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Professors share impact of work

Drew Pangraze | Friday, March 23, 2012

Ten of Notre Dame’s most exciting and engaging professors shared the impact of their work in the first “ND Thinks Big” event Thursday evening in the Mendoza College of Business.

The event was co-sponsored by the Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement (CUSE) and The Hub, a student-run website which promotes academic engagement online about issues in the Notre Dame community.

Paul Barany, co-chair of “ND Thinks Big,” said students chose the nine professors and one administrator who spoke at the discussion. Mike Collins, the distinct voice of Notre Dame Stadium, served as host and moderator for the event as well.

“The editors of The Hub got together and picked the different speakers to invite,” Baranay said. “We knew we wanted someone from each of the five colleges and one from the administration; we knew we wanted older and younger people who are experienced and people who are up-and-coming.”

Lou Nanni, Vice President of University Relations, opened the presentation with a speech titled “To Dream Big, Remember Where You Came From.” The talk reflected on the history of the founding of Notre Dame.

Jessica Hellmann, professor of the biological sciences, said the need to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere was imperative in combating climate change. She also said students should each reevaluate their view of nature and their interactions with it.

Economics professor Michael Mogavero addressed the 10 major mistakes universities make in implementing strategic plans. The most important mistake to fix was the failure to build a campus community with fundamental trust between faculty, students and staff, he said.

Corey Angst, assistant professor in the Department of Management in the Mendoza College of Business, said the pilot program for Apple iPad and Samsung Galaxy Tab use in classes was highly successful. The program was introduced to certain Notre Dame courses in the fall of 2011.

Angst said his entire class was completely paperless and promoted environmental-friendly education. All books, tests and homework were completed electronically, he said.

Aaron Striegel, associate professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, discussed the benefits of video games in rehabilitation.

The ability to measure rehabilitative progress in patients is often limited by the high cost of effective medical instruments, he said. As a solution, medical trainers can monitor the recovery of their patients by having them play gaming systems such as the Wii and the “Cloud” virtual computing system.

Peter Garnavich, professor of physics, delivered his speech, “The Revolution Continues,” which traced the history of human understanding of Earth’s location in the universe through the discoveries of Copernicus and Edwin Hubble.

“Earth is located in the suburbs,” Garnavich said. “We are the South Bend to the Chicago in the galactic universe.”

The event was recorded and will be made available online at The Hub website.