News

Friday, January 31, 2020

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has again recognized the University of Notre Dame with the Community Engagement classification, citing excellent alignment among the University’s mission, culture, leadership, resources and practices in support of “dynamic and noteworthy community engagement.”

The Carnegie Foundation introduced the Community Engagement classification as an elective classification in 2006, and Notre Dame has held the classification since 2010, when it first applied for it on a 10-year cycle.

Now on a six-year cycle, the classification recognizes “collaboration between institutions of higher education and their larger communities (local, regional/state, national, global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity.”

Notre Dame is among 359 institutions that now hold the classification, including 119 from this cycle.

The University will need to reapply for the classification in six years.

“Notre Dame’s commitment to community is rooted in the University’s Catholic ethos and character, building on the good works of our students, faculty and staff,” said Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C. “The Carnegie classification is an important recognition of their initiatives.”

Jay Brandenberger, director of academic community engagement at the Office of the Provost and associate director of the Center for Social Concerns at Notre Dame, said, “Notre Dame has a long history of putting into action Father Sorin’s founding vision that University will become ‘one of the most powerful means for doing good in this country.’ We celebrate this recognition from the Carnegie Foundation, knowing it is possible only through the goodwill and commitment of a network of community partners near and far.”

Brandenberger chairs the Community Engagement Coordinating Council, which led the application for the reclassification — an 18-month process that involved data collection and documentation of important aspects of institutional mission, identity and commitments.

In recognizing Notre Dame, the Carnegie Foundation noted the University’s long history of engagement, from the work of the Robinson Community Learning Center, the Center for Social Concerns, the Institute for Educational Initiatives and the William J. Shaw Center for Children and Families, to community-based research, learning and service and voluntary contributions to communities and organizations in the South Bend-Elkhart region and beyond.

More recently, the University formed the Community Engagement Coordinating Council to integrate the many campus structures and entities that support outreach and to help enhance the University’s “engaged” status; added a new rotating faculty position, the director of academic community engagement, to the Office of the Provost; developed a University-wide portal, EngageND, to track engagement efforts and share resources; developed a summer faculty institute focused on engagement; expanded support for the Center for Social Concerns and Robinson Center; more deeply engaged graduate students with the creation of a Certificate for Community Engagement and Public Scholarship; established the Center for Civic Innovation; and enhanced engaged scholarship and research through a variety of initiatives, leading to such sustained projects as the Bowman Creek Educational Ecosystem.

Of the 119 institutions classified or reclassified this cycle, 67 are public and 52 are private. By basic classification, 52 are research universities, 39 are master’s colleges and universities, 22 are baccalaureate colleges, three are community colleges and three have a specialized focus. The institutions represent 37 states and U.S. territories.

“These newly classified and reclassified institutions are doing exceptional work to forward their public purpose in and through community engagement that enriches teaching and research while also bettering the broader community,” said Mathew Johnson of the Carnegie management team.

Since 1970, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has classified American colleges and universities as a research tool to represent and support the diversity of U.S. higher education.

For more information, visit engagement.nd.edu.

 

Contact: Jay Brandenberger, director of academic community engagement, 574-631-7943, jbranden@nd.edu

 

This piece was originally published by Notre Dame News

Friday, February 12, 2021

The Just Wage Forum begins on Friday, February 12 at 1:00 p.m. with a panel discussion on “Promoting a Just Wage Economy.” It will be the first in a series of nine virtual sessions in which scholars and practitioners explore the following questions: What makes any given wage just or unjust? What are the rights and responsibilities of employers, workers, government, unions, and community groups in securing safe, decent-paying jobs? And what can be done to address structural discrimination and increasing economic inequality?

The Forum is a series of the Just Wage Initiative, which was created in the fall of 2016 by faculty members Dan Graff, director of the Higgins Labor Program at the Center for Social Concerns and professor of the practice in the department of history, where he specializes in U.S. labor, and Clemens Sedmak, interim director of the Nanovic Institute for European Studies, professor of social ethics in the Keough School of Global Affairs, and advisor in Catholic social tradition at the Center for Social Concerns. The Initiative also includes faculty from multiple departments across the University, including law, sociology, and management.

The opening session of the Forum will introduce a framework and online tool designed to help users think through whether a wage is just according to seven criteria grounded in Catholic social tradition. Sedmak and Graff are panelists for the first session and will be joined by Charlice Hurst, assistant professor of Management, Mendoza College of Business, University of Notre Dame, and Donald Stabile, professor of economics, St. Mary's College of Maryland. 

The remaining eight sessions in the series will take place between February and July and will cover one just wage criterion each. The final session will offer conclusions and look forward to next steps on the question of a just wage. The second session covers the first criterion--that a just wage promotes a decent life—and will take place Friday, February 26 at 1:00 p.m.; the third session will focus on criterion two—a just wage promotes asset building—and will take place Friday, March 19 at 1:00 p.m.; the fourth session addresses criterion three—a just wage provides social security—and will take place Friday, April 9 at 3:00 p.m. 

Visit the Just Wage Forum site for more information on remaining events in the series.

The Higgins Labor Program is an interdisciplinary unit of the Center for Social Concerns sponsoring research, education, and community engagement on issues involving work, labor organization, and social justice.

Contact: Dan Graff, Higgins Labor Program Director, (574) 631-5845, dgraff@nd.edu

Monday, January 25, 2021

The Center for Social Concerns has selected Community Impact Grant recipients for the 2020–21 academic year. Grants are awarded to faculty and students doing community-engaged work that advances human dignity, solidarity, and the common good, values central to Catholic social tradition and the center’s mission. The grants were awarded based upon a proposal submission and selection process and are part of the center’s continuing effort to support collaboration between campus and community partners for social justice impact.

Current Notre Dame undergraduates Anna Benedict and Louise Medina Bengtsson, and Lisa Anderson, founder of Clubhouse of St. Joseph County and adjunct faculty at the center were awarded $2,500 for “Our Stories: Building Transformative Allyships & Honoring Narratives of Mental Illness.” This project collaborates with the Clubhouse of St. Joseph County and is dedicated to three goals: bridging the gap between the Notre Dame and the South Bend communities; creating allyships and helping decrease the stigma that surrounds mental illness; and compiling and publishing a book of Clubhouse members’ personal stories and artwork.

Jenna E. Coalson, assistant professor of the practice, Department of Biological Sciences and Eck Institute for Global Health, and independent South Bend artist Brad Burgess were awarded $3,500 for “Civic Engagement and Healthy Communities: A Collaboration Between Science and Live Performing Arts in South Bend.”  This project seeks to unite experts from health sciences and the arts to explore how live performing arts can promote accurate public health information. The project will include partners from Notre Dame and the wider South Bend/St. Joseph County area, most notably the South Bend Civic Theatre.

Laura Miller-Graff, associate professor, Department of Psychology and Peace Studies and Becki Fulmer, project coordinator at the BRAVE lab, were awarded $4,500 for “Using Intensive Longitudinal Methods to Examine the Effects of Intervention and Risk and Resilience Factors on Pandemic-Related Stress Among IPV-Exposed Mother-Infant Dyads,” a project partnering with multiple community organizations to identify the mental health and relational impacts of COVID-19 on women with a history of IPV exposure and their young children.

Michel Hockx, professor of Chinese Literature and Director of the Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies and Christine Cox, assistant director for programs and strategy, Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies were awarded $500 to support “Visible: A Celebration of Asian American Activism, Service, and Creativity,” an online panel discussion celebrating Asian American achievement.

Amy Kryston, current Notre Dame undergraduate, and Anna Geltzer, assistant director of the John J. Reilly Center, were awarded $3,200 for “Investigating Infant and Maternal Health and Community-Based Research in St. Joseph County, Indiana,” a project intended to improve knowledge of the current maternal health crisis in the area and inform public policy. 

Michael Macaluso, assistant professor of the practice, Institute for Educational Initiatives and Kati Macaluso, assistant teaching professor, Institute for Educational Initiatives, were awarded $6,068 for “Social Justice Teacher Book Clubs,” which will partner with 20 local middle and secondary Catholic school English teachers to diversify their curricula.

Michael H. Morris, professor of the practice, McKenna Center for Human Development and Global Business, Keough School of Global Affairs was awarded $3,500 for “South Bend Entrepreneurship and Adversity Program,” a program that supports a pathway out of poverty by supporting the development of sustainable enterprises. 

Will Newkirk, associate program Director, Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) and the American Indian Catholic Schools Network (AICSN), Sarah Stovicek, current Notre Dame graduate student, and Brian Collier, director and professor of the practice, ACE and AICSN, were awarded $2,500 for “American Indian Catholic Schools Network Truth and Healing Summit,” a convening of eight AICSN schools intended to educate teachers and leaders on the key elements of truth and healing within Catholic and indigenous schools.

Cara Ocobock, assistant professor, Anthropology, and current Notre Dame graduate students Morgan Widhalm Munsen and Robert K. Stanley, were awarded $5,500 for “Making At-Home Science and Representation Accessible to Low-Income Students During COVID-19.” The project seeks to address potential educational back-slide due to COVID-19, particularly for low-income students, by providing no-cost science kits for at-home educational enrichment and entertainment. They are partnering with St. Adalbert Catholic School and the Center for the Homeless for co-creation and distribution of the kits.

Current Notre Dame undergraduate students Karli Siefker and Elsa Barron were awarded $5,110 for “Fertile Ground: Sustainability Education as a Restorative Justice Practice,'' which intends to design and implement a sustainability curriculum for students at DePaul Academy in South Bend. The project seeks to integrate sustainability education as a lasting form of restorative justice and healing for students who might otherwise not encounter the topic of sustainability or comprehensive engagement with the natural world. 

Community Impact Grant proposals are reviewed once in the fall and once in the spring but will not be reviewed this spring due to the coronavirus pandemic. The next deadline for applications will be during the late fall, 2021. Applicants may request grants up to $15,000. For more information on grants, please visit the grants webpage.

Contact: JP Shortall, director of communications and advancement, (574) 631-3209, jshortal@nd.edu.

 

Thursday, December 3, 2020

As the coronavirus rages around the world, essential workers continue to face the fear of its impact daily. This includes worrying about what they would do if they or their families contract the virus. In a recent segment with local South Bend news affiliate WNDU, Dan Graff, Ph.D., director of the Higgins Labor Program,  answered the question "What rights do workers have to paid leave during the pandemic?" In it, he discussed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) which has provided paid leave for employees and is scheduled to expire at the end of 2020. 

“Now, I worry sometimes that employers have a lot more sway over their workers, and maybe, you know, unfortunately, in some cases would intimidate workers from actually exercising the right."

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Around the world, we are seeing the impact of climate change: frequent wildfires, rising lake levels, severe hurricanes, and more. A recent article in Crux, "Candidates approach environmental protection from widely varying viewpoints," discusses the changing environmental policies in the United States and what an ecological approach looks like through Catholic teaching. While some pointed to the potential benefits of these policy changes, Margie Pfeil, Ph.D., associate teaching professor of moral ethics and Christian theology, cautioned Catholics to view care of the Earth as a top priority. 

“Human survival is wrapped in the survival of the rest of creation,” Pfeil said. “This shouldn’t be a partisan issue at all. If we really say we are pro-life, it ought to mean care for all of creation as well. I don’t see how we get around that."

Monday, September 14, 2020

For many people, Labor Day is for enjoying the final days of summer and time outdoors with family and friends. However, Labor Day was originally created to celebrate the labor movement and its accomplishments such as child labor laws, safety in the workplace, and reduced work hours. Dan Graff, Ph.D., professor of history and director of the Higgins Labor Program, was interviewed on local South Bend news affiliate ABC 57 for an article titled "The History of Labor Day." In it, he discusses how as a nation we have forgotten what Labor Day was intended to commemorate, especially evident in the fact that many people still work on Labor Day.

“I think it’s important for people, especially in this pandemic, where we’ve had a lot of a conversation about essential workers and their importance. A lot of those essential workers don’t have Labor Day off. There is nothing under American law, that gives anyone the right to any holiday. So we recognize federal holidays but no employer, private employer is required to give a holiday."

Thursday, August 27, 2020

There are many challenges facing those who seek to organize today--the risk of losing their job or benefits, ineffective negotiations, and limited participation from other workers. A recently article published by The Nation, "There Is Power Even Without a Union", notes that there has been a 50 percent decrease in unioninzed workers since the early 1980s. Dan Graff, Ph.D., director of the Higgins Labor Program at the Center for Social Concerns explains that there are many variables contributing to this decline.

"There’s a whole generation or two of mistrust or suspicion or at least resignation that these unions will not be able to do anything for them. It’s kind of a vicious cycle. The labor movement gets smaller. Unions then look less able to do anything. And it’s hard to escape that.”

Thursday, August 27, 2020

What happens when we take learning outside the realm of our own experience? Connie Snyder Mick, Ph.D., senior associate director and director of academic affairs at the Center for Social Concerns, found that students who engaged in community-based learning, added empathy and strength to their academic arguments and created writing that considered the common good. Read more in "What We Know, We Owe" in the summer edition of Notre Dame Magazine.

 “If you are someone who loves teaching, you love environments where you don’t have all the answers, where something happens that wasn’t on the syllabus or doesn’t fit the model, something that shows the limits of your imagination.”

Friday, July 10, 2020

Sojourners published an opinion piece in its August 2020 edition by Margie Pfeil, Ph.D., faculty joint appointment in theology and the Center for Social Concerns, titled "I used to believe in a just war, but I don't anymore." Pfeil describes being a teenager in a San Diego naval stronghold in the 1980s and her resulting fear of nuclear warfare. In 1985, she joined thousands of others at Balboa Park to commemorate the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. It was in that moment she developed a conviction of conscience to work for nuclear disarmament. 

"Conscience involves the capacity to discern and choose the morally right course of action in a particular situation. In doing so, a person brings to bear a lifelong process of formation of conscience. Each person has the obligation to form his or her conscience as fully as possible, and to follow it."

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

University of Notre Dame sophomore Evan McKenna has been named a 2020 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. It was created to honor the legacy of education leader Frank Newman.

In support of McKenna’s nomination, University of Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., wrote, “Evan is not only a student committed to social change, he is also a student unafraid to lead and use his voice to enact social change and advocate for those who need it most. He has demonstrated the ability to align values, passion, and dedication in service to the local community and the common good.”

McKenna is a Psychology and English major who has been deeply engaged in advocacy and human rights issues since his first year at Notre Dame. McKenna is active at the Notre Dame Center for Civic Innovation, serving underprivileged students in South Bend. He visits elementary schools in the local community to teach children bullying and violence prevention strategies and hopes to launch speech, debate, and public speaking programs across local schools so students can discover the life-changing intersection of advocacy and education. McKenna has addressed county commissioners in Tennessee to advocate for the civil rights of the LGBTQ community and has been active in providing resources and support for children affected by immigration raids.

“Growing up in a small town in Appalachia where education was constantly ignored and devalued, I quickly realized the power of a great education—and the dangers of a poor one,” McKenna explains. “I strive to walk the walk, often organizing groups of activists when human rights are jeopardized. I believe that education is our greatest asset, the fundamental solution to deep-rooted systems of inequity and oppression.”

Contact: Dave Lassen, Center for Social Concerns, (574)631-8017, dlassen@nd.edu

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May 2021

07
Labor Café | The Paid Leave Priority
Friday, May 7, 2021 - 5:00pm to 6:00pm
10
Flash Panel on the Current Crisis in Colombia
Monday, May 10, 2021 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm

June 2021

July 2021

23
Just Wage Forum 2021 | Series Conclusion (Virtual)
Friday, July 23, 2021 - 1:00pm to 2:30pm

September 2021