University Plan

In an effort to achieve its overall aspiration of becoming a preeminent research university with a distinctive Catholic mission and an unsurpassed undergraduate education, the University of Notre Dame strives to meet the five institutional goals outlined below. Indeed, these principles are what guide all of our major academic and administrative units as they develop, implement, and regularly monitor their strategic plans.

This University-level strategic plan seeks to enhance the value of the five University goals by examining them from two perspectives: areas where they are supported with well-established strategies, and areas where we believe there is room to grow.

While the former will require only sustained effort in accord with established strategies over the course of the plan, the latter present exciting opportunities for us to utilize strategic focus, new energy, and a spirit of innovation to make Notre Dame an even stronger university.

There are 11 enhancements in total where we expect to concentrate our new efforts. This plan outlines our rationale for selecting these items and provides an initial indication of how we intend to achieve progress in each.

These principles are what guide all of our major academic and administrative units.

Ensure that our Catholic character informs all our endeavors

Catholic Character

Ensure that our Catholic character informs all our endeavors

Goal I: Ensure that our Catholic character informs all our endeavors


Universities first arose in the soil of the Catholic culture of 13th-century Europe, and have existed continuously since. Notre Dame stands within and carries on that tradition.

As a Catholic university in the Holy Cross tradition, Notre Dame strives to combine a living faith that is seeking understanding with an uncompromising commitment to the search for truth through teaching and inquiry. It believes commitments to faith and reason are not only compatible, but even complementary. As Pope John Paul II wrote: “Science can purify religion from error and superstition; religion can purify science from idolatry and false absolutes. Each can draw the other into a wider world in which both can flourish.”

Our Catholic mission gives us a rich understanding of education that demands attention to the development of the whole person—“the cultivation of the heart as well as the mind,” as our founder, Rev. Edward Sorin, C.S.C., put it. Thus we strive to build a community that inspires the pursuit of truth and teaches respect, love, and service so that our learning serves the Church and the world, particularly for those who are most in need.

Enhancement Areas

  • Kroc Institute for International Studies professor Rashied Omar in South Africa with Archbishop Desmond Tutu

    World-Wide Dialogue

    Convene and lead world-wide dialogue that serves the Church and is relevant to the Catholic intellectual tradition

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Enduring Commitments

Crucifix in Moreau Seminary Chapel

The Catholic intellectual and moral tradition does not merely add an element to our mission; it informs all we do, serving as the underlying foundation for our aspirations as a community of scholars and administrators and shaping the spirit with which we engage each other and the world. It is also the University’s point of greatest distinction from the academies of many other fine research institutions.

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Scholarship and Teaching

Formation and Service

Offer an unsurpassed undergraduate education that nurtures the formation of mind, body, and spirit

Undergraduate Education

Offer an unsurpassed undergraduate education that nurtures the formation of mind, body, and spirit

Goal II: Offer an unsurpassed undergraduate education that nurtures the formation of mind, body, and spirit


“Education is the art of bringing a young person to completeness,” said Fr. Basil Moreau, the founder of the Holy Cross order who sent Fr. Sorin to found Notre Dame. Moreau established for Notre Dame and for all Holy Cross schools the ideal of educating the whole person. These institutions devoted themselves to the intellectual, spiritual, and moral education of the students, striving to lead them into truth.

This forms the hallmark of a Notre Dame undergraduate education—rigorous intellectual training with the cultivation of moral character and spiritual formation offered in a community distinguished by faith.

Our undergraduate program is anchored in excellent teaching, a traditional strength and defining characteristic of Notre Dame. Quality teaching—the nature of the personal exchange between professor and student—will encourage students to become fellow inquirers with the faculty, giving them the ability to form their own views, test their own theories, and stand their own ground in debate.

Our University curriculum is grounded in a liberal arts core while students achieve depth of learning in a chosen major. We are committed to enhancing the education of our students through opportunities for study abroad, community-based learning, and undergraduate research.

In addition to the teaching and guidance offered by professors in the classroom, a vital part of the education at Notre Dame is provided by life in residence halls and engagement in student activities, voluntary service, and social life. The Division of Student Affairs fosters a rich community life, encourages student development through programming and its support of student groups, and nurtures the physical and emotional well-being of our students through a variety of student services.

Diversity in all its forms is valued on our campus, and we strive to create a community where all feel welcome and the gifts of each enhance everyone.

Ultimately, the Notre Dame undergraduate experience will be magnified by the power of community, people with shared ideals and engaged in a vigorous conversation, and the recognition that education at a Catholic university confers an obligation to become knowledgeable, capable, charitable—to draw on all the intellectual, spiritual, moral resources of the University to lead a rich human life inspired by the Gospel that will help unify, enlighten, and heal.

Enhancement Areas

  • Student

    Student Experience

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

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  • London Student

    Global Engagement

    Deepen our students’ global engagement

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Enduring Commitments

Dan Philpott teaches an undergraduate course

Anyone who reads Notre Dame’s Vision for Undergraduate Education will see that we aim to educate the whole person—intellectual, moral, spiritual. This means we must not only transmit worldly knowledge but also form students’ character; provide a climate hospitable to conversations about God, the good, and truth; and offer students the most profound experience of community they may ever know.

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College/School Plans

Undergraduate Education on Twitter

Featured Video

  • Cuba

    The Rome of the Americas

    Winds of change are stirring in Cuba, and Notre Dame’s School of Architecture is exploring opportunities to help the city of Havana frame its future while preserving the rich and classic beauty of its past.

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  • Liberal Arts

    Explore the Liberal Arts

    From history and film to economics, anthropology, and the classics, students can study what they love in the College of Arts and Letters while also developing the thinking skills employers will value most throughout their careers—analyzing data, writing effectively, speaking persuasively, and problem-solving.

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  • Business Ethics

    Business Ethics and “Blind Spots”

    Ann Tenbrunsel, professor of management and Rex and Alice A. Martin Director of the Institute for Ethical Business Worldwide in the Mendoza College of Business, discusses her new book Blind Spots: Why We Fail to Do What’s Right and What to Do About It.

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  • Notre Dame Sunrise

    Join Us

    Science is who we are. Progress is what we do. Join us.

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Advance human understanding through scholarship, research, and post-baccalaureate programs that seek to heal, unify, and enlighten

Research & Scholarship

Advance human understanding through scholarship, research, and post-baccalaureate programs that seek to heal, unify, and enlighten

Goal III: Advance human understanding through scholarship, research, and post-baccalaureate programs that seek to heal, unify, and enlighten


The dividing line between teaching and research is never a sharp one. Good teaching is a conversation with students that is always open to novel insights; and good researchers are always ready to learn from others, whether those others are colleagues or students. Students and faculty are both engaged in inquiry whose culminating experience is discovery, a learning where no one else has previously charted a course. Teaching and research, then, are together integral parts of the core mission of any great university—the pursuit of knowledge and understanding.

Notre Dame has achieved distinction in undergraduate education, but a commitment to research has always been part of its driving vision. Rev. John Zahm, C.S.C., believed that Notre Dame’s destiny was to be a great university like the prominent German universities of his time. Fr. Burns, who became president of Notre Dame in 1919, established college deans and department chairs and hired the best faculty he could find. He wrote to a friend about a Notre Dame faculty member who was dedicated to research, saying: “My ambition is to have this kind of work going on in every department.” Fr. Hesburgh accelerated the growth in scholarship by, among many things, establishing a great research library and increasing research funding by a factor of 20. When he began his presidency in 1987, Fr. Malloy said in his inaugural address: “We must enthusiastically embrace our potential as a research institution, and we must define those areas of scholarly pursuit where we at Notre Dame are especially qualified to make a lasting contribution.”

The University of Notre Dame is now poised to build on past progress and undertake transformative steps to become even more a distinguished research university whose faculty and students contribute to our understanding of ourselves and our world and whose discoveries enhance human well-being. We believe we can be excellent in all research we undertake and truly distinguished in select areas.

By pushing forward into the unknown, by harnessing discoveries for service to the world, we are determined to become a great Catholic research university, deepening our understanding of God and creation and serving humanity.

Enhancement Areas

  • Make selected, significant advances in academic programs

    Academic Programs

    Make selected, significant investments in academic programs

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  • Hesburgh Library Word of Life Mural


    Increase the scale and impact of our research and creative endeavors

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  • Man working with lab equipment

    Graduate & Postdoctoral Programs

    Advance the quality and success of our graduate, professional, and postdoctoral programs

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  • Enhance the international reach of our scholarly endeavors

    International Reach

    Enhance the international reach of our scholarly endeavors

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Enduring Commitments

Laura Straccia talks with students at the Kliptown Youth Project near Johannesburg, South Africa

As Notre Dame strives to address major contemporary challenges, we have no more important resource than our faculty and the graduate and professional students who come here to learn from and collaborate with them. Together, Notre Dame faculty and students go beyond expanding the boundaries of what we can do through research and ask also what we should do, convinced that our ability to seek God, study the world, and serve humanity is magnified many times over by the knowledge and discovery that come with scholarly excellence.

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Core Research Facilities

  • ndiif

    Notre Dame Integrated Imaging Facility

    The Notre Dame Integrated Imaging Facility (NDIIF) is a new state-of-the-art research core that houses and integrates three areas of imaging expertise: electron microscopy, optical microscopy, and small animal imaging.

  • ame3

    AME Machine Shops

    The Engineering Machine Shops specialize in close tolerance machining of large and small parts made from difficult-to-machine materials.

  • camd

    Computer Aided Molecular Design

    The Computer Aided Molecular Design (CAMD) core facility provides atomistic modeling to assist in proposal writing, for drug discovery, and related areas to all groups on campus.

  • research_computing_sq

    Center for Research Computing

    CRC has expertise in areas spanning engineering in the aerospace and automotive industries, high-performance computing in mining and exploration, information systems for the clinical health sector, and expertise in life and geospatial sciences.

  • fluorescence_activated_cell_sorting_facs_facility

    Fluorescence Assisted Cell Sorting (FACS) Facility

    The BD Biosciences FACSAria III cell sorter is BD’s most advanced cell sorter, equipped with 405nm, 488nm, and 633nm lasers and capable of up to nine color simultaneous detection.

  • freimann_life_science_center_new

    Freimann Life Science Center

    The Freimann Life Science Center (FLSC) is a state-of-the-art, fully accredited and registered animal research facility with 30,000 square feet of flexible-use space.

  • Genomics

    Genomics and Bioinformatics Core Facility

    The Genomics and Bioinformatics Core Facility provides sequencing and mircroarray services, including consulting for appropriate experimental design, use of technology, and data analysis.

  • mass_spectrometry_and_proteomics_facility_new

    Mass Spectrometry and Proteomics Facility

    The Mass Spectrometry (MS) Facility provides instrumentation and expertise for the analyses of compounds ranging from small organic molecules to large biomolecules with applications in the areas of metabolomics, proteomics, and lipidomics.

  • mcf2

    Materials Characterization Facility

    The Materials Characterization Facility (MCF) is a core research facility of the Center for Sustainable Energy at Notre Dame (cSEND), whose mission is to advance innovative energy-related research to address the global challenges of creating a more sustainable energy future.

  • mcferdig

    McFerdig Facility

    The McFerdig Facility offers a Beckman Coulter FC 500 MPL Flow Cytometer for users both off campus and on.

  • mitera

    Midwest Isotope and Trace Element Research Analytical Center

    The Midwest Isotope and Trace Element Research Analytical Center (MITERAC) specializes in the elemental and isotopic characterization of environmental, biological, and geological materials, both at the bulk sample and micrometer scales.

  • molecular_structure_facility_new

    Molecular Structure Facility

    The Molecular Structure Facility provides for X-Ray structural studies of small (ca. 2kDa) molecules; it has the capability to examine a wide range of molecules, from “light atom” biologically relevant to metal-complexed compounds that can be readily analyzed using non-destructive techniques.

  • ndnf

    Notre Dame Nanofabrication Facility

    Housed in recently completed certified cleanroom space, the NDNF includes approximately 9,000 net square feet (white space) of cleanroom.

  • Center for Nuclear Magnetic Resonance

    Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Facility

    The  Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Facility supports new and ongoing research in chemistry, chemical engineering, biochemistry, molecular biology, and related fields.

  • Physics Machine Shop

    State-of-the-art equipment combined with expert technical advice in the Physics Machine Shop allows physics students and faculty alike to carry out experiments on the cutting edge of technology.

  • radlab1

    Radiation Laboratory

    The Notre Dame Radiation Laboratory (NDRL) is the premier research laboratory in the United States for radiation chemistry, the study of chemical reactions induced by ionizing radiation.

  • chemical synthesis graphics

    Synthesis Core (SynCor) Facility

    The Synthesis Core (SynCor) Facility is a research and service center established to accelerate research activities in all areas of study on the molecular level in chemistry, biochemistry, biology, medicine, and engineering.

  • zebrafish_holding_room

    Center for Zebrafish Research

    The Center for Zebrafish Research (CZR) is housed in approximately 3,000 square feet and consists of eight double-sided racks and 38 single-sided racks that allow for a flexible arrangement of tanks from one-and-a-half to eight liters in size.

  • tree_genotype

    Tree Genetics Core Facility

    The Tree Genetics Core Facility at Notre Dame provides DNA fingerprinting services for cultivar identification and pedigree analysis for chestnut (Castanea sp.), black walnut (Juglans nigra), Japanese walnut (Juglans ailantifolia), and butternut (Juglans cinerea).

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Strategic Research Investments

  • Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study

    The Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study (NDIAS) supports research that is directed toward, or extends inquiry to include, ultimate questions and questions of value, especially as they engage the Catholic intellectual tradition.

  • Notre Dame Integrated Imaging Facility

    The Notre Dame Integrated Imaging Facility (NDIIF) is a new state-of-the-art research core that houses and integrates three areas of imaging expertise: electron microscopy, optical microscopy, and small animal imaging.

  • Environmental Change Initiative

    The Notre Dame Environmental Change Initiative (ND-ECI) is tackling the interrelated problems of invasive species, land use, and climate change, focusing on their synergistic impacts on water resources.

  • Sustainable Energy Initiative

    The Sustainable Energy Initiative (SEI) was established to explore the development of safer nuclear energy, the design of cleaner fossil fuel processes, and the creation of transformative solar energy technologies. The Center for Sustainable Energy at Notre Dame (cSEND) now encompasses the strategic areas of the SEI and other energy-related research initiatives.

  • Notre Dame Nanoelectronics Research Initiative

    With expert scientists, research facilities, and the latest equipment, Notre Dame’s Center for Nano Science and Technology is one of the leading nanotechnology centers in the world.

  • Advanced Diagnostics and Therapeutics

    The Advanced Diagnostics & Therapeutics initiative (AD&T) creates technologies and tools to combat disease, promote health, and safeguard the environment.

  • Notre Dame Eck Institute for Global Health

    The Eck Institute for Global Health recognizes health as a fundamental human right and endeavors to promote research, training, and service to advance health standards for all people, especially those in low- and middle-income countries who are disproportionately impacted by preventable diseases.

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Research on Twitter

Research in Action

  • Fighting for Displaced People

    Fighting for Displaced People

    There are 60 million displaced people in the world and every day an estimated 40,000 people flee their homes in search of safety elsewhere. For many, a temporary stop in a refugee camp becomes a lifetime of dependency and desolation.

  • Fighting to Stop Tuberculosis

    Researchers at the University of Notre Dame are fighting to discover compounds and develop drugs to treat neglected diseases that affect billions of the world’s most vulnerable people.

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  • Fighting the Effects of Natural Disasters

    Joannes Westerink, Joseph and Nona Ahearn Professor of Computational Engineering and Science, and the University of Notre Dame are using advanced research to help protect populations from hurricanes and other natural disasters.

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  • Fighting For Breakthroughs in the Treatment of Autism

    An interdisciplinary research team led by Joshua Diehl, William J. Shaw Center for Children and Families Assistant Professor of Psychology, is studying the effectiveness of robots in behavior-based communication therapies for children with autism.

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Foster the University’s mission through superb stewardship of its human, physical, and financial resources


Foster the University’s mission through superb stewardship of its human, physical, and financial resources

Goal IV: Foster the University’s mission through superb stewardship of its human, physical, and financial resources


The well-known Gospel passage of the parable of the talents preaches the lessons of stewardship, the duty to not only preserve what we have been given, but also multiply those talents for the benefit of all. Nothing is more important to achieving the aims of Notre Dame than faithful stewardship of the University’s resources—human, physical, and financial.

Our goal is to become a great Catholic research university. For that to happen, we must make Notre Dame a place that attracts, develops, and sustains superbly talented faculty, administrators, and staff. It also means continuing to invest in state-of-the-art facilities and infrastructure that allow these individuals to do their best work.

Like any investment, those mentioned here require appropriate levels of funding, funding that has to come from sources other than our students and their families. It is thus our benefactors who time and again answer the call and support our goal of being a source for good, and these loyal friends of the University rightfully expect to see their gifts grow.

Fortunately, we have a proud record of excellent stewardship, highlighted by a long string of balanced budgets, a triple-A bond rating, and endowment returns that consistently exceed market benchmarks.

In addition, Notre Dame staff foster an outstanding culture of service in support of students, faculty, visitors, and their fellow employees. Their many contributions range from providing for the community’s safety and security to partnering directly with faculty to advance academic excellence.

This service and stewardship is an expression of our Catholic character and is indispensable to providing an unsurpassed undergraduate education and superior graduate programs. It also acts as assurance to the Notre Dame family that we are making the most of every gift and talent we have been blessed with and the physical assets we have inherited, just as Fr. Sorin sought to do.

“I deem it one of our first duties,” he wrote in 1871, reflecting on the generosity of Notre Dame’s benefactors, “to receive, in faith and humility, each of those precious blessings and gifts as a sacred deposit … which must fructify in our hands.”

Enhancement Areas

  • information infrastructure

    Information Infrastructure

    Evolve our information infrastructure to enhance research, learning, and University operations

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Enduring Commitments

Notre Dame Fire Dept

Our administrative units are critical to the fulfillment of the University’s educational mission, providing the operational expertise that allows us to meet and often exceed the day-to-day needs of students, faculty, and visitors while growing and protecting the rich array of physical and financial assets Notre Dame is privileged to possess.

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Featured Images

  • Snow Plow

    Landscape Services is responsible for the overall maintenance of Notre Dame’s 1,250-acre campus, including snow and ice removal.

  • 2010_blue_mass_2

    Since October 2001, Notre Dame has held an annual Blue Mass honoring police officers, emergency medical technicians, and firefighters who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

  • Portrait of Arthur Flores in Debartolo Hall

    DeBartolo Hall houses 73 classrooms, representing two-thirds of the total number of classrooms on campus. The multimillion-dollar facility is managed by Building and Landscape Services and maintained by staff like custodian Arthur Flores.

  • Office of Information Technology

    The Office of Information Technologies (OIT) is the central agency that supports enterprise-wide computing on campus. It provides the products and services that students, faculty, and staff use every day to complete tasks related to their studies and jobs.

Stewardship on Twitter