Moment to See, Courage to Act


The past year-and-a-half has astonished us time and again in so many different ways. Buffeted by a global pandemic, a nationwide reckoning over racial justice, an election that underscored the country’s political divides, the peddling of misinformation to sow distrust in science and government, major fires across the Western U.S., the growing impacts of global climate change—and, yes, even murder hornets—we have been confronted with profound challenges from every direction. 

And the reality of course is that the challenges will likely continue. We can end up wherever these challenges toss us. Alternatively, we can decide to steady ourselves and make clear and conscious decisions about where we want to go as individuals and as a community. We have a moment to see—to reflect, to learn, and to become better as individuals and stronger as a University because of those challenges. If we’re going to do that, we have to do more than see. We need the courage to act—to chart a new, deliberate, and ambitious course.

As we look ahead to updating and refreshing the University’s strategic plan, we want faculty to consider our aspirations as an academic community. Moment to See, Courage to Act is a means to do that.

HAPPENING NOW: Phase 3–MSCA Symposium

Rainbow and clearing clouds over campus

Building on the foundation of the discussion groups and faculty lightning talks (see below), Phase 3 of the Moment to See, Courage to Act initiative is seeking faculty thought on the following question as it relates to the University’s educational and/or research enterprises:

What big endeavors should Notre Dame undertake?

During the fall 2021 semester, we invite faculty to come together in teams to take up this question, a process that will culminate with the Notre Dame MSCA Symposium in November.

Get Involved in Proposing an Idea for the Symposium (NetID Required)

The symposium will take place Friday, Nov. 12, in the Leighton Concert Hall of the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center. The schedule is as follows:

10:00–10:10 a.m.: Welcome and Opening Remarks
10:15–11:30 a.m.: Lightning Talk Presentations (Session 1)
12:00–1:15 p.m.: 
Lightning Talk Presentations (Session 2)
1:30–2:45 p.m.: Lightning Talk Presentations (Session 3)
3:00–4:15 p.m.: Lightning Talk Presentations (Session 4)
4:20–4:30 p.m.: Closing Comments
4:30–5:30 p.m.: Reception

RSVP to Attend the MSCA Symposium

Previous Phases

Readings and Discussion Groups

Moment to See, Courage to Act formally began with a series of 18 small group discussions focused on three short foundational readings:

Download the Discussion Guide and Readings

All discussion groups have now met. We thank all the faculty and facilitators who participated. You can also read about the major themes/topics that emerged from the faculty discussion sessions.

3-Minute Lightning Talks

Laura Hollis, teaching professor of accountancy, holds a meeting over Zoom

The above readings and discussion groups brought faculty together to think about the challenges facing our community, our country, and our world during this unique moment to see.

The next step was to get to know each other’s work better to encourage the kind of interdisciplinary exploration that will allow us to act on these challenges, whether individually, collaboratively with colleagues, or collectively as a University through the strategic planning process.

In April and May 2021, Notre Dame faculty were invited to share their research, scholarship, or creative work with Provost Miranda and others (over Zoom) by giving a 3-minute “lightning talk.”

All 10 lightning talk sessions featured multiple faculty each giving their own 3-minute presentation. Presenters were asked to highlight, in broad terms, three main points:

  • The focus of their work
  • Why that work is important
  • One recent finding or project that they are particularly excited about

The lightning talks have wrapped up, but you can:

Watch Lightning Talk Videos

We hope as many faculty as possible will embrace Moment to See, Courage to Act as an opportunity to help shape the future of Notre Dame.

If you have questions, please feel free to contact