"Where We're Going" to explore faculty, expert perspectives on key issues

ThinkND, Notre Dame’s open, online learning community, will launch a new virtual initiative this fall entitled “Where We’re Going.” At a time when the lives of many have been dramatically disrupted and work, education and society’s functions are in a state of constant transition, this series will explore this point in history and how the work happening on Notre Dame’s campus and beyond relates to and impacts the United States and the world at large.

The weekly enrichment series will select a relevant theme each month, and participants will be invited to join three or four weekly events each month to hear from faculty and industry practitioners and participate in discussions to enhance their understanding of the topics.

The first installment will focus on global citizenship and feature campus, national, and international perspectives from faculty, students, and practitioners in the global community. As global forces — such as the COVID-19 pandemic, racial injustice, employment instability, and polarized politics — increasingly remind us of our interconnectedness, regardless of our physical location, the global citizen strives to live a purposeful life while making the world a more fair, equitable, and sustainable place. Future themes will include sports, privacy, healthcare, education, climate and sustainability, a retrospective on the 2020 election, family, and individual wellness.

“For so many in the Notre Dame family, learning and growing continues long after they’ve finished school,” said Dolly Duffy, executive director of the Notre Dame Alumni Association. “‘Where We’re Going’ provides a nuanced look at some of the key issues we face in our society today, led by academic and professional experts domestically and abroad. We hope you’ll join us for these discussions and learn more about the world we live in and how society will continue to evolve in the years ahead.” 

The first event in the virtual series will debut at 1 p.m. ET on Thursday, September 17, on Zoom with the multidisciplinary Campus Viewpoint featuring associate professor of management and organization and faculty director of the Meyer Business on the Frontlines program Viva Bartkus; professor of chemistry Marya Lieberman; the William J. Pulte Director of the Keough School’s Pulte Institute for Global Development Ray Offenheiser; and Marilyn Keough Dean of the Keough School of Global Affairs Scott Appleby as moderator. The second event on September 24 will feature the National Viewpoint with U.S.-based practitioners, followed by the Global Viewpoint with international-based practitioners on October 1.

“This is a timely initiative, conceptualized and organized at a moment of great uncertainty for the world but perhaps also a moment of hope, renewal and opportunity for meaningful change,” notes Scott Appleby. “None of us knows, exactly, where we’re going, but I am eager to hear what our visionary colleagues think.”

This multi-week approach allows participants to more thoroughly learn each subject from different perspectives, both academic and professional. Where We’re Going will provide thoughts and opinions from several experts, providing opportunities for participants to discuss and debate timely and important topics, enhancing their overall understanding. 

"Our goal at the Pulte Institute is to understand and address the root causes of poverty and inequality across the globe. This work has allowed us to diversify the countries and communities with which we work, ultimately increasing the breadth and scale of Notre Dame's role as a global citizen" said Offenheiser who, prior to joining Notre Dame, spent 20 years as President and CEO of Oxfam America. "We are excited about the opportunity this affords us to bring Notre Dame to the world and the world to Notre Dame in new and unique ways. This series is an excellent opportunity for our Notre Dame family to join our efforts in becoming a more powerful force for good in the world."   

In addition to the 60-minute live, interactive sessions participants will have access to a new podcast summarizing the key takeaways from the live events.

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