Professor Recommendations for Spring 2020

That time of year has come once again. The decisions involved in class registration hold particular importance in university life for multiple reasons, not only to fulfill requirements and ensure timely graduation, but also to shape the kinds of ideas we feed ourselves throughout our time here, which will greatly impact how we live and who we will be in the future.

The question of what types of knowledge are most important for students to learn has repeatedly arisen within the Notre Dame community, especially throughout the process of the Core Curriculum Review. It is a question that remains relevant both on the greater university scale and on the individual scale. For students, a key component in discerning what fields of study to pursue is the professors who instruct them. Concerning the role of professors, Pope Saint John Paul II writes in Ex Corde Ecclesiae, “Christians among teachers are called to be witnesses and educators of authentic Christian life … All teachers are to be inspired by academic ideals and by the principles of authentic human life.” With both freedom and responsibility, professors must seek to fulfill these duties—especially at Catholic university such as Notre Dame—and students must seek their proper guidance.

In order to help students get the most out of their Notre Dame education, the Rover staff presents the following course recommendations for the Spring 2020 semester. For further resources, contact the Rover or view


Rover advisor Laura Hollis will be teaching “Business Law: Contracts and Agency” and “Introduction to Entrepreneurship.”

Prof. Hollis’s classes are always super engaging, and get you thinking about business in a different way. Her background and experience in law open up new interests for students who may never have considered law before, and her teaching style is very interactive, both asking and answering questions throughout the class. Her class, while fun, is not exactly easy, which is great for students looking for a real opportunity for intellectual and personal growth. Prof. Hollis is also an advisor to the Rover, so cares deeply about the Catholic mission of Notre Dame and incorporates it into her courses. 

Rover advisor Dean Martijn Cremers and Craig Iffland will be teaching “Corporate Governance & Catholic Social Teaching.”  

Prof. Cremers is a real treasure for ND, and as Dean of Mendoza, he’s ensuring that studying business does not require missing out on Catholic formation. In this course, finance majors will get an important sense of how their field is linked to the social teaching of the Church. If you’re tired of having finance be seen as a greedy money-grabbing field, jump into this class and learn how it can be a great force for good.

His co-teacher, Craig Iffland, is deeply knowledgeable of the Catholic moral tradition, and a fantastic instructor. Both he and Prof. Cremers let their faiths animate their professional lives, and take an active role in forming students in a comprehensive way.

Not teaching this semester but always recommended are Rover advisor Margot Cleveland and Carl Ackermann.


Aldo Tagliabue will be teaching “Homer” and “Encountering the Divine in Greek, Roman, and Biblical Stories.” 

Prof. Tagliabue, apart from being a skilled Hellenist, is a uniquely dedicated professor. Whether you run into him at either 8am daily Mass, or studying alongside students on the second floor of Hesburgh Library, he’ll almost always greet you with an encouraging smile and with time to chat. He is very passionate about helping each of his students grow in almost every sense, and has an especially good focus on language study. 


Rover advisor Kirk Doran will be teaching “The Economics of Innovation and Scientific Research.

Doran is an accomplished economist and in class, he illustrates complex concepts with simple, humorous examples. He is a thoughtful professor who holds extensive office hours, takes time to get to know his students, and genuinely cares about their success in his class. An advisor for the Rover, Prof. Doran is a committed Catholic and understands his profession as extending beyond the classroom, and into a wider community of formation. 


Michael Seelinger is teaching “Mechanics I”, “Mechanics II”, and “Introduction to Engineering Systems II.”

Prof. Seelinger may as well be the best teacher in the engineering department. One of the few full-time teaching (no research) professors at ND, he is dedicated to helping students learn the material easily, and is intentional about meeting students where they’re at. He’s very approachable, really cares about his students, and takes an active role in forming students beyond the sphere of the classroom. 


Fr. Greg Haake, C.S.C. will teach “Advanced Composition: Art of Writing, Art of Interpretation, and France: Atelier.”

A Holy Cross priest, Fr. Greg is a wise man who has an intense love for French and its history. No doubt, in his classes discussions of classic French writings will arise and the rich religious history of the Eldest Daughter of the Church will be experienced. Fr. Greg is a wonderful example of faith on campus, serving not only as a professor of French but also as priest-in-residence in Zahm House. He also aids the Children of Mary, a Catholic club on campus, as one of the priests who offers Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form for them.


Matias Sur will teach “Beginning Italian II.” 

Don’t miss an opportunity to take a class with Matias! A Master’s student studying Dante, his passion for Italian language, culture, and literature is only surpassed by his dedication to his students. He fills the room with optimism, which is a big help for students in overcoming the natural self-consciousness that comes with learning a new language. Matias puts his relationship with Christ at the center of his work, and the fruits of that are very visible — an exceptional teacher. 


Rover advisor Nicholas Teh will be teaching “Philosophy Gateway Seminar.”

You’ll be pressed to find a more cheerful professor at Notre Dame than Prof. Teh  (and a philosopher, at that!). An advisor to the Rover, Prof. Teh cares deeply about the Catholic mission of Notre Dame, and sees his role as much more than a transmitter of knowledge. He takes an active role in the holistic formation of students, and is an amazing guy to talk to about pretty much anything. Not to mention that his bread and butter—philosophy of science and mathematics—is a very rare find these days. 

Sean Kelsey will be teaching “Aristotle,” and “Philosophy University Seminar.”

If you’re looking for an intellectually serious class, a passionate professor, and a solid grounding in the Platonic/Aristotelian tradition, you can’t miss an opportunity to take a class with Prof. Kelsey. His classes are always a great balance between student discussion and professorial guidance — Prof. Kelsey is very intentional about his vocation, and passionate about teaching undergraduates. In addition to being a fantastic teacher, he is a committed Catholic and an available mentor. 

Therese Cory will be teaching “Medical Ethics.”

Prof. Cory is an exceptional teacher, and a brilliant academic. Recently appointed to the Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas, she is steeped in the Catholic philosophical tradition, and cares deeply about the formation of her students. She is also very involved in campus life and is committed to Notre Dame’s Catholic mission. Whether you’re considering medicine as a career or not (but especially if you are!), this will be a very fruitful class!

Political Science

Rover advisor James D. Philpott will be teaching “Catholicism & Politics” and a “USEM: The Politics of Global Religious Freedom” 

Professor Philpott, apart from being a leading scholar in global religious freedom, is among the most committed professors at Notre Dame. A longtime advisor to the Rover, he cares deeply for ND’s Catholic mission and places faith at the core of all he does (you’ll always find him at Stinson-Remick’s 8am daily Mass). He is a great communicator, makes you excited about the class, and is very available for office hours. Taking his class is bound to be a game-changer for your college career.

Susan Collins is teaching “Foundations of Constitutional Order: Political Philosophy of Citizenship & Constitutional Government.”

Professor Collins is a leading Aristotle scholar (she translated the Nicomachean Ethics) and is back to teaching after working on a book project. She’s an excellent teacher, and her course next semester will serve as the gateway course for the popular and highly recommended Constitutional Studies minor. 

Mary Keys will be teaching “USEM: Politics & Religion of J.R.R. Tolkien” and graduate seminar “Augustine and Political Thought.”

Professor Keys provides her students with a deeply principled understanding of politics and its various philosophical underpinnings. Combining a relatable lecturing style with plentiful input from class discussions, Keys effectively communicates the themes of the edifying readings and films she assigns. Her class is recommended for those who are interested in engaging rigorous philosophical thought with the purpose of understanding the nature of politics in light of Church teaching. 

Not teaching this semester, but always recommended are Rover advisors Vincent Phillip Muñoz and Patrick Deneen.

Program of Liberal Studies

Thomas Stapleford is teaching “Fundamental Concepts of Natural Science (Nat. Sci. I).”

Prof. Stapleford’s PLS tutorials are always a perfect balance between student discussion and his own instruction, making for very engaging classes. A fellow of the deNicola Center for Ethics and Culture, Prof. Stapleford is committed to Catholic liberal arts education — whether its explaining Aristotle or reminding you to prioritize real learning over grades, he understands the human person as one oriented towards something beyond the immediate material circumstances. Don’t miss a chance to take his class!

Felicitas Munzel is teaching “Metaphysics and Epistemology” and “Great Books Seminar VI.”  

Prof. Munzel is not for someone hoping to breeze by the PLS philosophy tutorials — she’s for those who really want to dig deep into the texts, discuss their intricacies, read and re-read them with care, and inch ever closer to the truth. In other words, she’s a student’s professor. Very aware of the common traps philosophy classes fall into, Prof. Munzel always spends significant time explaining the central concepts of the difficult texts, and encourages questions from students. Not afraid to call balls and strikes within the student discussions, Prof. Munzel is a refreshingly strong guide through the scary paths  that philosophy entails.. 


Rover advisor John Cavadini will be teaching “The Catholic Faith.” 

Rover advisor John Cavadini is teaching a course that fulfills the second university requirement for theology. “The Catholic Faith” is centered around the Catechism and is enriched by a variety of primary sources. Cavadini is a thoroughly engaging teacher who offers clear and relevant explanations filled with analogies and stories. His clear love for the Church and for his students will make this class worthwhile for any student hoping to teach the faith or just engage it further. 

Rover advisor Fr. Terry Ehrman, C.S.C. will be teaching “Theology and Ecology” and “Science, Theology, & Creation.”  

Fr. Terry’s 200-level course, “Science, Theology, and Creation,” fulfills the second university requirement in theology, and more importantly, provides a unique cross section of disciplines through which to study theology . An accomplished biologist with an extensive knowledge of Church teaching, Fr. Terry seamlessly weaves the two together in discussions that demonstrate the natural relationship between faith and reason. Fr. Terry is a Holy Cross priest, an active member of deCEC community, as well as an advisor to the Rover, so certainly places student formation  and faith at the center of his teaching. 

Sr. Ann Astell will be teaching “From Bernard to Bernadette: The Dogma of the Immaculate Conception.”  

Sister Ann is a scholar of medieval literature, spirituality, and the history of Christianity.  This course is especially recommended for students looks for a compelling second theology, or who are interested in Mariology.  Sr. Ann’s extremely personable approach also makes her a fan favorite among theology majors.  

Fr. Paulinus Odozor will be teaching “Human Sexuality and Christian Marriage” and  “African Literature and the Moral Imagination.”

Given that most ND students are preparing—consciously or not—for marriage, classes like Fr. Paulinus’ are too rare indeed! Work through official Church teachings, scriptural documents, modern difficulties and debates, as well as the pastoral elements of marriage and sexaulity with a fantastic professor who cares deeply about the Church and the formation of students. Originally from Nigeria, his experience of African Catholicism and culture are also a treasure which Notre Dame students can dive into through his class on African literature and morality. 

John O’Callaghan and Fr. Brian Daley will be teaching “Augustine and Aquinas on Knowing God.”

How are we supposed to come to know God? He’s a mystery. He became man so that we might become like Him, yes, but at the end He’s a mystery. How we can think and speak about God intelligently and how we come to know Him in our own lives is really important, but these things are challenging. This joint philosophy-theology seminar, taught by two outstanding professors, seeks to help students with these challenges by giving them the resources of two of the greatest thinkers in the Tradition: Augustine and Aquinas. 

Fr. Khaled Anatolios will be teaching “The Trinity.” 

A Melkite priest, Fr. Anatolios provides the opportunity for students to experience the second-lung of the Church, the Eastern Lung. Fr. Anatolios is a profoundly wise man with an incredible grasp of the Scriptures and Church Fathers. His classes are like tiny journeys of faith: they are not always easy, but they are always rewarding. His classes are always geared towards increasing his students’ knowledge of the Faith and, in doing so, help them along their own personal journeys to the Lord.

David Fagerberg will be teaching “Liturgical Theology.”

Himself a convert to the Catholic faith, Professor Fagerberg offers a unique perspective to students regarding the studies of liturgy and Catholic theology. Liturgical theology is one of his main areas of expertise, but he will no doubt share with you some of his other interests like his “good friend Gilbert (G.K. Chesterton)” or his beloved C.S. Lewis. He has a wonderful pedagogy revolving around not only filling up a student’s bucket of knowledge but also giving him a bigger bucket which he can continue to fill throughout his life. His fun jokes and anecdotes keep you engaged and make you never want to miss a word.

Christian Smith is teaching “Environment, Food, & Society.” 

Christian Smith is a pre-eminent scholar on the sociology of religion.  Many students will already be familiar with him through exposure to his work in other classes, such as Lost in Transition, Young Catholic America, and Soul Searching.  Any opportunity to study with him will be time well spent.  


Always recommended are Rover advisors Gerard Bradley, Rick Garnett, and Nicole Garnett.