ND mourns Walton’s death

first_imgDr. Gail Walton, director of music at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, will be remembered as a dedicated musician, teacher and Catholic who touched the lives of many members of the Notre Dame community.Walton, an organist and director of two Notre Dame choirs, died last week after a long illness. She was 55.“This was not a job. This was a passion and her life,” Fr. Peter Rocca, rector of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, said. “Her impact was tremendous. She touched the lives of so many students.”Senior Jordan Schank said when he first auditioned for the Liturgical Choir, he was an intimidated freshman with no choir experience. “I know Gail could see my shaking knees. I don’t think I have ever felt so intimidated by a woman in high heels before,” he said. “She took note of my nervousness and she did her best to calm me down.”With Walton’s help and encouragement, Schank said he was able to learn the challenging music and improve his singing dramatically.“I can with full faith say that Gail taught me everything I know about singing,” Schank said. “She took a young, inexperienced freshman with terrible Midwestern vowels and formed me into the confident singer I am today.”Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria, Ill., was the homilist at Walton’s funeral and spoke to a standing room-only congregation at the Basilica Tuesday morning about Walton’s impact on the Notre Dame community.“Year after year, season after season, the walls of this place have echoed with the glory and sensitivity of Gail’s music,” he said. “At Notre Dame moments of joy and sorrow, Gail made great music that lifted our spirits.“Today, the Basilica is filled with only a few of an army of her many friends who loved her.”Walton directed the Liturgical Choir and the Basilica Schola, which she also founded. She assisted with music at a number of University liturgical events, such as opening mass, Junior Parents Weekend mass and Commencement mass, Rocca said.Walton also touched the lived of countless couples as they prepared for marriage and worked with families planning funerals for loved ones, Rocca said.“The Notre Dame community will miss her dedication, her zeal, her knowledge of the liturgy and music, her expertise,” Rocca said. “And ultimately her gracious presence and her wonderful smile.”Although Walton dedicated her life to music, it wasn’t for her own benefit, but meant to help others, Vice President of the Liturgical Choir Christie Marden said.“More than anything, Gail valued sacred music and what it can bring to the liturgy. Even though she spent decades making beautiful music, her ministry was never about herself,” Marden said. “She was always reminding the choir … that our job is to help the congregation to pray.”Schank also said Walton’s focus was on helping others strengthen their faith.“Gail always stressed that our work in the Basilica was always a ministry and never a performance,” he said. “The choir climbs the stairs to the loft each Sunday morning to help others pray, to enter more deeply into the magnificent mystery of the Eucharist.”Jenky said in his homily Walton’s impact on her students extended beyond her knowledge of music.“She taught those choir members not only music, but how to live and how to love,” he said.Both Schank and Marden said Walton made an impact on their lives beyond music.“The Notre Dame community has lost a fine woman, mentor, friend and musician. Her warm smile and kind heart will be sorely missed,” Schank said.Marden added: “I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to get to know such a beautiful woman. She will be missed.”Jenky encouraged those at the funeral to model Walton’s dedication to her faith and music during this period of grief. “When all our human explanations seem inadequate to describe all that we experience, we worship to the Lord,” he said. “Where our words fail, we sing to the Lord … In terrible grief and sorrow, it is music that clearly expresses what we cannot say.”last_img read more

College hosts holiday craft show for charity

first_imgSaint Mary’s Office for Civic and Social Engagement (OSCE) will offer students an opportunity to get away from finals studies for a few hours this Friday when it holds its fifth annual Christmas Craft Show. The OSCE’s 12 Days of Christmas program uses the show to raise money for families and individuals in the South Bend area with holiday gifts and necessities. According to a Nov. 4 press release, the Reignbeaux and Stapleton lounges will be filled with over 50 booths, including local and regional crafters. Each vendor’s booth fee will go to the program, while vendors may choose to donate a portion of their proceeds as well. Carrie Call, director for OSCE, discussed the impact of the show on local families in the press release. “We support the community by supporting the local artists, and we support families in need through the 12 Days program,” Call said. Denise Veatch, a staff assistant in the Communications Studies, Dance and Theatre Department, will be showcasing her jewelry for the first time. Veatch said she began making jewelry for fun around three years ago. Her earrings and bracelets consist of large and small pearls, Swarovski crystals and seed beads. Sets will sell for $25 along with a few individual pieces, she said. “I put a lot of hard work and love into each piece. It brings me peace and happiness to do this and see someone else enjoy my work,” Veatch said. Junior Kari McClowry plans to be a repeat customer at the show. McClowry said the show is a win-win for students and local families benefitting from the proceeds. “The craft show enlivens the holiday spirit across campus,” she said. “The proceeds bring the holiday spirit to the community in which we reside.” The Christmas Craft Show will run from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Le Mans Hall.last_img read more

Sale benefits Nepali youth

first_imgShopping for Christmas presents can be stressful and overwhelming. Shopping for Christmas presents while also supporting education in Nepal is rewarding. Today, Badin Hall is hosting “A Conscious Christmas,” a sale benefiting Hope Initiative. The sale will take place from noon until 5 p.m. in the Badin Hall large social space. The sale will feature handicrafts and gifts handmade in Nepal by fair trade artisans. Sophomore Badin Hall president Cristin Pacifico said the sale is an annual tradition, benefiting Hall fellow and design professor Ann-Marie Conrado’s Hope Initiative. “Basically, we put this sale on every year and all the proceeds, everything we sell goes directly to Nepal and it funds Ann-Marie’s Hope Initiative, which is an orphanage house she set up in Nepal,” she said. According to the Hope Initiative website, the mission of the organization is “to uplift individuals in developing countries by focusing on transformative education for youth and adults alike. Hope gives individuals the tools they need to create change in their own lives to escape poverty and dependency.” The money helps send the children living in the hope house to school, Pacifico said. “They [the kids] tested into one of the best schools in Nepal and that is where they are at school right now,” she said. “Ann-Marie comes in and we try to have regular Skype sessions with the kids. It’s just a great opportunity to get to purchase some really beautiful goods but also do it in a very responsible way.” Pacifico said the handicrafts are the hard work of Nepali women and their families. “You can bring back beautiful gifts for your family and it’s an awesome thing to see that you are helping people,” she said. The Conscious Christmas is not the only event Badin holds to support Hope Initiative, Pacifico said. “All the other signature events, all the money we raise also goes to Hope Initiative,” she said. “When we come back from break we also have the Polar Bear Plunge, which is a bit more chilly. It’s for the more daring.” Wednesday night, girls in Badin Hall were able to Skype the hope house children before they went to school. The children living in the house and attending school are Surya Kandel, Rajesh Nepali, Surackshya Pariyar, Sushila BK, Karan Gurung and Sabin Poudel. The children in Nepal told the Badin Hall residents how school was going and sang a song in Nepali. When the girls asked if they could send anything to Nepal, the children asked for notebooks and pens. However, Poudel said a PSP [PlayStation Portable.] Freshman Maddie Caballero said she stumbled across the Skype session Wednesday night. “I fell in love,” she said. “The kids were so cute and they had so much honesty in their eyes.  They were just so happy to see you.” Freshman Kristina Techar also got to Skype with the kids. “It was very interesting. … I was expecting kids who were younger,” she said.  “But it was nice to have kids who were older because you could really talk to them.” Techar said she was surprised to hear the children ask for what they needed, not what they wanted. “When we asked them what they wanted us to [send] them, instead of saying things like hair bows, they asked for things that they needed, for example a science notebook,” she said. Caballero said she was excited for the sale Friday and to get involved. “I will probably be wearing the [Badin Hall] frog suit and hold up a giant sign and be really enthusiastic about the ‘Conscious Christmas,’” she said. Contact Anna Boarini at [email protected]last_img read more

Saint Mary’s awards students in honor of sisters

first_imgSeven Saint Mary’s students received service awards for outstanding community service at an awards banquet April 9. Five students were recognized with volunteer service awards for exemplary leadership and dedication to the community within different concentrations. Two students also received awards for their work in the College Academy of Tutoring (CAT) program. Senior Olivia Pahl received the Sr. Christine Healy, CSC Award for Service to Women. Connie Adams, director of the Belles Against Violence Office, said she nominated Pahl for her commitment to empowering women and particularly for her longtime involvement with local nonprofit S-O-S.  According to the S-O-S website, the group is an offshoot of the Family Justice Center in South Bend, which offers services to victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse and provides educational presentations to local schools. “Olivia [Pahl] has overseen the development, marketing, implementation and evaluation of [S-O-S],” Adams said. “Olivia has a passion for empowering women and has truly impacted not only Saint Mary’s, but the larger Michiana community.” The Sr. Olivette Whalen, CSC Award for General Service was presented to senior Haley Van Der Linden. Dr. Kurt Buhring, associate professor of religious studies, spoke about Van Der Linden’s extensive work with St. Margaret’s House, a center for women in South Bend, and her leadership role within Saint Mary’s Environmental Action Coalition. The Sr. Kathleen Anne Nelligan, CSC Award for Spiritual Service went to senior Cassandralee Fill.  Regina Wilson, associate director of Saint Mary’s campus ministry, said Fill displayed leadership as a peer minister and through involvement in faith-based programs at Saint Mary’s.  “Fill … has served the spiritual needs and faith life of the Saint Mary’s community graciously and generously since she arrived as a first year student,” Wilson said. “She is always willing to serve the prayer life of the community and to share her faith in ways that will encourage others to live their faith sincerely.” The recipient of the Sr. Maria Concepta McDermott, CSC Award for Service in Education was Elizabeth Litke, who was recognized for her extensive service in the education community at Saint Mary’s and overseas. Mary Ann Traxler, professor and chair of the education department and Karen Van Meter, professional specialist in the education department, nominated Litke. Traxler said Litke served as a student teacher, weekly volunteer at the South Bend Center for the Homeless, three-year volunteer in the CAT program and swimming lesson instructor. Additionally, Litke designed and implemented her own service project. Senior Karah Susnak recieved the Sr. Olivia Marie Hutcheson, CSC Award for Service in the Health Field.  Ella Sue Harmeyer, associate professor of nursing, said Susnak has a professional manner and compassion for people who lack access to proper healthcare. “Karah’s style of nursing practice is easy, comfortable, competent, mature, responsible and professional. … I have no doubt Karah will continue to be a positive advocate for populations that do not have easy access to health care, doing so with a respect for human dignity and sincere compassion for each individual for which she cares,” she said. Senior Kathryn Klinker received the Outstanding Graduating CAT Scholar Award.  “Katie [Klinker] has worked tirelessly in the CAT program since 2010 as a teacher’s assistant and afterschool tutor at Coquillard Traditional School,” director of the CAT program Jessica Bulosan said. Senior Shelby Cornett was presented with the Patricia Arch Green Award.  Bulosan said Cornett completed more than 600 hours in the CAT program as a teacher’s assistant and afterschool tutor, in addition to participating in other service projects. “Shelby’s creativity, energy and generosity have been incredible assets to the CAT program over her four years of involvement,” Bulosan said. Sr. Veronique Wiedower, the Saint Mary’s vice-president for mission, said the namesakes of the awards were leaders within the Holy Cross Congregation. “The sisters for whom the awards are named were leaders in the Congregation at many levels,” Wiedower said. “[W]e remember their giftedness that expressed itself through service.” Wiedower said she was proud of the award winners’ efforts to make a difference in their communities. “The Saint Mary’s students we honor tonight stand on strong shoulders,” Wiedower said. “I venture to say that they are developing strong shoulders themselves by the service they have undertaken to make a difference in their own time and place. I am pleased and humbled to call them my sister Belles of Saint Mary’s.”last_img read more

Library memorializes ‘Touchdown Jesus’ artist

first_imgMillard Sheets, the acclaimed artist who created the iconic “Word of Life” mural on the south-facing wall of Hesburgh Library, said he was inspired by the history of knowledge and learning, with Christ as the master teacher. As part of the Hesburgh Libraries Lecture Series, curator of historical art Janet Blake presented “The Story Behind ‘Touchdown Jesus,’ Millard Sheets: An Artist’s Journey to the ‘Word of Life,’” on Friday in the William J. Carey Auditorium. “To say that the mural is impressive in scale and powerful in design is an understatement,” Blake said. “It sums up the artists’ skill at creating arresting, representational imagery in abstract design. “The idea for a mural came about as the architecture firm of Ellerbe & Co. in Minneapolis was designing the new library. “Because [University President Emeritus] Fr. Theodore Hesburgh had expressed concerns the building might look like a grain silo without some kind of decorative element, their design concept included a mural on the south-facing wall,” Blake said. “Hesburgh thought this would be a great solution to the problem.” Architect Thomas Ellerbe worked with Sheets previously and asked him to submit his name for consideration for the project. Out of 12 artists, Sheets was chosen, Blake said. At that time, Miller was at the peak of his career as an artist of watercolors, murals, and architectural art, Blake said. Blake said Sheets was born in California and attended the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles, where he learned the basics of art. “Learning the basic language of art became his own philosophy as a teacher: that an artist must learn the necessary skills before exploring style,” she said. From an early time, Sheets’ work displayed an interest in people from other cultures, and this theme was reinforced by his extensive travels, Blake said. “Shortly after completing his studies at Chouinard, he booked passage on a banana boat headed for New York,” Blake said. “The boat stopped at ports of call in Central and South America, and Sheets sketched constantly.” By the age of 23, Sheets’ work had been displayed in an individual exhibition and “Los Angeles Times” art critic Arthur Miller praised his work, she said. “[Miller] described the young artist as an unparalleled phenonmenon in the art world of southern California,” Blake said. Blake said Hesburgh shared his thoughts on the theme of the mural with Sheets. “Sheets came up with three ideas, and the second was approved,” Blake said. “In that design, he put Christ at the top, with his disciples, to show that he is the great teacher. The others scholars, beginning with the prophets of the Old Testament would begin at the bottom and zig-zag their way up the composition.” Blake said there are nine groups of teachers in all, including figures from the Renaissance and the Age of Science and Exploration. She said the figures are types, not specific persons because the mural doesn’t use individual identifications. The detailed logistics of constructing such a large mural were daunting, Blake said. “The “Word of Life” mural was a departure for Sheets, who had been designing mosaics with small glass tesserae from Italy. Now he would be working with pieces of granite of varying styles and shapes,” Blake said. Blake said Sheets had always worked with the philosophy that subject dictated style. “For this project, the subject matter and the material dictated style, which would be abstract pieces assembled to create a representational image,” Blake said. “In essence, the mural is not a mosaic, it’s like a giant puzzle, comprised of 324 panels.” Blake said Sheets worked hard to find the correct colors and shades of granite to use for the mural.  Sheets wanted to find a piece of granite that looked like gold, but was told there was no such thing, Blake said. “He’d just about given up when a package arrived. Inside was a small piece of gold granite, from of all places, Brazil,” she said. “It was from a quarry that hadn’t been worked in 25 years. After much persuasion and many weeks, Sheets was able to get them to quarry a block for him. He ended up with a sizeable block and was able to utilize it with great success.”last_img read more

Forum considers religious education

first_imgThe second installment of the Notre Dame Forum “What do Notre Dame graduates need to know?” evaluated the role of theology at Catholic universities Monday, featuring Huisking professor of theology at Notre Dame Cyril O’Regan and chairwoman of Boston College’s theology department Catherine Cornille.Emmet Farnan | The Observer University President Fr. John Jenkins said he hoped the discussion would emphasize the importance of theology for Notre Dame and inform the University’s decisions during the current curriculum review.“In a sense, as we think about curriculum review, we’re thinking about also the minds and character of the students who graduate,” Jenkins said. “We want them to be people informed by the Christian tradition — theology, as well as people who can intelligently engage in the conversation between faith and reason.”O’Regan said Notre Dame emulates the theological education described in Cardinal Deacon John Henry Newman’s reflections.“Newman’s reflection on the Catholic university especially bears on the inspiration to found the University of Notre Dame,” he said. “Newman and Fr. Sorin knew that the idea of a Catholic university could not be an oxymoron.”O’Regan said although many believe that theological and secular education cannot coexist, it is not only possible but necessary to include both in a Catholic university education.“There was a sense that all forces secular put pressure on the whether and how ‘Catholic’ … and ‘university’ appeared to be in conflict,” he said. “It made the logic that of a zero-sum game – the more of one, the less the other and vice versa. The pressure to pull apart [‘Catholic’] and [‘university’] will intensify and will likely continue to intensify. … Newman thought that the pressure not only had to be resisted, but could be.”Cornille said it is also necessary to teach students about other faith traditions.“I think it’s important for our students to learn how to engage other religious traditions in a constructive way, how to open oneself up to learning from other religious traditions and in turn, reflect constructively on what that means for the Christian faith or for one’s understanding of that particular theological topic,” Cornille said.Cornille said ultimately, Catholic university students must learn how to engage and approach theology as a spiritual pursuit, rather than a simply factual one.“I think we have this challenge to teach theology as a spiritual discipline, to expose our students to the spiritual richness and depth of the tradition to the radicalness of theology,” she said. “Most students don’t regard theology as a radical discipline, but once they are exposed to [it] I think that this could really awaken them in new ways to what theology could mean and how it could contribute to their own lives.”Tags: Catholic university, Notre Dame Forum, What do Notre Dame graduates need to know?last_img read more

Food Week kicks off at Saint Mary’s

first_imgIn preparation for Thanksgiving feasts, Saint Mary’s began its annual Food Week yesterday, however, encouraging students to learn healthy eating habits and prioritize nutrition.Sophomore Mary Kate Luft said Food Week, which started in 2012, teaches students the implications of wasting food and emphasizes the value of eating right and working out. (Editor’s note: Luft is a Viewpoint copy editor for the Observer)“We may have an abundance of food here, which may cause us to be under the impression that there is an unlimited supply of food, but we need to realize that this is not the case for many people,” Luft said. “I hope that students will realize just how much food they are throwing away. I want them to become aware of how much food they put on their trays, and I want them to learn to limit this amount just to what they are going to actually eat.”Luft said she hopes students’ concerns about excess food waste will increase after weighing their trays during the Noble Family Dining Hall’s lunch hours Wednesday.“I often see plates full of food on the tray return that will just be thrown away,” Luft said. “If you’re not actually going to eat something, don’t put it on your tray.”Luft said this year’s Food Week promotes multiculturalism by serving Middle Eastern cuisine as well as Central and South American dishes on various nights of the week. Luft said she hopes that exposing students to foods they don’t often encounter will encourage them to step outside of their comfort zones.“We hope to possibly increase students’ understanding and appreciation of other cultures and the people of those cultures,” Luft said. “We also hope to regularly serve these foods even after Food Week ends to continue to give students opportunities to try foods from other cultures.”Luft said students will gain lifestyle advice throughout Food Week with an Exercise and Healthy Habits presentation tonight at 8 p.m. at the Angela Athletic Facility. The formal tips for healthy eating and working out precede a screening of the documentary “Fed Up,” with a supplementary question-and-answer session with dietitian Samantha Kauffman, she said.“Food Week promotes a healthy lifestyle by providing students with events that focus on health and nutrition, such as the event with Yoga Club that focuses on how to properly nourish your body before and after working out,” Luft said. “Students will have the opportunity to learn more about how to eat healthily and make sure they are getting proper nutrition.Luft said she hopes the messages of Food Week will stick with students long after this five-day event. The Saint Mary’s Student Government Association coordinated this week’s series of activities with all students in mind, hoping that everyone benefits in at least one way, she said.“Besides having a ton of fun, students will be able to learn about healthy eating habits, sustainable and ethical food sources, and foods from other cultures,” Luft said. “They will have the opportunity to voice their opinions about food served at Saint Mary’s.”Tags: Food Weeklast_img read more

Conference to address gender and childhood

first_imgSam Coughlin “Fun with Dick and Jane: Gender and Childhood,” an international conference sponsored primarily by the Gender Studies Program, will bring together undergraduate students, graduate students and professors Thursday through Saturday to address society’s interest in gender and childhood using interdisciplinary approaches.“This conference in particular is important because it is a conference about childhood and gender experience,” senior Marcilena Shaeffer, a presenter in one of two undergraduate panels, said. “I think it is important to stop and reflect on what forces were at play during those key years in our development and how other people’s assumptions on how we should be ended up having an effect on us.”Professor Pamela Wojcik, director of the Gender Studies Program at Notre Dame, played a crucial role in planning this conference and brought together speakers from the Notre Dame community as well as speakers from all over and outside the country.“It takes a long time to plan a conference. It’s been in progress since last winter,” Wojcik said.Wojcik said this conference is relevant in every student’s life and stressed that one does not have to be affiliated with or study gender studies to attend.“I think this conference works both on an academic and real world level,” Wojcik said. “I think it’s also the moment when the issues that will be talked about in terms of gender and childhood are very real in culture.”The three-day conference will consist of panels covering topics including transgender identity, fairytales, toys and Disney princesses, as well as two undergraduate panels with students from Notre Dame and other universities.“I’ve never presented at a conference, and this is my first really intense academic engagement with gender studies issues,” Shaeffer said. “I’m an outsider to all of this, but gender studies, I think, is inherently interdisciplinary.”Junior Colton Williamson, who will present a paper on sexuality in the film “The 400 Blows,” said he has a particular interest in gender studies because it ties in with his other interest, film.“Beyond giving a few presentations in my classes, I’ve never actually spoken at a conference,” Williamson said. “I don’t have much of a concrete background in gender studies, but I have always been interested in cinema, and a big part of film analysis now involves looking at films through a gendered lens.”Senior Rae Moors, who will discuss illustrations in children’s books, said the conference will provide an opportunity for her to connect two disciplines.“I’ve always been interested in gender studies and in visual art,” Moors said. “This conference just happened to be an excellent intersection of the two disciplines, so I couldn’t pass up the chance to participate as well as attend.”Shaeffer said the conference will benefit anyone who attends regardless of their field of study.“It is important for students to attend this conference not only in an attempt to supplement or improve their academic pursuits, but also [to pursue] that intense self-awareness and self-consciousness we should all strive for,” she said. Tags: childhood, gender, gender studies program, McKenna Conference Centerlast_img read more

SMC symposium to examine health care justice

first_imgIn an effort to raise awareness about underrepresented societal issues at the College, the Justice Education Program will host a symposium on health care justice featuring speeches from advocates and practitioners this Thursday at Rice Commons.The Justice Education Program’s student advisory committee organized this event to inform students about health care disparities in the United States, committee member and junior Maranda Pennington said.Lauren Weldon Pennington said she encourages people to attend Thursday’s talks to gain valuable and applicable information about a pertinent topic.“If more people are aware of the injustices that occur in our society, more can be done to fix them,” Pennington said. “Health care injustices are even more important because a lot of times it can lead to life-or-death situations. Also, it is so important for individuals to know resources and preventive measures so they can lead healthy lives.”Sophomore Morgan Matthews, a member of the advisory committee, said the symposium will provide people with the opportunity to hear from skilled presenters with various experiences.“Students need to take advantage of the chance to hear this information from professionals,” Matthews said. “These people know what they’re talking about. They can reassure us that there are answers to our questions.”Students can take away relevant advice from each talk as they increase their understanding of a universal issue, Matthews said.“Everybody deals with health care,” Matthews said. “It’s a topic that pertains to all citizens, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or background. It’s good to know about, especially as college students, who will need to use this information as we grow older.”Matthews said students should consider planning for their futures as they absorb this new information.“Right now, we can hear from primary sources about this important topic,” Matthews said. “One day, you’ll have to worry about yourself and your family. People should recognize that it’s not something that you can keep putting off or delaying. A discussion of health care is necessary not only as we grow older but also now, at this age.”The symposium will demonstrate that connections exist between justice and health, two topics that people may not normally associate, Matthews said.“When you look at the inequalities in health, you realize that you want to do something about [it],” Matthews said. “You want to make that change. You want to work toward improving those conditions.”The symposium contributes to the community aspect of Saint Mary’s, Matthews said, because knowledgeable students can unite as they work on this issue.“Students should realize what exactly they are getting themselves into,” Matthews said. “Health care is often debated, and we want students to be informed when they approach this topic.”The Justice Education Program’s student advisory committee centered this year’s symposium around health care because it finds value in informing students of problems they may encounter in real life, Matthews said.“Through giving people this convenient way to learn more about health, we can lay out the facts and prepare them,” Matthews said. “Experts are ready to talk, and students should be ready to listen. Things are changing, and we need to be prepared.”Tags: Health care, Justice Education Program, SMClast_img read more

Faculty members examine implications of flipped classroom, library research

first_imgAssociate professor of nursing science Annette Peacock-Johnson asked her students to give a new learning approach their best shot, while chair of the social work program Frances Kominkiewicz collaborated with librarian Sue Wiegand to check out new research techniques.All three faculty members presented their findings at a colloquium on Friday at Saint Mary’s.Peacock-Johnson said she employed a flipped-classroom approach when teaching her students about diabetes mellitus to determine how she could most effectively use class time.“Obviously, the traditional method is where the teacher instructs, the students take notes, the students follow guided instruction and the teacher gives an assessment, such as an assignment or some sort of an exam,” she said. “In the flipped classroom, the students do some sort of learning activities outside of or before class in preparation that could include video podcasts or exploration websites. In class, it’s all about problem-solving activities that can be done in small groups.”Peacock-Johnson said she administered quizzes before and after class to ensure her students were actively listening to the out-of-class lectures and benefitting from discussions with their peers.“It does no good to assign them to look at podcasts … and they don’t prepare,” she said. “I then followed it up at the end of class to see if there was a difference in terms of their learning after we did the in-class discussion and group problem-solving.”She said the flipped-classroom approach enabled her to connect more with her students and provide them with individual attention.“I loved the interaction,” she said. “It was wonderful being able to circulate and to go individually into the groups and see what their thinking was and what they were coming up with.”According to Peacock-Johnson, one major limitation of the flipped classroom method was that some students felt as though they no longer needed to complete the assigned reading before class.“They would watch the videocast, but they wouldn’t do the readings,” she said. “That wouldn’t help them glean some of the content from their text, which is still important.”Collaborating with others posed a challenge for some of her students, according to Peacock-Johnson.“Students working in groups was great when everyone participated,” she said. “It was hard to get a lot out of the class when people didn’t participate, so that was a difficult issue. One of the things I’ve discussed with faculty in my department is what to do about small groups because I let them self-select, and when they self-select, they go with their buddies, who may or may not be good interactive teachers.”Peacock-Johnson said implementing the flipped classroom approach can be difficult at first, but seeing students take ownership of their learning makes the challenge worth it.“It’s very time-intensive initially,” she said. “It takes a whole lot of time to put together the recordings, to select the case studies, to develop the quizzes. The upside is once you have that created, then you just have to tweak it.”Peacock-Johnson said she was pleased to find that many students adapted well to the flipped classroom approach.“The evidence from this study suggests that the flipped classroom can be a very effective teaching methodology,” she said.Wiegand said she and Kominkiewicz began their project — researching the effects of integrating student learning through library and classroom instruction — in 2002.“We have progressed through the years in various ways,” Wiegand said. “We have collaborations with Notre Dame librarians now. We want to encourage collaboration with faculty.”According to Wiegand, librarians and professors who work together can provide students with the most comprehensive understanding of the material, particularly in social work classes when librarians’ expertise about research comes in handy. “Our research is to investigate students seeking information and to improve how students can find research in the library,” Wiegand said. According to Kominkiewicz, librarians are an invaluable asset to professors, as they bring new insights and fresh perspectives to the traditional classroom setting.“The issue that we have is that we’re seeing some of our resources dwindle in some areas, and so we’ve had to go outside and collaborate with each other basically,” she said. “So much of what I end up doing has so much to do with assessment, evaluation and learning outcomes. Without Sue’s help … we would have never been able to get this far.”Kominkiewicz said Wiegand’s assistance has solidified her students’ understanding of the social work field while supplying them with a fortified understanding of how to conduct useful research.“We have to prove that there are competencies that have been achieved, not just knowledge or values or skills,” Kominkiewicz said. “We have to make sure that students are going to be able to be ethical in their work.”According to Kominkiewicz, Wiegand provides her students with a comprehensive overview of effective research practices that will prepare them for the social work field.“I can’t go out and start working in a clinical setting, and neither can the students until they have done that research review and know what some of the studies are and how to work with particular individual social issues,” Kominkiewicz said.Wiegand said she helps students research topics such as social policy by assisting them in tracing the development and implications of various laws. She said she encourages students to think critically about the factors that surround the composition of a bill.“Look for the funding,” Wiegand said. “Even if you’re just doing a strategic plan, there has to be some funding appropriated for that.”Kominkiewicz said her students’ satisfaction with Wiegand’s involvement in her classes is evident.“The students have really appreciated being able to go to our library and know that that’s where we sit down with our library faculty and talk about what they’re missing, what they have to do and where they have to go to find things,” Kominkiewicz said. “A lot of it is free online, so they just need to know how to do that.”Tags: flipped classroom, Library, nursing, research, social worklast_img read more