Categories
News

Notre Dame appoints Jeffrey Rhoads as vice president for research

In a Tuesday news release, the University announced that mechanical engineering researcher Jeffrey “Jeff” Rhoads has been appointed vice president for research at the university.

Rhoads, who will take over the role effective July 1, currently serves at Purdue University as a professor of mechanical engineering and the executive director of the Purdue Institute for National Security. According to the release, Rhoads has “attracted more than $75 million in sponsored research funding across his various academic roles.”

Rhoads will succeed Robert Bernhard in the role, who has served as vice president for research since 2007. In his new position, Rhoads will be responsible for overseeing Notre Dame’s research infrastructure “of more than 30 core facilities” and supporting programs for all academic disciplines within the university.

Notre Dame provost John McGreevy, who recommended Rhoads for the role, said in the release that Rhoads is a “visionary and a problem-solver” who “has successfully led research programs in academia and the public sector, developing crucial partnerships along the way, and he is perfectly suited to guide this next phase of the University’s research enterprise.”

In the release, University president Fr. John Jenkins also expressed admiration for the new vice president.

“The research of our faculty has been a point of emphasis and an area of remarkable growth at Notre Dame, and we are delighted to welcome Jeff Rhoads to help lead us in the next stage,” Jenkins said. “Jeff is an accomplished researcher and administrator and well-suited to continue the exciting trajectory of Notre Dame research.”

According to the news release, Notre Dame “is one of the fastest-growing research institutions in the nation,” having been granted $244 million in research award funding in the 2022 fiscal year.

Rhoads expressed excitement to continue Notre Dame’s growth in the vice president position.

“The growth of Notre Dame’s research portfolio, both in scale and, more importantly, global impact, over the past decade has been tremendous,” he said in the release. “I am truly excited, and frankly humbled, by the opportunity to work with this strong internal team, as well as our government, corporate, academic and nonprofit partners, to build upon this firm foundation.”

Rhoads is an extremely accomplished scholar and carries five highly esteemed awards, including Purdue’s highest honor for undergraduate teaching, the Charles B. Murphy. He holds an undergraduate degree, masters degree and a doctorate — all from Michigan State University. Rhoads will also receive a professorship in the department of aerospace and mechanical engineering at the University.

In the release, it was noted that Rhoads will lead a team of more than 30 core facilities along with providing support for other academic endeavors at the University. His role as vice president of research, he said in the release, will hope to dream big.

“We will think big, not shy away from global challenges, and work together, across the entire breadth of the University, to make a tangible and positive difference in society,” Rhoads said.

Categories
News

Notre Dame announces three new research grants with Ukrainian Catholic University

Notre Dame is launching three new collaborative grants with the Ukrainian Catholic University (UCU) that expand the active partnership between the two schools, according to a University press release.

The main goal of the new grants are to “offer academic and educational continuity … in a place where people are undergoing so much national and personal trauma,” director of faculty engagement at Notre Dame International Geraldine Meehan said.

Meehan said the instability and vulnerability in Ukraine resulting from Russia’s invasion has carried over to academia. The grants are an attempt to offer stability within a period of unpredictability in Ukraine and coincide with University President Fr. John Jenkins’ overall commitment to displaying solidarity with Ukraine.

The first two grants provide compensation to help UCU and Notre Dame faculty members in their research. These grants range from $10,000 to $25,000 of assistance towards a joint research project, Meehan said.

The relationship between UCU and Notre Dame was first forged by professor A. James McAdams at the Nanovic Institute, she said.

“The Nanovic Institute have been a very hospitable host to UCU over many, many years, so that when the war broke out and the invasion [by] Russia happened, there was already an established relationship,” Meehan said.

These new grants follow a partnership expansion between the two universities announced back in March, which offers up to $2 million in 2022-2023 to help encourage UCU students to study at Notre Dame and to sponsor faculty fellows at UCU. These news grants focus on academia in Ukraine, rather than just on campus at Notre Dame.

“We’re hoping by this support that faculty will be able to either continue research that they have already established with a partner at the other institution, or they’ll be able to start a new line of research based on, unfortunately, the social and personal traumatic changes that are occurring in Ukraine at the moment,” Meehan said.

The first two grants focus on four key themes: war and resilience, religious dimension, moral and legal considerations and integral human development and sustainable reconstruction.

Faculty are encouraged to explore the themes further, Meehan said. The third grant offers faculty at UCU access to Notre Dame’s extensive online library in order to help with research.

“Faculty would apply and identify what the specific project is and what materials they need for it,” Meehan explained. “Maybe they’re writing on an article, maybe they’re doing a thesis, maybe they’re going to present their findings at a conference. If they have a specific goal
and additional materials, they will be available at our library.”

Correction: Meehan is the director of faculty engagement at Notre Dame International

Contact Gracie Eppler at geppler@nd.edu

Categories
News

‘We should be sympathetic toward snoozers’: Study finds unexpected effect of snoozing an alarm

To learn more about snoozing, professors and researchers from the Notre Dame department of computer science collected data from daily surveys that questioned the snoozing habits of 385 individuals. The team concluded that repeatedly snoozing alarms is linked to having a higher heart rate.

Postdoctoral researcher Stephen Mattingly said he was interested in the topic before he started collecting data.

“I was interested in how people hit the alarm multiple times in the morning. There’s very little tied to that topic in particular,” he said. 

Mattingly continued to explain the lack of information surrounding snoozing, saying that he could not find any literature on the topic.

“When I went to go consult the scientific literature, I didn’t see pretty much anything. Which means it was an open question. Right for research,” he said.

Aaron Striegel, computer science and engineering professor and program director for the computer science major, said the study was intended to be a measure of job performance using physiological data gathered over a year on white-collar professionals, but the data was inconclusive.

“If we just take a week at the end of the study to ask questions, we could actually try to quantify how often people snooze,” Striegel said. “Let’s get this data because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have a really large cohort.”

When Striegel was asked to define “snoozing,” he said, “it’s where you have a primary alarm and a backup alarm, or you hit the snooze function.”

When gathering data, Mattingly noted that he was interested in stress rates.

“I was looking for evidence that the heart rate increases before you get out of bed, which is associated with the stress response,” he said.

At the conclusion of the week-long survey, researchers concluded that nearly 60% of individuals snooze. They also found average heart rates to be 3.35 beats per minute higher while snoozing.

Striegel noted that this number was higher than he originally thought.

Furthermore, Mattingly explained that he believes snoozing is tied to need.

Pointing to caffeine as an enemy of healthy sleep regulation, Mattingly said, “You’re still going to be tired when you get out of bed until you get your coffee and its other unintended consequences. So from our admittedly very first research study on the topic, it looks like people snooze at need.”

Striegel stressed the importance of not feeling guilty over those couple extra minutes in bed.

“Oftentimes, it’s kind of conflated with laziness,” Striegel said. “You shouldn’t feel guilty necessarily about snoozing unless it’s impacting your life. If you’re just snoozing and missing things, that’s much different.”

Mattingly said he was interested in how snoozing is stigmatized in modern society.

“It’s interesting how much of a stigma is tied to snoozing,” Mattingly said. “I think there might be a place for snoozing as a tool to deal with fatigue; it might be appropriate in some contexts”

Mattingly stressed the lack of resources and the need for more research to learn more about snoozing and its effects.

“We still have a lot to learn,” he said.

Redmond Bernhold

Contact Redmond at rbernho2@nd.edu