UK City of Culture 2017).

With visits complemented by a rigorous program of readings, students gain a broad understanding of recent developments in theoretical thinking, particularly in relation to the control and consumption of cultural capital.

Design Research Practices
Ann-Marie Conrado
Assistant Professor, Industrial Design, Department of Art, Art History and Design
The Design Research Practices introduces students to the distinct deployment of qualitative research methods as part of the larger methodology known as design thinking to address challenging social problems that defy traditional approaches. Students in the course work on a challenge proposed by an outside community partner to plan research, conduct fieldwork, synthesis findings, identify opportunities, and inform the subsequent solution in order to result in a measurable, positive impact. By employing a deeply humanistic approach, design thinking is premised on prioritizing people and their needs and desires in the development of meaningful solutions and interactions. Students aim to cultivate a rich understanding of the messy reality of people’s lives and sensitivity to their beliefs, values, emotions, motivations, and aspirations.
Projects range from addressing the digital divide to building a restorative justice coalition in our community and will vary from semester to semester. As an interdisciplinary course, we bring together students across the university, particularly the social sciences, business, engineering, and design to bring their diverse perspectives to bear on the problem at hand. The course emphasizes strong collaboration and teamwork while uniting students on a common purpose.
Philosophical Questions of International Development
Alexander Jech 
Director of Undergraduate Studies Assistant Professor of the Practice

Ethiopia presents important educational opportunities for Notre Dame students. Why go to Ethiopia? Its centuries of independence and history provide incredible examples of art and architecture; the vivid and striking paradox between “old” and “new” in a single place; the even more relevant paradox of its history of religious conflict between Christians, Muslims, and Jews, and the current peace among these religions; the strange familiarity of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, with its many connections to and yet also its centuries of independence from the other lines of Christian tradition; its varied and beautiful landscapes; the Rift Valley, which seems to contain clues to so many of the mysteries of human origins; and, perhaps most relevant for the present moment, its current material poverty and intense national pride; provide an eye-opening example to the need for, and limitations of, international development and international aid. This three-week course is organized around three components:

  1. What is development? What is a “developed nation”? What is a “developing nation”?
  2. Should developed nations provide international aid?
  3. What is human dignity? Can those providing aid (dis)respect another people’s dignity? How?
Research Lab: Literacy Lab for Elementary Children at the Library
Jodene Morrell 
Teaching Professor, ,Assistant Director, Notre Dame Center for Literacy Education

The Literacy Lab for Elementary Children at the Library is a partnership between the Notre Dame Center for Literacy Education (CLE), the Education, Schooling, and Society minor (ESS), and the main branch of the St Joseph County Public Library. The yearlong course is intended to prepare undergraduates to provide free tutoring to elementary children in an after school literacy program by studying essential theories and practices of literacy instruction. Undergraduates also develop knowledge and skills as qualitative ethnographic researchers to contribute to the development of programming at the library to best serve the literacy needs of children and their families.  By participating in the research lab, undergraduates have an opportunity to deepen their faith and evangelize within South Bend by generously sharing their talents and commitment to education with local children and families. Since the literacy lab is free and open to all visitors of the library, particularly children in nearby public schools, undergraduates can contribute to their community in a significant way by increasing the academic success of children living in South Bend.

Reframing the Rust Belt
Paige Ambord
Graduate Student

The term “Rust Belt” typically evokes images of abandoned buildings and vacant downtowns in cities that were once America’s manufacturing centers. Yet, while there are real and lasting economic and social effects of this shift, the perception that these places are failing or abandoned is just one narrative of many. This course will enable students to understand the economic and social circumstances that underlie the “Rust Belt,” while considering the process through which terms like this become meaningful. We will pay particular attention to the ways that place is constructed, investigating the literature on culture and meaning making, the role of the built environment, and the impact of the physical environment on social life. Students will witness the process of place making first-hand by engaging with city officials and Instagram artists in their attempts to reframe South Bend. Students will reflect critically on the strengths  and limitations of each group’s approach to place branding, identifying whether their narratives are representative of the entire city. As part of this class, students will develop recommendations for both groups on how to best capture and express a diverse, honest representation of South Bend.

Local Flora
Rachel Novick
Director of the Minor in Sustainability  
Scott Namestnik
Senior Botanist, Orbis Environmental Consulting

The idea and expressed need for this course came directly from conversations with our community partner and co-instructor, Scott Namestnik, who has 18 years' experience conducting floristic inventories, quantitative flora surveys, plant community mapping, and teaching plant identification training workshops. He is recognized for his expertise in Midwestern/Great Lakes terrestrial and aquatic vascular plants. Scott is a member of multiple, local conservation efforts - including the Indiana Academy of Science - where he serves  as a member of the Biodiversity and Natural Areas Committee and previously as the Chair of the Plant Systematics and Biodiversity section. I serve on the South Bend Parks Ecological Advisory Council, so I can also share a unique expertise on local environmental policies. Scott and I have worked together extensively to create the syllabus, and we will administer the course together. We will be in direct, regular contact regarding the project, students outcomes, and opportunities for growth throughout the semester. In addition to teaching this course together, Scott and I will also host office hours together.

The Past in the Present: Socially Engaged Archaeology
Fay Stevens
Adjunct Assistant Professor

Working directly with contemporary community groups living in London, this course explores the roles community-based archaeology can play in the construction and reconstruction of cultural identities. Based predominantly around visits to museums and culturally specific venues and sites, course participants will work closely with community groups, exploring issues of heritage, identity, material culture, history, and belonging. Topics include: local and global, cosmopolitan values, who owns the past, the role museums play in the construction of certain histories, education, and issues of cultural identity. This not a lecture-based course—emphasis is on field trips and active participation. By the end of this course students will have learned the central topics and themes relevant to the study of socially-engaged archaeology within a community-based, local and global framework; understand how communities contribute to social histories within London; be skilled in drawing connections between the elements within the topics covered, as well as critical reflection on wider influence and implications; demonstrate skills in collaborative work, critical thinking, and presentations; successfully locate and skilfully organize evidence to support research questions, support a position, and make a cogent, persuasive statement, and have developed an ability to synthesise diverse, integrated, and complex material.