That is Notre Dame. Either we walk together in mutual support, or we do not walk at all. Either we are all Notre Dame, or none of us are.
—Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., President
Notre Dame is called to be a community distinguished by its inclusivity. Running deeper than a statement of principles or a strategic planning document, it is an ideal that proceeds from a more fundamental source—and undoubtedly to the minds of some, a more unlikely one: the University’s Catholic character.
Catholic social teaching affirms the transcendent dignity and worth of every human person. It holds that human beings are inescapably social and, as such, must strive together to realize the common good. And it calls on us to live in solidarity with all people.
This means that our ability to fulfill Notre Dame’s mission depends on ensuring that all seekers of truth—regardless of race, nationality or ethnic group, religious tradition, gender, socioeconomic class, immigration status, sexual orientation, or anything else—feel embraced and empowered to do their best work here.
What’s more, we recognize that to be a great university, these efforts cannot exist in a vacuum, talked about only during special observances or within particular departments. Institutional excellence requires our entire campus demonstrate inclusive excellence 365 days a year; by investing in diverse ways of knowing, we unlock the full potential of Notre Dame’s intellectual enterprise.
The President’s Oversight Committee on Diversity and Inclusion exists to track the progress we are making and serves as a bridge between localized initiatives that, when pursued in concert with and informed by one another, form a cohesive vision for all of Notre Dame. You can learn more at diversity.nd.edu.
But Catholic social teaching influences more than the type of campus we aspire to be; it also challenges us to direct our resources and the talents of our faculty and students toward the betterment of the world around us.
One way we do so is through an institution-wide commitment to research that advances the common good, from combating climate change to fostering collaboration between scholars of Catholicism, Islam, and other traditions on issues like bioethics, migration, and religious authority.
This type of scholarship, in turn, impacts the education we provide. Faculty bring their latest work on business ethics and sustainable design and autism therapies and so on into the classroom, exposing students to new perspectives and opening up research opportunities, the lessons from which they carry with them well beyond Notre Dame. Our Center for Social Concerns adds to this a community-based approach to learning and research.
In short, being a Catholic university does make us different—a difference that is also a responsibility.
Galla Professor of Biological Sciences, Director of the Notre Dame Environmental Change Initiative
“As important as sound science is to conservation, strong relationships are also invaluable. The trust that Notre Dame has built, through the Environmental Change Initiative, with Indiana farmers, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Nature Conservancy has been essential to our research.”
Harindra Joseph Fernando
Wayne and Diana Murdy Family Professor of Engineering
“The tireless work of my environmental fluid dynamics colleagues has transformed Notre Dame into a powerhouse of research in this area. … To be a part of the growth of Our Lady’s University is the best opportunity that I have ever received in my lifetime.”
Professor of Islamic Studies
“I was drawn to Notre Dame because of the ambitious possibilities here to change the conversation about religion in the world today. Few academic institutions facilitate an effortless dialogue between theology and politics, religion and society, as well as Notre Dame does.”
Amy Coney Barrett
Diane and M.O. Miller II Research Professor of Law, Professor of Law
“I draw on the Constitution’s text, structure, and history to determine optimal constraints on the power of government entities, particularly in the face of modern governing challenges. … The Law School’s Program on Constitutional Structure has proven indispensable to my work.”