Monday, August 5, 2019

The Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty (SHECP) recently presented its third annual Harlan R. Beckley Award to Dr. Jennifer Warlick, University of Notre Dame, for her exceptional leadership and advocacy in the field of poverty studies as a member of the consortium.

Warlick, an associate professor of public policy and economics, and director of Notre Dame's poverty studies interdisciplinary minor, has served as a beacon of light for students pursuing an education in poverty studies.

"I began to study poverty in 1972, and a line graph of the policy changes since that time resembles a rollercoaster, I'm afraid, with more dips than peaks," said Warlick in her acceptance speech. "It's hard to feel that one has or does make a difference in the fight to alleviate the struggles of people experiencing poverty. Thus, this award is simultaneously gratifying but also mystifying for me. An optimist by nature, I try my best to focus on the portion of the glass that is half full."

Named in honor of SHECP's founding director, the award was announced during the Frueauff Closing Conference at Marymount University, which brought together SHECP interns, faculty and supporters from more than two dozen colleges and universities.

"I see the future in you, and I have confidence that you will carry the faith of optimism to the realization of concrete goals that make this world a better place for everyone" Warlick said to the interns. "It has been my great privilege to be a member of the SHECP community."

Since 2008, 258 students have graduated as poverty studies minors at Notre Dame. As the academic and internship director of SHECP at Notre Dame, Warlick has guided 26 Notre Dame students through SHECP internships since 2012. 

"The poverty studies interdisciplinary minor at Notre Dame, which Jennifer founded, exemplifies her commitment to applying a deep scholarly understanding of poverty to practices that aim to create policies that will reduce poverty and increase justice," said Dr. Thomas G. Burish, provost of the University of Notre Dame. "In short, Jennifer has devoted her personal and professional life to the values and deeds that the Harlan Beckley Award honors."

Warlick has published in both national and foreign journals and in numerous books regarding income maintenance policy, aging, and the measurement of poverty. Her most recent project is "Rural Poverty in the United States" (Columbia University Press). She also volunteers her time to local organizations serving low-income residents including the South Bend Public School Corporation and St. Joseph County Health Department.

"The Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty commends Dr. Jennifer Warlick for the lasting impact her insight and example has had on her students, the consortium, and the countless lives touched by the program," said Dr. Brett Morash, SHECP executive director. "We are humbled and honored to draw upon her leadership and commitment."

Contact: Sam Kille, communications director, Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty,, (516) 782-7062


Thursday, March 7, 2019

Delaney is a senior at The University of Notre Dame, majoring in Neuroscience and Behavior with a minor in Theology and Poverty Studies. She plans to serve those who are on the margins as a family practice doctor. Her experiences in service-learning and community engagement have guided her toward continuing to work with those who are stifled and ignored.

One support letter read, “Delaney embodies the ideals this award seeks to recognize. In particular, it has been gratifying for me to observe Delaney’s development, with respect to the maturation of her ability to reflect on her community engagement experiences and her emergence as a campus leader guiding others toward this same opportunity for growth. The arc of Delaney’s service learning has given her a breadth and depth of experience and insight into the challenges to human flourishing encountered by those experiencing homelessness. Delaney has the intellectual capacity, maturity, and virtues of hospitality, compassion, and humility to respond in meaningful and transformative ways. Delaney is a remarkable, and yet unassuming, woman. She is blessed with considerable intellect, but leads with her heart and has servant in her bones.”

Friday, March 9, 2018

University of Notre Dame junior Prathm Juneja has been named a 2018 Newman Civic Fellow by Campus Compact. Newman Civic Fellows actively address issues of inequality and political polarization and demonstrate the motivation and potential for effective long-term civic engagement. The fellowship lasts one year and provides training and resources that help students develop innovative and collaborative strategies for social change. The Fellowship was created to honor the legacy of education leader Frank Newman.

Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C. wrote in support of Juneja’s nomination that he “draws upon his deep understanding of others, personal experiences, and classroom learning to create opportunities for his fellow students to practice civil discourse, advance voter education, and increase electoral turnout among students and local residents.”

During his time at Notre Dame, Juneja has been engaged in civic and political activity both on campus and in the City of South Bend. As current Student Government Chief of Staff, he works with students, faculty, and administrators on issues of innovation, diversity and inclusion, sexual assault, and community relations. He has also interned on political campaigns in the City and recently served as an intern in the Mayor’s Office of Innovation.

“As the son of Indian immigrants, my parents always taught me that we, too, were American,” Juneja explains. “This constant reminder of my unique story as a part of our greater national story drove me to grow passionate about civic engagement and politics.”

Since his freshman year, Juneja has participated in NDVotes, a non-partisan campaign of the Center for Social Concerns, The Rooney Center for the Study of American Democracy and the Constitutional Studies Minor to promote voter education, registration, and mobilization.

In 2016, Juneja was Notre Dame’s delegate to #CollegeDebate16 at Dominican University of California, a national, non-partisan initiative to empower young voters to identify issues and engage peers in the presidential election. In 2017, he presented a paper on his delegate experience at the annual meeting of the Association of American Colleges and Universities.

Contact: Rosie McDowell, Center for Social Concerns, 574-631-0468,

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Chicago, IL—The Central States Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (CSCTFL) recently honored Rachel Parroquín, Indiana Language Teacher of the Year, a professor of Spanish from the University of Notre Dame and a member of the Indiana Foreign Language Teachers Association (IFLTA). The award presentation was held during the Opening General Session of the 2017 CSCTFL Conference in Chicago, Illinois on March 10, 2017. At this ceremony, all of the state Teacher of the Year finalists from the fourteen state region were recognized.

The award for the Language Teacher of the Year is intended to elevate the status of the language teaching profession at the state, regional, and national levels by creating opportunities for recognizing the most accomplished members of the profession. The Teacher of the Year becomes a spokesperson for the language profession in order to increase the visibility of the importance of learning languages and cultures to the general public.

“CSCTFL is very proud of the impact that the Teacher of the Year Program has had in bringing local, regional and national attention to the importance of language education for all students.  It is an excellent example of collaboration in our field from the state to the regional to the national level,” said Mary Goodwin, CSCTFL’s Awards Chair. Goodwin continued: “We congratulate Rachel Parroquín as an advocate in her community for language learning, serving as a fine example of superior teaching and sharing her expertise with colleagues though quality professional development opportunities.”

About the Central States Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages: CSCTFL is the regional association for language professionals from all levels of instruction and representing all languages. CSCTFL promotes quality professional development opportunities to enhance teaching and learning languages especially within the fourteen states it serves:  Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

Contact: Mary Goodwin,

Friday, March 31, 2017

University of Notre Dame junior Sarah Tomas Morgan has been named a 2017 Newman Civic Fellow by Campus Compact. The Newman Civic Fellowship was created to honor the leadership legacy of education leader Frank Newman by recognizing community-committed students who engage in collaborative action with others from campus or surrounding communities in order to create long-term social change; take action in addressing issues of inequality and political polarization; and demonstrate the motivation and potential for effective long-term civic engagement. The fellowship provides training and resources that nurture and develop students’ assets and passions to help them develop innovative and collaborative strategies to bring about social change.

Tomas Morgan is a Program of Liberal Studies major and Peace Studies minor who has been deeply engaged in leadership on campus since her first year.  Serving in her residence hall and in various campus organizations, she has combined her passion for politics with her interest in peace studies. Working with staff from the Center for Social Concerns, Tomas Morgan built a team to develop a non-partisan campus movement called NDVotes ‘16 to educate, register, and mobilize students in advance of the 2016 presidential election.

In support of Tomas Morgan’s nomination, Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C wrote that “the success of NDVotes is due to her thoughtful articulation of a compelling idea, her inclusive stance to bring a diverse range of peers to the effort, and collaborative style, which allowed those peers to develop their own leadership abilities.”

Under Tomas Morgan’s leadership, NDVotes ’16 registered nearly half of all Notre Dame undergraduates for TurboVote, an online voter resource tool; hosted the Mayor of South Bend for an event devoted to discussion of civic and political engagement; developed an educational series of faculty speakers on campaign issues; and organized a mock election complete with exit polls. NDVotes remains active on campus supporting civic engagement activities. 

Contact: Rosie McDowell, Center for Social Concerns, 574-631-0468,

Monday, March 20, 2017

Notre Dame senior Alexis Doyle has been awarded the Richard J. Wood Student Community Commitment Award by Indiana Campus Compact, a partnership of higher education institutions that advances the public purpose of colleges and universities by deepening their ability to improve community life and to educate students for civic and social responsibility.

The Wood Award was created in 1996 to honor Dr. Richard J. Wood who served as the founding chairperson of Indiana Campus Compact and President's Board from 1992 until 1996. It is given annually to students from Indiana Campus Compact member campuses who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to community engagement.

Connie Snyder Mick, director of community-based learning at the Center for Social Concerns, wrote in support of Doyle's application for the award that "from South Bend to Guatemala, Ms. Doyle has practiced what we preach in community engagement pedagogy: listening to community partners to find a match between their needs and her gifts, considering sustainability and local control of projects, analyzing the system to contextualize a social concern, and so much more." 

In recognition of Doyle's award, Indiana Campus Compact issued the following statement:

"Alexis Doyle is a senior at the University of Notre Dame where she will graduate this May with a degree in Biology and Peace Studies. That combination of majors is reflective of Alexis’s blend of intellect and compassion. She will use both as she pursues formal studies in public health and public policy. She says, `Pursuing this education will allow me to be a doctor who uses her expertise in medicine to contribute to conversations taking place out of hospitals and that deeply affect the health of the underserved and marginalized.' Alexis has a clear calling to be a doctor who works outside the exam room.

Alexis’s interconnectedness of her studies, her community and global engagement, and her sense of vocation are remarkable. She is being educated to impact health solutions at the personal, local, and policy level. As further evidence of the caliber of student she is, Alexis was recently named a Rhodes Scholar.

She is a strong leader with a deep commitment to service and those she serves. She sees the cyclical nature of the health issues facing the people with whom she works and she is fully prepared to find the cyclical solutions. Her dedication and foresight combined with her social entrepreneurship and wide-ranging educational plans are the kind of tools that will make an enormous and positive impact on her community--wherever that may be."

Contact: JP Shortall,

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Indiana Campus Compact is proud to announce that the 2017 Engaged Campus of the Year is the University of Notre Dame for its commitment, intrinsic to its founding mission, not only to serve the broader community, but to educate generations of students for lives of civic and social engagement.

One of Indiana Campus Compact’s founding members, Notre Dame has been an active participant not only in its own community, but in the community of the Compact. Reverend Edward “Monk” Malloy was a founding member of the Board of Directors and said the genesis for the newly formed Indiana Campus Compact was “a collective sense that higher education needed to focus more directly on making a difference in our communities and neighborhoods.”

Notre Dame’s mission is to “cultivate in its students an appreciation for the great achievement of human beings, but also a disciplined sensibility to the poverty, injustice, and oppression that burden the lives of so many." Living their mission shows in the University’s deep commitment to service learning and community engagement.

More than 80% of Notre Dame students are involved in service engagement and there are campus-wide learning outcomes for students’ curricular engagement with the community.

A former Notre Dame student who is now the executive director of the Center for the Homeless in South Bend says, “I can say that service engagement was, and still very much is, a part of campus culture and Notre Dame faculty, staff, and students all are connected to our community in meaningful ways.”

Community engagement is integrated into the curriculum on an institution-wide level. The Center for Social Concerns provides professional development opportunities for faculty to enhance that work, including a Community Engagement Faculty Institute and a Faculty Fellows program. Its new Engaged Program Initiative aims to encourage multi-year, sustained, evolving, engagement which is integrated throughout the work of an academic unit.

In his letter of application, President Jenkins said, “[in addition to established work] the University also supports the pursuit of individual projects that arise from community need or ideas, and developed by the collaborative pursuit of knowledge and the common good.”

It’s hard to put 175 years’ worth of work in one, brief note, but we think it’s easy to see that the University of Notre Dame equips its faculty and staff with the support they need to provide their students with not only academic rigor, but continually presenting the opportunity to learn one of the most important things in life--“a sense of human solidarity and concern for the common good that will bear fruit as learning becomes service to justice.”

Contact: Liza Blomquist,

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Joshua Pine, a Catholic Social Tradition minor, has been selected to receive the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, this scholarship awards up to $5,000 towards a semester abroad during the spring 2017 academic term. Pine is one of four University of Notre Dame students selected this year, the highest number selected in a single competition. He is a member of the Class of 2019 and will spend the upcoming term in China.

"I hope that studying abroad will enable me to better appreciate the way in which China views the world and that this experience will empower me to serve as a bridge of understanding and of hope between the United States and China,” explains Pine. He also says that he hopes “to draw upon themes from Catholic social tradition in evaluating the impact of families in the work of development."

During the summer after his freshman year, Pine did an International Summer Service Learning Program immersion in Guizhou, China, where he worked with the Guizhou Rural Tourism Development Center. The Center is a non-governmental organization that strives to protect, promote, and advance local indigenous cultural heritages, with the hope of achieving cultural freedom and equality on as many levels as possible.

The Catholic Social Tradition minor is an interdisciplinary minor in the College of Arts and Letters committed to providing undergraduate students with a deeper understanding of the social ramifications of the Catholic faith by drawing on the wealth of resources of the Catholic social tradition as found in the official documents of the Church and the experience of the Catholic community.

For more information, please contact Bill Purcell, Associate Director, Catholic Social Tradition and Practice, at

Thursday, May 26, 2016

As students celebrate their commencement at the end of the Spring semester, the University also recognizes faculty and staff with annual awards—three of which were given to members of the Center for Social Concerns (CSC). Rachel Tomas Morgan, M.A., has received the Dockweiler Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising, Jim Paladino has received the Presidential Values Award, and Susan Sharpe, Ph.D., has received the Rev. William A. Toohey, C.S.C., Award for Social Justice.

Each year, the Dockweiler Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising is presented to three faculty or exempt staff who demonstrate a "sustained commitment to undergraduates through outstanding mentoring, academic advising, or career counseling." This award recognizes the invaluable role undergraduate advising plays in a Notre Dame education. Tomas Morgan has served in different positions within the CSC for 18 years, and as the Center's Associate Director of International Engagement she advises students on how to integrate the global social insights they acquire through the CSC's programs into a holistic understanding of themselves and their role in community.

Jim Paladino, the Center for Social Concerns' Associate Director of Business Operations, has been awarded the Presidential Values Award. This award, one of the eight given at the annual Service Recognition Dinner, recognizes "employees whose performance reflects the University's core values." Paladino was awarded for his commitment to service and community, and for the way in which his work specifically reflects the University's values of Leadership in Mission, Integrity, and Teamwork. Both at the Center and at the University levels, Paladino has humbly served his community—from overseeing the growth of the CSC's endowment and its over 200 accounts, to his advocacy for labor and disability rights.

Susan Sharpe, the Center for Social Concerns' Advisor on Restorative Justice, has been awarded the Rev. William A. Toohey, C.S.C., Award for Social Justice. Each year, this award is given to "a member of the Notre Dame faculty who has dedicated himself or herself to teaching and research that emphasize the social justice dimension of the Gospel in an exemplary way." Whether she is leading a course in which undergraduates and inmates at the Westville Correctional Facility can speak openly about the meaning of justice, or organizing talking circles in the South Bend community to give voice to at-risk youth, Sharpe's work is rooted in the value of human dignity and the transformative power of restorative justice.


Jennifer Tank receives 2016 Ganey Award for community-based research

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Jennifer Tank has received the 2016 Rodney F. Ganey, Ph.D., Community-Based Research Award for working together with Kosciusko County farmers and local conservation staff to reduce nutrient runoff in the Shatto Ditch watershed. The award is a $5,000 prize presented annually to a regular faculty member at the University of Notre Dame who has completed at least one research project that addresses a need within South Bend or the surrounding area.

For decades, farmers have added fertilizers to their soils to help maximize crop yields and profits. But nutrients that crops do not incorporate eventually run off into surrounding streams and rivers where they can cause serious problems. Excess nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus can change the character of water, even altering its biology so that it harms freshwater ecology and ultimately becomes undrinkable.

When Jennifer Tank, Galla Professor of Biological Sciences, began to research the problems of nutrient runoff in nearby Kosciusko County, she focused on the streams and rivers it affected. She soon realized that the problems extended beyond streams and rivers, and that they would require her to expand the scope of her research well beyond their banks. As Tank put it, “I needed to get out of the streams and rivers and talk with farmers, but farmers didn’t necessarily want to hear from a biologist about what nutrient runoff was doing to freshwater.”

Tank understood the farmers’ skepticism and empathized with them. “Agriculture feeds the world and farmers need to make a living in a competitive business,” she said. “I couldn’t go to them with solutions that asked them to sacrifice crop yields and profits.” She realized that if the insights she was garnering in her research were to prove practically useful, she would need to gain the trust of Kosciusko County farmers and come up with solutions that were good for both crops and water. She would need to do both science and politics, biology and relationship building.

In Indiana’s neighboring states, soil and conservation efforts have worked through state legislation to regulate farming in ways that have put new constraints on agriculture and created tension between farmers, conservationists and legislators. Tank was searching for social and scientific solutions that would lead to positive results for all parties, but she had to work overcome the obstacles of miscommunication and natural skepticism.

After many careful conversations with conservationists and farmers, Tank began to see herself less as a scientist offering solutions and more as a partner working on a common set of problems. The farmers she became acquainted with were sincere stewards of their land and did not intend to harm water, but they did not want to be told what to do and have their own wisdom and experience with land use disregarded. They wanted to be involved in developing a good solution that satisfied everyone.

In fact, the wisdom and experience of Kosciusko County farmers made them excellent scientific partners. “Farmers are naturally experimentalists,” said Tank. “Many of them have spent years analyzing data and results and trying to come up with better ways to do things.”

One of the methods that farmers have long used to protect land in the offseason — when fields would normally be bare — proved valuable to Tank’s work. During the winter and spring, farmers often plant what are called cover crops, which are planted in late fall to slow erosion and improve soil health over the winter and spring before the next year’s cash crop planting occurs.

Although Kosciusko County farmers were using cover crops more than on average for Indiana, this planting still amounted to a very low percentage of the land in the surrounding Shatto Ditch watershed. Tank and her collaborators believed that if they increased that percentage, they might keep more nutrients in the soil, instead of having them run off into streams and rivers where they harm freshwaters and do not benefit crops.

In Indiana, cover crops are currently used on average on less than 15 percent of land that can be used for crops, and that is considered high compared to the national average. Kosciusko County farmers in the Shatto Ditch watershed are now growing winter cover crops on about 70 percent of their acreage, a rate that has already significantly reduced the amount of nutrient runoff to local waterways while increasing fertilizer nutrients in soils, which farmers hope will lead to higher crop yields.

The Ganey Award is funded by local entrepreneur and philanthropist Rodney F. Ganey, Ph.D., and awarded by the University of Notre Dame’s Center for Social Concerns. The center facilitates community-based learning, research and service for Notre Dame undergraduates, graduate students and faculty. Since 1983, more than 15,000 students and hundreds of faculty have been engaged in its courses, research and programs.


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