Guiding Principles from Grad Career Services

In this guest post, Robert Coloney, Director of Grad Career Services, shares some advice on what principles will help us successfully navigate this Academic Year and beyond.

Welcome (back, should it apply to you) to the University of Notre Dame! Since 1842, the campus has always been most exciting when you, our students, grace it with your presence. After an extremely active summer planning and identifying ways to better provide value and insight to have a positive impact on your future, our Graduate Career Services team is ready to engage with you!

I firmly believe that life and our purpose therein becomes clearer as you allow yourself to embrace change, challenge, and faith. As you navigate to South Bend, either for the first time, or to continue a journey of exploration, you are undoubtedly called to have a profound impact on the world around you. Much like Father Edward Sorin, each of you have seen beauty, promise, and a future in the University of Notre Dame, and yourselves. Upon arriving on the banks of the St. Joseph River, and writing back to Father Basil Moreau in 1842, Father Sorin knew of the tremendous potential, believed in the opportunity, and in turn, founded our University…YOUR University. As we begin this academic year, we, the administration of this University, see that same tremendous potential, and believe in your opportunity to enact positive change on our nation, and our world. Throughout this year, and your time at the University of Notre Dame, I encourage you to stand by a few principles (from a career perspective, and beyond):

  • Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable. Allow yourself to be challenged. Go beyond the realms of where you’ve ventured before. Say “YES,” more than you say “NO.” By allowing yourself to experience all that the University has to offer, you will be immersing yourself in the tremendous educational opportunity you’ve afforded yourself through your tireless effort and work to this point. To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice your innate gift; experience everything.
  • Find a Sherpa. No one would dare climb to the top of Mount Everest without one. In turn, no one is expecting you to navigate a challenging journey alone. Find a mentor, administrator, staff member, faculty member, or better yet, all of the above. Ask questions! Graduate School is challenging, but we’re all in this mission together. We want you to succeed, and want to ensure you have every tool available to you in order to make that dream a reality.
  • Failure is not permanent, unless you allow it to be. Each one of us, at one point or another, has been humbled in this life. We’ve all succeeded, but, personally, I’ve learned far more from my failures than my successes. In fact, I attribute any success I’ve had to the learning experiences that bloom from failure. In the words of the inspiring Randy Pausch, “The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out; the brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. The brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough.”

When Father Sorin founded Notre Dame, and corresponded with Father Moreau, he recognized that while the future was unclear, and the undertaking significant, the potential was tremendous. “…this college cannot fail to succeed…Before long, it will develop on a large scale…It will be one of the most powerful means for good in this country.”

Since 1842, the University of Notre Dame has held true to those incredibly powerful words. Now, YOU are tasked with continuing the mission. I encourage you to take advantage of this very special place – we are lucky to have you, and cannot wait to work with you on achieving your dreams, and realizing your full potential.

Your Research Matters. You Matter. Be a Force for Good.

Robert J. Coloney

A Long Look at Art with Art180

In this guest post, Rachel Heisler, Assistant Curator for Education, Academic Programs at the Snite Museum of Art, provides offers some key ways to learn to really appreciate the rich art collection available on campus! 

Did you know that the average museum visitor spends between 15-30 seconds in front of a work of art? It takes me approximately 15 seconds to tie both of my shoes, to scroll through 7 Instagram posts, or enjoy a warm chocolate chip cookie from Hagerty Cafe (ok, that may be a lie, it’s more like 5 seconds!). 15 seconds is short, especially when you are standing in front of a work of art. To challenge people to take a longer look we created Art180 at the Snite Museum of Art – a commitment to look at one work of art for three hours over the semester.  During the 2018-2019 academic year over 220 people signed up to commit to 3 hours of looking and we hope you will consider joining us for the 2019-2020 academic year. To get you started I am sharing with you some helpful tips and tricks.

  • Set an alarm – Referencing the inventor of Ronco rotisserie cooker, “set it and forget it!”. Set an alarm and dive in to your work. In a busy stressful world, it’s helpful to take control of small things. By removing the distraction of constantly looking at your clock, you are now able to focus your attention entirely on the work.
  • Make it a date – Make your time with your work feel important and special by adding it to your calendar every week or maybe every month.  Treat it like a date by showing up on time and giving it your full attention, but please don’t bring it chocolate and flowers.
  • Don’t look at the label and don’t Google! – Do yourself a favor and bask in the unknown. You’re not going to be graded on knowing the artist, name of the work, or even the meaning of the work. What you take away from this experience is yours and only yours. Challenge yourself to not read about the work and enjoy the visceral experience.
  • Start by taking a visual inventory – Don’t know where to start? Start by writing down everything you see. Take an inventory of the work and keep adding to it throughout the semester as you will never stop seeing new things.
  • Make yourself comfortable – We want to let you in on a little secret….museums are not as scary as many think they are. Yes, there are rules and yes, museums have a certain stereotype, but really it is all in what you make it. Once you enter the front doors, drop your stuff in the coatroom and grab a stool or meditation cushion to make yourself comfortable. Stand, sit, or meditate in front of your work, but make sure you’re comfortable.

 Now that we’ve given you some tips, what do you have to lose? Sign up here to become a part of the Art180 family. You may not receive a medal or a letter of achievement but we do hope you escape from your busy days and get to know a work of art at the Snite Museum of Art this semester.



Terms and strategies within career development tend to feel very business-y”. The one page resume and “networking” just to name a couple. As an educator who has supported humanities, fine arts, and social science students with their career development over the past seven years, I find it difficult to connect with the mainstream terminology and approach that often dominates the landscape of career education. From my perspective, it takes changing perspective to better relate to, and understand, the career development process and all that it entails.

To begin, “business-y” terms feel more product-driven. In the business world, there tends to be a bottom line. Even though there are always people involved in any business, it seems the focus is on numbers, not names. This, I believe, has led to product-like hiring trends (one page resume, applicant tracking systems) and cold connectedness through competitive, passive, and getting ahead “networking”.

From a human services perspective, people are the focus. For those who are committed to this craft, any use of a product needs to have a direct correlation to the betterment of others. It isn’t about the bottom line; it is a focus on raising the bar of potential for others.  A person-first mentality can lead to hiring practices that focus on getting to truly know an individual through robust application materials and a willingness to connect directly without the use of applicant tracking systems. When it comes to networking, it does not become a means to an end to get ahead but centers on developing and building meaningful, genuine, and value-oriented relationships. It is active listening, not passive conversation. It is cooperation, not competition.

Overall, the key is to realize that there are a variety of approaches to anything you do in life and to decide on what you perceive to be the best approach for your unique values, interests, personality, skills and goals. If you prefer competition, networking, fast-paced environments, and a slew of other terms that tend to feel more “business-y”, there are certainly options for you. For those who don’t fit this mold, know that there are other ways to view this process. Solving societal problems instead of outperforming people can be your competition. Building genuine personal and professional relationships based on trust and cooperation can be your networking. Slowing down and taking the time to reflect can be your pace. There is a place in the career development process for being “human-y”.

Erik Simon
Arts and Letters Graduate Career Consultant (Center for Career Development – Graduate Career Services)

Schedule an Appointment

Is Shaming Ourselves an Effective Strategy for Productivity?

Guest post by Megan G. Brown, Ph.D., HSPP, Interim Director of the Rev. James E. McDonald, C.S.C., Center for Student Well-Being.


So this is a research study I would totally sign up for! It is about eating cake; my favorite dessert! Participants were randomly assigned to three different groups. What each group had in common was that each individual was seated in front of a huge piece of the most beautiful, layered chocolate cake you could imagine. The kind you see at the Cheesecake Factory. Can you see it? What was different about each group were the instructions they were given. Group #1 was asked to think about how bad they would feel about themselves after eating the piece of cake. Group #2 was asked to think about how good they would feel about themselves if they resisted eating the cake. Group #3 was given no instructions (that’s the group I would want to be in). Researchers wanted to know, Who would resist eating the cake? (That would NOT have been me). Here’s what they found. Ten percent of participants in group #1 (shame group) resisted eating it. But get this, 40% of participants in group #2 (pride group) resisted eating the cake. And the control group? Only 18.8% resisted eating the cake. This simple study confirms a lot of research out there. How we talk to ourselves matters. When we shame ourselves and think about how bad we will feel about something (about not going to the lab, about not working on the dissertation, about not working out, etc.) we make tough things tougher. Have you ever tried to shame yourself into doing or not doing something? Very common human strategy. But scientific evidence suggests this does not work. But just flip it into values-centered pride. That works!

Although attempting to shame ourselves into doing something is a common strategy, scientific evidence suggests it does not work.

As a counseling psychologist who has worked with Notre Dame students for the past 10 years, I have struggled to help students believe that self-criticism and self-shaming do not work. I have often heard, “If I’m not tough on myself, I won’t do anything!” Fortunately, recent neuroscience has helped me make the case more convincingly. What fMRIs show is that shame shuts down the prefrontal cortex of the brain – the part of the brain that helps you make hard decisions that are in-line with your values. Shame activates the amygdala, the alarm center of your brain, and makes your brain look the same as someone whose leg was just broken. If you haven’t experienced that before, it hurts! The automatic, impulsive, reward systems of the brain that say “Watch Netflix instead, that’s more fun and you’ll feel better!” keep working and drive us to do what feels good (i.e. not work).

When we experience shame, the reward systems of the brain drive us to do what feels good (i.e. not work).

I know what some of you are thinking. “I don’t TRY to make myself feel bad, it just happens!” You’re right. Most of our thinking is automatic and it is not easy to change. So don’t try! Instead, just notice those critical thoughts and feelings without trying to change them. Just the act of noticing and naming helps bring the prefrontal cortex back on-line and calms the amygdala.

Practice noticing and naming your critical thoughts and feelings. This practice, also called mindfulness, changes the brain over time.

Pausing and noticing can also help you remember to intentionally imagine how proud you will feel if you do what is in line with your values. And practicing noticing, also called mindfulness, changes the brain over time. When we develop a different relationship with “bad” thoughts and feelings and they become less powerful over us. And get this, when we practice values-oriented pride and self-compassion, the reward centers of the brain light up and look like we are going to eat a piece of chocolate cake!

Values-oriented pride and self-compassion are helpful ways of talking to ourselves.

Juntos podremos hacer grandes cosas: oportunidades de voluntariado en South Bend

Click here for the English version of this post.

Escrito por María Agustina Cedeño, intérprete y traductora.

“Usted puede hacer lo que yo no puedo. Yo puedo hacer lo que usted no puede. Juntos podremos hacer grandes cosas”

Madre Teresa

Soy de Ecuador y me mudé a South Bend hace casi cinco años. Una vez en los Estados Unidos y con una visa H4, no tenía autorización para trabajar; pero para mí eso no fue impedimento para mantenerme activa, productiva y, al mismo tiempo, ayudar a los demás. Me gustaría compartir algunas de las enriquecedoras experiencias que he tenido como voluntaria; y así, incentivar a la comunidad de Notre Dame (profesores, estudiantes, personal en general, amigos, y cónyuges extranjeros, como es mi caso) a contribuir con estas causas. Creo que cada una de nuestras contribuciones es valiosa y mejora tanto nuestras vidas personales como la sociedad en general.

Comencé con mis actividades de voluntariado como locutora en WSND-FM 88.9, la estación de Radio de Notre Dame. Mi función allí es la de seleccionar la música clásica que se transmite todos los martes en el “Concierto de la Mañana”, así como indicar la identificación y ubicación de la estación radial cada hora. Creo que es una bonita forma de contribuir, no solo a la comunidad de Notre Dame, sino también a la población local; y, al mismo tiempo, es una manera de aprender más sobre la belleza de la música clásica. Si está interesado/a en ser voluntario/a en la radio de Notre Dame, por favor comuníquese con Peter Farrough.

WSND-FM 88.9, estación de radio de Notre Dame

También colaboro con el Programa “Read Baby Read (RBR)“, en el Centro de Artes y Cultura de Notre Dame. Este programa infunde bondad desde muy temprana edad en la vida de los niños, al mismo tiempo que se familiarizan con otro idioma y cultura a través de la lectura de pequeñas historias y canciones de niños, tanto en inglés como en español. Pienso que es importante enseñar a los niños lo divertido y lo bueno que es ser parte de la diversidad que existe en el mundo, por eso considero que ellos deberían involucrarse con otras etnias y culturas desde temprana edad. Esto les inculca principios más sólidos y, como resultado, tendrán una interacción amigable y más positiva con la sociedad. Si está interesado/a en ser voluntario/a en este programa, por favor comuníquese con Toni Fein o Jennifer Wittenbrink Ortega.

Programa Read Baby Read (RBR)

Además coopero con el Programa de Reconciliación de Víctimas y Victimarios (VORP, por sus siglas en inglés) del Centro de Justicia Comunitaria de Elkhart, donde soy voluntaria como intérprete y traductora para la comunidad Latinx. Así mismo, ofrezco mis servicios voluntarios como mediadora, para lo cual completé un curso de capacitación. En VORP, utilizamos una visión de justicia, basada en la comunidad, para ayudar a que las víctimas y los victimarios lleguen a un acuerdo que beneficie a ambas partes: los victimarios tienen la oportunidad de demostrar su arrepentimiento mientras evitan un castigo adicional y las víctimas reciben una justa indemnización. A través de la comunicación, tanto las víctimas como los victimarios, deben ver las cosas “poniéndose los unos en el lugar de los otros”. Es importante dejar claro que no se debe abusar de la generosidad de los demás y que no puede haber una paz duradera sin justicia. Si está interesado/a en ser voluntario/a en este programa, por favor comuníquese con Anne Lehman.

Voluntarias y voluntarios en el Elkhart Center for Community Justice

Además, soy voluntaria de español en la Escuela Católica “Holy Cross”, en el “Programa de Doble Inmersión” en colaboración con el Instituto de Estudios Latinos y la Alianza para la Educación Católica de la Universidad de Notre Dame. Programas como éste enseñan y preparan a los niños, desde el prekínder, a ser bilingües (en inglés y español). Además, en el programa se inculcan muy buenos valores y principios, en ambos idiomas. Creo firmemente que constituir una buena base de valores e inculcar una educación bilingüe en los niños en temprana edad será una combinación muy útil para sus vidas. De esta manera, estarán preparados para crear un mundo mejor para ellos, para quienes los rodean y para la sociedad en general. Si está interesado/a en ser voluntario/a en este programa, por favor comuníquese con Katy Lichon.

Holy Cross Catholic School

Y, por último, también fui co-mentora, intérprete y traductora en el Programa “Reading For Life (RFL)” en el Centro de Justicia Juvenil de South Bend (JJC, por sus siglas en inglés), una alternativa a la cárcel para delincuentes juveniles. El programa consideraba las ofensas por parte de los jóvenes como el resultado de “daños en su desarrollo moral”. Los delincuentes suelen ser víctimas de su propio entorno; por lo tanto, los jóvenes deberían estar expuestos a mejores circunstancias, así como a programas como este, en el cual a través de la lectura se le inculcaban las siete virtudes: justicia, prudencia, templanza, fortaleza, fidelidad, esperanza y caridad. Era importante mostrar a estos jóvenes adolescentes un camino de esperanza en un mundo donde las cosas funcionaran de una manera diferente al mundo al que ellos habían estado expuestos. Para mí, fue muy alentador saber que el programa tenía un porcentaje de éxito del 97% en mantener a los jóvenes fuera de problemas. Pienso que a los jóvenes se les debe dar una segunda oportunidad ya que todos cometemos errores, especialmente cuando aún somos inmaduros o inexpertos.

Los beneficios del programa Reading for Life (RFL)

A pesar del éxito de este programa, lamentablemente se terminó en junio del 2018. Espero que algún día se reabra este programa y así vuelva a ser esa luz de esperanza para aquellos jóvenes que necesiten ayuda. Esta experiencia fue realmente una de las que más me impactó, debido a su efectividad y a todos los cambios positivos que pude notar en los adolescentes que lograron completar el programa. Incluso me gustaría promover el desarrollo de programas como este en países como el mío. Programas como estos funcionan porque se basan en principios sólidos y en una investigación efectiva. Pienso que las personas debemos tener la esperanza de que las cosas siempre pueden mejorar, ya que el sentimiento de esperanza es lo que realmente nos impulsa a esforzarnos más.

En conclusión, como dijo la Madre Teresa, si todos unificáramos nuestras habilidades y esfuerzos podríamos “hacer grandes cosas” para nuestras comunidades. El concepto general del voluntariado es dar nuestro tiempo sin recibir nada a cambio. Sin embargo, mi experiencia ha sido todo lo contrario: yo soy la que más ha aprendido de los demás. El voluntariado me ha enseñado a valorar aquello que es realmente importante y ha cambiado mi vida para siempre. Esta transformación no se debe únicamente a las organizaciones en las cuales he participado; sino a las personas con quienes he compartido. No puedo describir la gratitud que mi corazón siente por cada una de las personas e instituciones que han formado parte de esta experiencia. Gracias a todos por iluminar mi vida aún más. El voluntariado es algo que levanta y enriquece nuestro espíritu y embellece nuestra alma. Nunca antes me había sentido tan afortunada, en un nivel espiritual, como me siento ahora. ¡Es algo que simplemente no tiene precio! Los invito a formar parte de esta hermosa experiencia. ¡Les cambiará la vida también!


Together We Can Do Great Things: Opportunities for Volunteering in South Bend

Aquí encontrará la versión en español de este artículo .

Guest post written by María Agustina Cedeño, interpreter and translator. 


“You can do what I cannot. I can do what you cannot. Together we can do great things”.

Mother Teresa

I am from Ecuador and moved to South Bend almost five years ago. Once in the USA, with an H4 visa, I was not authorized to work, but that did not keep me from trying to be active, productive, and, at the same time, help others. I would like to share some of the enriching experiences that I have had as a volunteer to encourage the Notre Dame community (faculty, students, staff, friends, and international spouses like myself) to contribute to these causes. I believe each and every single one of our contributions is valuable and it will surely improve the state of the world we live in.

I started with my volunteering activities as an announcer at WSND-FM 88.9, the Notre Dame Radio station. My role there is to choose the classical music selection broadcasted every Tuesday in the “Morning Concert,” as well as announcing the hourly Notre Dame ID and location. I think this is a nice way to contribute, not only to the Notre Dame community, but also to the population in the area; and at the same time, it is a way of learning more about the beauty of classical music. If you are interested in volunteering at the Notre Dame radio station, please contact Peter Farrough.


WSND-FM 88.9, Notre Dame radio station

I also collaborate in the Read Baby Read (RBR) Program, at the Notre Dame Center for Arts and Culture, which instills kindness very early in kids’ lives while they get familiar with another language and culture through listening to short stories and songs in English and Spanish. I think it is important to teach kids about how fun and good it is to be part of the diversity that exists in the world; so I consider that they should get involved with other ethnicities and cultures from an early age. This teaches solid and kinder principles to them; and as a result, they would have a friendly and a more positive interaction with society. If you are interested in volunteering at Read Baby Read, please contact Toni Fein or Jennifer Wittenbrink Ortega.

Read Baby Read (RBR) Program

I also cooperate with the Victim-Offender Reconciliation Program (VORP) at the Elkhart Center for Community Justice, where I volunteer as an interpreter and translator for the Latinx community. I also offer my services as a mediator, for which I completed a training course. At VORP, we use a community-based vision of justice to help bringing victims and offenders to an agreement that benefits both parties: the offenders get an opportunity to demonstrate their repentance while avoiding further punishment, and the victims get fair restitution. Through communication, both victims and offenders, should see things from the “other side of the fence.” It is important to make it clear that people’s generosity is not to be abused, and that there cannot be lasting peace without justice. If you are interested in volunteering at Center for Community Justice, please contact Anne Lehman.

Volunteers at the Elkhart Center for Community Justice

Also, I am a Spanish volunteer at the Holy Cross Catholic School, in a Two-Way Immersion Program in conjunction with the Institute for Latino Studies and the Alliance for Catholic Education at the University of Notre Dame. Programs like this, teach and train kids from pre-kinder to be bilingual (English and Spanish). This will give them better opportunities in the world in general, as it is globally connected, and it gets more and more competitive; so the earlier the kids get prepared for it, the better it will be for them. Besides, the children, at the program, are instilled very good values and fine principles, in both languages, which will definitely influence their lives positively. They are good hearted people and they surely will always be successful. I strongly believe that instilling a good foundation of values and a bilingual education to kids in their early ages will be a very useful combination for their lives. This way, I believe that they would be prepared to create a much better world for themselves, for those around them, and for society in general. If you are interested in volunteering at the Two-Way Immersion Program, please contact Katy Lichon.

Holy Cross Catholic School

Lastly, I also volunteered as a Co-Mentor and as the Spanish interpreter and translator, in the Reading for Life (RFL) Program at the South Bend Juvenile Justice Center (JJC), an alternative to jail for juvenile delinquents. The program would see offenses by the youth as the result of a “breakdown in moral development.” Delinquents are usually victims of their own environment; thus, young people should be exposed to better circumstances such as this program, where they would practice reading while learning about the seven virtues: justice, prudence, temperance, fortitude, fidelity, hope, and charity. It was important to show these young teenagers that there was hope in a world where things functioned in a different way from what they had been exposed to. It was very encouraging to learn that the program had a 97% success rate in keeping kids out of trouble. I believe that young people need to be given a second chance as we all make mistakes, especially when immature or inexperienced.

Benefits of the Reading for Life (RFL) Program

Even though this program was very successful, it sadly ended by June 2018. I hope that at some point this program will be continued and that way it could be again that light of hope for those young people who may need help. This experience was one of which impacted me the most, because of its effectiveness and all the positive changes I could notice in the teenagers who were able to complete the program. I would even like to promote the development of programs like this one in countries like mine. Programs like these do work because are based on sound principles and good research. I think people should believe that there is always hope that things can improve, as the feeling of hope is what really drives us to try harder.

In conclusion, as Mother Teresa said, if we were all able to unify our abilities and efforts, we could do great things and thus achieve many benefits for our communities; and in that way, we would all have a better world. Volunteering is part of that, and speaking by my own experience, it has surely changed my life forever. It has taught me to value what is really important. The general concept of volunteering is to give your time without receiving anything in return, as well as transforming the lives of others with your contribution. However, based on my experience, I can say that it has been the opposite, I feel that I am the one who has learned the most from the others. I also believe that my life has been the one that has received the most positive transformation; not only by the organizations in which I volunteered but also and especially by those people to whom I have directly provided my volunteer service. I cannot describe the amount of gratitude that my heart holds for each person and institutions that have been part of this rewarding and so meaningful experience. Thanks to every one for enlightening my life even more. Volunteering, definitely, is something that lifts and enriches our spirit and embellishes our soul. I had never felt so fortunate before, spiritually speaking, as I feel now. It is simply priceless! Being a volunteer, without a doubt, has been the most inspiring experience of my life. I invite you all to be part of this beautiful experience. It will change your lives too!



Running & Other Adventures in the Bend

Guest post by Kelly Heilman, Ph.D. Candidate in Biological Sciences

Spending time outside running, hiking, and generally exploring has always been my preferred form of stress relief. When I moved to South Bend, this was no different. Could South Bend be a good place for an outdoor adventurer, you ask? While we don’t have mountains to run up and ski down, I discovered an active running community and several unique recreation opportunities in the area. From running, to backpacking, and exploring the region’s outdoor resources, I’m listing my favorite opportunities that I wish I had known about earlier in my Grad Life here at Notre Dame.

If you don’t see your adventure sport of choice featured below—don’t fret! Some friends in my department & I co-founded a graduate jogging group (see JOGS below) because we realized there were no social running groups that currently served the needs of graduate students. So, if you would like to see a new group on campus, chances are you are not alone! Get out there and have an adventure!

South Bend Offers an Active Running Community and Recreation Opportunities Such As Running, Hiking, and Backpacking
Organized Running & Adventure Groups:

JOGS (Jogging Organization for Graduate Students): A new SAO approved club that for ND Graduate Students interested in jogging! We host at least 2 runs each week (Runs this semester are on Tuesday and Thursday at 6pm), and our goal is to create a fun social network of Joggers/runners on campus. Email for more information!

Fleet Feet Pub Runs: Every Wednesday evening Fleet Feet hosts a 5k pub/social run around ND campus, leaving from O’Rourkes on Eddy Street. You get to meet a lot of different runners (who run a lot of different paces) & several people often hang around O’Rourkes afterwards.

South Bend Adventure Club: Informal adventure group in the region whose members organize hikes, backpacking trips, kayak outings, and much more. I have organized some ski events & a Backpacking trip in the Ozarks with this group. The group’s Facebook page is how events are organized.

Local Parks to Explore:

St. Patrick’s County Park: Local favorite with some fun running trails, as well as many community events. They also offer cross-country skiing (including rentals) in the winter!

Potato Creek State Park: State park in Indiana with hiking & running trails, mountain biking, and a small lake. 

Warren Dunes & Grand Mere State Parks: Two different state parks in MI with sand dunes you can hike up, access to Lake Michigan, and some trails through the woods.

Get outside & adventuring!

What the H!? What Is an H-Index, and What Does It Say about Authors Anyway?

Guest post by Monica Moore, Scholarly Communications Librarian, and Cheri Smith, Psychology Librarian, Hesburgh Libraries.


As a member of the scholarly community, you may occasionally hear people mention the term “h-index.” The h-index is a number assigned to individual scholars that measures both their scholarly output and scholarly impact. It is a calculation based on the number of papers a scholar has published, and how often those publications have been cited. The “h” stands for Dr. Jorge E. Hirsch, a physicist from UCSD, who, in 2005, recommended using this calculation to measure impact.

This is the formula for calculating an index:


However, the easiest way to understand it is to think about actual examples. If an author has published 20 papers, and 10 of those papers have been cited 10 times, then the author has an h-index of 10. If an author has published 100 papers, and all of them have been cited at least 100 times, then the author has an h-index of 100.


How is the h-index used?


Many universities, including Notre Dame, use the h-index as a part of the promotion and tenure process. It is most heavily used in the sciences and social sciences, as these are the disciplines that are most likely to generate publications that are frequently cited. Works of fiction, poetry, or art are not typically cited, so their impact should be measured in other ways. If you are in a science or social science field, it is a good idea to keep track of how often people are citing your work. You can set up a profile for yourself in Google Scholar, Web of Science or Scopus, and attach it to your ORCiD so that your publications are disambiguated from other publications from authors with names that are similar to your own. This way you can easily help colleagues, employers, or potential employers see the measurable impact you’ve had in your discipline.


Where can you find the h-index for an author?


In order to calculate an author’s h-index accurately, you would have to have a list of all of the author’s publications and know the number of citations to each of those publications.

There are several resources you can use to make this easier: Web of Science, Scopus, and Google Scholar. While Google Scholar is a freely available resource which indexes content on the open web, Web of Science and Scopus are library subscription indexes that are available to all University of Notre Dame faculty, staff, and students. Google Scholar requires the individual researcher to set up a profile to track their publications and calculate their h-index, while Web of Science and Scopus provide a report based on the author name entered.


Web of Science: h-index


Let’s say we’re interested in finding the h-index for Jane Goodall. In Web of Science, we can do an author search for her publications, using the Author dropdown menu from the Web of Science search page, and find the Jane Goodall that we’re looking for by disambiguating by an affiliated organization or through another author identifier such as an ORCiD. Once we’ve done that, we can click on the “Create Citation Report” option on the right-hand side of the screen to get her h-index:



Scopus: h-index


In Scopus, we would use a similar process for finding the h-index of an author: from the Search menu, we would search for the author name, disambiguate by organization or another author ID, and click on the author name details to bring up their h-index information:



You can see that the h-index in Scopus is different from what is in Web of Science. Why is this?

Title lists, subject area, and time period coverage can vary between these two resources, which will affect the h-index calculation. For an overview of the differences between Scopus and Web of Science, you can view this guide from Boston College, or learn more about the Web of Science content coverage policy or the Scopus content policy.

Another variable to be aware of is the author name itself, and any variations associated with it. While things like affiliation can help to disambiguate author names, it’s always better to search by some type of author identifier if one exists for that author. The primary example of an author identifier that is system-neutral is the ORCiD. Both Web of Science and Scopus allow for searching by the author’s ORCiD, and both Scopus and Web of Science allow for the exclusion of self-citations in articles before calculating the h-index.


Google Scholar: h-index


Unlike Web of Science and Scopus, Google Scholar requires the author to set up a profile in order to track the author’s h-index; however, you can check to see if one is available for an author in Google Scholar by searching for their profile from Google Scholar, as shown below:



In the above example, we can see that there is a profile for “jane goodall,” but not the same “jane goodall” that we saw in Web of Science or Scopus. If it had existed, we might have seen another, different h-index number since the pool of publications and citation information could also be different from what is used by Web of Science and Scopus.


Things to consider…


The h-index is actually just one method of measuring scholarly impact collectively known as citation indicators, and it’s not without its critics.  The difference in title coverage for the tools that generate the h-index number is one of the biggest issues, along with the need for researchers to maintain and keep up with their publication profiles in Google Scholar or monitor their citation analysis information in Scopus or Web of Science. Retracted papers that are still cited and self-citations can distort the h-index unless these are not excluded in the calculation of it. The article “Multiple versions of the h-index: Cautionary use for formal academic purposes,” provides a good overview of these and other questions related to the h-index.

Perhaps the most important thing to remember about the h-index is that is just one measure of scholarly activity and impact. For more information on h-index concerns and other methods of measurement, check out this information at ImpactStory, and stay tuned for another blog entry on Altmetrics!


Is It Procrastination or Is It Self-Care?

Guest post by Megan G. Brown, Ph.D., HSPP, Interim Director of the Rev. James E. McDonald, C.S.C., Center for Student Well-Being.


With your research constantly hanging over your head, do you ever feel like normal life activities such as exercise, hanging out with friends, or reading fiction are procrastination? Or maybe you have an advisor who gives you the impression that if it doesn’t relate to your research, you shouldn’t be doing it! It is true that good things can be used to escape from doing the hard things. But how do you know when you are procrastinating or when you are practicing self-care?


There isn’t an easy answer, but there is an answer. And it starts with a question. Who or what is important to you? If your research and why you are doing that research is on the list, then you are off to a good start.  But there are other things and people on that list as well, right? (I hope so!) What about friends, family, health, adventure, faith, laughter, “me”, to name a few possibilities? These are the people and things that energize us in life. When we move toward them, they provide meaning and purpose even if they cause stress at times. (They are stressful because they matter!)


Friends, Family, Health, Adventure, Faith, and Laughter Can Provide Us with Purpose


But if you are anything like me, you are never always moving toward who or what is important to you because stuff shows up and gets in the way. And the most challenging stuff that gets in the way is on the inside: fatigue, guilt, insecurity, fear, sadness, stress (to name only a few). When these gremlins rear their ugly heads, I automatically do some stuff to try to get rid of them. I watch Netflix, take a nap, get snippy with people, or eat chocolate (or some combination of these). Most of these activities are not bad, but it is a matter of timing and purpose.


So the second question is, Does this activity move me toward who or what is important to me or does it move me away? Often, when we do something to escape uncomfortable feelings within ourselves, the activity moves us away from our values, not toward them. In the moment, the activity feels great; we are comforted and soothed. That’s why we continue doing it and why it is so automatic. It works! But how do we feel after watching three hours of Friends while consuming the box of chocolates that was for a friend’s birthday gift?


Feelings Such as Fatigue, Guilt, Insecurity, Fear, Sadness, and Stress May Move Us Away from Activities and People We Value


The key to knowing whether something is procrastination or self-care isn’t how it makes us feel, but whether it is moving us closer to who we want to be, what is best for us and who/what is important to us. It takes some practice, but there is evidence that suggests that just asking, “Is this a toward move or an away move?” can slow us down and turn off our autopilot so we make better long-term decisions. Research also suggests that contemplating our values increases resilience and decreases stress.


Research Suggests That Contemplating Our Values Increases Resilience and Decreases Stress.


Both of these happen in one simple question, “Is this a toward move or an away move?” Try it! You may be re-energized to keep working on your research because it is what is most important to you or you may end up taking a much needed, guilt-free nap.



What Does the GSU Do?

In this guest post, Caitlin Smith Oyekole, a 5th-year English Ph.D. student and current Co-Vice President of the GSU explains the functions of the GSU and the many ways in which they support graduate students

This year, the 2018 Graduate Student Union executive board is focusing on improving communication between the GSU and the average grad student. Our big, first question is: Where’s the breakdown happening? Is it the website? Emails? Representative participation? And the answer is all of the above, but there’s a big central problem that keeps coming up.

Most grad students don’t really know what we do.

So here’s a quick overview of what the GSU is, what it does, and how you can get involved!

The GSU supports graduate students in all facets of life

The GSU is the largest and oldest graduate student organization at Notre Dame. It exists to support graduate students in all facets of life—academics, personal life, social programming, research, etc. It provides support in three main ways: money, programming, and proximity to power.

  1. Money
Above: GSU officers delivering bags of gold to hardworking grad students

Our budget comes from the GSU Student Fee and donations from the Graduate School, and we are supported by a dedicated ND staff member, Mimi Beck.

Above: Mimi Beck, a truly wonderful person 

The GSU has much bigger budget than the other graduate student organizations, and we’re happy to share! In addition to using our money to fund the programming for our committees, we set aside money to fund events for other student organizations. We also devote money to the Conference Presentation Grant and the Graduate Teaching Awards.


The GSU also centralizes other organizations’ funding for graduate students, like GradLife’s GO Grants, the Graduate School’s emergency fund for graduate students, and the Shirt Fund, which supports Notre Dame students with extraordinary medical conditions who have demonstrated financial need.

  1. Programming
Oh yes! We have parties, professional development, and… no snappy “p”-word to describe what Quality of Life does. Darn.

Three of the GSU’s five committees (Social and Community Engagement, Quality of Life, and Professional Development) organize events throughout the year. These can range from a big event like the Professional Development Fair, to smaller, demographic-targeted events, like Quality of Life’s coffee & chat series for married or partnered grad students.


Some big, long-running events happen every year. For example, the GSU always sponsors the Jingle Bell Ball in December and a Charity Gala in May. Check out the full programming schedule on our new website, which will go live at the end of Fall Break, to see exactly what’s planned for the year! And watch your inboxes for email alerts.

  1. Proximity to Power
What, you were expecting a different Hamilton reference?

While we aren’t a labor union, the GSU is the primary vehicle for communication between the university administration and grad student community. We mostly do this through committee work. The Academic Affairs Committee and Healthcare Committees place GSU officers on a wide range of university committees—everything from the Parking Lot Committee, to the upper-tier Academic Council!


Why committees? By sitting on committees, the GSU officer can represent the interests of graduate students at multiple levels within the administrative hierarchy. The GSU officer also makes sure that grad students know about important decisions that are being deliberated—by presenting a report at the GSU meeting. Anyone can come to GSU’s monthly meetings—you don’t have to be a departmental representative!

Passionate about something? Come to the GSU meeting and let your voice be heard!


The easiest, quickest way to get involved in GSU is simply to show up! We meet every 3rd Thursday of the month at 6:30 PM in the Duncan Ballroom. Dinner is provided.


You can also reach out directly to any of the Committee Chairs or the Executive Board. We want to hear from you—and we want to support you (E.G. make your lives easier)! Don’t hesitate to let us know what’s on your mind. We are a GSU that works for you!

President: Matyas Tsegaye 

Vice President: Oyekola Oyekole 

Vice President: Caitlin Smith Oyekole

Academic Affairs Chairs:

Alex Brodersen

Tony Rosales

Healthcare Chair:

Kris Murray 

Professional Development Chairs:

Tracy-Lynn Lockwood

Mortaza Saeidi-Javash

Jessica Zinna

Quality of Life Chairs:

Shinjini Chattopadhyay

Connor Mullen 

Joseph Thomas

Social and Community Engagement Chairs:

Alyssa Oberman

Hui Yin Tan