- Teaches Latin reading and composition and ancient Roman thought
- Demanding but engaging and energetic teacher who brings out the best in his students
- Classes are considered some of the most formative and informative on offer within Classics
Brian Krostenko’s research centers on the culture of the late Roman Republic, Cicero, rhetoric, and Latin linguistics. A well-regarded classicist, Krostenko teaches courses in Latin reading and writing and ancient Roman thought and philosophy. His language skills are matched by his dedication to teaching: An energetic, engaging, and demanding teacher, he prepares carefully integrated presentations that use technology to help students grasp the meaning of difficult Latin and to understand the action of narrative. His method of teaching pushes students to prepare zealously, ensuring a rich history lesson through not only the Latin on the page but the linguistics behind it, which he brilliantly illuminates. His courses are intensive and at first perhaps intimidating, but his students find them deeply rewarding.
- Teaches Greek and Roman thought and culture
- Difficult and demanding teacher
- Syllabi often require several hours’ reading per assignment
- Gets to know students and enjoys mentoring and guiding them
- Courses are well organized and very rewarding for students who keep up on the work
Tadeusz Mazurek “researches the literature and cultural history of Republican Rome, with a particular interest in Roman law, religion and self-rule.” An advisor within the Classics Department and teacher of foundational classics courses, Mazurek is a rigorous and difficult teacher, but very worthwhile. He typically assigns 1.5 to 2 hours of reading per class session, and conducts the classroom environment with efficiency, but cares about his students and their progression during their times at Notre Dame. He values class participation and firmly expects students to keep up-to-date on course readings and assignments. His syllabi typically include a midterm and a final in addition to a few term papers.
Mazurek loves what he teaches, and that passion expresses itself in the clarity and ease with which he skillfully presents material for discussion and investigation; it expresses itself in occasional lightheartedness and classroom jokes as well. He makes himself available outside of class to go over assignments or just to chat about students’ lives. Since he teaches almost every Classics major, he endeavors to guide students and to make himself a resource for them. His reputation as a tough and demanding but fair and rewarding teacher makes him a favorite for students interested in Greek and Roman thought and culture.
- Dynamic younger professor in Economics Department
- Capable teacher
- Interested in economics of the family
Professor Kasey Buckles is a talented economist and a person committed to providing a distinctive education for her Notre Dame students. Although not a Catholic, Buckles is truly supportive of Notre Dame’s mission as a Catholic university. She presently serves on the Core Curriculum Committee and is willing to work hard for the common good of the campus. Professor Buckles’s research “is in the field of applied microeconomics, with special interests in health, economic demography, and the family.” She is well known for a course she teaches on “The Economics of the Family.” This course covers a range of topics from an economic perspective such as the effects of women in the work place, the gender wage gap, the effects of birth control, and so on. Professor Buckles presents her information from a social scientist’s perspective and allows students to build their understanding of the marriage market, household production function, and models of fertility in light of the data she presents. She does not offer a Catholic perspective on this data, but she clearly respects that perspective in her students. She is an engaging and lively teacher and a truly good person open to assisting her students if she can.
- Accomplished economist with wide-ranging interests
- Takes time to get to know his students
- Thoughtful Catholic professor
Professor Kirk Doran is one of the talented younger faculty members in the Economics Department. His interests are wide ranging and include “innovation, knowledge generation, scientific workforce, immigration, and labor supply.” He is well published and was recently promoted to associate professor. At Notre Dame he teaches classes in “Applied Microeconomics” at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. He teaches his lecture course on “Principles of Microeconomics” regularly, and this course is very well received. Students appreciate that he can illustrate complex concepts with clear examples. He also demonstrates a fine sense of humor in the midst of lecturing on occasionally less than fascinating subjects. Professor Doran is noted for his extensive office hours and his willingness to take time to know his students. Doran is a deeply committed Catholic scholar who genuinely cares for the success of his students. He is also willing to share with them something of his own journey as a dedicated Catholic husband and father.
- Senior economist and specialist in health economics
- Chair of the Economics Department
- Dedicated to Catholic mission of Notre Dame
Professor William Evans is the Keough-Hesburgh Professor of Economics and Chair of the Economics Department. He is a senior scholar who taught for twenty years at the University of Maryland. He was recruited to Notre Dame as part of the effort to attract senior Catholic scholars. He is dedicated to the Catholic mission of the university and is involved in various initiatives to further this end. He is a co-founder with Professor James Sullivan of the Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities, which is dedicated to discovering research driven solutions to poverty in the United States. Evans is also a Notre Dame parent and brings that perspective to his labors on campus.
Naturally, Evans contributes heavily in graduate teaching in the Economics Department, but he also offers undergraduate courses in “Econometrics” and “Health Economics.” The latter class analyzes economic approaches to the production and delivery of health care in the U.S. Evans is a noted expert in this area and students who take him have the opportunity to benefit from his expertise. Evans is not afraid to introduce his Catholic convictions into his teaching and his varied activities on campus. He can often be seen at events on campus such as Masses and lectures that reveal how he links his faith to his academic work.
- Excellent teacher
- Director of Undergraduate Studies
- Committed to Notre Dame mission
Mary Flannery presently serves as Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Economics Department where she does a noteworthy job advising undergraduate students in the major and in the Business Economics minor. Professor Flannery has a special interest in economics education and is “particularly interested in interactive techniques for large lecture classes, methods of learning assessments, and developing applied microeconomics case studies.” Professor Flannery did her doctoral work at the University of Maryland, but she has her bachelors and masters degrees from Notre Dame and has a deep love for her alma mater. She is an excellent teacher and takes responsibility for teaching some of the important introductory economics classes––most notably “Principles of Economics.” Students who take her classes will receive excellent foundational training in the discipline from a professor who is deeply committed to Notre Dame’s Catholic mission.
- Macroeconomics and monetary economics expert
- Highly regarded scholar and well-liked and respected teacher
- Opens class with prayer and is a serious Catholic
Timothy Fuerst is the William and Dorothy O’Neill Professor of Economics and an expert in macroeconomics and monetary economics. Fuerst is an excellent teacher and scholar and embodies the university’s tripartite mission of teaching, scholarship, and Catholic character. He opens classes with a prayer from Aquinas and is a presence at faith-centered events on campus, such as the annual Evangelium Vitae dinners. He is an effective teacher and emblematic of the sort of faculty whom Notre Dame aspires to hire.
- Noted economist with focus on growth and development
- Teaches economics and Catholic thought
- Serious Catholic intellectual
Professor Joseph Kaboski’s research focuses on “growth and development and international economics.” He is an enormously productive scholar who has published many articles in leading journals and delivered many papers. In 2012 he was awarded the prestigious Frisch Medal. He also has consulted with the World Bank, the IMF, and various branches of the Federal Reserve. He has also served as President of the Catholic Research Economists Discussion Organization (CREDO) and furthermore acts as a consultant to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development. Clearly he seeks to contribute to the debate over shaping a more moral economy both at home and abroad. Students interested in furthering their Catholic education at Notre Dame should definitely take Kaboski’s course “Introduction to Economics and Catholic Thought.” This course discusses the relationship between economics and Catholic Social Teaching. It explores the implication of Catholic thought in such areas as labor, capital, finance, the environment, globalization, and development. Kaboski is active both on campus and off in sharing his thinking on the intersection of economics and Catholic thought. He is a valuable contributor to Notre Dame’s Catholic mission.
- Highly sought-after teacher who care about students
- Expert in labor and regional economics
- Longtime professor who communicates the history of the university to his students
William Leahy is a longtime and popular Economics professor who teaches a perennially popular freshman seminar. His scholarly interests lie in the areas of labor economics and regional economics, but he also commonly includes in his syllabi plays (such as Death of a Salesman) and readings on how political perspectives relate to the economy. (Leahy studied as an undergraduate in Notre Dame’s great books program.) Steeped in Notre Dame history, kind and readily available to students, and a challenging but unfailingly fair teacher, grader, and classroom policy-maker, his classes are highly sought after.
- Specialist in macroeconomics
- Laid back but able instructor
- Devoted to Notre Dame
Michael Pries is a specialist in macroeconomics with a particular focus on labor markets. He completed his undergraduate studies at Notre Dame and is deeply loyal to his department and the university. He is one of the group of younger economics faculty who are developing the name and reputation of the department both at Notre Dame and beyond it. Professor Pries teaches important courses like “Financial Economics” and “Macroeconomics.” They are well designed and well presented, although students should be aware that Pries is rather low key and is not going to try to imitate the teacher in Dead Poets Society. Students who want sound courses with solid content should sign up for his classes.
- Excellent scholar
- Specialist in macroeconomics
- Powerful role model and witness to the Catholic faith
Professor Eric Sims received his PhD in economics from the University of Michigan in 2009. But please don’t hold that against him––he has become a devoted Irish fan since his arrival on campus. He is among a group of excellent young economists in Notre Dame’s department who are building the reputation of the department and attracting a good number of majors. Professor Sims’s principal research interest is in macroeconomics with a particular focus on business cycles. In April of 2010, he was appointed a faculty research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He was recently promoted to associate professor and we can only be glad that Notre Dame will continue to benefit from the contribution of this talented scholar.
Sims is very interested in all of his students and engages them well. He is willing to share his views on a range of topics and welcomes good dialogue with students both inside and outside the classroom. He makes no secret of his Catholic commitments and he is among a group of faculty regulars who attend the 8:00 a.m. Mass at the Stinson-Remick Engineering building chapel. He is a true role model for his students as a scholar and as a husband and father. Students who get to know him will truly benefit.
- Talented economist with interests in labor economics and applied microeconomics
- Co-director of Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities
- Committed Catholic devoted to aiding the poor through his academic research
Professor James Sullivan has established himself as a leading figure in the serious study of poverty in the United States. His research “examines the consumption, saving, and borrowing behavior of poor households in the U.S., and how welfare and tax policy affects the wellbeing of the poor.” With Professor William Evans, he directs the Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities. This institute fosters research-driven solutions to poverty.
Professor Sullivan’s courses at the undergraduate level include “Intermediate Micro Theory.” This course is often cross-listed with the Hesburgh Program and will benefit students interested in public policy. Professor Sullivan also offers more advanced students the opportunity to pursue research through his “Independent Laboratory Research” course. Students should be aware that he expects course requirements to be met promptly. Those eager to study with a scholar seeking to use economics to address major social and structural problems in our society should enroll with Sullivan
- Prominent and brilliant scholar of Irish literature and literary criticism
- Excellent lecturer
- Very attentive and responsive to student interests, questions, and needs
Serving as the Donald and Marilyn Keough Professor of Irish Studies and professor of English at Notre Dame, Declan Kiberd is not only one of the most prominent names in Irish literary criticism but also is widely considered to be one of the most influential Irish intellectuals of his generation. He teaches topics in Irish literature, and is especially well-known as a Joycean scholar.
Kiberd alternates teaching between Notre Dame’s main campus in the fall and the Keough Naughton Centre in Dublin during the spring. In Dublin, Kiberd teaches a course in Irish literature that satisfies one of Notre Dame’s core curriculum requirements. In this class, Kiberd frequently invites renowned speakers in Irish politics, economics, and art in order to supplement students’ understanding of contemporary Ireland. In general, he uses a combination of lectures and group discussions in his classes. Listening to his lectures is a special privilege. His reading assignments are manageable, and the largest portion of grading usually comes from a final essay. Kiberd offers regular office hours and is very generous with his time. He is willing to discuss potential thesis topics, and he offers excellent help with fine-tuning one’s ideas. He is an extraordinarily kind, brilliant professor who invests himself wholeheartedly in both his projects and his work with students.
- Specialist in religion and literature
- Thoughtful scholar and Catholic intellectual
- Devoted teacher who works well with students one on one
Professor Susannah Monta is a noted scholar in the field of religion and literature. Her research “focuses on the relationships between Reformation-era religious changes and literary culture.” Her first book Martyrdom and Literature in Early Modern England (2005) received the Book of the Year award from the Conference on Christianity and Literature. Professor Monta edited a special issue of the journal Religion and Literature, which comprised essays from notable contributors reflecting on the state of scholarship in the field. She recently has served as editor of this important journal and she is a key figure at Notre Dame for developing studies in the area.
Professor Monta is well known in the English Department for her teaching of “British Literary Traditions I.” She has also offered more specialized courses on “Devotional Lyric” and presently is teaching a seminar on “Donne and Herbert.” She is well known for her care and attention in her teaching and for her effort to draw the best from her students. She holds regular office hours and works individually with students on their research proposals and papers. She is a fine mentor for students and also serves as a wonderful role model.
- Passionate, demanding, and fair teacher
- Specializes in development of the novel post-World War II
- Consciously strives to be an excellent undergraduate teacher and mentor
Matthew Wilkens focuses primarily on literary and cultural production with a focus on the development of the novel after World War II. His courses, especially “Postwar U.S. Fiction,” quickly established themselves as favorites among English majors.
Wilkens’ “Introduction to Literary Studies” course is fairly demanding, as he requires students to master the basic history and key features of literary movements from the Romantic Period through Post-Modernism. While Wilkens’ examinations are rigorous, they cover essential material, they serve as excellent preparation for upper-level courses, and he is a fair grader. Likewise, his papers require substantial research, but he allows students ample time to complete them. Wilkens uses a blend of discussions, close-readings, and lectures in his classes.
Wilkens also offers opportunities for students to engage in innovative forms of literary research and gain familiarity with more quantitative rather than qualitative methods. Additionally, he has commented that he was drawn to Notre Dame because of the university’s mission to provide excellence in both research and teaching. He himself is exemplary of the university’s emphasis on undergraduate teaching. He is an advocate for the love of literature and for students growing in its love and mastery. Ultimately, he strives to be not only a teacher, but a mentor and encourager.
- Teaches history of sex and sexuality in the United States
- Respectful, inviting, and kind about students’ views, especially when different from her own
- Does not support Catholic teaching in these areas, but encourages students to disagree and advance their own arguments
Gail Bederman specializes in the history of sexuality, sex, and women in the United States. (She is currently writing a book on the earliest advocates of contraception in the U.S. and Great Britain.) Students seeking a professor who brings Catholic views to bear on these subjects will not find one in Bederman. What they will find is a professor exemplary for her kindness, her ability and willingness (even fervor) to listen to the opinions of students who disagree with her, and her encouragement that students develop and articulate their own views on these subjects.
Bederman teaches two popular courses on the history of U.S. sexuality, together covering four hundred years of history. These courses often feature heavy reading loads, but the material is interesting and exciting for students passionate about the subjects. Bederman typically assigns three seven-page essays throughout the semester to complement weekly two-page journal assignments. While her courses fill up quickly, it’s worth contacting her to be placed on a waiting list; many students drop upon seeing her syllabi, discovering that this is anything but an “easy sailing” course. Her classes are a perfect opportunity for students seeking an occasion to develop and hone their Catholic perspectives in a challenging but civil and courteous atmosphere.
Bederman enjoys talking with students during her office hours, and genuinely seeks to understand their views when they differ from her own. She is a perennial favorite of many of Notre Dame’s most ardent pro-life students, and embodies a fairness and openness refreshing among the professoriate. Students who already have a strong Catholic formation and a well-developed grasp on Catholic teaching in the areas of sexuality are encouraged to challenge themselves in Bederman’s classes. Students without this foundation should seek courses that provide it before taking Bederman.
- Specialist in U.S. diplomatic and military history
- Excellent lecturer
- Good sense of humor
Professor Brady teaches regularly in the History Department and also serves as an advisor in First Year of Studies. His own research focuses on post war American foreign relations and he has written a fine book Eisenhower and Adenauer: Alliance Maintenance Under Pressure 1953-1960. Brady’s teaching interests extend more broadly to diplomatic and military history topics. He is well known for his courses “The History of the Vietnam War,” “U.S. Foreign Policy to 1945,” “World War II: A Global History,” and others.
Brady receives very positive reviews from his students. It is easy to understand why. He is an excellent lecturer, well organized, and interesting. Many of his classes are taught at an early morning time period, but despite this students rarely miss a Brady lecture. He provides helpful outlines and relates his lectures at times to current events and issues. He is available to students outside of class and welcomes the opportunity to get to know them. He engages in good discussion in class and welcomes student questions. Students should be aware that Brady expects them to attend every class.
Brady truly cares about his students and seeks their wellbeing. Students can stop by his office and chat about class related subjects and others as well. He understands and promotes Notre Dame’s mission to form both the hearts and the minds of students. History majors and non-majors should seek to take a class with him.
- Specialist in early American and Atlantic history with a focus on cultural and economic history
- Creative scholar and committed teacher
- Aids students in developing their skills as historians
Professor Catherine Cangany has established a name for herself with her first book, Frontier Seaport: Detroit’s Transformation into an Atlantic Entrepôt (2014), which skillfully integrates the fields of Atlantic history and Native American history. She is a specialist in the economies, cultures, and material cultures of the French and British Atlantic worlds.
Cangany offers courses that focus “on commerce, religion, and social and cultural practices in the North American colonies.” Among her notable classes are “Colonial America,” “Atlantic Revolutions,” and “The Consumer Revolution.” She is an interesting lecturer who encourages her students to truly engage the topics they cover. Students who have a special interest in the beginnings of the American experiment should take her classes. She will serve as Director of Undergraduate Studies in the spring semester of 2016.
Kathleen Sprows Cummings
- Historian of U.S. Catholicism, history of women
- Director of the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism
- Caring teacher
Professor Kathleen Cummings holds a joint appointment in American Studies and History at Notre Dame. She also is well known as the Director of the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism. Her own scholarly work focuses on the history of women and religion in the United States. She published her first book, New Women of the Old Faith: Gender and American Catholicism in the Progressive Era, in 2009 and is currently at work on a study entitled Citizen Saints: Catholics and Canonization in America.
Cummings is a caring teacher who is very excited to introduce her students to important developments and figures within American Catholicism. She offers a signature course on “Catholics in America,” which is taught very much in an “American Studies” approach. She includes a lot of time in each class for discussion and for students to ask questions. She engages a range of topics, but mainly from the perspective of a committed liberal Catholic. Professor Cummings is available and enthusiastic about meeting students outside of class and encourages students to participate in extracurricular activities including talks and presentations offered through the Cushwa Center.
- Specializes in imperial and political history and the history of modern Europe
- Acting Director of Undergraduate Studies in the History Department
- Very committed to his teaching and engages his students in lots of interaction
John Deak is an expert in the imperial and political history of twentieth century Europe. His book on state building in the Habsburg Empire, Forging a Multinational State: State Making in Imperial Austria from the Enlightenment to the First World War was recently published by Stanford University Press. Professor Deak is known for his wide ranging interests, which include the First World War, political Catholicism, and fascism.
Deak is an able and engaging teacher who likes to combine both lecture and discussion in his classes. He expects his students will do the reading for each class and more broadly expects engagement from them. Students should not take his class unless they expect to work. Nonetheless, Deak is a sympathetic professor and he can be flexible to help his students when required.
Deak is well-known for his courses on European history, such as his “Revolutions of 1848” class. He has developed a significant following for the course he teaches jointly with Professor Sebastian Rosato in the Political Science Department “Europe at War.” He is also popular in his own right as a humorous, intelligent, and accessible professor who gives special attention to students’ writing and helps them become better writers.
- Renowned British scholar who teaches at Notre Dame every fall and in the Notre Dame London Program in the spring
- Possesses an enormous range of interests and teaches a wide range of classes
- True Catholic intellectual
Professor Fernandez-Armesto is a brilliant scholar whose interests range from the Atlantic to early modern Europe to Latin America and to the Mediterranean. He also specializes in environmental, imperial, intellectual, and global history. Among some of his publications are Before Columbus: Exploration and Colonization from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic 1229-1492 (1987), Millennium: A History of Our Last Thousand Years (1995), Civilizations (2000), Food: A History (2001), Pathfinders: a Global History of Exploration (2006), 1492: The Year the World Began (2009), and Our America: A Hispanic History of the United States (2014). Such publications confirm the range of his interests.
Professor Fernandez-Armesto is an inviting professor who wants to get to know his students. He is known for his hospitality and for having students over to his home. He offers courses that are sometimes out of the mainstream, such as his recent course on “Humans and Other Apes.” Students who get to know him on the Notre Dame campus can at times reconnect with him in London and vice versa. Not surprisingly, Professor Fernandez-Armesto has something of a British approach to his teaching and he expects students to be self-directed and conscientious without his constant oversight.
- Specialist in Labor History
- Excellent mentor
- Director, Higgins Labor Program at the Center for Social Concerns
Professor Daniel Graff has a passionate interest in U.S. labor history. He has given excellent service to the History Department as Director of Undergraduate Studies over the past decade, but has recently moved on to direct the Higgins Labor Program housed in the Center for Social Concerns. Graff is interested in the relationship between workers and the labor movement and he is a strong supporter of unions in America.
Graff is an excellent teacher and in 2011 received the Edmund P. Joyce Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. He effectively combines lecture and discussion in his classes and encourages his students to articulate their views clearly. He makes good use of historical scholarship, memoirs, polemical writings, and films in his courses. Students who are interested in the development of organized labor and the challenges it confronts at the moment would do well to take a class with Graff.
Graff has extensive experience advising undergraduate students and is a fine mentor. His work at the Higgins Center aligns him strongly in favor of American workers and he will be glad to have students be involved in the efforts of the center he leads.
- Renowned historian of early modern Europe and the Reformation
- Catholic intellectual
- Brings faith and history into conversation through his assignments and syllabi
- Cares deeply for students and genuinely gets to know them
Brad Gregory, professor of early modern Europe and Director of the Institute for Advanced Study, is an excellent undergraduate teacher and noted scholar whose Catholic faith influences both his scholarly work and his investment in students’ intellectual and holistic formation.
Gregory’s research interests focus on “Christianity in the Reformation era (sixteenth and seventeenth centuries), including magisterial Protestantism, radical Protestantism, and Roman Catholicism approached comparatively and cross-confessionally.” He is noted for his prize winning study Salvation at Stake: Christian Martyrdom in Early Modern Europe (2001) and for his much discussed study of the impact of the Reformation, The Unintended Reformation: How a Religious Revolution Secularized Society (2011).
Gregory—who holds advanced degrees in philosophy as well as history—provides students with detailed exploration of texts that explicate and make accessible the impact of major historical events such as the Protestant Reformation. Gregory’s bellwether course offering, “Christianity, Commerce, and Consumerism,” is a student favorite, connecting theology, history, and economics while forcing students to confront the sometimes uncomfortable questions surrounding their own material situation within the world. The syllabus for this course is outstanding, providing students with insights into texts that would be commonplace in theology curricula as well.
Gregory is renowned for his attentiveness to and care for students on a personal level, and makes a concerted effort to be approachable to students. In addition to holding regular office hours, Gregory holds “social hours” during which students can meet with him and talk about anything at all, and he commonly gets together with students on an individual basis to talk about Notre Dame, the Catholic faith, or anything else. Gregory begins each class with prayer, and explicitly implicates the Catholic tradition in his classroom discussions and teaching. While his courses and assignments are challenging, they are considered among the most formative and enriching on offer at Notre Dame.
- History Department Chair and very active scholar
- Specializes in early American history, Atlantic history, and early modern Ireland and Britain
- Terrific teacher and a gifted lecturer who truly engages his students
Patrick Griffin specializes in early American history, Atlantic history, and early modern Ireland and Britain. He is a very active scholar with such notable books to his name as The People with No Name: Ireland’s Ulster Scots, America’s Scots Irish, and the Creation of a British Atlantic World (2001), American Leviathan: Empire, Nation, and Revolutionary Frontier (2007), and America’s Revolution (2012). Griffin is presently working on an important study of George and Charles Townshend, “British brothers who initiated imperial reforms on the eve of the American Revolution.”
Griffin was a Notre Dame undergraduate in the 1980s and is deeply committed to the university. He is also now a Notre Dame parent. He is very involved in various university activities beyond the History Department, including the Keough Institute for Irish Studies and various international scholar exchange arrangements. He is very well connected on both sides of the Atlantic. Griffin teaches courses in both American history and Irish history. He requires hard work from his students, assigning a lot of reading in his classes. But he is accessible outside of class, gets to know each student’s name, and gives great lectures. He challenges his students to get the most from their Notre Dame education and he certainly contributes his efforts to assuring that they do so.
- Important medievalist at Notre Dame
- Thoughtful and able scholar
- Special interests in cultural, religious, and intellectual history
Professor Daniel Hobbins is an important contributor to the noted medieval history program at Notre Dame. With the recent retirement of Thomas F.X. Noble, Hobbins will take on an important leadership role in the program. He is a specialist in the High and Late Medieval periods, with a focus on France. His research interests include medieval authorship and his book Authorship and Publicity before Print (2009) received the Jacques Barzun Prize from the American Philosophical Society.
Hobbins teaches survey courses as well as upper division specialist courses. He offers Western Civilization I, which is a broad ranging course for those who are interested in major themes and concepts of the development of states and societies from Mesopotamia through to the Renaissance. Hobbins offers engaging upper division courses including his class on the history of Medieval Paris, which explores the architecture, social and religious life, and economic development of this great cultural center. All students interested in specializing in medieval history should get to know Professor Hobbins. He will be most willing to engage and advise such students.
- French historian and proud Francophile
- Accessible outside of class and always takes time to answer questions in class
- Focuses not only on the important people and ideas of a time period, but also on popular culture and the experience of the common man/woman
Thomas Kselman is a specialist in modern France and European religious history 1700-present. He has an excellent sensibility for religious topics and takes faith questions seriously. His early books give some indication of his thoughtfulness and creativity as a scholar. They include Miracles and Prophecies in Nineteenth-Century France (1983) and Death and the Afterlife in Modern France (1993). He is currently writing a book on the history of religious liberty in France in the aftermath of the French revolution.
He is a true gem in the History Department, known for his collegiality and generosity. Unfortunately, he is moving towards retirement. Students should seize the opportunity to take a course with him before he reaches emeritus status. He is a very creative teacher who likes to incorporate art, music, and literature into his courses and into his lectures. He has enormous enthusiasm for his subject and conveys this to students. Sometimes he can get way laid on tangents in his lectures, and not always follow a strict outline. But serious students who put in the effort can connect the dots and get much from his classes.
- Russian historian specializing in 20th century Russia
- True command of his subject matter
- High expectations for students
Semion Lyandres is a specialist in 20th-century Russian history. His research has focused on the Bolshevik Revolution and its forerunners and consequences. His most recent book, The Fall of Tsarism: Untold Stories of the February 1917 Revolution, was published by Oxford University Press in 2013. His important work on the Russian Revolution deepens understanding of one of the seminal events of the 20th century. Lyandres is a person of strong character and blessed with intellectual and personal integrity. He takes his own Jewish faith seriously, but possesses an appreciation of and appropriate respect for the Catholic mission of Notre Dame.
Lyandres teaches a wide range of classes in Russian history, modern totalitarianism, and totalitarian regimes in 20th-century Europe. He also has played an important role in teaching the honors methodology and historiography classes in the History Department. He is a teacher who wants his students to understand well all that has occurred in modern Russia. He does not hold back in revealing the painful details of totalitarian rule in the Soviet Union under Lenin and Stalin. His course on “Russia from Rasputin to Putin” should attract the interest of students who want to learn more about the nation that the United States faced for almost a half century in the Cold War.
Lyandres’s lectures are well organized, and he also likes to engage his students in discussion of the assigned readings. Lyandres’s superb knowledge of his subject is well displayed in his class lectures, but so also is his openness to considering the contributions of his students. He gives his students a fine array of reading assignments, including works of history, journals, memoirs, and novels such as Boris Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago. (Some students complain about the amount of reading assigned for his courses.) Students may also find his classes to be ones that help their moral formation and personal growth as they learn about great men like Tolstoy and also of the evil pursued by Stalin and others in the name of building a “classless society.”
Rev. Wilson (Bill) Miscamble, C.S.C.
- Specializes in U.S. political and diplomatic history and Australian history
- Vocal supporter of Notre Dame’s Catholic mission
- Eager to get to know students well
Fr. Bill Miscamble is one of the History Department’s most well-known professors on campus. Known for his Australian accent, tall frame, and outspoken advocacy for the university’s Catholic character and leadership, Fr. Bill is also an excellent teacher and well-respected historian. From beginning every class with prayer, to being highly active in campus activities (as President of University Faculty for Life and a vocal supporter of many other institutional and student-led projects and initiatives), Fr. Bill exemplifies Catholic excellence as a professor.
Fr. Bill teaches a U.S. history survey course for first year students, and upper division courses in U.S. foreign policy and in Australian history. His courses are challenging but enriching. Fr. Bill brings up difficult issues in his courses—from Truman’s decision to employ the atomic bombs, to euthanasia, to abortion, and beyond—and pushes students to think clearly about historical issues and their contemporary relevance.
Fr. Bill speaks regularly for campus groups, has written several books aimed specifically at students and college-aged Catholics, and speaks nationally about Catholic higher education. He makes ample time to be present to students and works with them on thesis projects. He also invites them to Moreau Seminary for movie nights and meets with them for group dinners. He seeks to be a mentor to his students and is concerned for their spiritual and moral lives as well as for their intellectual development. He strongly supports Notre Dame’s Catholic mission and the infusion of faith into all aspects of student life.
Rebecca Tinio McKenna
- Specialist in U.S., social and cultural history
- Thoughtful and caring instructor
- Very approachable
Professor Rebecca McKenna focuses her research “on modern American social and cultural history” and “in the history of U.S. imperialism, political economy, and the intersections of capitalism and culture.” She is presently revising her dissertation into a book manuscript. Her project “examines imperial ideology through a study of the built environment, more specifically, a Daniel Burnham-designed hill station in the colonial Philippines.” She is a thoughtful and creative scholar.
Professor McKenna is a teacher deeply concerned for her students. She seeks to offer courses that focus on social, cultural, and intellectual developments in the United States. She regularly offers a course on the “United States in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era” and tracks the dramatic transitions that took place in America during this period. As a social historian McKenna gives significant attention to issues concerning class, race, and gender as well as to questions of cultural formation. She uses a wide array of readings and expects her students to complete them. McKenna is a good and encouraging advisor to students. She takes her own faith seriously and this is evident in her teaching.
- Specialist in early modern European history, Italian Renaissance
- Recently appointed Associate Dean, College of Arts and Letters
- Capable teacher
Professor Margaret Meserve studies the Italian Renaissance and is a very well regarded specialist in her field. Her first book Empires of Islam in Renaissance Historical Thought (Harvard, 2008) received a number of notable prizes. She is currently working on a book, The News Cycle in Renaissance Rome,” that explores the circulation of news, information, propaganda, and disinformation in Rome in the first decades after the arrival of print (ca 1470-1527).” Meserve is an important member of the medieval history/early modern Europe contingent within the History Department and is a historian that students interested in these areas should definitely take. She recently has been tapped to serve as Associate Dean in the College of Arts and Letters. This appointment might reduce the number of courses she is able to offer.
Meserve is friendly and approachable and teaches interesting courses on the Italian Renaissance and early modern Rome among other classes. She works with students on their writing and allows students a rewrite on some of their papers. She adopts a broad cultural approach to her teaching and gives attention to art, religion, and literature in her courses. They should be of special appeal to Medieval Studies and Art History majors as well as to history students interested in the period. Meserve’s courses should address interesting questions for those eager to understand better the history of the Catholic Church and the development of Western Civilization.
- Leading expert in American religious and cultural history
- Major Christian thinker and influential American Protestant intellectual
- Devoted teacher
Professor Mark Noll is among the most distinguished members of the History Department. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and in 2006 he received the National Endowment for the Humanities Medal at a White House ceremony. Noll’s research interests have ranged widely over the history of Christianity in the United States and Canada. He is the author or editor of over 30 books. Among his recent works are America’s God, From Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Lincoln (2002), The Civil War as a Theological Crisis (2006), and God and Race in American Politics (2008).
Although he is an important figure in the graduate program in the History Department, Noll still devotes considerable time and energy to his undergraduate teaching. He offers courses that should be of interest to students who seek to explore the intersection of religion and American political and social history. He recently has taught “World History of 20th Century Christianity” and “American Politics and Religion.” Professor Noll also has a great interest in Canadian history and he offers a fine undergraduate course that tracks the development of the U.S.’s neighbor to the north.
Noll provides his students with in-class outlines of that day’s lessons and strongly encourages in-class questions on his own exposition of assignments. He has a knack for elucidating the significance and connectedness of and between landmark cultural (religious, political, and social) events in American history. This is even the case when students think that they know these events well. Given the presence of the lecture outline, students can be tempted to follow Noll’s lecturing, which can be a little dry, less closely than they ought. But Noll rewards careful listening with an amazing ability to elucidate historical developments for their contemporary implications. This enlivens his classes. For example, he asks students to write letters to presidential candidates during election years and has asked students to adjudicate Notre Dame’s lawsuit against the Health and Human Services (HHS) insurance mandate. While he does not regularly lead the discussion sections of his courses, he is very conscientious about the TAs he selects, to ensure a positive tutorial experience.
Noll is a deeply serious Christian believer. He participates in campus Right to Life activities, and presents religious history fairly, analytically, and with an eye toward how the study of history can form modern students. The perspectival blessings of courses with Noll enrich students and enable them to think more perspicuously about religion and culture in American and global life today.
- African history specialist
- Lively and engaging professor
- Excellent mentor
Professor Ocobock is a self-described historian of 20th-century Africa with a specialization in “the histories of African peoples living in East Africa.” His recent research has focused on “the everyday lives of young Kenyan African men growing up in British colonialism.” He is working on a book tentatively titled Coming of Age in Kenya Colony.
Ocobock is one of the younger and more energetic members of the department. He carries the substantial responsibility of teaching all of African history within in the department and he does it well. He teaches broad based courses that cover from the earliest times to the present day. He also has offered courses on colonialism and on the role of Africans in the global slave trade. His courses are always interesting and enjoyable.
Ocobock seeks to engage his students and to draw them into the study of a subject with which many have little familiarity. He is willing to take time away from his scheduled material to explain historical methodology and the academic landscape for historians vis-à-vis other academic disciplines. A more liberal member of the faculty, he is open to debate and entertains all viewpoints on a given topic. Outside of the classroom, he makes himself available even beyond office hours. He is more than willing to help students get started on research or other extracurricular activities related to the History Department. He is a fine advisor and a very capable mentor for students undertaking their thesis research.
Jaime M. Pensado
- Specialist in Latin American history, most notably Mexico
- Excellent mentor
- Resident Fellow at the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study 2015-16
Professor Jaime Pensado is a specialist in the history of contemporary Mexico. He has given particular attention to student movements and youth culture in the 1960s. His first book, Rebel Mexico: Student Unrest and Authoritarian Politican Culture during the Long Sixties (2013), received the Mexico History Book Prize from the Conference on Latin American History.
During the 2015-16 academic year, Pensado holds a residential fellowship at the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Studies. There he will work on his next book project exploring Catholic youth in Cold War Mexico. In this study he will examine how both “conservative and progressive sectors of the Catholic Church––particularly those invested in education, student politics and entertainment––respond[ed] to the contentious environment that emerged inside Mexico’s most important universities during the postwar era.”
Professor Pensado offers fine lecture courses in Latin American history. He also has offered courses on “Art and Revolution in Latin American History” and “Latin American History Through Film.” Students respond positively to his teaching. He is an excellent guide for them on their research, and a first rate mentor for students working on Honor Theses. He has received the Undergraduate Mentoring Award from the Helen Kellogg Institute for International Studies. Pensado is also very involved in the Institute for Latino Studies and well connected to advise students who want to participate in study abroad programs such as the one in Mexico.
- Award winning teacher
- Specialist in African American, urban, and Civil Rights history
- Concurrent Professor in Department of Africana Studies
Professor Richard Pierce specializes in African American, urban, and Civil Rights history. His scholarly work has explored important areas of the African American experience. His first book Polite Protest: The Political Economy of Race in Indianapolis, 1920-1970 was published by Indiana University Press in 2005. He is presently working on a study which explores the “processes by which African American families and institutions taught Jim Crow to their children in the United States during the time period 1895-1965.”
Pierce has been an important and crucial presence over the last two decades in assuring that the history of African Americans has been well taught at Notre Dame. His courses are normally cross-listed in both the History and Africana Studies Departments. He teaches courses on “Civil Rights History,” “African-American Resistance,” and a seminar “Black Power.” These courses are well prepared, but can be challenging for students with little familiarity of the African American experience in the United States. Professor Pierce is deeply concerned about his students and seeks to draw them in deeply into the complex and difficult subjects that he teaches. The high quality of Pierce’s teaching was recognized in 2009 when he received the Sheedy Award for Teaching in the College of Arts and Letters. In his acceptance speech Pierce wrote “For those of us of faith we believe that the ability to teach is one of God’s gifts.” He has been richly endowed by God with this gift, and he has sought to give thanks to God by using it so well.
- Specialist in British and Irish history
- Cambridge-trained historian with something of a British approach to his teaching
- Interesting courses
Professor Rory Rapple teaches courses in Tudor and Elizabethan England and in late medieval and early modern Ireland. He is the author of Martial Power and Elizabethan Political Culture: Military Men in England and Ireland, 1558-1594 (2009). He is an active scholar and is engaged on a number of book and article projects at the moment.
Rapple’s undergraduate courses include those on Tudor England and Medieval Ireland and these are courses that provide a student with valuable insight into important areas of British/Irish history. Rapple was raised in Ireland and did his doctoral work at the University of Cambridge, so he was not overly familiar with American pedagogical approaches during his initial years at Notre Dame. He has adjusted his approach well to the local scene and now offers courses that contain interesting material which he covers well. His lilting Irish accent can add a certain charm to his courses. His grading has eased in recent years, but he still offers valuable and frank feedback on the quality of student’s work. If students wish to gain a serious knowledge of Irish and/or British history, they should take Rapple’s classes. Rapple is serious about his own faith commitment, but does not raise this matter often directly in class. He is an engaging conversationalist, however, and would readily respond to student questions and inquiries outside of class.
- Irish and British history specialist
- Very knowledgeable
- Department’s most laid back member
Professor James “Jim” Smyth is a case of looks can be deceiving. Usually somewhat disheveled in appearance, he is a talented historian of modern Irish and British history well known for his books The Men of No Property: Irish Radicals and Popular Politics in the late Eighteenth Century (1992) and The Making of the United Kingdom 1660-1800: State, Religion and Identity in Britain and Ireland (2001). Smyth is an important part of the Irish Studies community at Notre Dame and is well involved in the work of the Keough Institute for Irish Studies.
Professor Smyth teaches in what some students describe as the “European manner.” He assigns readings, but leaves it to students to determine whether or not they will address the assigned work. He usually requires in his upper division courses a research paper and a final. Some students have found it disconcerting to have so much of their grade dependent on just two exercises. Students who can deal with such anxieties should go ahead and take Professor Smyth. He creates a relaxed and informal atmosphere in his classes and can engage in very entertaining story telling in his lectures. Students who wish to study in the Notre Dame London and Dublin programs should be especially eager to take his classes, such as “Irish History 1600-1800” and “Irish History 1800-Present” and “British History 1660-1880.”
Professor Smyth has retained his heavy Irish accent and will win no prizes for his sartorial elegance. He is known for smoking his pipe, which he sometimes does at the Linebacker Tavern. Departmental legend has it that all of Smyth’s graded papers come back with large smudge marks from his tobacco stained hands. Students should be disappointed if they miss out on this. While Professor Smyth is something of a character, he is also a truly engaged scholar of Ireland. His own life experience has equipped him well for the teaching he undertakes. He is not the most accessible professor outside of class, but students will benefit from their contact with him inside the classroom.
Rev. Robert Sullivan
- Specialist in European cultural history, modern Britain, Catholicism
- Administrator—Associate Vice President for Academic Mission Support
- Devoted priest-mentor
Fr. Robert Sullivan combines his duties as a teacher and administrator extremely well. Despite his range of responsibilities, he is available to his students who deeply appreciate his counsel and support. Fr. Sullivan’s research has recently focused on modern British history, and he published Macaulay: The Tragedy of Power in 2010.
Fr. Sullivan has offered courses in the past on “The History of Catholicism since 1500” and has also offered valuable seminars on “The Enlightenment in Europe” and “Britain and Its Empire 1815-1999.” Obviously students interested in the history of Catholicism should take his lecture course. But students eager to study with a priest during their time on campus are encouraged to work with Fr. Sullivan. His courses are extremely informative and entertaining. He possesses a wide store of knowledge across a diverse range of areas and he is willing to share this with his students. He is also willing to point students in the right direction with regard to outside reading, either research related or otherwise. Although highly intelligent, he is nonetheless very accessible and is truly interested in his students as persons and not simply for their classroom performance. He genuinely cares about his students and their lives, just as a good priest should.
Fr. Sullivan is a member of the administration as well as the History Department. He is knowledgeable in the broader developments of the university, and is a valuable resource outside of class. Fr. Sullivan is also an excellent thesis mentor and is willing and eager to advise students who may have a conservative or religious outlook.
- Specialist in Medieval Islamic history
- Brilliant scholar
- Truly committed teacher
Professor Deborah Tor “specializes in the political, social, religious, and military history of the medieval Middle East and Central Asia, from the rise of Islam until the 13th century.” She is a well published scholar and her work has addressed such topics as “Medieval Islamic military slavery” and the “survival and Islamization of Late Antique Iranian traditions of rulership.”
Professor Tor teaches courses such as “Medieval Middle East,” that covers topics with which most students are not familiar. Some students can find the subject matter difficult because it is so foreign to them. But engagement with her topics brings substantial rewards, particularly if students are prepared to work hard. Professor Tor is always well prepared for her lectures and delivers them with conviction. She holds high standards for her students, but is more than willing to help students to reach them. She is available outside of the class room, and is only too willing to work with students on their paper topics. Her courses provide students with a more nuanced and sophisticated view of history. She appreciates rigorous argument and clear thinking.
Students who are interested in the role of religion as a major force in history should consider Professor Tor’s courses. Those who want to understand more about the foundation and development of Islam should take a class with her. Professor Tor takes her own Jewish faith very seriously and she encourages Notre Dame’s Catholic students to do the same with their faith. She is especially knowledgeable about Catholic theological and doctrinal matters and urges her students to deepen their own knowledge in these areas.
- Teaches popular university seminar on theodicy
- Very manageable but interesting syllabi and weekly assignments
- Invites students to participate deeply in discussion, endeavors to get to know them
The Medieval Institute’s Linda Major is a thoughtful and kind instructor whose university seminar “Perfect God, Imperfect World,” is an excellent introductory course for students seeking to wrestle with theodicy – justifications for the coexistence of the Christian God and the reality of evil. Major’s syllabus for this course is top-notch, offering insights from Augustine and Aquinas to St. Irenaeus and contemporary theologians, writers, philosophers, and scientists.
Major ensures regular attention to her very manageable reading assignments by beginning each class with a quiz on the previous night’s assignment. She facilitates class discussion well, always fields questions from the class, and encourages students to connect various cross-disciplinary readings with each other.
In addition to assigning nightly reading assignments and administering daily quizzes, Major has students present their own original theodicy—drawing on course sources—as a midterm, and has them present a cumulative project at semester’s end on a topic of their choosing related to course readings. Major cares about her students and their grasp of the topics at hand; she even bakes for her students several times a semester!
- Teaches medieval and Thomistic philosophy and cognitive theory
- Rising academic and well respected young scholar
Therese Cory, an up-and-coming academic and excellent recent hire, comes to Notre Dame from Seattle University, where she received highly positive student reviews for her teaching. Cory is a promising contributor to the university’s Catholic mission and an expert in Aquinas’s cognitive theory, having recently published a book with Cambridge Press on that topic. She is in her first year of teaching at Notre Dame.
- Serious Christian philosopher
- Excellent seminar teacher
- Thoughtful and concerned professor
Professor Thomas Flint is a specialist in Philosophical Theology, Philosophy of Religion, and Metaphysics. He writes widely in these areas and has co-edited The Oxford Handbook of Philosophical Theology. Professor Flint has recently taught in the London Program and also teaches a number of graduate courses. He is best known at the undergraduate level for his course “Classics of Political and Constitutional Theory,” which examines “a number of the fundamental texts in political and constitutional theory, with an emphasis on works of special importance to the British and American political systems.”
Although Flint is a noted Christian philosopher, he does not teach his courses from an explicitly Catholic perspective. Rather, he poses questions like, “What is the end or purpose of government?” and wrestles with such questions throughout the semester. Students interested in relating Christian thinking to political questions will find in him a receptive teacher who is well prepared to respond to questions and comments. Flint has long been concerned with broader questions concerning the Catholic mission of Notre Dame such as the curriculum. He also has served the university very well on a number of committees. He is a thoughtful professor whom some students prefer in a seminar format rather than as a lecturer.
- Teaches logic and philosophy seminars
- Practicing orthodox Jew
- Very communicative and available outside of class
- Logic assignments are challenging, but he is always helpful
Curtis Franks cuts a noticeable figure among the Philosophy Department. A scholar of logic and the philosophy of mathematics and an observant orthodox Jew, Franks is an exemplary non-Catholic faculty member whose contributions to the university bolster its mission statement.
Franks is a well-liked and well-respected teacher not only because, due to religious observances, students taking his fall semester courses enjoy a handful of off-days from class. He is a thoughtful and humorous lecturer and discussion leader whose conversational and relaxed style draws students into participation. He does an excellent job of giving students ample opportunity to ask questions, both at the beginning of class (about homework assignments) and during class (concerning that day’s lesson). Since he teaches difficult subject material (various levels of logic, one variation of which is a requisite course for Philosophy majors), students appreciate both these opportunities to ask questions in-class, and the many occasions to attend office hours. He also communicates regularly via email.
Franks’s homework assignments are manageable, and he makes himself available to assist students with them. He also is attentive in grading assignments and labors to help his students improve their thinking and writing.
Franks also welcomes discussion of his own faith with interested students, providing a valuable insight into a non-Christian faith tradition and conversing with students about the similarities and differences between Catholic and Jewish faith.
- Teaches various courses on Thomistic philosophy
- Manageable nightly reading and course assignments
- Has a tendency to lecture even in seminar courses, but takes questions
- Long-time advocate for Notre Dame’s Catholic mission
Despite being a Buffalo Bills fan, Fred Freddoso is a popular teacher and beloved for the amusing alter-egos he adopts while anthropomorphizing philosophical positions. The Philosophy Department’s senior Thomist, Freddoso teaches a variety of courses on the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas, in addition to his university philosophy fulfillments and his popular “Introduction to Medieval Philosophy” class, a Philosophy major requisite.
Freddoso leads class discussions with dry wit and many complaints about the university. His Bills cap functions as the identifying prop for his Porky Pig and Arnie the Aardvark personas, as well as his Zeno impersonations, all of which are very entertaining. Freddoso’s lectures are informative, he is willing to answer questions from the class, and holds regular office hours. Freddoso always prepares students well in advance for his manageable assignments and exams, often giving specific prompts and directing students to the proper syllabus readings that paper or exam questions will draw upon. Finally, Freddoso prefers to teach in the later afternoon, which can be difficult for students during beautiful autumn and late spring days.
A longtime faculty advisor with the Irish Rover and an outspoken advocate for the university’s Catholic character, Freddoso is an involved and invested Catholic faculty participant in the struggle to preserve and enhance Notre Dame’s Catholic character, and he consistently unites his course material with broader Catholic themes and concepts.
- Specializes in ancient philosophy
- Supportive of Catholic mission
Sean Kelsey studies and teaches ancient philosophy and popular seminar courses for undergraduates. Drawn to Notre Dame in part for its Catholic dimension, Kelsey is a strong presence within the department, serving as the Director of Graduate Studies. His knowledge of ancient philosophy is comprehensive and students are comfortable approaching him due to his quiet and kind demeanor. An excellent choice for philosophy coursework.
- Specializes in Thomist philosophy
- Facilitates discussion through nightly assigned reading questions and responses
- Very entertaining lecturer
- Usually requires one long final paper
John O’Callaghan’s courses in Thomistic philosophy are regular favorites among students interested in philosophical thought in the Catholic tradition. The talkative and humorous O’Callaghan is an engaging and effective instructor, and his extensive knowledge of St. Thomas’s work enables him to respond to students’ challenges and questions both inside and outside the classroom.
O’Callaghan’s syllabi divide assignments up into manageable chunks. He typically ensures student participation by requiring class members to submit questions or thoughts in response to the reading by the evening before each class meets. Paper assignments are usually lengthy (between 10 and 25 pages) but are assigned well in advance, and O’Callaghan makes himself available readily to students seeking assistance outside the classroom. He often frequents his office in Geddes Hall, near the Jacques Maritain Library, which he oversees as Director of the Maritain Center.
O’Callaghan is a fair and humorous lecturer, and while his seminar courses sometimes veer into lecture-territory, O’Callaghan generally encourages dialectic among his students and between his students and himself. He also makes regular use of various media in the classroom, from rock music, to Italian operas, to YouTube videos, to pop cultural references and recent films. (Tree of Life is his latest favorite.) A regular figure at campus pro-life events, Center for Ethics and Culture events and tailgates, and an occasional lecturer on the campus circuit, O’Callaghan is a strong Catholic figure at Notre Dame.
- Teaches ancient philosophy and religion in literature
- Engaging and dynamic lecturer
- Course syllabi often expose students to various cultural media
- Active participant in campus Catholic culture
Professor David O’Connor, whose chief areas of scholarship are ancient philosophy, ethics, and philosophy of literature, is one of the most interesting and engaging personalities in the Philosophy Department. O’Connor consciously endeavors to initiate his students into “the life of the mind,” as he calls it, and he truly wants to mentor his students and impress upon them the inestimable value of the works that comprise his syllabus.
O’Connor teaches several perennially popular courses, including “Odysseys of the Self” and “Ancient Wisdom, Modern Love.” His syllabi are heavy on reading, but equally rewarding: mainstays include the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Wagner’s operas, Greek classics, Shakespeare, and others. In his seminars, O’Connor challenges students to think more deeply about their own beliefs. He facilitates discussion expertly, embraces the classroom silence in which thoughts percolate and mature, and encourages students to understand their studies as life-shaping practices rather than objectives to be satisfied. In short, he cares about the holistic development of his students, both inside and outside the classroom.
O’Connor speaks regularly for student clubs on campus, invites his seminar students to his home each semester for dinner, encourages them to attend his Friday lunch office hours, and is always willing to meet with and get to know his students. He also often speaks directly to campus social dynamics in his speeches and sometimes even in the classroom, and takes seriously the feedback he receives from students on how to improve his course structures. His Catholic faith informs and permeates his life as a teacher.
- Expert in John Paul II’s thought
- Longtime active advocate for university’s Catholic mission
- Student-oriented, invested teacher
Adrian Reimers is a longtime philosophy professor whose expertise in the thought of John Paul II makes him a popular teacher especially among Catholic students. A stable advocate for the university’s Catholic mission, Reimers teaches courses on human nature and human sexuality. He is a very student-oriented teacher and makes himself very accessible outside the classroom, and has been active in student life at the university. In recent years he has led the Poland pilgrimage and has served as a mentor in faith to many students. While his courses are sometimes considered rather easy, his readings are interesting and he continues to be a popular draw with students.
- Specializes in medical ethics, modernity, and ethics
- Offers some of the best syllabi at Notre Dame
- Engaging lecturer, always fields questions
- Longtime and vocal advocate for Notre Dame’s Catholic mission
David Solomon teaches several perennially popular courses for undergraduates, chief among them being “Morality and Modernity” and “Medical Ethics.” Leading the classroom with his characteristic dry humor, Solomon thoroughly and enjoyably introduces students to key ethical issues of the day and provides them the historical perspective with which to approach such issues more fruitfully.
Solomon’s “Morality and Modernity” syllabus is arguably the best syllabus on offer in the College of Arts & Letters. Through a mixture of gripping fiction (including the student favorite Canticle for Leibowitz) and seminal non-fiction (including Alasdair MacIntyre’s After Virtue), Solomon’s reading and paper assignments are enjoyable to complete.
Solomon usually teaches large (100+ students) courses, which means that most students do not get the chance to be in discussion groups with him, and Solomon can be difficult to reach via email. Nevertheless, he is an engaged and attentive teacher, an informative lecturer, and a vibrant and involved actor in university-wide discussions of Notre Dame’s Catholic character and witness. In particular he is the founder and director emeritus of the estimable Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture and is active in Notre Dame’s chapter of University Faculty for Life. Through his continued regular involvement in the center’s activities, Solomon also gets to know many students, and is always eager to hear their thoughts on the university and their coursework.
- Challenging but organized and interesting lecturer
- Teaches classes in philosophy of mind and language as well as religious philosophy
- Actively involved with Center for Philosophy of Religion
Jeff Speaks researches philosophy of mind and philosophy of language and until recently served as Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Philosophy Department. Speaks is a good lecturer and his courses are challenging but fair and rewarding for students who work at them. He teaches courses on philosophical theology and religious philosophy as well, and is actively involved with the Center for the Philosophy of Religion, which hosts programming (mostly in the form of lectures and debates) throughout the year. Speaks is an active contributor to the university’s Catholic mission and connects well and easily with students. His courses are commendable for students looking to work hard and learn much.
- Rising star in the Philosophy Department
- Energetic teacher
- Very able scholar
Professor Meghan Sullivan is a leader among the younger generation of philosophers at Notre Dame. A Rhodes scholar and a product of the top ranked program at Rutgers University, she is a specialist in metaphysics, philosophical logic, and philosophy of religion. Sullivan teaches high level doctoral seminars, but she also turns her hand effectively to the “Introduction to Philosophy” course aimed at first year students. This course covers such perennial issues as the existence of God, human freedom, and moral obligation. Professor Sullivan lectures well and relates well to students, but most of the direct contact with students is handled by her teaching assistants. (This is a large lecture course.) She has designed the course, however, to introduce students to the discipline of philosophy and to deepen student’s capacity for critical thinking.
Sullivan is a convert to Catholicism and has written in a deeply thoughtful way about her conversion and her beliefs in a moving essay in First Things magazine entitled “Uneasy Grace: We Need Not See Doubt as an Impediment to Faith.” Students would benefit from reading this essay regardless of whether they have an opportunity to study with Sullivan.
- Researches metaphysics and philosophy of physics and science
- Strong junior faculty mission hire for Catholic identity
Nicholas Teh, fresh off a Cambridge PhD and an exciting young scholar specializing in the philosophy of physics and science, comes to Notre Dame this fall and will begin by teaching a seminar on philosophy and science. He is a promising young junior faculty hire who will bolster the university’s Catholic mission through his teaching and involvement.
- Dynamic and enthusiastic lecturer
- Communicates the importance of faith and family for American democracy
- Chair of Political Science Department
David Campbell specializes in American politics and religion in politics and is chair of the Political Science Department. Campbell is a dynamic and intelligent professor who quietly communicates the importance of faith and family for American democracy but is careful to be nonpartisan in his presentation of American political dynamics. Himself a faith- and family-focused man, Campbell recently coauthored a major book that studied how the faith of American families impacts political involvement. He has a genuine enthusiasm for education and makes a sustained effort to get to know his students when he teaches large lecture courses.
- Teaches constitutional theory and American political theory
- Talented lecturer and active participant in campus life
- Vocal supporter of Notre Dame’s Catholic mission
- Heavy but rewarding reading assignments
Since arriving at Notre Dame in the fall of 2012, Patrick Deneen has become one of the most invested Catholic faculty members on campus. Specializing in ancient, modern, and American political thought, Deneen teaches several courses that satisfy requirements for the Constitutional Studies minor and the Political Science major. His reflections on and critiques of modern society, particularly American society, are explicitly shaped by the principles of the Catholic tradition of social and political thought. He wants his students to understand the basic outline of the Church’s tradition as well as the extent to which it challenges general assumptions about how society works or ought to work, and tries to integrate these ideas into all of his undergraduate teaching.
Deneen’s courses are typically lectures and aren’t often structured as conversations, but he always answers questions during class, holds regular office hours and is very good at meeting with students outside of class, and gives thorough feedback on papers and assignments when he grades them (sometimes this task for his larger classes is shared with a TA). Deneen’s formative and eclectic syllabi feature ancient political thinkers such as Aristotle, Plato, and Augustine by way of contextualizing and broadening students’ exposure to political theory. He usually assigns heavy reading loads on a nightly basis, and three mid-length papers a semester. For the papers, he gives clear prompts and expectations with plenty of notice in advance. His finals are either term papers or essay tests.
Deneen is an engaging lecturer, and his views on the American founding and Constitutionalism always grip students, whatever their own perspectives. Deneen also publishes widely in public intellectual forums, and is possibly the most active lecturer on Notre Dame’s campus, delivering addresses, participating in student club events, inviting students to his South Bend home for meals, and even attending Mass in the dormitories at the invitation of students. He clearly prioritizes being an integrated and involved member of the student and faculty communities at Notre Dame, and similarly prioritizes his contributing to the upbuilding of Notre Dame’s Catholic mission.
- Teaches courses in international relations and security, and American foreign policy
- Fosters excellent classroom discussion
- Syllabi are reading intensive
- Encourages integrative engagement with contemporary political realities, especially in light of moral philosophy
Michael Desch researches international relations, American foreign policy, and international security. Desch’s courses feature heavy workloads (in terms of reading and paper assignments), but he ably counsels students on where to focus their attention, provides valuable feedback on projects, and makes himself very available outside of class to discuss group projects and individual assignments.
Professor Desch fosters an engaged and engaging environment for classroom discussion, and is unafraid to offer his own views, informed by his Catholic faith, for consideration. Having been described as a “political realist,” he is well known within his field and also connects classical texts and traditions with contemporary political realities and theory. He endeavors to integrate his course material with various moral stances, including those of the Church, and encourages students to do the same.
Rev. Robert Dowd, C.S.C.
- Specialist in African politics
- Director of the Ford Program in Human Development Studies & Solidarity
- Holy Cross priest and inspiring teacher
Fr. Robert Dowd is a Holy Cross priest who also serves as the Director of the Ford Family Program in Human Development Studies & Solidarity. He is also a faculty fellow at the Kellogg and Kroc Institutes. His broad field is comparative politics, but he is a specialist in African politics. His research focuses on religion, democracy, and development and he has paid particular attention to such East African nations as Kenya and Uganda.
Fr. Dowd’s teaching is focused on African politics and he offers a valuable survey entitled “Introduction to Modern African Politics” as well as a valuable course growing out of his research interests, which is titled “Religion, Development, and Democracy in Africa.” These courses should be taken not only by students with a specialist interest in Africa, but by those who want to understand better political developments in this complex continent. Fr. Dowd is noted for his sincerity and kindness and he welcomes students into his class without assuming any knowledge of African history or politics on their part. His courses will appeal to students who have a special interest in social justice topics.
Fr. Dowd devotes significant amounts of time to his Directorship of the Ford Family Program in Human Development Studies & Solidarity. Through this program undergraduate students are encouraged to travel to Africa for research opportunities. Fr. Dowd is a valuable mentor in assisting students to plan their travels to Africa and to get the most from their visits.
- Teaches Tolkien, intersection of politics and faith, and ethics
- Offers several perennially popular course offerings featuring some of the best syllabi available at Notre Dame
- Actively fosters discussion in the classroom
Mary Keys of the Political Science Department teaches a perennially popular course called “Politics and Conscience.” Keys’s primary research and teachings interests span “a broad spectrum of political theory, with a special focus in Christianity, ethics, and political thought.” She also researches and teaches popular seminars on the thought and writing of J.R.R. Tolkien.
Keys has a kind and inviting classroom demeanor. Her courses are usually discussion-based, and she values contributions from all members of the class. She usually facilitates wide-ranging contributions by breaking students up into smaller discussion groups that then bring their conclusions back into a full-class discussion.
Keys offers syllabi rich with political, theological, and philosophical texts and events of the Catholic Church and from the Christian tradition. “Politics and Conscience” especially features an outstanding syllabus that features book excerpts, articles, several films, papal encyclicals, graduation and public addresses, and memoirs, all of which varying media draw students into a nuanced consideration of several questions occupying the heart of the matrix of politics and Christianity, such as: Is it ever morally acceptable to lie? What moral responsibilities does man bear vis-à-vis the natural order? What is the relationship between conscience and ecclesial authority? How do the virtues relate to political and civic life?
Keys is approachable and welcomes conversation outside of the classroom. While she occasionally will miss scheduled office hours, she is responsibly communicative via email about scheduling meeting times. Her assignment workloads are always manageable, as are her paper assignments (never longer than ten pages) and tests (usually essay-based, for which students can prepare in advance).
- Inspiring and charismatic but demanding teacher
- Specializes in international relations, U.S. foreign policy, security studies
- Accessible and eager to help students
Dan Lindley specializes in international relations, and teaches popular “Causes of War” and U.S. foreign policy courses. A demanding teacher, he typically assigns high-volume workloads of reading and long papers. His expertise in his subject areas is apparent and he encourages students to really grapple with the (ethical) nature of the issues at hand. He maintains a personal website on which he includes resources for students concerning graduate school, paper writing, and other academic and professional topics.
- Noted scholar on European affairs
- Director of the Nanovic Institute
- Prize winning teacher, devoted to his students
Professor A. James (Jim) McAdams is a noted scholar on European affairs and has contributed in a remarkable way to building up European studies on the Notre Dame campus through his excellent leadership of the Nanovic Institute. Jim McAdams has devoted much of his research to postwar German politics––both East and West––and is now at work on a large study of the concept of the Communist Party. He looks at Communism with a clear-eyed perspective and engages in none of the cant that can sometimes afflict apologists for the communist experiments.
McAdams is a terrific teacher who has won just about every teaching award possible in the university, including the prestigious Sheedy Award of the College of Arts and Letters and the Madden Award of the First Year of Studies. He is devoted to his students, whom he gets to know on a personal basis. Because of his administrative obligations, his undergraduate teaching is somewhat limited but students who want to understand something of the twentieth century are advised to take his course “The Rise and Fall of World Communism.” Political Science majors should take his seminar “The Dream of Communism.” They will be richly rewarded by studying with him.
McAdams’s great commitment to both undergraduate studies and the Catholic mission of Notre Dame is well displayed through his initiatives in the Nanovic Institute for European Studies. He has fashioned a number of programs in this institute that serve undergraduates, especially the Nanovic Student Scholars and the European Studies Minor. In addition, the Nanovic provides wonderful support for students pursuing research projects on European topics. Furthermore, McAdams has built important academic relationships with many of the new and growing Catholic universities in Europe. This is a contribution that will pay rich dividends in terms of scholarly exchanges long into the future.
Rev. Sean McGraw, C.S.C.
- Teaches comparative and European politics
- Engaging and charismatic lecturer who gets to know his students
- Co-founder of ND’s Alliance for Catholic Education
Fr. Sean McGraw specializes in comparative and European politics and also teaches popular courses in 20th century Irish history. A co-founder of Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education, Fr. McGraw is passionate about Catholic education and his diverse interests, drawing on many of them in order to better explain theoretical concepts and arguments. His passion manifests itself in his booming lectures and engaging manner of speaking.
His introductory classes are large, but he is dedicated to knowing all of his students; by the end of the semester, each student has had dinner with him. Fr. McGraw is talented at articulating ideas and providing clarity to otherwise confusing and complex thinkers. The reading is sometimes lengthy, but usually very interesting, and the tests are not unusually difficult as long as one pays attention and is familiar with the different works.
Due to Fr. McGraw’s specific interests, the topic material he teaches, and the interests of many Notre Dame students, the religious and moral dimensions of assignments are questioned and discussed in the classroom, making for rich and interesting sessions. Given the proper investment, Fr. McGraw’s courses are likely to be among the favorites for students interested in political science, especially its religious implications.
(Vincent) Phillip Muñoz
- Engaging and relaxed lecturer who promotes classroom discussion
- First Amendment expert who encourages students to form their own interpretations
- Active participant in student life and events, active contributor to Catholic mission
(Vincent) Phillip Muñoz teaches classes on constitutional studies (especially the First Amendment) and political theory. He comes well-prepared for his lectures and leads classroom discussions with a relaxed and engaging manner. He also strongly encourages students to discuss their views in the classroom and to ask probing questions into the nature of the text so that they can develop their own views and interpretations. His classes require attentive reading and participation. He and his teaching assistants offer substantive feedback on graded assignments, and he often assigns take-home writing exams.
Through his directing of Notre Dame’s Tocqueville Program, Professor Muñoz is an active and leading faculty contributor to student intellectual life and a culture of discussion, especially through the program’s popular “Professors for Lunch” series. Muñoz makes himself readily available outside of class hours and is quickly responsive to student questions and needs. He is one of Notre Dame’s outstanding young faculty who actively promotes the Catholic character of the university.
(James) Daniel Philpott
- Specializes in religion and global politics
- Excels at integrating Catholic tradition with course subject matter
- Routinely lectures directly from notes, but facilitates an interactive environment through assignments and media presentations
Dan Philpott is a professor of political science who specializes in “[r]eligion and global politics; transitional justice; reconciliation; ethics and international relations.” Philpott is not the most invigorating lecturer—he routinely reads straight off his prepared notes—but he excels at integrating the Catholic tradition with the subject matter that comprises his outstanding syllabi (which include many papal encyclicals and political classics from the Tradition as well as films).
Philpott fosters an interactive classroom environment by several means. He presents multiple perspectives on the day’s readings to his students, often playing devil’s advocate in order to provoke further engagement with assignments. He always seeks to foster discussion between his students, and is eager to answer questions in-class. He also strongly encourages students to visit his office hours if for no other reason than to build a relationship. In his “Catholicism and Politics” course, Philpott guides students through debate preparation and execution throughout the semester, enfranchising them to develop and deliver thoughtful stances on controversial topics. He also invites many guest lecturers to class to share different perspectives on aspects of the Catholic intellectual tradition, tying their lessons into modern dilemmas and issues.
Students who take Philpott’s courses can be sure to gain a functional knowledge of Catholic political thought and will grow in confidence in navigating modern controversies in light of the nuanced Catholic tradition. Philpott prepares students well for midterm and final papers and assignments: He gives them study questions beforehand, encourages them to avail themselves of office hours (which he sometimes cancels due to extensive travel commitments), and offers extensive feedback on assignments and submitted work. Philpott embodies well the kind of professor that Notre Dame seeks to cultivate and offer for its students.
- Dynamic lecturer
- Challenges students in a positive way
- Director, Notre Dame International Security Program
Sebastian Rosato is a specialist in international relations (IR) and an ambitious scholar in the field. He is known for his strong opinions and his willingness to engage in academic debate. He is well published in the IR field and plays an important role in the Political Science Department in encouraging students to participate in lectures and presentations beyond the classroom through his Directorship of the Notre Dame International Security Program.
Rosato is a very strong teacher, although there is some dispute over whether he is the “strongest Professor Rosato” teaching in political science––his wife receives rave reviews from her students. Rosato is well known on campus for his large lecture courses both in “International Relations” and “Europe at War 1900-1945,” which he co-teaches with John Deak from the History Department. Rosato is a figure in demand among Political Science majors and is a very capable mentor for them. His junior seminar on “Realism and its Critics” is particularly popular. Rosato holds strong political views on contemporary issues and is willing to participate in campus debates and discussions. Catholic students who may disagree with him will nonetheless benefit from honing their views over against his.
- Talented and dynamic scholar of international relations
- Discusses war and history realistically but with compassion and sensitivity
Susan Rosato is a talented and dynamic scholar of international relations, also specializing in globalization and international political economy. While discussing war, international relations, and history realistically within the classroom, she does so with compassion for those who were persecuted, wounded, killed, or impoverished during conflict, presents a balanced and humane view of international affairs, and is always respectful of students’ beliefs. One of Rosato’s students remarks that she models a healthy work-life balance as a successful professor, a mother, and a wife.
Rev. Timothy R. Scully, C.S.C.
- Leading figure in comparative politics
- Specialist in comparative political institutions, especially political parties
- Holy Cross priest and co-founder of the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE)
- University Fellow and Trustee
Fr. Timothy Scully is an important figure at Notre Dame where he serves as a Fellow and Trustee of the university and as the Director of the Institute for Educational Initiatives. He is well known at Notre Dame for founding the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) in 1993. This is Notre Dame’s valuable “program, which provides hundreds of talented and committed Catholic school leaders every year to scores of underserved communities across the United States, as well as overseas.”
He is also an excellent scholar and teacher, specializing in comparative political institutions, particularly in Latin America. He has published a substantial number of books in this area, most recently Democratic Governance in Latin America (Stanford, 2010). Fr. Scully is a renowned teacher and a winner of the prestigious Sheedy Teaching Award in the College of Arts and Letters. He is an outstanding lecturer who at one point taught larger survey courses on “Comparative Politics” and “Latin American Politics.” Regrettably, his administrative responsibilities have led to some reduction in his teaching of undergraduate students in recent years. He now offers seminar courses aimed mainly at Political Science majors. His junior seminar “The Politics of Latin America” and his senior seminar “Leadership and Social Change” are, however, highly recommended for those who can gain entrance to them. Students will benefit from Fr. Scully’s brilliance. Fr. Scully’s duties require substantial travel on his part and students should be prepared to adjust schedules in light of that.
- Distinguished political theorist
- Editor-in-Chief of The Review of Politics
- Teaching primarily on the graduate level
Catherine Zuckert is an important figure in Notre Dame’s intellectual life. She is the current Editor-in-Chief of The Review of Politics, the important journal begun at Notre Dame by Waldemar Gurian. She has maintained the high standards of this journal and publishes serious political theory in it. Zuckert (like her husband Michael) was trained at the University of Chicago by Leo Strauss. She has a great appreciation for the western intellectual tradition and teaches in light of that. Her teaching at the present time is limited primarily to graduate courses. Should this brilliant scholar offer courses at the undergraduate level students should seize the opportunity to work with her.
- Renowned figure in Political Theory and Constitutional Studies
- Excellent seminar teacher
- True intellectual committed to Notre Dame
Michael Zuckert is a national figure in the field of Political Theory and Constitutional Studies. Trained at the University of Chicago under the great political theorist Leo Strauss, Zuckert is a major figure in Notre Dame’s excellent program in Political Theory. He teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in “Political Theory,” “American Political Thought,” “American Constitutional Studies,” and “Philosophy of Law.” He has published extensively on a variety of topics and he and his wife (Catherine Zuckert) have co-authored the volume The Truth About Leo Strauss: Political Philosophy and American Democracy (2006).
Zuckert does much of his teaching at the graduate level, but is well known for his seminar teaching in the Political Science Department. His senior seminar on Lincoln is very popular with majors and is a rich intellectual experience. Students who can gain admission to it should definitely take the class. Zuckert is not Catholic, but appreciates the importance of the western intellectual tradition, which is so intertwined with Catholic thought. He is an important figure in Notre Dame’s intellectual community and his interest in undergraduates is shown by his long-time service on the Irish Rover’s Faculty Advisory Board.
- Teaches intellectual and cultural history and the history and philosophy of science
- Popular and thought-provoking seminar discussion leader
Francesca Bordogna’s research concentrates on the history of the sciences and technologies of the mind, especially psychology, and their relationships with philosophy. She teaches classes on the history and philosophy of science within the Program of Liberal Studies, as well as the program’s intellectual and cultural history courses. Bordogna came to Notre Dame wanting to work in a Catholic context, and has been described by one former student as a “tremendous resource for getting a pulse on the history of modern science and the areas in which it is orthogonal to the truth of Christianity.” Bordogna is willing to converse about faith, society, and her course content outside of class, in a kind and helpful manner.
- Teaches PLS seminars, focuses on theology, religion, and literature
- Extensive theological knowledge enables her to connect course readings with faith-themes
- Truly endeavors to get to know students and work with them on research and academic interests
A recently appointed professor in the Program of Liberal Studies (PLS), Jennifer Newsome Martin is a systematic and historical theologian with a wide swath of specialties in theology, religion, and literature. Martin, who teaches PLS’s theology requirements, offers students an extremely varied and rich syllabi, featuring standard theological texts, films, Russian philosophers, biblical commentaries, and literary figures. She typically lectures for approximately half of a given class period, and then facilitates discussion. Her lectures are well-organized, engaging, informative, and bring Martin’s theological training to bear on the variety of texts; she is eager to listen to students and to help them draw connections between and among readings and conversation points, always bringing out the Catholic themes at hand and examining them in light of the Catholic intellectual tradition.
Martin’s assignments are manageable, and she grades fairly. Outside of the classroom, Martin truly wishes to get to know her students. She attends PLS functions that bring students and faculty together, works closely with students on developing research topics and interests, and makes herself immensely available to students through office hours and scheduled meetings.
- Teaches Great Books and music courses for PLS
- Expert in musical theory and literature
- Challenges students to understand before judging and always to sift works, especially ones with whose themes students disagree, for value and merit
Pierpaolo Polzonetti specializes in opera and eighteenth-century music and culture and teaches great books seminars and music classes for PLS. He challenges students to understand before judging and to glean value from readings with which they predominantly disagree. His fair but challenging constructive feedback and encouragement facilitate this learning process, especially with respect to musical literature and the meaning of musical works. He engages music from the Catholic tradition and presents it in his syllabi, and is a well-respected professor within his department.
- Trained theologian specializing in the early Christian tradition, especially Augustine
- Syllabi include weekly writing assignments, which allow students to synthesize more texts and which prepares them well for oral exams
- Active member of PLS community
Andrew Radde-Gallwitz is a trained theologian who specializes in Christian theological tradition from the second through fifth centuries, especially Augustine. He teaches several popular PLS courses covering that period, particularly bringing to life Augustine’s work and endearing him to his students. Radde-Gallwitz assigns weekly papers so that students have an opportunity to write about more texts than just two or three, and this prepares students well for their oral exams at semester’s end.
He is always available for office hours and gives solid structural feedback on papers, mostly leaving students to determine their own topics. He attends PLS Masses and dinners and makes an effort to get to know students personally.
- Allows students to guide and explore course readings via class discussions
- Readily available outside of class for assistance and conversation
- Active and deeply engaged Catholic scholar
Tom Stapleford teaches science and great books courses in PLS. An active and deeply engaged Catholic scholar, Stapleford’s varied scholarly background (in engineering and artificial intelligence as well as the history and philosophy of science) is reflected in the fluidity and capaciousness of his intelligence and the commanding grasp he exerts on the subject material of his courses.
Stapleford grades thoroughly, toughly, and fairly, giving extensive and incisive feedback. In the classroom, he tends to allow students to discuss the works at hand, interjecting often only to elucidate a point in question or to steer the discussion into more fruitful straits. Caring deeply for PLS and its students, Stapleford makes himself readily available through office hours and otherwise to students seeking guidance or advice outside the classroom (he often takes his students to office hours over lunch, and has scheduled Greek festivals for his students). He is a thoughtful and invested Catholic scholar who contributes to the upbuilding of the university’s Catholic character.
- Poet and literary scholar of poetry and verse
- Notoriously difficult grader
- Offers remarkably detailed, attentive, constructive feedback on written assignments
- Very available outside of class
- Passion for work is evident in the way he leads class
Henry Weinfield is a poet, translator, and literary scholar who teaches PLS courses in literature. Professor Weinfield is often credited with reinventing his students’ understanding of, and inciting an appreciation for, poetry as a literary form, and he resists the deconstructive tendencies common in the field. A notoriously difficult grader, he nevertheless offers extraordinarily focused, perceptive, and attentive feedback to his students on their written assignments; many of his students say that they’ve never seen such attention to their work as he gives. He encourages original thinking and makes himself available outside the classroom to discuss students’ ideas and their work.
Although not Christian, Professor Weinfield encourages his students to encounter poetry through a lens of faith and offers interpretations of poems in light of the Catholic tradition, even if he himself does not read poetry that way or encourage students’ faith. He is highly active within the PLS community and is a man of deep integrity.
- One of the world’s leading Dante scholars
- Very easygoing and friendly in course discussions
- Illuminates Catholic themes in Dante’s work
- Manageable course loads and syllabi
Zygmunt Baranski, or “Zyg” as he asks his students to call him, is one “among the world’s leading authorities on Dante, medieval Italian literature, medieval poetics, and modern Italian literature, film, and culture.” Zyg is an excellent teacher, a world-renowned scholar, and guides students deftly through one of the richest texts in the Catholic tradition, Dante’s Commedia.
Zyg’s masterful knowledge of everything pertaining to Dante and Italian literature makes him an unparalleled teacher of Dante and related topics. Zyg is an engaging lecturer, fields questions from the class regularly and has students present on various cantos of the Commedia. Communicative via email, he grades fairly and offers insightful feedback. In general, he seeks to make himself a resource for his students, including by offering to write letters of recommendation for any future needs.
Zyg treats the Christian content of Italian literature fairly and knowledgeably, and always listens keenly to the insights of his students. He is a professor who is truly willing to enter into dialectic with his students. Students interested in studying Dante would do well to look to any course that Zyg is offering.
JoAnn Della Neva
- Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies
- Focused teacher
- Encourages her students to think of academic careers
Professor JoAnn Della Neva currently serves as Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies in the College of Arts and Letters. The college is fortunate to have a scholar of her reputation and a teacher with her talents serving in this role. She is a specialist in Renaissance Literature and has a particular interest in Franco-Italian literary relations during the Renaissance. She has published a number of books and articles, which have established her as an important figure in her field.
Regrettably, Della Neva’s duties in the Dean’s Office has led to a reduction in her undergraduate teaching. But students should be attentive to the possibility of taking a course with her should she offer such fine courses as “Renaissance Poetry” or “Women in the Renaissance” in the coming years. She is a very focused and challenging teacher who encourages her students to think seriously about the academic life. She pushes them on their assignments, but all her assigned work has value. She does not burden students with “busy work.”
Rev. Gregory Haake, C.S.C.
- Specialist in early modern French literature
- Energetic professor
- Holy Cross priest deeply committed to Notre Dame’s Catholic mission
Fr. Gregory Haake recently completed his dissertation at Stanford and has returned to Notre Dame to take up an appointment in the Department of Romance Languages. He will teach courses in French literature and undoubtedly will explore the intersections of literature, politics, and religion in the early modern period. He is an energetic teacher and will ask his students to devote themselves to their work, but he will be on hand to lend them assistance as they do so. He presently teaches a course “Advanced Composition: The Art of Writing” for French majors this semester, but he can be expected to develop a range of other classes in future semesters. Fr. Haake adds considerably to the teaching efforts of the Holy Cross Community at the University of Notre Dame.
- Teaches literary and theological reflection
- Course syllabi are perennial favorites
- Consciously gets to know students and arranges extracurricular events
- Fosters respectful and comfortable discussion environment in class
Vittorio Montemaggi is among the most respected and well-liked teachers at Notre Dame. His “interests include the relationship between literary and theological reflection, the relationship between language, truth and love, and the interconnections between the question of the relationship between theism and atheism and that of the relationship between tragedy and comedy.”
Montemaggi teaches the popular “Meaning, Vulnerability, and Human Existence” class, connecting religion and literature in examination of theological themes in both theological and non-theological literature and relating those themes to human existence. The course covers works of Shakespeare, Dante, Dostoyevsky, Augustine, Aquinas, and others, exploring major themes such as the power of speech, forgiveness, transcendence, good and evil, the identity of God and our relation to Him, and what it means to be human.
Montemaggi begins each class with time for silent prayer and reflection, and explicitly founds his courses on trust and respect as exhibited in the lively and engaged dialectic he cultivates in the classroom. Montemaggi never lectures, but guides the discussion among his students with patience and respect as they discuss the meanings of a given text. His courses typically consist of three mid-length (1500 words) papers as well as a one-page final reflection, and in his “Meaning” course he has students perform a scene from a Shakespearean play. Montemaggi is a tough but fair, thorough, and helpful grader and giver of feedback, and his commitment to fostering fruitful conversation in his classes is reflected in the easy relationships his students form with him and with each other.
Outside the classroom, Montemaggi makes himself very available to students, and requires that they each meet with him at least twice as part of their participation grade. He organizes or encourages class attendance at plays, lectures, or Masses with his students, and often joins them for meals beforehand or afterwards. He also takes a lead in encouraging students to exchange thoughts, videos, and prayer requests via a class email thread.
Through tying the philosophical and theological themes of his rich syllabi into students’ own lives, Montemaggi encourages the holistic growth outlined in Notre Dame’s mission statement.
Alain P. Toumayan
- Devoted teacher
- Calm and thoughtful scholar
- True contributor to Notre Dame’s Catholic mission
Professor Alain Toumayan is Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Romance Languages. He is a specialist in nineteenth and twentieth century French literature. Toumayan is also devoted to his undergraduate teaching. He demands a lot from his students, but rewards those prepared to work hard in his courses. He teaches broadly in the area of French literature and culture and regularly offers a course on the “Art of Interpretation.” He is known for his decency and thoughtfulness. Some students have found his lecturing a little on the dry side, but his encouraging manner and support for students assures that they remain loyal to him throughout the semester and gain much from him.
- Teaches Italian language courses
- Extremely conversational and welcoming
- Fosters a relaxed and enjoyable classroom language-learning environment
Patrick Vivirito is one of the Notre Dame’s most popular Italian teachers, most commonly teaching beginning and intermediate level language courses. A friendly, humorous, and energetic man, Vivirito easily facilitates the comfortable, interactive classroom environment necessary for the learning of a foreign language. His assignments are always manageable, he is sensitive to students’ questions and needs for further exploration, and he structures class time very efficiently. He makes the effort to get to know his students well and genuinely cares about them. Vivirito is an excellent choice for any Italian course.
John P. Welle
- Specialist in modern Italian literature and culture
- Teaches a range of interesting courses
- Noted for personal decency and compassion
Professor John Welle serves as both Professor of Italian and Concurrent Professor of Film, Television, and Theatre. He specializes in Italian literature and culture and has particular interests in film and in popular culture and media. He is well published in his field and contributes effectively in the education of students in a number of programs.
Welle is known for his courses in “Modern Italian Literature and Culture” and in “Film and Literature in Italy.” He also has offered an interesting college seminar “On Humour: Understanding Italy.” He has worked in collaboration with FTT to offer a course on “Comedy, Italian Style!” All of his courses are well conceived and draw on an array of well selected materials. Welle is noted for his personal integrity and willingness to engage students of varied backgrounds. He encourages his students to go deeper in their knowledge of Italian culture and those who do so find his courses of real benefit.
- Renowned Old Testament scholar
- Teaches early-morning courses but features great syllabi
- Can be a dry lecturer but brings a wry sense of humor to the classroom
- Course syllabi are extremely well organized, challenging, and rewarding
- Active participant in campus Catholic culture
Gary Anderson’s research and scholarly expertise and “interests concern the religion and literature of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible with special interest in the reception of the Bible in early Judaism and Christianity.”
Anderson’s Old Testament course (which class is a mandatory requirement for all Theology majors) is a popular favorite of students. Although his preferred teaching slot—8:00 a.m.—is not so popular, Anderson possesses dry humor, an unparalleled knowledge of the Old Testament, and an uncanny ability to bring to life the themes, messages, passages, and insights of the Old Testament. His students often say, “I have learned more in this class than in any other.”
An internationally renowned scripture-scholar, Anderson’s knowledge cannot be bested. He fields student questions deftly, and is willing to connect themes of the present lecture with larger biblical questions, and to connect biblical questions categorically to other theological areas and concepts. While his lecturing style can be dry, he is very personable in conversation and enjoys joking with students before and even during class.
Anderson is a familiar face at several conferences and venues, lending his scholarly expertise to the entire academic community and beyond. His witness to the faith and his personable embodiment of the vocation of the teacher are exemplary. He recently concluded his year-long term as President of the Catholic Biblical Association.
Sister Ann Astell
- Specializes in medieval literature and spirituality
- Friendly and approachable professor whose courses are rigorous but enjoyable
- Gives excellent feedback on written assignments and grades with high but fair expectations
- Syllabi and lectures are efficient and clarifying
- Active participant in campus Catholic culture
A member of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary, and current President of the international Colloquium on Violence and Religion and President of the Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality, Sister Ann Astell has taught in the Theology Department since 2007. Specializing in “medieval literature and spirituality,” Sr. Ann is a friendly and approachable professor whose courses feature thoughtful conversation.
Sr. Ann typically begins class by summarizing the key points of the text for that day, orienting its themes for discussion, and offering insight and connections for further exploration by the whole class. Then she opens up the floor for conversation.
Sr. Ann’s syllabi are very well-structured and thoughtfully composed to facilitate the gradual deepening of engagement with and understanding of the relevant texts. The homework assignments are challenging in both content and volume, and Sr. Ann has students prepare responses and remarks before class begins to ensure constructive and fruitful classroom participation. She is a very good listener and is not afraid to tell students when they are speaking incorrectly or veering off topic during class.
- Passionate, knowledgeable, and kind teacher
- Engages students outside of class
- Syllabi are reading intensive
John Betz specializes in systematic and philosophical theology, with a particular interest in German philosophy and theology from the eighteenth century to the present. He is a passionate and knowledgeable teacher who cares deeply for the spiritual growth of his students. He regularly engages students outside of class, offering weekly dining hall meetings for further discussion of class assignments.
Betz’s syllabi are reading heavy but he efficiently dedicates class time to elucidating the most important dimensions of the readings, and offers instructive and detailed feedback on written assignments that incorporate the readings. The breadth of assigned reading makes for a relatively self-directed course: His tests may not require exhaustive knowledge of the readings, but paper assignments allow an opportunity for wide-ranging exploration. Betz begin class with prayer and is a fine exemplar of a mission-focused teacher.
- Patristics scholar, specializing in Augustine
- Homework assignments are very manageable
- Deeply thoughtful classroom lecturer
- Often difficult to reach outside of class due to other commitments
- Vocal and longtime advocate of Notre Dame’s Catholic mission
John Cavadini’s main areas of research and teaching are in patristics, that is, the theology of the early church, with a special focus on the theology of St. Augustine, and on the biblical spirituality of the Fathers of the Church. He has published extensively in these areas, as well as in the theology of miracles, the life and work of Gregory the Great, catechetical theology, and the theology of marriage.
Cavadini commands and engages the classroom with self-effacement, humility, humor, patience, and a deep thoughtfulness. His thorough knowledge of patristic sources roots his articulation of theological and ecclesial concepts that invigorate the imagination and draw students into the riches of patristic, and especially Augustinian, theology.
Cavadini’s syllabi expose students to varied and challenging theological and scriptural texts. His reading assignments occasionally, though not typically, require a great deal of time to accomplish. His paper assignments are always manageable, and he provides sufficient guidance and support concerning both potential thesis topics and the writing process itself.
Cavadini does hold regular office hours, but due to his directorship of the Institute for Church Life, his many speaking arrangements nation-wide (and event internationally), and his myriad forms of service to the campus community, students dropping in for informal visits will only occasionally find him in his office. Nonetheless, his contribution at Notre Dame is enormous.
Catherine (Katie) Cavadini
- Teaches foundations courses
- Connects well with students
- Instructive and formative assignments
Catherine (Katie) Cavadini teaches popular Foundations of Theology courses and also several requirements for M.A. students. She is a humorous and engaging lecturer and excels in drawing freshmen into conversation and an active interest in the subject-matter. Her assignments, including tests, are immersive and demanding but she grades fairly and endeavors to be present to students. She is an excellent choice for students looking for a challenging and enjoyable Foundations course.
David A. Clairmont
- Specialist in comparative religious ethics
- Director of Master of Theological Studies Program
- Noted for undergraduate course “Holy Cross Spirituality and the Life of Virtue”
Professor David Clairmont is a specialist in moral theology/Christian ethics. He adopts a comparative approach and explores Catholicism in relation to Theravada Buddhism. He serves as Director of the Master of Theological Studies Program in the Theology Department and this work occupies a substantial part of his time. He also teaches courses at the graduate level in Christian Ethics. He is a serious Catholic moral theologian.
Professor Clairmont is truly interested in encouraging his students to reflect upon and to live a moral life. His course on comparative religious ethics asks students to reflect on different religious traditions and their moral approaches. He has gained some note of late for his popular subscribed course (co-taught with Fr. Michael Connors, C.S.C.) on “Holy Cross Spirituality and the Life of Virtue.” This ourse has proved popular with students wanting to learn more about the spirituality and approach of the religious order founded by Blessed Basil Moreau in 1837. It is of course also the religious order that founded Notre Dame. Clairmont is a thoughtful teacher who genuinely seeks the best for his students.
Rev. Brian Daley, S.J.
- Renowned Patristics scholar (recipient of Ratzinger Prize in Theology)
- Engaging and lively lecturer
- Manageable but engaging syllabi and assignments
- Easily builds rapport with students and is always happy to engage outside the classroom
Fr. Brian Daley, S.J., is one of the Theology Department’s most distinguished scholars. An expert and globally renowned scholar in the fields of patristics who recently received the Ratzinger prize in theology (which has been called the “Nobel prize” for theological scholarship), Fr. Daley “specializes in the study of the early Church, particularly the development of Christian doctrine from the fourth to the eighth centuries.”
Fr. Daley’s courses are as rewarding as they are challenging—which is to say, highly. A thoroughly knowledgeable and engaging lecturer, Fr. Daley brings his considerable expertise to bear on class discussions. His syllabus assignments acquaint students with crucial apostolic and patristic texts from both East and West, and his assignments are fair and manageable. Fr. Daley eagerly incorporates student participation and discussion in class, and enables a genuine dialectic through his pleasant and easygoing manner. A regular at Bengal Bouts workouts, Fr. Daley creates easy rapport with students.
Fr. Daley embodies excellently the university’s vision for its faculty: Namely, that they contribute first-rate scholarship to their respective fields, while being excellent undergraduate teachers who bolster the Catholic mission of the university. Students studying with Fr. Daley will be treated to one of the exemplars of this vision.
- Director, Notre Dame Vision
- Important contributor to evangelization on the Notre Dame campus
- Special interest in the theology of the communion of saints
Professor Leonard (Lenny) DeLorenzo is the Director of the Notre Dame Vision Program, which “invites young people to explore God’s call in their lives and to respond to that call with courage and faith through daily choices as well as lifelong commitments.” Profesor DeLorenzo has also been involved in the Echo: Faith Formation Leadership Program, which is a “graduate service program committed to renewing the ministry of catechesis in the Catholic Church.” He has played an important role in Notre Dame’s effort to contribute to the Church’s mission of evangelization.
Professor DeLorenzo was trained at Notre Dame and has his research interests in the theology of the communion of saints. A sense of his work can be gained by reading his essay in America Magazine (February 9, 2015) on “Communion of Saints and Sinners.” DeLorenzo offers a number of courses that are particularly beneficial for students exploring their own faith and those who might be preparing themselves to work as evangelists. He is well known for his collaboration with Tim O’Malley in courses for those who will serve as mentors in the ND Vision Program. Their course on “The Christian Experience: Vocation and the Theological Imagination” is aimed at Vision mentors and is highly regarded by its participants. He also offers a range of other courses that are truly beneficial for those wishing to deepen and enrich their understanding of Catholicism. Some of his courses such as “The Character Project: Grace and Becoming Human” require special permission for entry. Other courses are one-credit efforts that offer a valuable experience––e.g., “Saints” and “Facilitating Growth in Faith.” Students who wish to not only reflect on their faith but also to learn better how to share it should study with DeLorenzo.
Rev. Terrence Ehrman C.S.C.
- Devoted Holy Cross priest
- Specialist in science and religion
- Chaplain, Notre Dame Right to Life
Fr. Terrence Ehrman is a visiting scholar in the Institute for Church Life at Notre Dame and is also teaching theology at Notre Dame. He studied biology at Notre Dame as an undergraduate before pursuing his studies for the priesthood and then his doctoral studies in Systematic Theology. He has important interests in the relationship between science and theology and is presently offering a course on “Science, Theology, and Creation.” Fr. Ehrman is determined to give his students a thoughtful investigation of “the Christian understanding of creation and how this doctrine relates to contemporary scientific issues.” He brings his own background as both a scientist and a theologian to his teaching. He is a devoted and holy priest who is deeply concerned for the spiritual as well as intellectual development of his students.
Fr. Ehrman’s concern that students have a solid understanding of theological doctrine can sometimes trouble students who are looking for an “easy class” to fulfill their theology requirement. But students who are genuinely interested in deepening their understanding of the relationship between science and theology should study with him. His readings are well-selected and he makes himself readily available to his students to talk over both class matters and larger faith issues that might arise from the class. Fr. Ehrman also serves as Chaplain to the Notre Dame Right to Life group at Notre Dame.
- Liturgical scholar
- Teaches courses on C.S. Lewis and G.K. Chesterton
- Utilizes Sakai platform for all classes, syllabi, and assignments, thus facilitating a very interactive classroom environment
- Course offerings are favorites among Theology majors
- Offers extensive feedback on written assignments
David Fagerberg’s areas of scholarly expertise and interest focus on liturgical theology: its definition and methodology, and how the Church’s lex orandi (law of prayer) is the foundation for her lex credendi (law of belief). Lately he has been working on how liturgy, theology, and asceticism interrelate. He also has interests in sacramental theology, Eastern Orthodoxy, linguistic philosophy, scholasticism, G. K. Chesterton and C.S. Lewis.
Fagerberg’s courses are favorites among theology students and beyond. While few of his regular offerings cover mandatory major or minor requirements, his alternating offerings on Chesterton and Lewis, as well as his classes on asceticism and liturgical theology, fill up quickly. Fagerberg’s courses are always enjoyable and often present students with material and theological concepts with which they were unfamiliar, consequent upon Fagerberg’s deep and varied interest in eastern theological concepts and works.
Fagerberg’s course syllabi are always full of rewarding books and articles, and his assignments and exams are always manageable. Despite claiming to not enjoy fiction, Fagerberg often makes use of it—particularly Chesterton and Lewis—to transport theologically rich concepts into a language and idiom that appeals to the imaginative and aesthetic dimensions of faith. He is often favorably credited by students with enabling them to see and express their own faith with a new and articulate lexicon, an ability that also grows out of Fagerberg’s presentation of eastern liturgical and ascetical theology.
Fagerberg manages the classroom with an easy, reserved, and fraternal style. He always allows and encourages students to ask questions, and engages thoughtfully with expressed opinions. Through his expert management of the Sakai platform, Fagerberg affects an admirable degree of enfranchisement and exchange of ideas between and among his students. His classroom style is engaging and humorous, and his lectures are never boring; his demeanor occasionally borders on contemplative. He models for students an exemplary synthesis between theology as academic discipline and theology as mode of living out the Christian faith, underscoring how students’ studies ought to enliven, enrich, and illuminate their entire lives of faith.
Robert M. Gimello
- Noted scholar
- Specialist in Buddhism
- Serious Catholic deeply concerned about mission of the university
Professor Robert Gimello is a Research Professor of Theology and East Asian Languages & Cultures. He is a noted “historian of Buddhism with special interests also in the Theology of Religions and in Comparative Mysticism.” He has participated in the ongoing Buddhist-Christian dialogue and he is “concerned chiefly with the question of what Catholic theology can, or should, or must make of Buddhism.” Professor Gimello taught at Harvard before coming to Notre Dame, and he is a past president of the Society for the Study of Chinese Religion.
Despite his assignment as a Research Professor, Gimello offers undergraduate courses in “Religion and the Visual Arts, in Christianity and Buddhism” and “Christianity and the Challenge of Buddhism.” Professor Gimello’s profound knowledge of Buddhism is on display in these courses, which should appeal to students who want to study religion from a comparative perspective. The reading material for these courses is well selected and students emerge from the course knowing more about their own faith by having studied other religious paths. Gimello normally has the assistance of a competent TA, which can be a benefit as Gimello can occasionally confuse appointment times.
Fr. Kollman also serves for the Director of the Center for Social Concerns.
- Specialist in social and cultural history of early Christianity
- Fine undergraduate teacher
- Teaches Foundations of Theology courses
Professor Blake Leyerle specializes in the social and cultural history of early Christianity. She has a strong reputation as a teacher on both the graduate and undergraduate levels in the Theology Department. Much of her teaching, however, is focused on the graduate level where she offers the “Patristic Seminar” and other important courses. Nonetheless, she has a fine reputation as an undergraduate teacher and has received a Kaneb Award for her teaching at this level. She is an engaging teacher who can aid her students to understand well the experience of those who lived in the early centuries of the Christian era. She teaches very much from a historical rather than a theological perspective. But students will benefit in their own knowledge of theology by studying with her. She is a kind and understanding professor who teaches not only the introductory theology course––Foundations––but also offers this course at the honors level for students in that program.
- Specializes in U.S. Latino spirituality and the intersection of culture and religion
- Kind and humble professor whose mentorship many students enjoy
Tim Matovina specializes in U.S. Catholic and U.S. Latino spirituality and the intersection of culture and religion, an expertise that he hones as Executive Director of the Institute for Latino Studies. He teaches popular courses on Marian Latino spirituality, Latino spirituality, and Catholic teaching on Mary, and his students never fail to praise his kindness and humility. A solid teacher, deeply invested in his students, and a supporter of the university’s Catholic mission, Professor Matovina is a favorite among students of theology and American religious studies.
Monsignor John Meier
- Noted Scripture scholar
- Author of the five volume study A Marginal Jew
- New Testament specialist
- Priest of the Archdiocese of New York
Msgr. John Meier is one of the noted Scripture scholars of his generation. He is well known for his five-volume work A Marginal Jew. Msgr. Meier is noted for his interests in the historical Jesus and the Gospel of Matthew. He is involved with a number of scholarly journals and has received numerous awards and recognitions for his work.
Msgr. Meier is well known in the Theology Department for his graduate teaching on “The Gospel of John” and “The Gospel of Matthew” as well as his New Testament seminar at the doctoral level. But he also teaches at the undergraduate level and is known for his courses on “One Jesus and His Many Portraits” and “The Historical Jesus.” Students will learn much from taking a class with this master scholar. Msgr. Meier makes every effort to reach out to his students and to “speak their language.” His knowledge of popular culture is surprisingly extensive and he deploys it effectively in his teaching. Students who have had a solid Foundations course and who are prepared to engage in the serious study of Jesus from a historical-critical method will benefit from Msgr. Meier’s courses.
- Systematic theologian
- Catholic intellectual
- Devoted teacher committed to the study of theology at Notre Dame
Professor Francesca Murphy is an important systematic theologian whose interests are wide ranging and include theological aesthetics, theology and the arts, and ecclesiology. She is also an expert commentator on the works of such great theologians as Hans Urs von Balthasar, Henri de Lubac, and Pope Benedict XVI (Joseph Ratzinger). Professor Murphy is also deeply interested in the place of theology in a true Catholic education and has made an important contribution to debates at Notre Dame on this subject. See her article in First Things “Freedom within the Disciplines: On the Perils of Goal Based Education.”
Professor Murphy teaches important classes at the graduate level, most notably her course on “Faith, Reason, and the Church,” but she is also noted for her undergraduate teaching––in particular she regularly offers courses in the college seminar program. The titles give some hint of their interesting content, e.g., “What is a Person?” and “Is Comedy Good?” She has also offered courses on “Love in Christian Theology” and “Christ the Beautiful.” Some students are initially struck by Professor Murphy’s distinctive British accent and charming eccentric manner, but they soon grow to treasure these characteristics as they appreciate the depth of her faith and learning and her generosity in seeking to share with them. She is highly recommended for students who wish to study with an excellent scholar of wide ranging interests.
- Engaging and personable lecturer
- Director, Center for Liturgy
- Ties Catholic teaching and tradition into contemporary issues
- Pastoral figure who connects well with students
Tim O’Malley is a professional specialist who teaches courses for the Institute for Church Life (ICL)’s ND Vision program and foundations courses. He specializes in a historical-theological approach to liturgical studies, in liturgical homiletics (with an emphasis on Augustinian thought), and in the biblical and liturgical foundations of Christian doctrine. He is also the director of the ICL’s Center for Liturgy.
O’Malley is an engaging, energetic, and personable lecturer who connects well with students and ably connects Catholic teaching and tradition with contemporary pastoral and intellectual questions. His syllabi are substantive and O’Malley fosters fruitful classroom discussion with and among his students. He commonly meets with students to discuss their questions about material and their faith, and, through his work with the ICL, O’Malley is a pastoral figure to many. He truly views his teaching as his vocation and gives himself fully to it.
- Philosopher-theologian who teaches courses on modern theological traditions and the intersection of continental philosophy with Catholic theology
- Excellent lecturer, with particularly dry Irish humor
- Always invites and takes questions
- Syllabi typically feature heavy reading assignments but written assignments are very manageable
Cyril O’Regan “specializes in systematic and historical theology. He has specific interests in the intersection of continental philosophy and theology, religion and literature, mystical theology, and postmodern thought.” Trained as a philosopher, O’Regan ably synthesizes theological and philosophical concepts in an elevated, humorous manner, a project that culminates in one of the most challenging of undergraduate theology courses, “Christian Traditions II.”
O’Regan is a brilliant lecturer whose capacity for balancing, exploring, and reciprocally elucidating complex and modern theological topics invites consistent student attention. His syllabi are challenging and full; his assignments, while manageable, ask of students deep engagement with varied and often unfamiliar texts. The fruit of such steadfast engagement in any of O’Regan’s courses is an ability to bring together some dominant theological and philosophical narratives and ideals into an intelligent and holistic rendering of faith, especially faith in the modern world.
O’Regan encourages a strong dialectic in the classroom between himself and students, and among students. His lecturing style is engaging and at times simply enjoyable, and not just because of his Irish accent.
O’Regan makes himself available to students via office hours, and is happy to meet with students outside the classroom to answer questions and carry on classroom-inspired discussions. His profound knowledge of the faith, and his regular on-campus speaking engagements, are gifts to the university community and to all students seeking an integrated, informed understanding the Catholic faith and its relationship vis-à-vis modernity and other Christian denominations and faith traditions in the western world.
- Specialist in Catholic Social Teaching
- Committed to pacifism and non-violence
- Deeply involved in the Catholic Worker movement
Professor Margaret Pfeil is a triple Domer. She holds a joint appointment in the Department of Theology and in the Center for Social Concerns. She studied government and international studies at the undergraduate level, but then completed her doctoral work in Moral Theology/Christian Ethics. She is a specialist in Catholic Social Thought and has given attention in her writing to the spirituality of non-violence. Pfeil is a co-founder of the St. Peter Claver Catholic Worker House in South Bend and she also helps run Our Lady of the Road Center, which provides day-time care and facilities for the homeless. She lives out the Catholic Worker philosophy of nonviolence and care for the poor with true integrity. Professor Pfeil offers courses in Catholic Social Teaching and in “Discipleship: Loving Action.” She also has offered more specialized courses in “Non-violence” and in “Sustainability.” These are courses where she relates the principles of Catholic Social Teaching to lived realities and action in the world. Students who want to engage Catholic social thinking with someone who seeks to live it out in a direct fashion should take a course with Pfeil. They will be both stimulated and challenged.
- Catholic scholar specializing in Islamic studies and Islamic and Christian theology
- Charismatic and energetic teacher
- Connects easily with students
- Active participant in campus Catholic culture
Gabriel Reynolds is an expert in Islamic studies in theology and interreligious relations, historic and contemporary, between Islam and Christianity. Reynolds has contributed to numerous Islamic and Christian journals and reviews, an expertise that Reynolds brings into his courses on various dimensions of Islam and Christianity.
Reynolds is a charismatic and energetic teacher whose ability to connect with students makes him a popular theology professor. The import and salience of Reynolds’s scholarship for contemporary Christians in western society draws many students, of theology and Arabic but also of other disciplines, into his courses. His ability to instill in students a literacy in the history and content of Islam is unmatched at Notre Dame.
Reynolds is communicative via email and is happy to speak with students and field their questions.
Fr. Sandberg’s primary appointment is in the Center for Social Concerns, but he is an concurrent professor in Theology.
Joseph P. Wawrykow
- Specialist in the theology of Thomas Aquinas
- Director of doctoral program in Theology Department
- Serious scholar and teacher
Professor Joseph Wawrykow is a well-known scholar of the theology of Thomas Aquinas. He is engaged on a book length study of the Christology of Aquinas. He presently directs the Doctoral Program in Theology and a considerable amount of his efforts are devoted to teaching and administrative work in this program.
He does offer some courses on the undergraduate level, most notably his course on “Aquinas, Faith, and Wisdom.” This course “offers a theological introduction to the main teachings of the Christian faith through the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas.” Students interested in developing their knowledge of this great theologian should study with Wawyrkow whose expertise on Aquinas is unquestioned. Wawyrkow can occasionally appear rather stretched and busy because of the range of his duties, but he is committed to his students and provides a valuable course.
- Director of University Writing Center
- Described by students and tutors as kind, thoughtful, inviting, thoughtful
- Teaches first-year writing courses and also trains Writing Center tutors
Matthew Capdevielle is the director of the University Writing Program and studies rhetorical theory and composition pedagogy. Although he teaches courses mainly for freshman (“Writing and Rhetoric”), he exerts a wider influence through his work with the Writing Center as the trainer of student writing tutors. Capdevielle encourages and supports his students’ ideas (such as wanting to start a discussion circle at the Writing Center or present at a conference), and he often stays at the Writing Center late in the evening to meet with students and help them with their papers or just to chat.
Students who work with him take notice of his professional and personal virtues, saying that he takes his job very seriously, is kind, thoughtful, pays attention to details, intentional, and inviting—for example, he invites Writing Center staff to his house every year around Christmas time to sing carols and enjoy each other’s company. His Catholic faith shines forth in his good ministry and dedication to students, whether in the classroom or in the Writing Center.