ND Forum to focus on academics

first_imgWith 65 different undergraduate degree programs offered at Notre Dame, each student graduates with a different body of knowledge behind his or her diploma. This year, the Notre Dame Forum will examine the most important common lessons by tackling the question, “What do Notre Dame graduates need to know?”University President Fr. John Jenkins told The Observer on Monday that Notre Dame’s ongoing curriculum review determined this year’s theme. Jenkins said the discussions at these events would help inform Notre Dame’s academic policy and would reflect on how today’s students can best serve the world and the Church.“What [the University is] going to have to do is listen to [the Forum speakers] and say, ‘Okay, are there implications for our requirements? For what we do at Notre Dame? For the education we offer? For what we require for a Notre Dame degree?’” Jenkins said.The first Forum event on Sept. 15, “Taking a Scientific Approach to Science Education,” will feature Carl Weiman, Stanford University professor and winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics, in the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center. An Oct. 6 event will feature both Catherine Cornille, chairwoman of Boston College’s theology department and Cyril O’Reagan, Huisking professor of theology at Notre Dame, and Duke University president Richard Brodhead will speak Nov. 4.University student body president Lauren Vidal said she hoped students would take advantage of the opportunity to learn from those featured at each Forum event.“The Notre Dame Forum continues to get stronger each year,” she said.Although each event has a specific academic focus, Jenkins said he hopes the Forum brings to light the importance of a breadth of education for each college graduate, reflected in the University’s core requirements.“Currently, there are requirements that every student needs to take in science, in philosophy, theology, social science […] and I think the thought is that for any educated person, they should have some knowledge of the scientific method or scientific discoveries, even if your major is business or English,” Jenkins said. “Similarly, if you’re a physicist, you should know about literature and you should know about philosophy or theology. Really, we all need a broad range of knowledge.”The forum will hopefully also stimulate student introspection, Jenkins said.“Everyone needs to think about, ‘what do I need to know?’ – whatever my aspirations are, what do I need to know to be a good citizen, to be a person who’s informed, to make good decisions about the range of issues that I will have to make decisions about?” he said. “So I hope it stimulates reflection for each and every student on what they need to know, because ultimately they are the ones that are responsible for their own education, preparing themselves for the future.”The Forum, an annual tradition at Notre Dame since 2005, looks to foster discussion within the University community, Jenkins said.“The challenge of universities, of course, is that sometimes we have various conversations going on but we don’t all bring them together,” Jenkins said. “The purpose of the Forum is to choose some topics that are timely in some way so that faculty and students – and really the whole University – can engage those at some level.”Tags: Notre Dame Forumlast_img read more

Nativity scenes display cross-cultural traditions

first_imgAnnmarie Soller An exhibition of thirty Christmas nativity scenes, crèches, from around the world will be on display from Nov. 19 through Jan. 31, said John Cavadini, professor of theology and director of the Institute for Church Life. The crèches, on loan from the Marian Library International Crèche Collection at the University of Dayton, are spread throughout campus.“Some are in the Eck Center, some are in the main lobby of the Morris Inn, some are in McKenna Hall, some are in the Main Building, some are in the Hesburgh Library concourse,” he said. “Our idea is to have provided not simply an exhibition of artistic work — though that is what it is — but also to provide people the opportunity for pilgrimage, so that they can walk from one building to the other, and they can prayerfully encounter these images of the holy family and the nativity.“It’s probably nowhere more evident the global enculturation of the Gospel, than in the depiction of the nativity of the Lord, which is the third the joyful mystery of the rosary, as in interpreted by people of various cultures of the world, who have embraced this mystery in their heart. And so, in all of these crèches, we’re at once invited into one of the most intimate in a family’s life, the welcoming of a newborn child, and in contemplating this scene, we’re invited into what Christian faith believes to be the most intimate moment between God and creation, the Incarnation.”Rev. Johann G. Roten, S.M., director of research and special projects at the University of Dayton, delivered the opening lecture, entitled, “The Crèche: A Celebration of Christmas and Culture,” for the exhibit on Wednesday night in the Eck Visitors Center Auditorium.Roten said the crèches demonstrate the close relationship between culture and religion.“And indeed, that relationship between culture and religion has always been a very important concern because where does religion begin? Where does culture stop? How do the two combine? Which is influencing the other?” Roten said. “All of these different things we try to develop and to study in and through our nativity collection.”There are three fundamental ways of looking at nativity traditions, which can be categorized as “mountain,” “landscape” or “village,” Roten said.“When you look through what became the oldest and most important of the nativity tradition, which is of Latin origin, a combination of Italy and Spain, through the city of Naples, a couple things come to the forefront, which have a deep theological meaning,” he said.The design of these crèches is such that the nativities are depicted at the bottom of a mountain, Roten said.“The idea being that the divinity, Jesus Christ, had to go through all the strata of human reality in order to get to the bottom of that reality, and therefore be able to assume the whole of that reality,” he said. “It’s a very important idea, and you find it in quite a lot of those different representations of the nativity.”The “landscape” is found in crèches of the German tradition, Roten said.“Nature becomes an important part, because it shows that the nativity is always a miracle,” he said. “And how do you represent the miracle? Difficult, of course to explain, but at least symbolically you can explain it, in showing in that landscape, for instance, an apple tree laden with apples. Now it’s the end of December. How could you explain it? That’s an illustration of the miracle.”The “village” is found in crèches of the French tradition, especially those of the Provence region, Roten said.“All inhabitants of the village would come to the manger,” he said. “The ‘village’ is an expression not only of the global village but also, what we call in theology the ecclesiology of communion. We have on the one hand great unity and on the other great diversity around the baby in the manger.”Tags: christmas and culture, creches, Institute for Church Life, rev. johann g. roten, roten, university of daytonlast_img read more

Faculty panel discusses European migration crisis

first_imgThree faculty members examined the current migration crisis in Europe in a panel discussion titled titled “Migration to Europe: Situating the Current Crisis,” held Monday afternoon in Andrews Auditorium of Gedddes Hall. Karen Richman, director of undergraduate academic programs for the Institute for Latino Studies, moderated the event.Alia Fardi, a Master of Laws candidate in international human rights law, began the discussion by establishing the basics underlying the subject matter of the discussion. Fardi quoted the fourteenth article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a document promoted by the United Nations that establishes a set of inalienable rights for all people.“Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” she said.The term “refugee,” Fardi said, is a person who faces persecution because of his or her race, religion, nationality, political preference or membership to a particular social group.“They have to be outside of their home country because if they are inside their home country, they are internally displaced,” she said.Refugees are different from economic migrants, Fardi said, because economic migrants are those pursuing better living standards, not fleeing persecution.“Refugees can not return home because of fear of persecution, while migrants could,” she said.Maurizio Albahari, assistant professor of anthropology, noted the statistics of the current migration crisis. He said 819,218 refugees arrived in Europe in 2015 and another 3,460 refugees died or went missing at sea.Albahari said these statistics reveal the severity of the current migration crisis and motivate him to work towards a solution.“My priority, my concern is preventing further loss of life at sea. I’m not convinced it’s a universal objective,” he said.He said he proposes working to allow those seeking refuge to enter countries as legal immigrants.“Let’s start doing what can be done, immediately,” Albahari said.He said he specifically suggests prioritizing family reunification, he said.“Survivors say, ‘I’m going to meet my brother, my cousin, my wife, my children in Germany, in Sweden, in Australia,’” he said.Refugees could also get visas to study for high school or college as a means to achieve legal immigration, he said.Fr. Daniel G. Groody, associate professor of theology, said there is a connection between the refugee crisis and the call of Christians. He said the recent story of a carpenter on the island of Lampedusa demonstrates this connection.According to Groody, the carpenter, Franco, helped save 358 migrants when their ship crashed.“Franco found driftwood along the coastline, and he felt like he wanted to give expression to what was going on there,” he said.Groody said Franco began making procession crosses out of the driftwood he found and made 400 crosses in three days.Eventually, news broke that Pope Francis was coming to the island, and Franco was in charge of preparing the liturgy, he said. Franco carved a chalice out of the driftwood, made a lectern out of boat rudders and a ship wheel, and formed an altar out of a small refugee boat.“It is from this place that the Pope declared the Gospel,” Groody said. “To steer the church in a new direction, to steer it back to its foundations, back to deep waters, back to the place of human vulnerability, back to the margins and from there to announce the good news.”Tags: Migration Crisislast_img read more

Professor explores adolescent reasoning, behavior

first_imgProfessor of psychology, Daniel Lapsley, said the majority of teenagers violate the law in some way; he stole a Bob Dylan album when he was younger, but this behavior is not indicative of a teen at risk of a life of crime.Lapsley, who also serves as the chair of the Psychology Department, spoke in the Eck Visitors Center auditorium Thursday evening about adolescent development and its effect on behavior and the formation of identity. Lapsley’s talk was titled “The Promise and Perils of Adolescence” and was sponsored by the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley.Lapsley said changes in the way the brain processes serotonin and dopamine during adolescence can affect the way an adolescent weighs decisions and their consequences.“The teen is more drawn to the potential benefits of a decision than the potential consequences, and this is because of the work of the limbic system,” he said. “Teens are drawn to immediate benefit, so much so that they are willing to settle for less as long as the benefit is received faster.”“As kids get older, they are more likely to consider both the risk and the benefit of their decisions, and they are more likely to consider the long term consequences of their actions,” he said.Lapsley said there are elements of adolescence that are shared across different species — something that is a result of evolutionary changes in the brain.“This occurs not just in human adolescence, but across all mammalian species,” Lapsley said. “This indicates that this risk-taking and sensation-seeking conveys an evolutionary advantage, which is a point I hope you keep in mind in worrying about of your own kids.”“As result, teenagers are more emotional, more responsive to stress and more likely to engage in reward and sensation-seeking,” he said. “These changes also make teenagers more vulnerable to substance abuse and depression.”Lapsley said a concern to answer the question “Who am I?” drives the intellectual complexity of the adolescent. The search for the answer to this question, he said, can result in a sense of egocentrism in which teens feel as though they are the center of the attention.“As a consequence of adolescent egocentrism, teens are set to construct imaginary audiences,” Lapsley said. “They assume that they are on stage and everyone else in their lives is the audience they are playing to, and so this is said to account for the heightened sense of self-consciousness. You’d be self-conscious too if you thought the whole school was buzzing about you, noticing all of your flaws and applauding your achievements.”The professor said adolescence is characterized by a search for identity, one that is consistent between the person you were as a child and the promise of what you will be in adulthood.“I think individuation is a balancing between agency and community,” Lapsley said. “This is sometimes called the basic duality of human existence. We all want to be independent and autonomous, but we don’t want to be isolated or alienated or lonely.“As much we yearn for attachment, union and love, we don’t want to be enmeshed in our relationships. We must strike a balance, and a lot of the pain of adolescence is trying to find out where that balance is.”He said improving the ability of a child to cope with adversity doesn’t take anything exotic; it just takes the formation of meaningful, healthy relationships.“The most important part of resiliency is that a kid has one good relationship with a caring adult who conveys that to the child,” Lapsley said. “Children bring a lot to the table, but the most important thing is that this recruit the attention of an adult in a child’s life.”Lapsley said he hopes his audience identifies with his topics in the same way he identifies with them.“I think that’s why I got into this,” he said. “I think that’s why I study adolescence, because at the end of the day the topics that are of interest to me, that I like to study and write about, are things that I think I’ve wrestled with myself.”Tags: adolescence, decision making, psychologylast_img read more

Dinner aims to spark dialogue during fourth annual Women’s Week

first_imgStudents and faculty gathered Wednesday night for the Celebration of Women Dinner, as part of Women’s Week, which is sponsored by Shades of Ebony and the Gender Relations Center (GRC). Rachel Wallace, president of Shades of Ebony, said in her welcoming remarks that she is proud of how much Women’s Week, now in its fourth year, has grown.“When I was just a freshman, I remembered upperclassmen asking us to help them with an idea they had, and they wanted to celebrate women and 40 years of women at Notre Dame,” she said. “We started out with the GRC doing three events in the spring of 2013, and this year, we have six events. We’ve really come a long way.” According to Wallace, the Women’s Week theme reflects the theme for National Women’s Month; this year, the theme is “Working to Form a More Perfect Union: Honoring Women in Public Service and Government.” The dinner featured Kym Worthy, the current prosecutor from Wayne County, Michigan, as the keynote speaker.Worthy, who graduated from Notre Dame Law School in 1984, is known for filing charges against former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and for working on a massive backlog of unprocessed rape kits. Despite these high-profile cases, she said she never intended to be a prosecutor. “At that time, there weren’t very many female prosecutors at all,” Worthy said. “There weren’t many women, there certainly weren’t many people of color in the office — they kind of had the same view I had at the time, a skewed view that prosecutors were there to put African Americans in jail. That’s not true, but perception is reality for most people.”Much of Worthy’s work has been devoted to domestic abuse, sexual assault and other women’s issues. According to her, these issues need to be addressed more fully. “Why can we only be a more perfect union by paying attention to so-called ‘women’s issues?’ Because they’re exactly the issues we aren’t addressing,” she said. “And I feel they wouldn’t be ignored if it weren’t primarily female victims.” In 2009, 11,000 abandoned unprocessed rape kits were found in a Detroit Police Warehouse. Worthy said it was extremely difficult to get funding from the city to test the kits and carry out prosecutions, if possible. “Nobody was interested. Nobody wanted to help,” she said. “The police department wanted it to go away — it wasn’t on their watch. They didn’t care that it represented 11,000 victims.”Some of the rape kits dated back 35 years, according to Worthy. She said while some women use the kits to make sure they’re not pregnant or have any STDs, most victims do it because they want justice. “Women do it because they want to find their perpetrator,” Worthy said. “So, can you imagine finding out that, not only were you assaulted, not only did you go through that rape kit process, but that rape kit sat on a shelf for 30 years and nobody did anything about it?” In order to form a more perfect union, Worthy said the country needs to stop neglecting women’s issues, because they affect everyone. “We have to break the domestic abuse cycle,” she said. “We have to break the sexual assault cycle. We have to look at sexual assault in a different way — it’s the forgotten crime, no one really cares about it. If we want to have a more perfect union, we have to reexamine these issues, and it has to start with prosecutors.”Tags: Gender Relations Center, GRC, Kym Worthy, Shades of Ebony, Women’s Weeklast_img read more

Saint Mary’s students hold top positions in ROTC

first_imgMichael Yu | The Observer Saint Mary’s senior and Army battalion commander Emilie Vanneste accepts an award at the ROTC Pass in Review ceremony Wednesday.According to Vanneste, a Saint Mary’s education prepares women to lead effectively by encouraging them to set and achieve challenging goals.“They always say ‘We prepare our students to be confident and go into everything thinking they can come out on top,’” she said. “I really do think that has translated into my role.”O’Bryan said the College’s emphasis on female empowerment enables her to reassure potential ROTC members who doubt their capabilities. “I’ve had to talk to quite a few incoming freshmen for next year about my experiences in ROTC,” O’Bryan said. “The females always ask ‘Should I be nervous? Should I be worried about being a female in ROTC? Will I be treated differently?’ Being in the leadership position I’m in, I’ve been able to show them there is no difference.”Seeing women in positions of power can motivate young girls to unapologetically pursue their ambitions, O’Bryan said.“It kind of shows females the things that they’re able to do,” she said. “Do what you want to do. Do what you set your mind to.”Through helping students discover their passions, Saint Mary’s ensures its graduates are well-equipped to set examples for others, Vanneste said.“When I’m in classes at Saint Mary’s, it’s all females, but when I go across the street [for ROTC], females are a minority,” Vanneste said. “It just goes to show that my confidence doesn’t need to change whatsoever. It stays the same wherever I go.”Vanneste said the lessons she learned from her involvement with ROTC reinforced the values and skills she developed at Saint Mary’s.“It’s definitely opened my eyes and my perspective to what could be out there in the future, and how I could best benefit the greater good,” she said. “A lot of it goes with integrity, with doing the right thing when no one’s looking.”O’Bryan said her peers at Saint Mary’s encourage her to believe she can successfully fulfill the role of Air Force Wing Commander, since female leadership at the College is normal and expected.“I’ve always felt like I have a lot of support for the ROTC program — not even just friend-wise, but from the whole community,” O’Bryan said. “I’ve definitely learned not to be afraid.”O’Bryan’s leadership position enables her to connect with other ROTC members who may be going through personal struggles, she said.“It’s really helped me be able to talk to them and say, ‘Hey, what’s going on? Do you want to grab coffee? Do you want to do something?’” she said. “I might do that normally, but I think I’ve been able to do that more often and be more comfortable doing that kind of thing.”Vanneste said she hopes others realize students from Saint Mary’s are just as capable as those from Notre Dame. She said the Navy Battalion Commander for ROTC is a woman from Notre Dame — senior Katherine Smart — meaning all three of the highest-ranking positions in ROTC are held by women.“Having the three female faces up there shows we’re here to stay, and we’re here to do just as good of a job,” Vanneste said. “It goes to show we are a presence, and we can do just as good of a job as the guy who came before us.”Tags: Air Force, Army, battalion commander, Navy, ROTC Though they hold two of the highest-ranking student positions in Notre Dame Army, Navy and Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC), Saint Mary’s seniors Emilie Vanneste and Megan O’Bryan salute the College for providing them with the confidence and leadership necessary to take on the roles of Army battalion commander and Air Force wing commander, respectively.Vanneste said her and O’Bryan’s mental and physical strength qualifies them to play major roles in the program.“It can run in anyone’s hands really, but it’s nice that we can take on that responsibility and put our foot in the door,” Vanneste said. “I think it’s a really unique thing because we’re not just a part of their program. We help develop it, we help improve it and we help make it what it is.”last_img read more

Watch Carly Rae Jepsen Talk Wigs, Broadway’s Cinderella & New Music on Good Morning America

first_imgIn her own little corner, she can be whatever she wants to be! Broadway newcomer Carly Rae Jepsen stopped by Good Morning America to give a backstage tour of her newest job at Roger & Hammerstein’s Cinderella. The “Call Me Maybe” star takes over the role of Ella from Tony nominee Laura Osnes starting February 4 alongside Emmy nominee Fran Drescher as the wicked stepmother. Check out the video below to see Jepsen with newly appointed prince Joe Caroll practicing their waltz and also get a sneak peek at some inspired wig choices. A finer night you know you’ll never see! Fran Drescher Joe Carroll Related Shows Cinderella Star Files View Comments Show Closed This production ended its run on Jan. 4, 2015 Carly Rae Jepsenlast_img read more

Happy Broadway Debut to Bryan Cranston as All the Way Officially Opens

first_img Related Shows The Breaking Bad star is making his Broadway debut as Lyndon B. Johnson in the bio-play and as soon as he’s sworn in, the phone calls begin from every faction. Surrounding Cranston clockwise from left are Robert Petkoff as Hubert Humphrey, John McMartin as Dick Russell, Michael McKean as J. Edgar Hoover and Brandon J. Dirden as Martin Luther King, Jr. About the Artist: With a desire to celebrate the magic of live theater and those who create it, and with a deep reverence for such touchstones as the work of Al Hirschfeld and the wall at Sardi’s, Squigs is happy and grateful to be among those carrying on the traditions where theater and caricature meet. He was born and raised in Oregon, lived in Los Angeles for quite a long time and now calls New York City his home. View Comments Those meth-making days are long gone! In celebration of the official March 6 opening of Robert Schenkkan’s All the Way at the Neil Simon Theatre, Broadway.com resident artist Justin “Squigs” Robertson penned this portrait of the show’s headliner Bryan Cranston and the cast. Broadway Ink Congratulations to everyone involved with the production for bringing All the Way to the Great White Way! All the Way Show Closed This production ended its run on June 29, 2014last_img read more

Weekend Poll Top Three: Fans Love Thoroughly Modern Foster

first_img View Comments Star Files She’s hot off the press, one step ahead. She gets no kicks from champagne. She’s a vandal (and a very gifted bowler). You know her, you love her, it’s two-time Tony Award winner Sutton Foster! The Broadway triple-threat is making her return to the Great White Way in Violet, marking her 11th time on the boards. Foster has quite the stage and screen resume, so we asked you which role of hers is your absolute favorite. The results are in, and here’s what you (and Tony voters, as it turns out) had to say! 1. Millie Dillmount, Thoroughly Modern Millie— 25% Gimme gimme that thing called Sutton! Though Foster already had a handful of Broadway credits prior to Thoroughly Modern Millie (Les Miz, Grease, Annie, and The Scarlet Pimpernel, for those playing at home), her performance as the titular flapper in the 2002 musical was certainly her breakout role, and landed the actress her first Tony nomination and win. Foster fanatics also know that this part came as a surprise for her—she started as the understudy in the show’s out-of-town tryouts, and suddenly found herself in the spotlight just days before preview performances. Sutton Foster 2. Reno Sweeney, Anything Goes— 22% We all know that Foster is a triple threat, but an eight-minute tap break smack in the middle of belting out a beloved musical theater staple? Come on! The Tony winner headlined the revival in 2011 under the direction of Kathleen Marshall. Foster brought a fresh, sexy take to the role of Reno Sweeney, originated by Ethel Merman in the 1930s, and with her knockout performances of the signature Cole Porter tunes “I Get a Kick Out of You,” “You’re the Top,” and “Blow, Gabriel, Blow,” the actress found herself accepting her second Tony Award. 3. Princess Fiona, Shrek the Musical — 16% OK, who else could play a farting/belching princess and get a Tony nod for it? Foster channeled her inner ogre in the 2008 musical Shrek, starring as the “bit bipolar’ Princess Fiona and proved that playing royalty doesn’t have to always be 100% glamorous. She raised her freak flag high, instigated some avian explosions with her singing and yes, melodically passed gas, and audiences loved it (let’s see you try to get away with that, Millie). Shrek the Musical closed on Broadway in 2010, but theatergoers can now watch Foster’s epic performance on DVD and Blu-ray.last_img read more

Tix Now Available for Buzzer Off-Broadway

first_img View Comments Opening night for Buzzer is set for April 8. The Anne Kauffman-helmed production will run through April 26. Buzzer follows Jackson, a man who left his tough Brooklyn neighborhood by winning a scholarship to Exeter, where he met Don, a play-hard rich boy who became his unlikely best friend. Now a Harvard-educated lawyer, Jackson’s bought a place in the newly gentrifying area he grew up in. But Jackson’s white girlfriend, Suzy, isn’t so sure she belongs in a community “on the verge.” When Don comes to crash with his old buddy and stay clean, his stories of the neighborhood’s dangerous past collide with the growing disconnect between Jackson and Suzy and the sexual and racial tensions waiting just beyond the door. Related Shows Tickets are now on sale for the New York premiere of Tracey Scott Wilson’s Buzzer. Grantham Coleman, Tessa Ferrer and Michael Stahl-David will star in the Public Theater production. Performances are set to begin on March 24 at off-Broadways Martinson Theater. Show Closed This production ended its run on April 26, 2015 Buzzerlast_img read more