Winter Session Opportunities


For more information on Winter Session and how to register for courses, visit


Open Wide Our Hearts: Understandings of Self, Race, and the Common Good in the Year 2020 (CSC 23000 / AFST 23000)

Instructors: Melissa Marley Bonnichsen, Yvette Rodriguez

Credits: 1

Course Description

In light of the recent elevated conversation around race and society in the US throughout 2020, the course creates intentional space for students to engage the current conversation of self-understanding, race, and society through the lens of Catholic Social Thought (CST) and Pope Francis' most recent encyclical Fratelli Tutti: Brother/Sisterhood and Social Friendship. Topics covered: identity, society and race, racial justice, active citizenship, and CST.


Winter Virtual Service Corps (CSC 23002)

Instructors: Emily Garvey, Felicia Johnson O'Brien, Ben Wilson

Credits: 1

Course Description

Modeled on the Summer Service Learning Program (SSLP), the Winter Virtual Service Corps is a one-credit service learning opportunity. Students select a service organization from among a list of center community partners in South Bend and throughout the country. Serving remotely, students will be given engaging projects to assist their organizations 8–10 hours a week from January 4 to January 22. The class meets weekly in small peer groups facilitated by a center staff member, with short weekly reading and writing assignments related to Catholic Social Tradition and social justice. Registration for the course is restricted to students who have applied and been accepted. Apply between November 23 and December 4. 

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Introduction to Poverty Studies (CSC 23003 / PS 23000)

Instructor: Connie Snyder Mick

Credits: 3

Course Description

Mahatma Ghandi says that poverty is the worst form of violence. Jesus says that the poor will always be with us and that they will inherit the kingdom of God. Ronald Reagan says we fought the war on poverty and poverty won. Lawyer Bryan Stevenson says the opposite of poverty is justice. In this course, we will address that enduring question: Why are people poor? We will take an interdisciplinary look at poverty to better understand the forces that maintain poverty and the forces that resist it. We will connect with community partners at the Center for the Homeless and other agencies to learn about advocacy work that protects people experiencing poverty and helps develop policies that prevent poverty. We will explore poverty through statistics and stories—the facts and the lived experience of people in poverty.

This framework will help guide our journey:

  • Definitions: What is poverty? 
  • Causes: Why are people poor? 
  • Consequences: Who is poor?
  • Privilege: Who isn't poor? 
  • Rhetoric: How does the media represent poverty? 

  • Solutions: What should we do about poverty? 

We will consider incarceration, immigration, employment, housing, health, education, public policy, private service, and much more to better understand this complex issue. By the end of this course, you should have a sense of the history of poverty and of how poverty could become history. Some seats will be reserved for declared Poverty Studies minors, but we will also open this to all students for the first time.


NEAR Science Workshop (CSC 45001 / NSBH 45001)

Instructor: Nancy Michael

Credit hours: 1

Course Description

This one-credit course is taught in collaboration with Velshonna Luckey of United Way of St. Joseph County and Kimberly Green Reeves of Beacon Health System Community Impact. The workshop offers an opportunity for continuation engagement of CBL/CBR strategy and program development for students already engaged in NEAR science (neuroscience, epigenetics, adverse childhood experiences, resilience) or center efforts.  Students will grow strategies for iterative development and evaluation of NEAR science efforts. Broader goals of this workshop are engaging with the development of community coalition strategies, engagement initiatives and planning surrounding NEAR science engagement, trauma-informed care and Self-Healing Communities. This course can be counted toward the PSIM experiential learning requirement.


Moment to See/Competence to Act: Fostering Social Responsibility and Justice through Higher Education (CSC 68010 / GRED 68010)

Instructor: Jay Brandenberger

Credit hours: 1

Course Description

This interdisciplinary seminar for graduate students from all disciplines responds to the current ethical moment in higher education: both Pope Francis and Science magazine have called this “a moment to see”.  What are the social responsibilities of universities? How may we address challenges such as COVID-19, racial injustice, and political divisions? How may universities, including Notre Dame, contribute to forming a new normal that fosters equity and justice? The course will engage such questions in a flexible format during the Winter Session. The course will encourage students to examine the implications of their disciplines for the common good, to imagine and build plans for future professional actions. How might you integrate knowledge of empathy, design thinking, diversity, human flourishing, community development, and justice into your work? The seminar will be enhanced by the integration of guest speakers and by relevant podcasts and digital media. Students will tailor their own learning plans according to disciplinary interests. Join us in this creative opportunity to respond with courage and hope. Note: the course will also fulfill many of the requirements of the Graduate Certificate in Community Engagement and Public Scholarship.


Co-Curricular Offerings


Mercy Works

Rolling deadline; one-month initial commitment required

Looking for volunteer opportunities this Winter Session? Mercy Works is a joint initiative between Campus Ministry and the Center for Social Concerns. It seeks to bring students and community members together in sustained, transformative collaborations committed to undiminishable dignity for all human beings.

Students in the program engage in weekly service in the South Bend community and partake in weekly reflection activities. Mercy Works is now accepting students for the Winter Session

Interested in learning more about Mercy Works? Visit our webpage belowor sign up here.

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Upcoming Events

December 2021

Information Session | Social Concerns Seminars
Tuesday, December 7, 2021 - 4:00pm
Information Session | Social Concerns Seminars
Wednesday, December 8, 2021 - 4:00pm

January 2022

Information Session | Social Concerns Seminars
Monday, January 10, 2022 - 4:00pm
Information Session | Social Concerns Seminars
Tuesday, January 11, 2022 - 4:00pm
Information Session | Social Concerns Seminars
Wednesday, January 12, 2022 - 4:00pm