Group praises ACE, Career Center

first_imgStudent Senate heard about opportunities with Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) program and passed resolutions about excused absences at Wednesday night’s meeting. Sarah Greene, from the ACE program, spoke about her experience teaching high school English. “I was an English major here at Notre Dame and went on to teach high school English in Mobile, Ala., for the ACE program,” Greene said.  “ACE is a great option for teaching since it’s just two years and includes a Master of Education degree. Plus it prepares students well for teaching in Catholic schools.” Greene saw this as an excellent opportunity for members of Senate because of their interest in leadership. “Teaching really cultivated my own leadership skills, and I know that’s something you’ve been working to develop,” Greene said. “I encourage you to share those gifts, give them back to students in need. I just wanted to come and thank you for the service you do and let you know that we are located in Carole Sandner Hall. We have ample study space and plenty of smiling faces to welcome you.’ After thanking Greene for her information, the group invited sophomore Max Brown from the department of academic affairs to introduce two resolutions dealing with excused absence policies. “The first issue we wanted to tackle is that regarding professional development,” Brown said. “A lot of times you have to interview for post-graduate opportunities or internships and the Career Center can help students get those excused absences. There are a lot of ways to get one for an interview, but essentially all of those excused absences are only for seniors. Specifically in today’s environment it is really important for undergrads to get those opportunities too.” The group unanimously voted in favor of this resolution, and Brown expressed his approval. “I’m really glad you passed that last resolution. I think that it is really important for a lot of us in this room,” Brown said. Secondly, Brown introduced a resolution concerning the class absence policy regarding death. “Currently, when a loved one passes away it is very difficult to get an excused absence unless they are part of an immediate family,” Brown said. “That doesn’t seem to fit the bill for instances that demonstrate extenuating circumstances where the University should allow students to get excused absences. So we decided to add the ambiguous term ‘loved one’ to this section of du Lac.” Class of 2015 president Tim Scanlon asked how they came up with the specific addition of the term “loved one” in this resolution. “We really thought a lot about how to define this. There are a lot of circumstances and it’s hard to define and name them all.  We are using ‘loved one’ so that the definition is at the discretion of the administration,” Brown said. “What it allows the administrators to do is to give students an excused absence even when the death is not an immediate family member but still someone very close. Also, they feel that they can have the power to ensure that this policy is not being abused.” Every Senate member also voted in favor of the resolution. Student body vice president Katie Rose updated the group on last week’s discussion regarding the Career Center. “After our discussion last week I had two very good meetings with some people at the Career Center,” Rose said. “Both were ridiculously productive, and a lot of the issues you brought up are going to be addressed. Thank you for your feedback; they were very appreciative.” Chief of staff Katie Baker expressed her gratitude for the senators who worked for the Department of Gender Studies. “Thank you for all your hard work last week during sexual assault awareness week,” Baker said. “The Time to Heal dinner was really amazing.  I hope you guys were touched by it as much as we were.”last_img read more

Hackett highlights growth

first_imgIn preparation for meetings of the Advisory Board of the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, Ken Hackett, former president of Catholic Relief Services, and Ray Offenheiser, president of Oxfam America and 1971 Notre Dame graduate, presented suggestions for how Notre Dame can better contribute to human development worldwide. Hackett said Notre Dame’s Catholic faith should ground its international development efforts, especially in light of the Vatican’s emphasis on “New Evangelization.” “[New Evangelization is] about a new energy towards the revival of faith in the context of today’s culture,” Hackett said. At a Vatican synod concerning the topic, representatives from the Church around the world presented the issues most threatening to Catholic faith in their areas, such as secularization in North America and Europe and radical Islam and tribal conflicts in Africa, Hackett said. “As Notre Dame strives to evolve an international strategy that embodies the principles of Catholic Social Teaching and that creates linkages with the Church and other institutions, I would suggest that Notre Dame … has to take into consideration many of these views and realities that the Church has identified as part of the New Evangelization,” he said. To do so, Hackett said the Kellogg Institute should devote resources to researching non-traditional approaches to human development as well as to shaping public policy. In addition, the University as a whole should shift focus from many small, disparate programs in scattered regions of the world to a few big projects focused on particular regions. “Bring the whole University behind something and stick to it,” Hackett said. “Small projects don’t make an impact, and this University has the capability to have a major impact on human development” Hackett said a good example of this strategy is the Notre Dame Haiti Program, which draws on different strengths within Notre Dame to make an impact on a small geographic area. Offenheiser, stressed the complicated nature of human development and said it requires a complex response that reflects its nature, especially in today’s world. “In many ways, to simply define what human development is in today’s context, I would say perhaps it’s about states providing basic public goods to their citizens at scale, in education, health and perhaps environmental services,” he said. For Notre Dame to best address the many facets of human development, Offenheiser said the University must pick out its strengths and use them to effect change. He identified some of these strengths as the University’s Catholic faith, strong background in human rights and work with corporate responsibility. The University should also tailor its development efforts to empowering governments themselves and enabling communities to thrive on their own, he said. “Good development actually occurs when people own the process, think about, plan and own the process, taking risks as they do it, failing sometimes, but ultimately when they succeed, you get development on a secure course going forward,” Offenheiser said. Contact Tori Roeck at [email protected]last_img read more

Pope Benedict XVI bids final farewell

first_imgOn Wednesday, an estimated 150,000 people gathered in St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City to say goodbye to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in his final public address – and Notre Dame junior Eliza Nagle was among them. Nagle, who is studying abroad at John Cabot University in Rome, arrived at the Vatican at 8 a.m. Wednesday and waited three hours for former Pope Benedict to make his appearance. She went through a long line and tight security and finally squeezed in to find a seat for the address. “It was pretty amazing,” she said. “People were going crazy when he was going around in his little Pope-mobile. He was like a rock star.” Nagle described the atmosphere at Wednesday’s event as one of “gratefulness” and said people from the world over made the pilgrimage to the heart of the Roman Catholic Church to bid farewell to the former Pope Benedict. “People were excited to hear Benedict’s last words to the public,” Nagle said. “There were tons of flags and banners. I didn’t expect to see so many people traveling from so far away. People from all over the world, a lot from America. “The atmosphere was nothing like anything I have ever experienced. It was very emotional.” Pope Emeritus Benedict’s resignation, the first in six centuries by a pope, took effect 5 p.m. Central European Time on Thursday. While junior Kelsie Corriston, who is also spending the semester studying in Rome, was busy taking a midterm exam during Wednesday’s event, she said she was able to see former Pope Benedict leave the Vatican on Thursday evening. She said the Vatican was “super packed” as attendees watched on large video screens Pope Emeritus Benedict take a Mercedes to the back of the city, where he boarded a helicopter bound for his summer residence of Castel Gandolfo. Corriston said she was “surprised at how emotional” former Pope Benedict’s departure was from the Vatican. “We talked before how it was a joyous occasion because there would be a new pope, but it was actually kind of sad seeing him leave the Vatican,” she said. “I didn’t really expect it to be that moving.” Those who have made the trek to the Vatican to say a final goodbye to former Pope Benedict are eagerly snapping up memorabilia commemorating his time as Pope and the upcoming Papal Conclave, such as special stamps. “Everyone is trying to pick up the rosaries that [former Pope Benedict] has blessed before they sell out,” Corriston said. Corriston described the media presence the past few days as “insane” in Rome. Members of the international press have interviewed both her and Nagle. “They all want to interview us Americans,” Nagle said. “It’s just swamped everywhere, media crew everywhere.” In the next few weeks the College of Cardinals will meet in a papal conclave to select the next leader of the Catholic Church. Nagle said she will be well prepared for the signature white smoke and bells that signify a selection has been made. “I’m just going to be in my running clothes the whole week,” Nagle said. “As soon as I hear the bells, I am going to run, I am going to have my Notre Dame flag, and I am going to run down the streets with my Notre Dame flag. I think we can get there from wherever we are in the city pretty easy, but I am going to be fast.”last_img read more

Letras Latinas and Red Hen Press award inaugural prize

first_imgDan Vera, the inaugural winner of the Letras Latinas/Red Hen Poetry Prize, will perform a public poetry reading from his book “Speaking Wiri Wiri” on Wednesday night. Vera will also visit classes and contribute to the Latino Studies Oral History project, according to Francisco Aragon, director of Letras Latinas, the literary initiative within the Institute for Latino Studies.Vera published “Speaking Wiri Wiri”  in 2013. He said it consists mostly of stories about his family’s immigration from Cuba to South Texas.“It also has some poems that are really meditations on, I believe, what it means to be an American, what it means to be part of this larger narrative,” Vera said.Aragon said the Letras Latinas/Red Hen Poetry Prize was designed to support the publication of poets’ second or third books. “Speaking Wiri Wiri” is Vera’s second book of poems, according to his website.“It’s not easy to publish books of poetry,” Aragon said. “Many times, presses are really shy and reticent about publishing books of poetry because it’s not a big money maker.”Vera will visit two classes: “Latino/a Poetry Now,” taught by Aragon, and “Migrant Voices,” taught by Marisel Moreno, associate professor of Romance Languages and Literatures.Associate professor of English Orlando Menes served as the final judge of the prize. He said Vera is “a poet haunted by memory, haunted by place.”“Another person would have avoided this agonistic search for his roots — both linguistically and culturally — but Vera chose instead to persevere in connecting with his ancestral homeland,” Menes said.Aragon said the University brings writers like Vera to campus in large part to help students better understand poetry — in this case, Latino poetry.“Oftentimes poetry is viewed as this obscure, difficult subject matter, and I think that when students have the opportunity to meet and speak in the flesh with a living poet, it can demystify the art,” he said.Aragon said the reading of the poems out loud was crucial to further understanding, and that was part of the thought process behind having the public reading.“A poem does not reach its full potential until one hears it loud,” he said. “I’ve had the experience where students have actually come up to me afterward and said it wasn’t until actually hearing the poet read his or her work in person, that something really clicked even more so than just encountering the work on the page.”Vera said he looked forward to spending time with students and hoped they would begin to connect their own personal histories with literary expression.“I would like my time in these classes to be a reminder of the ways that poetry and writing in general can allow us to mine history,” he said. “Our own family histories can have as much to say about where we are as a society and as a country as our formal history.”Vera said he hopes he and the students he meets can discuss “questions about not only the ways in which language can hold us together as a society but also how it can inform our sense of plurality and the richness of what’s led us here and held us here.”He said “non-poetry people” could still enjoy the public reading.“Humor is something I really enjoy working with. Most people have a sense of poetry as extremely severe and gray, and it can be that … but it can also be damn funny. Life is a lot like that too,” Vera said.The reading will take place at 7:30 p.m. in 210 McKenna Hall, and it will be preceded by a reception at 6:15 p.m. in the East Lounge on the second floor of McKenna Hall.Tags: Dan Vera, Fracisco Aragon, Institute for Latino Studies, Letras Latinas, Poetrylast_img read more

Kate Bernheimer speaks on writing fairy tales

first_imgThe Creative Writing Program welcomed fairy tale author Kate Bernheimer on Wednesday evening as this week’s guest author.Joyelle McSweeney, the program director of the Creative Writing Program, said the program’s faculty chooses writers each week for their “interesting body of work and their interesting approach to writing.”Caroline Genco | The Observer This week’s author was selected by Professor Steve Tomasula, one of the directors of the Readings series the program sponsors. In his introduction of the author, he said Kate Bernheimer has been called “the master of the modern fairy tale.” Bernheimer is the author of “How a Mother Weaned Her Girl from Fairy Tales,” “The Complete Tales of Ketzia Gold” and other fairy tale novels and short-story collections.“I think of fairy tales as a kind of language that we know before we know language,” Bernheimer said. “I was drawn to them for their poetics. Not so much as ‘princess-gets-married stories,’ but as stories of survival above all.” Bernheimer said her interest in fairy tales started when she was a young child reading at her local public library.“For me, it was a safe haven,” she said. “I could walk there and read quietly to my heart’s content and … nobody bothered me.” Soon, Bernheimer said she was venturing into the adult section of the library and reading the Brothers Grimm and other fairy tales.She said her grandfather also influenced her love of fairy tales from a young age. “My maternal grandfather worked as a freelance publicist in Boston for Disney in the late ‘60s and ‘70s and he got to take home films,” Bernheimer said. The “technicolor madness” and aesthetic experience appealed to her as a child, she said.As a younger writer, Bernheimer said she was encouraged to write other genres.“I didn’t think of fairy tales as an art form. I was really encouraged to leave childish things behind and childhood and write what people considered to be ‘real’ stories,” she said.However, Bernheimer said, she was never able to shake free from the fairy tale writing form, despite never having been taught any fairy tale writing technique in school.Bernheimer said when she was working on her first novel, she stumbled upon a shelf of fairy tale scholarship. Bernheimer said this helped her finally embrace writing fairy tales.“What I wanted is what I always wanted when I was a kid at the library,” she said. “[I wanted] to enter a story and not be disparaged for the kind of story I liked … ”Bernheimer said she works to advocate for more acceptance of fairy tales through her own writing and through the work of others.She said fairy tales are often accused of being escapist stories, but she appreciates that aspect of them.“I love that they are accused of the very thing that they are about. … Let’s embrace the escapist because sometimes you do need to escape a bad situation. … I’m for escapism and the sometimes radical behavior it takes, and sure, a little bit of wishing for luck and for magic as well,” she said.Tags: fairy tales, kate bernheimerlast_img read more

Prayer service examines perceptions of assault

first_imgJust one day after the campus-wide launch of GreeNDot, an initiative committed to replacing violent and sexual injustices on campus with positive acts, students received an email Nov. 7 alerting them to a reported sexual assault. Students and other members of the Notre Dame community prayed for healing at the Grotto on Monday evening after this most recent report.Kathryne Robinson | The Observer “We are privileged to attend a school whose campus is beautiful in every season,” junior Natalie Vos said during the service. “But I think far too often people are in denial. They see the beauty of this campus and feel the sense of family on football weekends and focus on the positives of this campus. They feel so safe and at home that they cannot comprehend that such disgusting acts occur on this campus.”Vos said due to the busy lives many students lead, many find it hard to take a moment to put these issues in perspective and look at the situation around them.“We forget to look up at Mary in awe; we forget to look down at the rainbow of colorful leaves. We forget to look around at faces of people that we share this beautiful campus with,” she said.She said that the hectic nature of study and work at Notre Dame means the email alerts can be in danger of getting lost in the flurry of notifications that students are already receiving.“However, as we are sitting with our friends, we receive a notification on our phones and suddenly the Dome doesn’t shine as bright and the colors of the leaves seem a little more brown than red,” Vos said. “Too often we choose to ignore the pain because we don’t need any more stress in our lives … because we feel that the email does not affect us personally.”She said although many times people will not know the victim personally, there is a solidarity that comes with the victim being a person one has never met before but shares the same experiences as a Notre Dame student.“Sexual assault is more than that crime alert. It does not simply happen and then get forgotten. It destroys trust and hope,” she said.Senior Nicole McAlee said every occurrence of sexual violence on campus is a gross violation of the University’s values, and there is still more to be done.“It might take years, and it will require the conscious effort of every person on this campus,” she said. “Legislations, policy and rules will not fix this — people will.”Members of this shared community must stand in hopeful support of all survivors, McAlee said, and one step towards healing is reframing the conversation around sexual assault in a way that places responsibility on the whole of the community.“We are Notre Dame, and we are a powerful force of good in this world. We can change this. Be hopeful, be angry, be courageous,” McAlee said.Tags: greeNDot, Prayer service, sexual assault, sexual violence, the Dome, The Grottolast_img read more

Senate reviews impact of Worker Participation Committee

first_imgStudent Senate met Wednesday evening to listen to Bryan Ricketts, student body president, present on the history and current impact of the Worker Participation Committee. “The genesis of it actually started back in the 1990s. Fr. Malloy had us review our licensing procedures and basically said that we do not want to be doing sweatshop manufacturing,” Ricketts said.The decision resulted in the fact that Notre Dame would not manufacture any branded products in countries without freedom of association, Ricketts said.“What that came down to was a policy we call freedom of association — colloquially, it’s been called the ‘China policy,’ because that was the largest of the countries that it prohibited us from manufacturing in,” Ricketts said. “Freedom of association means that you are allowed to form unions — in your company, in your profession — and bargain for labor rights.”In 2013, Executive Vice President John Affleck-Graves led the movement to re-evaluate the licensing policies started during Fr. Malloy’s term, such as evaluating the moral standards the University should be upholding, Ricketts said.“No other university adopted a policy like this, over the 15 years that we had it,” Ricketts said. “We are not making anyone’s lives better in these countries by not being there. It’s a completely neutral policy.” To advise Affleck-Graves, the Worker Participation Committee was formed, with a fluctuating membership of 20 to 30 people, including faculty, staff and students, Ricketts said.According to Ricketts, the committee partnered with Verité, a firm that specializes in protecting labor rights, and developed 71 questions that encompass wholesome criteria for labor standards, from basic needs to aspirational needs, such as worker safety.Verité has traveled to China on behalf of Notre Dame to evaluate, through on-site and off-site visits to interview workers, six different factories that produce Notre Dame-branded goods, Ricketts said. After the design process, Verité works with licensers that produce the goods overseas in approved factories that Notre Dame does not directly interact with, Ricketts said. Alex Coccia and Lauren Vidal, past student body presidents, had collaborated with this committee and traveled to China in September 2014 with a smaller group to survey four out of the six factories Verité had originally visited, Ricketts said. After their visit, they brought their preliminary findings to the campus community, he said.“We sent Verité to two companies in four different countries where we already produce Notre Dame-branded goods and had them evaluate the companies with the same standards that we are using in China,” Ricketts said. Other goals include looking over the licensing code and increasing campus participation in the discussion, including forming a student subcommittee. According to Ricketts, the subcommittee will represent interested campus groups and academic departments.“A student subcommittee like this, who will be directly reporting to the executive vice president. … Nothing like this has ever been done before,” Ricketts said.Tags: China policy, freedom of association’, Verité, Worker Participation Committeelast_img read more

Dorms participate in hall food sales

first_imgIn addition to Reckers and various fast food restaurants on campus, students can turn to one of several residence-hall-sponsored eateries to satisfy cravings for anything from grilled cheese to freshly baked cookies.One of the most active dorms in the hall food sales trade is Knott Hall, which junior Matt Gambetta said in an email “boasts seven food sales businesses” available at different points throughout the week.“For nearly 17 years, Knott Hall has been providing food sales for its hungry residents and for the residents of Mod Quad — and now East Quad — primarily with its grilled cheese and pizza businesses,” Gambetta, the Knot Hall food sales commissioner, said. “Over the past few years, there was general discontent from Knott residents at the lack of food sales options on the weekends, so this year we’ve seen a vast expansion in Knott Hall Food Sales with the goal of becoming ‘the Reckers of the North.’”Knott Hall provides a wide array of food options, something Gambetta said the residents pride themselves on.“We have businesses that specialize in nachos, pizza bagels, Korean noodles, breakfast tacos, cookies, breakfast sandwiches and gourmet sandwiches,” he said. “Some of the offerings may change from semester to semester depending on demand from our residents and whether business owners wish to continue to operate, but we’re always proud to provide a diverse selection of offerings.”While most hall food businesses primarily serve their respective residents, Gambetta said Knott Hall also generates plenty of business through their delivery policy.“Our customer base is primarily Knott Hall, but most of our businesses will offer free delivery to the other Mod Quad and East Quad dorms as well,” he said. “We’ve even had orders delivered as far away as Welsh [Family Hall] by Knott Homemade Cookies, but I believe they charged a couple dollars for that delivery.”One of the more recent additions to the hall food sales scene is Fisher Hall’s Ellie’s Deli, which sophomore manager Mark Etzelmueller said was revived last year to serve a variety of grilled cheese sandwiches.“We serve a bunch of different types of grilled cheese sandwiches,” he said. “We’ve got normal grilled cheese, we’ve got it with ham and with bacon and jalapenos and we have a couple of non-cheese options. We’ve got a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a grilled nutella sandwich, and every once in a while we throw in some specials — we had a pizza night the other night.”Etzelmueller said Ellie’s Deli features the added touch of menu items being named after Fisher Hall residents — current or former.“They’ve all got their own names named after people who’ve worked here or are still here,” he said. “The bacon and cheese sandwich is called the Frad after our old rector, Fr. Brad [Metz]. We have a Broleck, named after Tony Oleck, an AR now over in Dunne who used to be here. It’s a good menu. I like how much we get to have unique kinds of meals named after different people that are easy to make and pretty cheap for everyone.”Another hall food business that uses a former resident as an inspiration is Yaz’s in Morrissey Manor. Sophomore co-owner Abe Mansour said the business started in 2001 and has been passed down from owner to owner.“I guess whoever started it decided to name it after a famous Morrissey resident — Carl Yastrzemski, who is a hall of fame baseball player,” he said. “He actually played basketball here for a couple years and lived in Morrissey, so they named it after him and it’s baseball-themed. As far as history goes outside of that, whoever owned it the year before keeps the new team up to date on traditions that they passed down.”Mansour said he and his friends decided to apply to take over Yaz’s because they felt they could improve the restaurant.“I guess we just thought that it was a cool thing to have in our dorm but it could’ve been better,” he said. “So second semester a group of us were like, ‘Hey, I think we should do this,’ and once we got it we’ve been working all year to make it the best it can be. Going forward it might be a little bit different with [new Morrissey rector Zack Imfeld], but as it stands it’s pretty much been a blank slate each year.”The Snack Shack in McGlinn Hall sells a variety of desserts, and sophomore co-commissioner Kelly McNeill said the profits benefit the hall’s signature charity.“It’s kind of just an extra way to raise money for our charity, St. Adalbert [School],” she said. “This year we’ve done anything from simple warm cookies after Mass to brownies, cupcakes, we also have a decorate-your-own-cookies event [and] when McGlinn had an ice-cream-sundae event we sold additional brownies because they wanted that to go with their ice cream sundaes.”McNeill said the business attracts mostly McGlinn residents due to its hours.“The timing of when we sell is after Mass and after our hall council meetings,” she said. “So that’s when we catch most people, and usually the people attending those events are just McGlinn residents. … The warm cookies after Mass are definitely the most popular, just because everybody is downstairs and they’re fresh.”In addition to Knott Hall, Fisher Hall, Morrissey Manor and McGlinn Hall, various other dorms around campus have their own food sales options.Editor’s Note: News Writers Lucas Masin-Moyer, Andrew Cameron and Alexandra Muck contributed to this report.Tags: dorms, food, grilled cheeselast_img read more

Course in medical ethics promotes community based learning

first_imgSaint Mary’s College professor Megan Zwart teaches Philosophy 255: Medical Ethics, a course dedicated to a better understanding of the moral issues that surround modern medicine, including euthanasia, abortion and patient-therapist relationships among others. The class was originally taught in traditional format, with students reading contemporary case studies and philosophical arguments and then discussing the ethical problems in class. More recently, however, it has become a personal learning experience that applies community engagement to in-class learning. With some of her students entering medical professional fields and all being consumers of healthcare, Zwart said she decided to integrate an experiential learning component that encourages community involvement with five field trips and a requirement of eight hours of service learning outside of class time. “I wanted to give students an opportunity to engage in experiential learning out in the community so they could see some of our ethical issues unfold in clinical settings,” Zwart said in an email. “I also wanted them to relate to healthcare professionals who make significant ethical decisions in the course of their everyday lives.” The five field trips take Saint Mary’s students to a care center for medically fragile children, a pediatric intensive care unit, a hospice facility and two nursing homes, Zwart said. While most students complete their eight hours of volunteer work at Healthwin, a long-term care and rehabilitation facility, others have worked at Hospice House, Memorial Hospital, A Rosie Place and other healthcare institutions. Though it is not required, most students spend their time with young children or the elderly, dedicating their time to the two sides of the age spectrum that arguably require the most patience, responsibility and compassion, Zwart said. “At the beginning of life and late in life, individuals are more likely to experience dependency and require medical care. Ethical questions about patient welfare, respecting patient autonomy and making complex decisions about medical interventions probably arise more frequently in these populations,” Zwart said.  “Older adults in particular are a fast-growing segment of our population, and so there are special considerations about how to provide them with dignified care and the opportunities to make decisions for themselves, especially in long-term care settings.” Zwart said she hopes students, pre-healthcare professionals or otherwise, leave her course with the ethical tools necessary for facing the complex moral questions that arise in their own lives. According to Zwart, many students who have completed Philosophy 255 felt more prepared for medical school interviews, having already tackled the trickiest of ethical questions in class and while volunteering.“I’ve also had former students tell me that in dealing with a sick parent or making a difficult decision about care, they thought back to our experiences, readings and discussions,” Zwart said.This course has also allowed SMC students to create lasting relationships in the local community, many of which continue even after the culmination of the class.“I think any opportunity to broaden your perspective by engaging with others who have different experiences than you do is an opportunity that will pay dividends later, in both your career and your life,” Zwart said.At Saint Mary’s College, students are given the skills needed to respond to the “complex needs and challenges of the contemporary world.” Technological advances in the field of medicine have transformed the face of healthcare, and they have subsequently introduced complicated moral questions. Zwart hopes that her course will help College students answer these questions with responsibility and compassion.“By equipping students with critical reasoning skills, helping them develop tools to investigate their own beliefs and engage with the views of others and giving them the opportunity to engage with healthcare providers and patients in our community, I hope the class helps prepare women to be engaged contributors to the world beyond Saint Mary’s,” Zwart said.Tags: medical ethics, Megan Zwart, philosophy classlast_img read more

University redesigns website home page

first_imgThe University of Notre Dame’s home page went live at 7 a.m. on Oct. 17 after undergoing almost a year’s worth of major changes in content and design made to better represent the University’s priorities and promote more University-centered storytelling.The changes were overdue, as the previous version of nd.edu had been launched six years ago in April 2012.“Six years is a long time in the web world,” Andy Fuller, Notre Dame’s director of strategic content, said. “Technology improves, trends change, things like that. And it’s actually been kind of a long time at the University as well.”Planning for the website’s redesign started in November 2017 as a collaborative effort between the strategic content team and the marketing and communications team, two branches of the University’s media team. These teams then reached out to communicators in different departments all over campus for feedback on what changes to make and what content to include. The entire project, including planning, development, design and content elements, were done by the University’s in-house teams.“It was an overall campus effort, and I think the site’s better as a result,” Fuller said.A core theme while redesigning website content was showcasing the University’s “pillars,” or key strategic priorities: research, internationalization and faith. On the older version of the site, research and internationalization were not represented at all, while the content for faith was outdated and failed to represent all the faith-related administrative changes that have occurred since the website’s last update.The new site has a menu bar on the top right corner with links to each of these pillars, called “Research,” “Global” and “Faith & Service.” Another entirely new section in the same menu bar is “Campus Life,” which aims to provide visitors to the site with easy access to a holistic view of what the undergraduate living experience is like at the University.“You think, ‘Most university websites have [sections on campus life], what’s the big deal,’” Fuller said. “Well, we didn’t have one.”From a design perspective, developers and designers had three priorities — balancing news storytelling and the Notre Dame brand, making the website identifiable as the University’s public front in the digital space and creating more accessible webpages.On the prior version of the site, the home page featured a large picture of the golden dome, a traditional symbol of the University. When designers decided to shift the site to a more news-based direction, they abandoned this model entirely.“The home page was totally redesigned, scaled back from what it was before,” Fuller said. “We think lending more real estate to a few key items really gives more prominence to them.”The new home page opens with a leading news story about the University. To further enhance storytelling features, webpages were designed to lead the eye from one item to the next using larger images and more white space.Multi-platform designer Taylor Packet also said the Notre Dame brand, the universal aesthetic that makes websites identifiable as belonging to Notre Dame, also underwent some fine-tuning. Nods to tradition remained in details like the types of serif fonts chosen, but the overall aesthetic was changed to be more contemporary.“It’s tradition, but modern,” Packet said.The site transitioned to a more external-facing site for University communications. Fuller said his team’s data scientist, using Google Analytics, noticed the campus community was using the nd.edu site to try to access internal resources, such as campus email or Sakai.“We felt like nd.edu is our primary external-facing communications tool digitally, and we wanted to move away from doing the job an internal-facing site would do,” he said. “So we got rid of those links and are now encouraging people to go to inside.nd.edu for all those things.”Finally, accessibility was a top design priority for the current iteration of the website. Erik Runyon, the technical director in the marketing communications team, spearheaded an effort to ensure the Notre Dame site would be accessible for those with visual impairments or disabilities. For instance, color contrasts for the website had to reach the AA level, a visual accessibility status designated by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), “an international community where Member organizations, a full-time staff and the public work together to develop Web standards” according to its website. AA level web design should be accessible enough to compensate for the loss in contrast sensitivity experienced by those with 20/40 vision, which is “commonly reported as typical visual acuity of elders at roughly age 80,” according to the W3C.Another accessibility feature added to the site was alt-text for all images. This is a short piece of text that concisely describes the image it is linked to, and it can be read by screen readers to give visually impaired users a sense of what the image is. A final accessibility feature is the ability to navigate the website using just the tab key, which eliminates the need for a mouse. This is useful for those with motor impairments whose limited range of motion makes it difficult navigate a mouse, and for those with visual impairments who cannot see where to click with a mouse.“We’re adding to the big conversation about how this campus needs to be more accessible,” Packet said. “So [these changes] are a big win for us. … We’re doing it because we believe everybody should be able to access a website.”Overall responses to the new website have been positive, Fuller said. In coming years, the University hopes to use the nd.edu site as a template for other University websites, including those for specific colleges, as well as the sites for each major and program under those colleges. The goal of this second phase, which has no projected date yet, is to expand the level of visual consistency across all Notre Dame sites.“The new site will allow us to give a more attractive front door to stories,” Fuller said. “Our structure and the way we go about [telling stories], and frankly, the quality of our work, sets us apart from other institutions.”Tags: nd.edu, new website, website upgradelast_img read more