Enhancement Areas

Quality and Diversity

Enhance the quality and diversity of our entering cohort.

Overview

We seek an undergraduate student body of exceptional potential, ready to take full advantage of a Notre Dame education and challenge us. Moreover, because a diverse campus makes for a richer learning community, we seek a student body that is diverse culturally, ethnically, racially, socio-economically, and in many other ways. While we are committed to remaining a Catholic institution that trains Catholic leaders and scholars, we seek people of faith from other religious traditions.

It is not enough simply to enroll an exceptional and diverse student body.

We strive to provide an environment that welcomes, encourages, challenges and cultivates the young men and women who come to live and learn here.

To achieve these ends, we will maintain current and develop new initiatives designed to attract students of high academic potential and diverse backgrounds and provide a supportive community when they are here, all in the context of Notre Dame’s distinctive Catholic mission.

Strategies

  • Strategy 1: Develop pipeline of high-achieving and diverse students.
  • Strategy 2: Provide early outreach, pre-college, and pre-matriculation programming to support both traditional and targeted student constituencies.
  • Strategy 3: Build an undergraduate student population that is diverse in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, socio-economic status, and other factors that foster a vibrant undergraduate learning environment in the context of a Catholic university.
  • Strategy 4: Strengthen extant programming and create — when appropriate — pilot initiatives, to promote undergraduate intellectual engagement and cultural competency.
  • Strategy 5: Develop academic initiatives that enhance inclusion and cultural sensitivity on campus.
  • Strategy 6: Create supplementary mentoring and support services for students receiving merit-based scholarships. Increase base level support for such programming and provide additional resources for students from particularly disadvantaged socio-economic circumstances.
  • Strategy 7: Strengthen relationships with alumni/ae, community members, and corporate partners, with whom synergies can be fostered that potentially augment student recruitment.

Student Experience

Enrich the integration of students’ intellectual, extracurricular, and residential experiences

Overview

Almost as soon as they are done exchanging initial pleasantries, two Notre Dame alumni meeting for the first time will more likely than not ask each other:

“So, where did you live?”

It is a testament to the seminal importance of the residence halls in shaping the University’s undergraduate life. Indeed, these buildings are not simply way stations incoming students inhabit until they can move on; the vast majority will call the same hall home through at least junior year. This tradition is vital to the extraordinary sense of community that has long been a hallmark of Notre Dame, with our residential system supporting students’ personal growth and spiritual formation.

Pairing such a campus environment with the University’s excellent academic offerings goes a long way in nurturing, in the words of our mission statement, “those disciplined habits of mind, body, and spirit that characterize educated, skilled, and free human beings.”

Our mission challenges us to integrate students’ education, including by broadening the settings in which they interact with faculty mentors.

And yet these two spheres of the student experience, the residential and the intellectual, too often do not overlap—in part because opportunities for faculty to get involved in residence halls and for the rectors of those halls to contribute to academic affairs have become less common as the University has increased in complexity.

Of course, some degree of separation is desirable. Students naturally need time away from their studies for reflection, to develop leadership skills in clubs and organizations, and for recreation. At the same time, though, many of our undergraduates have expressed a desire for more intellectual engagement outside the classroom, and they do not always connect choice of major to eventual careers and personal lives.

Our mission challenges us to integrate students’ education, including by broadening the settings in which they interact with faculty mentors, so that they can most thoughtfully discern their vocations beyond Notre Dame.

Strategies

  • Strategy 1: Invite faculty to experience more in-depth interactions with our residential communities through a faculty-in-residence program and a faculty fellows program
  • Strategy 2: Through a partnership between the First Year of Studies and the Division of Student Affairs, develop a comprehensive and outstanding First Year Experience Course that includes a renewed First Year Orientation program
  • Strategy 3: Offer opportunities where intellectual discussions among undergraduates increase outside of formal classroom environments by encouraging seminar course participation by residence halls and supporting faculty/student meal and cultural experiences
  • Strategy 4: Enhance early student outreach in the undergraduate Career Center and facilitate a coalition of campus experts who support student discernment of their next steps beyond Notre Dame

Global Engagement

Deepen our students’ global engagement

Overview

Whether they decide to go across the street or move thousands of miles away, most students enter college having had relatively limited exposure to parts of the world other than their own. Their undergraduate years often represent their first real opportunity to experience different cultures firsthand, encouraging their development as well-informed and broadly educated thinkers who are equipped for professional success and intellectual fulfillment.

But not only does this time in students’ lives tend to constitute their first chance to be globally engaged, it is also frequently the best. A university campus brings together a geographically diverse group of individuals to an extent not many places can match while typically giving undergraduates the freedom to study abroad, as well.

Cultivating an international environment that teaches students to reach beyond themselves and their perspectives is a responsibility Notre Dame welcomes, both as one of the country’s premier undergraduate institutions in general and as a Catholic university in particular.

Students’ undergraduate years often represent their first real opportunity to experience different cultures firsthand, encouraging their development as well-informed and broadly educated thinkers.

Our foundation is a strong one. For instance, Notre Dame consistently ranks among the leaders of national universities in the percentage of undergraduates who participate in study abroad programs.

“A Legacy Expanded,” then, comes at a time when we are poised to push international initiatives serving students to new heights. In 2010, we appointed the University’s first vice president and associate provost for internationalization, and together with a central administrative team and units across campus, he is pursuing innovative approaches for preparing Notre Dame graduates for their global futures.

Strategies

  • Strategy 1: Internationalize the undergraduate experience on the Notre Dame campus further by enrolling more students, both full-time and visiting, from other countries and ensuring the latter have ample opportunity to interact with the permanent student body
  • Strategy 2: Initiate additional degree programs as well as individual courses that give undergraduates more options to explore international interests (e.g., increased foreign language offerings)
  • Strategy 3: Diversify study abroad—through the introduction of new formats, locations, and, in Notre Dame-run programs, students from other universities—while enhancing its integration into students’ academic pursuits on campus