Pre-2010 Faculty Fellows



2009–2011 Faculty Fellows


Kasturi Haldar

Julius Nieuwland Chair of Biological Sciences

Director, Center for Rare and Neglected Diseases

Kasturi Haldar holds the Julius Nieuwland Chair of Biological Sciences and is the director of Notre Dame’s Center for Rare and Neglected Diseases. As a Fellow, she and Mary Beckman, Center for Social Concerns Associate Director, in collaboration with the Ara Parseghian Medical Research Foundation, are in the beginning stages of developing a health network to provide services for families in the state and region affected by Niemann-Pick type C. This is a genetic disease that usually appears in early childhood for which no known cure currently exists. So far this initiative has engaged two undergraduates and two graduate students in a new course through which they are compiling information for several area families that will be useful to them as they work with physicians and other providers in the care of their affected children.
Professor Haldar’s research seeks to understand the common principles of vacuolar biogenesis of emerging and re-emerging infections and their links to chronic disease pathologies in animal models and human populations.


Benedict Giamo

Associate Professor of American Studies

Benedict Giamo’s interests include literary and cultural studies, poverty and homelessness, and creative nonfiction. As a Fellow, he will combine those interests by working with Connie Snyder Mick, Center for Social Concerns Assistant Director, to develop a creative nonfiction workshop for selected students enrolled in the Social Concerns Seminar on Appalachia. Giamo will mentor students on the art of interview and the genre of creative nonfiction as a mode of research, reflection, and response to the injustice they witness in Appalachia.
Giamo’s most recent book, Kerouac, The Word and the Way, examines the prose art of Jack Kerouac as an expression of an ever shifting spiritual quest. He has recently completed a book-length manuscript in the genre of creative nonfiction entitled “Homeless Come Home: An Advocate, the Riverbank, and Murder in Topeka, Kansas.”


2008–2010 Faculty Fellow

Dan Lapsley

Professor of Psychology

Fellow at the Institute for Educational Initiatives

Dan Lapsley is Professor of Psychology at Notre Dame and Fellow at the Institute for Educational Initiatives where he is facilitating a comprehensive initiative to build the field of Catholic education. As a Faculty Fellow, Dr. Lapsley is leading, with Jay Brandenberger of the Center, the Notre Dame Study of Moral Purpose. This funded investigation is following the Notre Dame class of 1994 to examine the impact of service-learning and civic engagement during the college years on later moral commitments and well-being. The research team, which includes both graduate and undergraduate students, is analyzing data from over 1,000 respondents from 1994 seniors, of whom 450 have submitted to intensive surveys in 2007. Preliminary findings have already been reported at professional meetings. Dr. Lapsley's overall research focuses on various topics in adolescent cognitive and personality development. He also examines the moral dimensions of personality including moral identity and character development. He is the author or editor of seven books, and he currently serves on the Executive Board of the International Association for Moral Education and on the editorial boards of various journals.


2007–2009 Faculty Fellows (renewed)


Jennifer Warlick

Chair of the Economics and Policy Studies Department  

Associate Professor of Economics

As Center Fellow, she will lead an initiative aimed toward the development of a poverty studies minor, in collaboration with Center Associate Director Mary Beckman and several faculty members from across the campus. Also, she will collaborate with Center Seminar Director Angela Miller McGraw to create complementarities between and her own economics course on rural poverty, and the Center Appalachia Seminar, through which almost 300 students travel to nineteen sites in the region over fall or spring break. Professor Warlick’s scholarly interests are in the area of poverty policy and the effect of income taxes and transfers on low income families and the elderly. Her course offerings include economics of poverty and the economics of education.


Todd D. Whitmore

Associate Professor of Theology

Concurrent Associate Professor in the Masters in Nonprofit Administration

Director of Notre Dame’s Program in Catholic Social Tradition

As a Center for Social Concerns Faculty Fellow, Professor Whitmore will be working with Bill Purcell, the Center’s Associate Director for Catholic Social Tradition and Practice, to deepen the integration of Catholic social thought within Center community-based learning opportunities and to incorporate Catholic social thought into the Center’s strategic plan for justice education. Also, the Center will collaborate with Professor Whitmore to enhance the University Program in Catholic Social Tradition. Professor Whitmore is the author of numerous articles on Catholic social teaching as it relates to economic life, war and peace, civil society, and education.  His most recent work takes him to northern Uganda to investigate the possibilities of peace and reconciliation in war-torn districts.


2006–2008 Faculty Fellows


Carl Ackermann

Associate Professional Specialist

Department of Finance 

For the last six years, he has collaborated with the director of Summer Service Learning Programs at the Center for Social Concerns on ACCION, a micro-lending program that seeks to reduce poverty and create employment in the Americas. Through ACCION, Notre Dame undergraduates travel to sites across the country to participate in microlending programs as part of a three-credit course for which credits are assigned both through the College of Business and through the Department of Theology. Professor Ackerman will continue this work and will also now team with several local organizations to address financial literacy with the goal of educating and empowering those in greatest financial need. He studies and writes on the mutual fund industry, and his scholarly work has appeared in the Journal of Finance and the Journal of Business Ethics.


Susan Ohmer

William T. and Helen Kuhn Carey Assistant Professor of Modern Communication, Department of Film, Television, and Theatre

Susan Ohmer teaches classes on film and television history, media industries, and digital culture. Dr. Ohmer also serves as the director of Debate at Notre Dame. Through the generous support of the Careys, Notre Dame has reintroduced a program in Policy Debate which offers students the opportunity to research and argue one focused topic each year. Through her faculty fellow position at the Center for Social Concerns, Professor Ohmer and her students will make this research available to policy makers around the country through an effort initiated through the Bonner Foundation and a grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service titled Policy Options.


2005–2007 Faculty Fellows


Agustin Fuentes

Associate Professor of Anthropology

Flatley Director of the Office of Undergraduate and Post-Baccalaureate Fellowships

As Fellow, Fuentes will be assisting the Center in linking undergraduates with community-based research opportunities, and in providing information about community research to the campus and area community through speakers and other means. Fuentes has written extensively in the areas of human evolution and behavior, primate behavior, conservation, and the importance of collaborative research and undergraduate teaching.


Darcia Narvaez

Associate Professor of Psychology

Darcia Narvaez directs the Center for Ethical Education. She works on lifespan moral character formation. As a Center Fellow, she will be working with Jay Brandenberger to conduct an ethics audit of the campus. Professor Narvaez is a member, with Center Executive Director Fr. Bill Lies, C.S.C., of the Faculty Learning Community on integrating Catholic Social Teaching into university instruction. She will be assisting the Center to review its courses and programs for how ethical skill development can be incorporated. Professor Narvaez has published more than 40 articles, books, and chapters.


Michael C.F. Wiescher

Freimann Professor of Physics

Director of the Joint Institute of Nuclear Astrophysics (JINA), University of Notre Dame

Adjunct Professor of Physics, Michigan State University

As Faculty Fellow he will expand his one-credit interdisciplinary course “Nuclear Weapons and Nuclear Warfare” into a three-credit class with research opportunities for undergraduate students that utilize the  community links of the Center for Social Concerns. He will also create, with the assistance of Suzanne Coshow, director of Educational Outreach for JINA, a special outreach program through which physics undergraduates and graduate students develop computer games and movies for presentations at local schools on topics of general interest in nuclear physics and astrophysics. Wiescher also will plan a public lecture series on Nuclear Weapons and Aspects of Non-Proliferation to provide opportunities for a broad audience to learn about the legal, political, historical, and physics aspects.


2005–2007 Faculty Fellow (renewed)


Don Pope-Davis

Professor of Counseling Psychology

Assistant Vice President and Associate Dean for Graduate Studies

Don Pope-Davis is working with the Center for Social Concerns to enhance the role of graduate students in its work. Through his facilitation, graduate students are now eligible for small grants to develop community-based learning courses. Pope-Davis also is helping the Center expand its efforts in multicultural contexts. For example, post-docs in multicultural studies under his direction work with Center staff on research projects and other activities related to their areas of expertise. Pope-Davis’s primary research interests are in multicultural psychology, counseling, and education. He is a research fellow of the American Psychological Association.


2004-2006 Faculty Fellows


Greg Downey

Assistant Professor of Anthropology

Greg Downey will be continuing working with Rachel Tomas-Morgan to provide students returning from the International Summer Service Learning Program and from other internships and study abroad programs in the developing world with a re-entry course. This course, "Cultural Difference and Social Change," allows students to follow up their international experiences with focused research, reflection, and public presentations to future generations of participants in these programs.  Downey's primary research interests are in Brazil and the United States, where he studies such subjects as social movements, human rights, interpersonal violence, physical education, and development.


Rev. Robert S. Pelton, CSC

Director of Latin American/North American Church Concerns at the Kellogg Institute

Concurrent Professor of Theology  

His work with the Center will focus on deepening the research opportunities for students and faculty in and on issues pertaining to Cuba.  He is the architect behind Notre Dames's annual Archbishop Oscar Romero lecture series that celebrates the memory and the message of this assassinated champion for the marginalized.  Father Pelton also leads student-faculty trips to Cuba that afford a rare glimpse of the relationship between Castro's regime and the Catholic Church.  Father Pelton's publications include his book From Power to Communion, which centers on the challenges of social justice and spiritual leadership in Latin America.


Rabbi Michael A. Signer

Abrams Professor of Jewish Thought and Culture in the Department of Theology

Director of the Notre Dame Holocaust Project

As Faculty Fellow, Rabbi Signer will develop with the Center new activities to advance inter-religious dialog, including educational opportunities for students to focus on the Jewish roots of social justice and to engage in civic participation involving the sharing of diverse religious experiences and heritages.  Rabbi Signer is the author and editor of five books on topics that range from Medieval Latin biblical commentaries to contemporary Jewish-Christian relations.  Betty Signer, Project Coordinator of the Notre Dame Holocaust Project, will also be working with the Center on these projects.


2004-2005 Faculty Fellows


J. Matthew Ashley

Associate Professor of Theology

Center for Social Concerns Theology Liaison

Matt teaches with Jay Brandenberger of the Center's Faculty a theology course that takes students to El Salvador over spring break. Ashley's scholarly interests include political and liberation theology, Christian spirituality, and the dialogue between theology & science.


Dennis Jacobs

Professor of Chemistry

Dennis Jacobs and Mary Beckman initiated a coalition that includes Memorial Hospital, Greentree Environmental and the city of South Bend to assist the county’s Get the Lead Out Task Force in the identification and eradication of lead hazards affecting children locally. Results of the effort include a chemistry course in which students test local homes for harmful levels of lead contamination and a presentation by the coalition at the Campus Community Partnerships for Health national conference in San Diego. Dennis is Carnegie Foundation's U.S. Professor of the Year for research and doctoral universities.


Felicia LeClere

Associate Professor of Sociology  

Director of the Laboratory for Social Research

Felica LeClere will be working with Mary Beckman, Associate Director for Academic Affairs and Research at the Center, to develop & conduct workshops to assist local community agencies in writing grants and doing program evaluation. Professor LeClere's research to date has largely focused on the effects of communities and neighborhoods on the health and well-being of adults and children.


Don Pope-Davis

Professor of Counseling Psychology

Don Pope-Davis is developing a course with Jay Brandenberger in which graduate and undergraduate students will explore multicultural contexts locally & through an immersion in the southern U.S. Pope-Davis's primary research interests are in the areas of multicultural psychology, counseling, and education. Pope-Davis has recently been named Assistant Vice President and Associate Dean for Graduate Studies. He is a research fellow of the American Psychological Association.


Steve Silliman

Associate Dean for Educational Programs, College of Engineering

Civil Engineering Professor

Steve Silliman is working with Rachel Tomas Morgan, Director of the Center’s International Summer Service Learning Program (ISSLP), to assess the possibility of deploying computers and educational software to remote village schools in Belize as part of an ISSLP opportunity. This ISSLP site would be offered as a collaboration between the Center and the College of Engineering with hopes to initiate an electronic learning exchange relationship with the Belize school and one or two schools in South Bend.

View All Events

Upcoming Events

May 2022

Graduate Summer Institute for Engaged Research and Teaching
Tuesday, May 31, 2022 - 12:00am to Thursday, June 2, 2022 - 11:45pm

June 2022

ND Explores STEM: Healthcare
Friday, June 3, 2022 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm
Information Session | RISE: Hometown
Thursday, June 9, 2022 - 7:00pm
Preferred Application Deadline | Graduate Fellowship
Wednesday, June 15, 2022 - 12:00am to 11:45pm
Information Session | RISE: South Bend
Thursday, June 16, 2022 - 7:00pm

September 2022

Pathways Out of Poverty: Venture Creation and Contemporary Europe
Wednesday, September 7, 2022 - 11:00am to 1:00pm