Moreau First Year Experience expands; appoints inaugural faculty director


Moreau Seminar Story

The University of Notre Dame’s Moreau First Year Experience (FYE) course will soon transition to a much broader program to further establish the vision of a relational and integrated education and experience for undergraduate students at Notre Dame.

A partnership between the Office of Undergraduate Education and the Division of Student Affairs, the newly imagined Moreau Program is the result of informed recommendations from a committee of experts in student development and formation that also underscores the University’s second institutional goal of the recently launched Strategic Framework to “offer an unsurpassed undergraduate education that nurtures the formation of mind, body, and spirit.”

Consistent with the existing Moreau FYE framework, the new Moreau Program will continue to include an initial 1-credit reflective seminar in an undergraduate student’s first year at Notre Dame focused on perennial topics relevant to a life well-lived. A notable change to the structure will occur through a second 1-credit seminar that may be taken at a later point in a student’s undergraduate course of study.

Co-curricular and prematriculation experiences and events will also be introduced within the new framework to complement the program’s academic seminars. These experiential opportunities may include topical retreats, mentorship programs, peer-led discussion groups, skills-building workshops and exercises, cross-cultural events, service learning, pilgrimages, lectures, immersion experiences, discernment programs and research opportunities. This enhanced structure will also allow partner units, including colleges and schools, student-facing and student-led organizations, and other affiliate programs, to align respective interventions and learning experiences.

“The reimagining of the Moreau Program provides us with an opportunity to hold up a true holistic vision of student formation and development at Notre Dame, which I hope will serve as an inspiration to all of us who contribute to the education of students’ minds and hearts,” said Rev. Dan Groody, C.S.C., vice president and associate provost for undergraduate education.

Rev. Gerry Olinger, C.S.C., vice president for student affairs, continued, “I am deeply grateful to our colleagues in the Office of Undergraduate Education for their partnership with Student Affairs in this work, and to the many students, staff and faculty across the University who have worked tirelessly this past decade to establish Moreau as a distinctive part of a Notre Dame education.”

Under the new framework, William C. Mattison III, the Wilsey Family Professor of Moral Theology in the Department of Theology, will lead the Moreau Program as the inaugural faculty director. In this role, Mattison will provide strategic direction of the program and its curriculum, lead the recruitment of instructors and help to facilitate an increase in faculty participation in the seminars. He will also begin to explore the possibility of integrating the second seminar with students’ areas of study, including deferring the second seminar to a later stage in a student’s academic programs. He hopes to begin implementing initial changes to the program in the fall of 2024.

“My goal is to continue to improve the Moreau Program so that when future Notre Dame graduates return to campus, it is fondly recalled as one of the highlights of their Notre Dame education,” Mattison said.