Provost’s Learning Initiative


As a residential university animated by the principles of liberal education shaped by our Catholic mission, Notre Dame’s commitment to transformational learning must be unmatched. We recognize that effective learning takes many forms, and that the options now available to universities have enormous potential for inter-institutional collaboration as well as new forms of learning experience. Learning science research (including data from small-scale ND projects) must infuse our approach to creating successful and inclusive learning experiences for all Notre Dame students. In order to meet the opportunities of the future and amplify Notre Dame’s leadership role in creating the future of education (on campus, with partners, and for the world), we are proud to launch the Provost’s Learning Initiative, a multi-year project focused on creating, understanding, and sustaining transformational learning experiences. 

The Provost’s Learning Initiative is advised by a faculty steering committee and enabled by the close collaboration of the Kaneb Center for Teaching and Learning, the Hesburgh Libraries, the Office of Digital Learning, the OIT Learning Platforms team, and other faculty support units.

High-Impact Learning Projects

The committee seeks proposals for a small number of faculty-led projects that propose to transform the student learning experience in Notre Dame courses, and which a) require substantial professional support (evaluation and measurement of efficacy, curricular visioning, design and production of learning assets, implementation of new delivery models, complex technology integrations, learning analytics support, embrace of inclusive pedagogies), and/or  b) will serve significant numbers of Notre Dame students or provide valuable findings to the Notre Dame community. Projects may be aligned with the new Core Curriculum or with college, program, departmental, or individual goals. 

A wide range of possibilities are contemplated here, and the committee invites expressions of interest from faculty interested in making proposals. A primary goal is to surround faculty with a team of learning professionals to expand the range of possibilities, design and produce needed materials, and measure the efficacy of new strategies, tools, and resources. Successful projects will be matched with supporting teams and resources necessary. Elements of a successful proposal will include the following: an account of the problem to be solved or the question to be pursued; an account of the project’s significance to and impact on the departmental, college/school, and University curriculum; an account of the potential significance of the findings from the project; any collaborating organizations or units committed to support the project; any perceived support needs (design and production, research, etc.); the identity and proposed roles of the faculty involved as well as the supervising chair(s) or dean(s).

Proposal submissions will be accepted beginning on March 1.

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Kaneb Center Course Design Academy

The committee seeks nominations and self-nominations for the inaugural cohort of the Kaneb Center’s Course Design Academy. This program forms a cohort of leading, highly effective Notre Dame faculty involved in significant course design or redesign initiatives, supporting them with a structured series of workshops and programs. Faculty will be selected by the dean of their college and receive a stipend as well as individualized support. The KCCDA will form a cohort of learning leaders nominated by their colleges. They will enhance their pedagogical leadership through participation in a program of expert speakers, several full- or half-day-long workshops, and leadership opportunities. Topics will include evidence-based course design practices including backward design, transparent assignment design, inclusive teaching strategies, and more. 

The KCCDA will kick off with a workshop on inclusive teaching from Kelly Hogan and Viji Sathy on May 21, 2019.  A detailed schedule and additional topics will be determined in consultation with the selected cohort. Upon successful completion of the Kaneb Center Course Design Academy (KCCDA), faculty will be well-positioned as highly visible pedagogical leaders within their home departments and within the Notre Dame community. No more than eight faculty will be selected for the inaugural cohort.

To nominate a colleague, or self-nominate, please use this proposal form.

Final selections will be made by the dean’s office in the relevant college or school.

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Provost’s Learning Initiative Speaker Series

The faculty committee has invited a range of speakers to Notre Dame in order to build a university-wide conversation on effective and transformational learning. Our guests will offer traditional research presentations as well as smaller working-group or roundtable discussions; all are warmly welcomed.

Locations and times for the speaker series will be announced closer to the date of each event.

Spring 2019

Thursday, March 28, and Friday, March 29: Pooja Agarwal, Berklee College of Music
Friday, April 5 (Kaneb Lecture): Jose Bowen, Goucher College
Friday, April 12: Steve Reifenberg and Kevin Barry, University of Notre Dame
Monday, May 6: Carolyn Penstein Rosé, Carnegie Mellon University
Tuesday, May 21 (Kaneb Lecture): Kelly Hogan and Viji Sathy, University of North Carolina

Fall 2019

September: Joseph Krajcik, Michigan State University
September: Erin Dolan, University of Georgia
October: Sheri Sheppard, Stanford University

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Pilot Grants for Instructional Software

Faculty who wish to pilot or experiment with instructional software or technology integrations not currently supported at Notre Dame may submit proposals for pilot grants. A successful proposal will describe the problem to be solved, including the learning goals and instructional benefits of the proposed software solution. The winning project(s) will be supported by the Academic Technologies Team in the OIT Learning Platforms division. Example: in 2018-2019, a number of faculty are piloting the use of Gradescope to streamline and better understand testing in large science and engineering classes.

Proposal submissions will be accepted beginning on March 1.

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Engaged Digital Scholarship

For 2019-2020, the Office of Digital Learning seeks proposals for one faculty-led work of engaged digital scholarship, modeled on the success of the Listening to Puerto Rico online project. A work of engaged digital scholarship builds from faculty scholarly expertise in a discipline or field, and applies that expertise to an urgent social problem in an inclusive manner. Proposals may be developed in collaboration with campus partners such as the Center for Social Concerns or others.

Proposal submissions will be accepted beginning on March 1.

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Committee Composition

  • Elliott Visconsi (co-chair)
  • Maura Ryan (co-chair)
  • Hugh Page
  • Ken Kelley
  • Mike Hildreth
  • Sharif Nijim
  • Jennifer Tank
  • Meghan Sullivan
  • Ernest Morrell
  • Nicole McNeil
  • Matt Kloser
  • Kerry Meyers
  • Marisel Moreno

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