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Welcome to my class!

By now, you are all battle-hardened first-year students.  But I would like to give you advice anyway, since you will be battle-weary employees soon enough.  At the end of this seminar, you will only have three years left at ND!

To give you a sense of my philosophy of teaching, allow me to share four personal biases.  These are partly based upon my role as an educator.  But they also draw upon what I have learned as a Notre Dame parent.  In other words, I know something about your ways and practices.

First, you are at Notre Dame because you are intelligent and talented smart. Yet as you have already found, everybody around you is intelligent and talented, too. The greater challenge is for you to be interesting. This means that you should acquire the tools, the wisdom, and the passion to make people care about who you are and what you will become.

Second, I am not really interested in the conventional definitions of what it means to be educated at other universities. I emphasize analysis and understanding. If you can’t analyze and understand, you won’t be able to persuade. If you can’t persuade, we will have failed you.

Third, why Notre Dame? Until you graduate, you should keep asking yourself why you chose Notre Dame over other institutions, such as The Ohio State University, the Leland Stanford Junior University, and various East-coast finishing schools.  Did it matter to you that Notre Dame is a Catholic university?  It should matter in some way.

Finally, to quote a prominent contemporary philosopher, “along with great privilege comes great responsibility.”  University education is a privilege which few people in the world experience.  Who knows why both you and I have been given the blessing of leisure time to cultivate our minds?  We are morally obliged to make the most of it. As the Bible says: “No one, when he has lit a lamp, puts it in a cellar or under a basket, but on a stand, that those who come in may see the light” (Luke 11:33).

My office hours are Tuesdays  1:30-2:30 and Wednesdays 2:00-4:00. My office is 2080 Nanovic Hall. You do not need a specific reason to visit me. I’m always curious to know what’s on your mind.  My email:  amcadams@nd.edu

Again, I am glad you are in my class.

A. James McAdams

NOTE:  Please turn off and do not use your technology during class.  This includes electronic devices of any kind, such as laptops, i-Pads, cell phones, Kindles, video cameras, video games, or other personal digital devices.  Above all: this is a no-tweet zone!

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