In addition to the proposed expansion of Notre Dame Stadium and the construction of a new academic building to be named in honor of Father Jenkins, CSC, the University of Notre Dame administration is considering plans for a new college to stand alongside the present five—the School of Global Affairs.
University Provost Thomas G. Burish announced the plans in a letter to the faculty dated April 19, 2013, which outlined a rationale for the creation of another academic branch within the university.
“A new School of International [Global] Affairs is one way through which our global aspirations could be advanced, as they have at many other top research universities,” Burish wrote.
The letter also summarized the findings of the International Affairs Working Group, a faculty committee assigned to assess the feasibility of the new school.
“Above all, they recognized a distinctive Notre Dame vision and curricular niche that could address problems facing humanity, the advantages of creating a ‘whole that is greater than the sum of its parts’ in international affairs, the positive effects on associated departments, and the potential to transform Notre Dame into an even more international university than it already is,” Burish further wrote.
Planning an entirely new school involves questions of funding, curriculum content and faculty. Dr. R. Scott Appleby, the Director of the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, has been working through these questions as director of academic planning for the proposed School of Global Affairs.
“We are very early in the process of discussing and designing curriculum for the School,” Appleby explained. “We would likely start with an undergraduate supplementary major in Global Affairs, which would include a rigorous language requirement, a capstone seminar, and likely some kind of internship opportunity or requirement.”
Appleby does not anticipate that the new School will take over any areas of study in the College of Arts and Letters. “Rather, the School and the College will work closely together to create a series of courses that will be taught by professors in the College and by new faculty appointments to the School,” Appleby said.
Appleby foresees the School of Global Affairs collaborating closely with the institutes on campus that currently engage with international issues.
“The Kellogg Institute for International Studies and the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies will be pillars of the new School, and they will work closely together, integrating development, democracy and peace studies,” Appleby said. “These two large institutes will collaborate on new projects within the School, especially ones engaging Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa.”
“In addition, the other international institutes—Keough-Naughton, Nanovic and Liu—will lend additional regional expertise to the School—in Ireland, Europe and Asia, respectively,” he continued.
Father Bill Miscamble, CSC, Professor of History at Notre Dame, recognizes the importance of cooperation among the new School and the university’s international institutes, but he also sees a need for a distinguished mission informed by Catholic social teaching.
“There are plenty of Schools of International Affairs in the U.S. and hardly the need for another one unless it has a distinct focus and purpose,” Fr. Miscamble said. “This will be a key challenge for the planned school at Notre Dame. Will it be able to integrate comprehensively into its endeavors a distinct Catholic approach that supports and aligns with the broad mission of the university? “
Within this network of international studies, the School does promise to bring its own specialization: a focus on the role of religion in global affairs.
“The School will educate and train professionals for the purpose of advancing integral human development — a model for human flourishing articulated in Catholic Social Teaching,” Appleby said. “In keeping with Notre Dame’s mission to place scholarship in service to the common good, the School will specialize in the design and implementation of effective responses to poverty, war, disease, political oppression, and other threats to human security and human dignity.”
In the area of finances, the April 2013 Feasibility Report stated, “the total estimated cost of the School, calculated at full capacity, ranges between two to two and one-half million dollars annually and would require an endowment fund of fifty to sixty million dollars.” This figure does not include the capital costs for constructing facilities, which Appleby said would be housed in the newly announced Father Jenkins Hall to be built on the south side of campus.
While the time frame for the School of Global Affairs remains in development, the Feasibility Report projected that an entering class of 20 first-year graduate students would begin their studies in 2016. For undergraduate studies, the initiation of the supplementary major has yet to be decided.
Earning a degree through the new School would prepare students for careers in global public service, primarily working through non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and non-profit organizations. The Feasibility Report also discussed the possibility of joint degrees with business, law, engineering, or with PhD programs in disciplines such as economics, political science, or sociology, which would make important contributions to the career prospects of graduates of the School.
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