Educational Initiatives

Overview

While American higher education is the envy of the world, our K-12 system continues to falter in many respects, perhaps none more troubling than the persistent “achievement gap” between white and minority students. A recent study by McKinsey & Company suggests that this gap results in an annual three-to-four percent negative impact on GDP, the equivalent of a permanent national recession.

As a Catholic university, Notre Dame seeks to address the struggles of our education system as barriers to economic prosperity and community stability. Moreover, they are a call to act on behalf of the principles of human dignity, solidarity, and a preferential option for the poor that are integral to Catholic social teaching.

The Institute for Educational Initiatives is uniquely situated to help the University heed this call by providing interdisciplinary support for teaching, research, and service. More than 60 faculty fellows pursue entrepreneurial initiatives that improve the education of the young, particularly the disadvantaged, paying special—though not exclusive—attention to Catholic schools.

The institute comprises five major units: the Advanced Placement Training and Incentive Program for Indiana (AP-TIP IN); the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE); the Center for Research on Educational Opportunity (CREO); the Education, Schooling, and Society undergraduate minor; and the Research Center on Educational Policy. Alongside several affiliated activities, the institute has also launched a Notre Dame Excellence in STEM Education Initiative to advance education in the disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

These distinct endeavors hold a set of commitments in common and seek ways to capitalize on synergies. Together, they deepen and broaden the institute’s scholarly inquiry into the field of education, enhancing its assessments of program effectiveness, expanding its array of services to children and formation programs for educators, and leveraging its signal ability to respond to opportunities that present themselves in unforeseen and providential ways.

Sensitive to the fact that the United States is in the midst of an era of unprecedented educational experimentation and innovation, the institute’s faculty and leadership will continue to affirm the University’s mission and faith tradition through a distinctive, dynamic engagement with the nation’s schools.

More than 60 faculty fellows pursue entrepreneurial initiatives that improve the education of the young, particularly the disadvantaged, paying special—though not exclusive—attention to Catholic schools.

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Goals

The Institute for Educational Initiatives has identified three overarching goals as part of its strategic planning process, each of which advances two or more of the five University-wide goals:

1. Promote excellence in leadership by investing in the professional formation of educators

University Goals Supported

  • Goal I: Ensure that our Catholic character informs all our endeavors
  • Goal II: Offer an unsurpassed undergraduate education that nurtures the formation of mind, body, and spirit
  • Goal III: Advance human understanding through scholarship, research, and post-baccalaureate programs that seek to heal, unify, and enlighten
  • Goal V: Engage in external collaborations that extend and deepen Notre Dame’s impact

Strategies

  1. Deepen and enhance the Alliance for Catholic Education’s (ACE) master’s-level Service Through Teaching and Mary Ann Remick Leadership Programs
  2. Create a Center for Transformative Educational Leadership to house both existing and new, high-impact professional development programs, particularly for principals
  3. Invest strategically in special needs education to become a leader in the field of inclusionary practices
  4. Develop the Education, Schooling, and Society (ESS) undergraduate minor to become the nation's most distinctive interdisciplinary learning experience dealing with education
  5. Engage and prepare ACE graduates to be effective lifelong advocates for Catholic schools and educational opportunity for all children

2. Achieve excellence in research by investing in knowledge and ideas

University Goals Supported

  • Goal I: Ensure that our Catholic character informs all our endeavors
  • Goal III: Advance human understanding through scholarship, research, and post-baccalaureate programs that seek to heal, unify, and enlighten
  • Goal IV: Foster the University’s mission through superb stewardship of its human, physical, and financial resources
  • Goal V: Engage in external collaborations that extend and deepen Notre Dame’s impact

Strategies

  1. Invest in the Center for Research on Educational Opportunity (CREO) to become a national leader in research on social contexts that affect learning
  2. Become a leading center for scholarship and best practice with respect to teaching, learning, and schools, particularly for schools sponsored by faith communities
  3. Build capacity and strengthen collaborative relationships with other units at Notre Dame

3. Build excellence in innovative practices by investing in professional service and outreach

University Goals Supported

  • Goal I: Ensure that our Catholic character informs all our endeavors
  • Goal V: Engage in external collaborations that extend and deepen Notre Dame’s impact

Strategies

  1. Serve as a prominent destination for gaining knowledge of best practices in K-12 education, especially, but not exclusively, for faith-based schools
  2. Become a locus of invention and experimentation for school-based projects with testable, verifiable results and with the potential to effect substantial educational renewal
  3. Respond to targeted opportunities to contribute to defined educational needs in international contexts

Learn more about the Institute for Educational Initiatives by visiting iei.nd.edu.