How Collaboration and Integral Human Development are Bringing Notre Dame’s Newest School to Campus and the World
On Oct. 1, 2014, the University of Notre Dame officially announced the creation of its first school or college in nearly a century: the Keough School of Global Affairs. At the time, Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C. said in a press release that, through the school, “Notre Dame will prepare students for effective and ethically grounded professional leadership in government, the private sector and global civil society, engaging them in the worldwide effort to address the greatest challenges of our century.” The school would officially open in August 2017.
There are now seven (soon to be eight) institutes that comprise the school: ranging from the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies to the Liu Institute for Asian and Asian Studies. Placed under one roof for the first time, the institutes look to have unprecedented collaboration and access to a broader range of students.Jenkins Hall — connected to Nanovic Hall — has now opened its doors. The Keough School has welcomed its first students: 38 candidates for a Master of Global Affairs, hailing from 21 countries and divided into three concentrations.
All of these facets of the school, new and old, are connected under one theme and holistic approach: integral human development.
What is integral human development? How does it inform the training of the world’s next global leaders? And how does the Keough School look to find its place both on the campus of Notre Dame and the world at large — all while combining the various bodies under its purview in pursuit of this unifying mission?
Through interviews with the school’s first cohorts of students, professors and administrators, Scholastic sought to find answers to these questions.
Faculty and Students
The first cohort of MGA students began classes on Aug. 22, but the work to build the foundation of the Keough School started much earlier.
In 2014, Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C. and Provost Thomas Burish asked a long-serving member of the Notre Dame faculty if he would be interested in becoming the school’s first dean.
Marilyn Keough Dean Scott Appleby says he answered yes with “great trepidation and fear and trembling.” He had been involved with the idea surrounding the university’s need for something like the Keough School since as early as 2010 and understood how daunting the task ahead of him would be.
It would certainly be a challenge, but Appleby has had a career that uniquely prepares him to conquer that task.
A 1978 graduate of Notre Dame, he earned his master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Chicago, and had focused on the history of Christianity before returning to his alma mater as a faculty member in January of 1994.
While teaching in the history department, Appleby served first as the director of the Cushwa Center for the study of American Catholicism then as the Regan Director of the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies for 14 years.
“The Kroc Institute poised me to think more deeply about things global,” he says, which prepared him well for building the school of global affairs from the ground up.
As Appleby moved into his new role as dean, the Kroc Institute moved into its new home in Jenkins and Nanovic Halls and under the umbrella of the Keough School.
In this way the Keough School is both the university’s first new academic school in almost 100 years and also a continuation of the work of Kroc and the seven other institutes and centers that have moved into its domain.
While the Keough School seeks to build upon the past work of these institutes and centers, Appleby says they were also presented with the opportunity to build something completely different.
Appleby, Ted Beatty, Steve Reifenberg and other members of the Keough School spent time visiting peer schools with global affairs programs such as Harvard and Johns Hopkins.
“We learned that they said, ‘we envy you’ and we said, ‘why would you envy us? We are just starting.’ ‘Well we envy you because you can start fresh and it is harder for us to adjust,’” he says.
These schools are adjusting greatly from being institutions founded in the Cold War to the more globalized world following 9/11 and the 2009 global financial crisis, Appleby says, but Notre Dame is presented with a different opportunity to start slightly from scratch within an established framework.
“So do we start from scratch here? No and yes.”
The hiring of the school’s faculty reflects this spirit of both old and new; the established institutions and the opportunity to paint a blank canvas.
“We didn’t start from scratch in that sense, we had these institutes and faculty, very talented faculty from many disciplines on campus,” Appleby says when explaining the process of building the school’s faculty.
“That said, the ‘yes’ part of the answer is that there are areas at Notre Dame that were relatively weak. One of those areas is policy. We had some individuals — and I’m not ignoring the fact that there are some faculty on campus who have policy experience and continue to be major voices in the policy world — and, that said, Notre Dame has never been a policy university and in the 21st century, this is insufficient.”
With this aspect of building a reputation and an influence in policy, Keough School administrators set out to recruit faculty members with experience working in their field to influence policy, both internationally and domestically.
Among those hired were former White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, former Homeland Security official Francis Taylor, regulatory expert Susan Ostermann and nonprofit leader Ray Offenheiser ‘71.
A J.D. and P.h.D., Ostermann focuses much of her work on how seemingly weak states seem to punch above their weight when it comes to regulatory compliance.
“I am really interdisciplinary in a way where a lot of people talk about it while I kind of walk the walk,” she says of the unique way she operates in the world of academia. She has practiced as a litigator, continued her broad liberal arts interests and decided to get a P.h.D “my own way.”
While her dissertation focused on the regulatory environment, Ostermann has also published articles on marriage, the caste system and almost anything she finds compelling.
“There is a thread running through all of them, mostly norms: how they form and how they change,” she says.
In the same way, a unifying thread of integral human development runs through everything that the Keough School teaches.
According to Offenheiser, the school will be truly global if it becomes more of a bridge to Notre Dame’s global gateways, such as London and Rome, in a more coherent way.
Along with this, he says the school must try to “build perhaps other platforms for student experiences and faculty research in developing countries where we have less of presence but some.”
He says the most important void the Keough School must fill is “for the university to be actively engaged in public policy work in Washington and elsewhere”
Luckily, he has some experience in that field.
Offenheiser has worked extensively within the practical side of human development during his 35 years working for NGOs. Now he will serve as distinguished professor of the practice and the inaugural director of the Notre Dame Initiative for Global Development (NDIGD).
Just as the faculty has been recruited from a variety of fields and backgrounds, the 38 inaugural graduate students come from all over the world and with a plethora of experiences.
Students come from countries as far as Uzbekistan while some are graduates of Notre Dame.
Sonia Urquidi, a 2014 graduate, sees the global background of many of her fellow master’s students as being a major change from her undergraduate years on campus.
“It’s refreshing, especially really refreshing having that diversity,” Urquidi says, noting that just in normal conversations with her peers, she has learned about the differences in cultures and global perspectives.
Others seek to ultimately return to their native countries and communities, imparting what they learn at Notre Dame and beyond. Ikrom Tuhtasunov, from the east of Uzbekistan, sees that as his eventual goal: “In the long run, anyway, I am going back to Uzbekistan and [will] apply practical skills to contribute to the development of my nation, in doing so, to the well-being of the human being on the globe.”
Certain students in this cohort have long been interested in the work that Notre Dame scholars have been doing across the world, and saw the opening of the Keough School as an opportunity to join in that scholarship.
Nnadozie Onyekuru is one of those students. He hails from a suburb of Abuja, the capital of Nigeria, and studies in the Global Affairs + concentration.
“One of the things that was for me was a big interest was how do you have, what does Catholic Social Teaching have to say about those things,” that encompasses global affairs Onyekuru says.
“Every time I kept looking for the answers to those questions and when I Googled or when I was researching and looking for how the Catholic Social Teaching aspect [fit in], I would always find a professor from Notre Dame working on that problem.”
He was constantly reading about Notre Dame, so when he heard about the opening of the Keough School, he knew it would be the perfect fit for the master’s degree he was looking for.
Onyekuru hopes to create some change in the spheres of politics and education. In particular, he thinks there is much potential in expanding the influence of Catholic education globally.
“If more people can go to school, irrespective of where they come from, irrespective of the resources that their parents have, irrespective of certain things in their nature that might slow down their ability to learn as fast as others, irrespective of every kind of disadvantage, almost every disadvantage that makes people not go to school,” he says. “If more people could go to school despite that and become better human beings as a result of that, I’ll be very happy.”
So far, the curriculum has both challenged and engaged Onyekuru, especially the topics talked about in Appleby’s integral human development course and the dialogue about religion.
“It is difficult to understand in America the role that religion plays in the world because Americans are very careful about religion; but it does play a role and in depending on the actors, that role can be good or bad,” he says.
“And that is in a sense why the Keough School exists, to be able to train people to not be deficient in that, because there’s a lot of great schools [in] international relations but they don’t know a lot about religion and ethics and all those things.”
Onyekuru sees a great responsibility in being a part of the first cohort of Keough School students — all while appreciating the opportunities that he, along with his other students, have been given.
“There is a lot of pressure,” he says. “They want us to justify why they exist, and it is a tough call, but I think to who[m] much is given, much is expected.” Onyekuru went on to liken this new development in the Notre Dame student body to when women first matriculated at the university. “I think in many ways it is like 1972, when Notre Dame became co-ed … There is this video, “Loyal Sons and Daughters of Notre Dame” — it is a very beautiful video — and one of the new students then, she is no longer here, she said there was subtle message given by Notre Dame that, ‘Now we have made this wonderful thing happen, it’s time for you to go do a great thing out there in the world.’
“And I think, I feel like it is that way, too. Notre Dame is somehow saying, ‘We made this happen for you, this different way of educating a generation of global affairs professionals. And now we hope that you will not disappoint us and that you will make the world know why we came into existence.’”
From the very beginning, decisions about the academic curriculum were weighed carefully. One of the first questions was which degree to offer, and how many of them there should be.
As Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Ted Beatty acknowledges, there are many different models across the country for how schools of international affairs, global affairs, public policy and the like organize their programs.
While the Keough School seeks to provide many of the same benefits that a more traditional public policy program might offer — through, for instance, the same common introductory classes and seminars and its three concentrations — the administration consciously did not create a Master of Public Administration or Master of Public Policy degree.
One major reason for not creating a policycentric program was that Notre Dame, up to that point, had not had much of a policy footprint or capacity in the past, according to Beatty. That’s something that they want to change with the Keough School.
“One of our goals has been and will continue to be building out that capacity: hiring people, bringing people here — full-time, part-time, adjuncts,” Beatty says. Already, that capacity has been expanded through such attention-grabbing hires as Denis McDonough, the 26th White House Chief of Staff, who is joining Keough as an executive fellow of the Global Policy Initiative.
A secondary reason for not focusing on policy was in order to avoid establishing a “silo” on campus: a school that was building leaders separated in a box away from the rest of campus.
In contrary to creating an isolated graduate program, the leaders of the Keough School intended to create a collaborative environment from the very beginning — between the Keough School and the other colleges on campus, between the various institutes, and between the master’s students themselves in their three separate concentrations.
Upon matriculation, the Keough School offers three concentrations for its students: International Peace Studies, led by Professor Susan St. Ville, Sustainable Development, with Professor Lakshmi Iyer, and Global Affairs, led by various advisors, and with a chosen specialization in an area such as human rights, international law, regional studies, global religion, democratic policies, migration and refugees or other areas, according to its website.
These concentrations allow for interdisciplinary study for their master’s students while addressing many of the critical issues that the global community faces today.
Instead of creating various master’s degrees within the Keough School, the administration created three concentrations: to allow students to have classes together, and connect perspectives from across their chosen disciplines. This was due to a regard for real-life application.
“In the real world, if you’re going to work in Colombia and South America on issues related to civil war, conflict development — or in Uganda or in South Africa or in the Philippines or in the Middle East or wherever — issues of peace and conflict, of development, of governance, of policy, of human rights, of environment and health issues: All of these are connected,” Beatty says, explaining that none of these issues can be looked at in a box, independently of other issues.
Along with this holistic approach, another element of the macro-level organization of the school is the integration of the institutes — some of which almost partner with the concentrations.
The International Peace Studies and Sustainable Development concentrations, in particular, work very closely with two of the institutes now under the Keough School’s roof. The International Peace Studies concentration is based on the previous program that the Kroc Institute had offered for 30 years. The Sustainable Development concentration, which allows for students to work more on human development and economic development, works very closely with the Kellogg Institute for International Studies.
While these institutes highlight early collaboration between the institutes and the master’s students, they foreshadow another major goal of the Keough School: collaboration between all of the elements that are housed within Jenkins and Nanovic Halls — and beyond.
Beatty, who came to the Keough School from the Kellogg Institute, stresses the autonomy of the institutes’ individual interests and programs while planning for collaboration on all seven fronts.
The former director of the Kellogg Institute outlined two major questions regarding the role of the institutes in the Keough School, from the top down.
The first regards the wide variety in programs that these various institutes offer — ranging to supplemental majors and minors to summer research funding and research support. “How can we … help support institutes’ ability to continue pursuing their priorities, their aspirations?”
Secondly, Beatty wanted to focus on the interaction not only between the institutes and the Keough students, but also between the institutes themselves.
“How can being grouped together under one roof instead of scattered across campus — which physically we were, for the most part — how can that make collaboration possible?”
Professor Ebrahim Moosa, professor of Islamic studies in the Kroc Institute and co-director of the Contending Modernities initiative, sees potential to increase interdisciplinary conversation between the institutes.
“The whole idea of bringing them under one roof is to make sure that there are greater synergies, and I think we’ve done well until now … that this will just intensify that,” he said.
Despite their differing roles and structures, Beatty is clear about the importance that the institutes play in the overall structure and makeup of the School: “The master’s program wouldn’t exist without this combination of institutes.”
That not only relates directly to the structure and day-to-day routines of the master’s students, but also the opportunities that bring outside speakers to campus — and, in some cases, brought certain members of this class to Notre Dame, according to Mike Talbot, associate director for the Master of Global Affairs.
In achieving such a global reach for this first class of students, Talbot attributes some of that extent to the strength of networks of alumni that many of these institutes have accumulated over the years, as well as the work that it has supported in scholars across the world.
“I think a big part of it was … on the backs of their legacy and networks,” Talbot says. Those same networks have also helped bring speakers to campus and establish national and global partnerships, as highlighted in two of the Keough School’s major interactive elements, the i-Lab and Global Policy Initiative.
Theory Meets Practice
Tracy Kijewski-Correa and Steve Reifenberg, the co-directors of the Integration Lab, or i-Lab, described it in an email to Scholastic as “an interdisciplinary ecosystem leveraging innovative approaches and deep partnerships to address critical, real-world global challenges and serve as a force for good in the world.”
It serves at “the intersection of education, scholarship and practice to engage students, faculty and partners around the world in innovative approaches to tackle critical global challenges.”
“The i-Lab stood out the most and the opportunity to work with a partner during the course of the program was surely unique,” says Mehak Anjum Siddiquei, a graduate student from Lahore, Pakistan when asked about the major factors in her interest in applying to Keough School.
In the first few weeks of instruction, the i-Lab team has utilized in experts from the Global Policy Initiative (GPI) as well as from the Nanovic Institute to help prepare students for their interactions with global leaders coming to campus as part of Keough School programming.
Beatty describes the GPI as “essentially our umbrella for all things policy-related within the Keough School.”
Sara Sievers oversees the GPI, along with Maura Policelli, who will manage the operations based in Washington, D.C.
NDGID was established in 2012 through the Office of Research. It plays a role in connecting the faculty of Notre Dame with professionals in global development.
Offenheiser spent his career in the field, retiring as Oxfam’s chief executive last fall. He transitioned into his role as director of NDIGD in November.
“The Initiative for Global Development, in some ways it is actually part of what I think has been an ambition of President Jenkins during his tenure to actually think a little bit about how does the university become more present in the world. In other words, how does it become a more global institution?” he says.
“We are trying to make it easier for faculty within the university to say, “you know, I have done all this work on this subject for this long time,’” Offenheiser says.
“But maybe I’d like to step outside a traditional role and work in Latin America, in Asia, how would I do that? And how would I get that work supported within the university?”
Now that classes have officially begun, the work is not over for those involved in establishing the Keough School. Some plans have already been made widely known, including the development of the eighth partner institute within the Keough School, the Ansari Institute for Global Engagement with Religion.
A major task on the horizon for the Keough School regards faculty hiring: of trying to get some of the best and brightest academics in their respective fields. Beatty divided this large task into three prongs.
The major concern for all Notre Dame hiring is the quality of the scholar and teacher: This, according to Beatty, cannot be undermined or overpowered by any other qualification.
A second factor, which is particular important given the Keough School’s focus on collaboration across a variety of disciplines, is openness to interdisciplinary approaches in research and other academic environments. “We do want people who are interested in being around a table with people from other disciplines, talking about research initiatives, talking about curriculum and course planning, and willing to throw themselves into a project like that,” Beatty said. As the structural approach to the Keough students’ own academics is so interdisciplinary, the faculty hiring process mirrors that same priority.
The third and final consideration concerns the policy applicability of potential faculty members’ research interests. Both Appleby and Beatty stressed a large Keough School goal of increasing Notre Dame’s overall policy footprint and capacity; one major place that this starts with is with the work that the faculty is doing.
“Some of the faculty we hire will be people who are policy experts,” Beatty says. “But when we hire more traditional academic faculty, much of the time — maybe not all of the time, but much of the time — we’re interested in people who have an interest in not only … in pure research … but along with its policy relevance, its policy implications.”
Within the next year, the Keough School will open the Washington, D.C. center for the Global Policy Initiative. Professor Offenheiser says that down the line a larger presence both in policy but also in expanded academic programs is on the agenda.
Next year, the Keough School plans to offer courses to undergraduates beyond the current one-credit Global Policy Seminar.
“We’re going to move this year and open next year a more robust program in global affairs that will be matched to a particular major or discipline,” Appleby says, “And that program will help globalize the student.”
Once the undergraduate program begins, it will continue to emphasize this mission of integral human development, which is already a thread that runs through much of the current undergraduate curriculum. “The goal is to have that up and running by this time next year and it will grow from there,” he says.
The dean has no worries about attracting students once the undergraduate program is established. “The undergraduate student body is so vivid and rich and talented people will flock here. We think they will, and we are looking for people similarly who really want to make their lives a career that in someway addresses human need in this direct, sort of raw sense,” he says.
Overall, the major hope for the future of the Keough School revolves around the students. Regarding the 38 master’s students currently here, Talbot says, “I want them to learn as much as they can, take advantage of all of the opportunities that Notre Dame has to offer in terms of community, networking resources, etc.”
And the hope is that these students can go out into the world and become the global leaders that the Keough School was established to develop.
Talbot concluded: “I want them to — if they don’t already know — identify the career trajectory that they want to have for themselves, and how they can use it to improve the world, make the world a better place, be impactful in whatever way they think is appropriate. And then I want them to go do that.”