More than 400 Notre Dame faculty members gathered Friday (Nov. 12) with administrators, staff and students to present and hear about 100 bold ideas in phase three of the University’s “Moment to See, Courage to Act” (MSCA) initiative.
The purpose of the MSCA initiative, launched last spring, is to “engage the University community as active participants in a journey of reflection, exploration, interdisciplinary collaboration and bold thinking about the future of Notre Dame,” Marie Lynn Miranda, the Charles and Jill Fischer Provost of the University, wrote in a letter to faculty in August. “This initiative is designed to elicit, directly from the faculty, creative and innovative ideas for energizing Notre Dame’s future.”
In welcoming remarks at Friday’s symposium, Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., said: “First and foremost, thanks to everyone for the work you put into developing these proposals. Your engagement will be critical in charting the course for research and scholarship at Notre Dame in the next decade. We will soon begin a University-wide strategic planning process, and these proposals will inform the decisions we will make.
"Secondly, I commend the focus on research that contributes to a more just society, to human flourishing and to the flourishing of all creation. To paraphrase a line from the late Gen. Colin Powell, ‘Mission is a force multiplier.’ One of the great strengths of Notre Dame is the moral framework that comes with our Catholic mission. It enables us to speak of the larger moral purposes of our work, and engenders a deeper commitment to that work. Thank you for letting that framework shape our work here at Notre Dame."
As an integral part of the University’s approach to its next strategic planning process, the presentations last week focused on the question of “What big endeavors should Notre Dame undertake?” The 106 presentations involving more than 700 faculty members were each delivered in three minutes or less. Major themes included:
- Opportunities afforded by the pandemic
- Diversity, inclusivity and belonging
- Disparities and inequities
- Community and University engagement
- Translating knowledge to impact
- Trust, facts and commitment to truth
- Seeing our students
- Technology and the digital divide
- Climate and sustainability
- Student diversity
- Cross-college collaborations and multidisciplinary initiatives
- Democratic values and ethical social policy
- Reinvention of the core curriculum
- Teaching and learning innovation
Working together in teams, faculty were encouraged to dream big and not consider budgetary constraints or logistical hurdles. “We may be able to act immediately on some … ideas using resources within the Provost’s Office,” Miranda wrote in her August letter. “Others will be incorporated into the strategic planning process.”
Brief proposal summaries are available at https://provost.nd.edu/about/provosts-initiatives/moment-to-see-courage-to-act/msca-symposium/#summaries.