Notre Dame Professor Scores $800K Grant

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(photo courtesy University of Notre Dame) (photo courtesy University of Notre Dame)

A University of Notre Dame philosophy professor has received a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The $806,000 grant will be used to expand a popular course created by Meghan Sullivan into a national curricular model.

The university says the course, known as God and the Good Life, gives students the chance to explore, discuss and debate what makes a moral life and what makes a life meaningful.

The three-year grant will allow Sullivan to build a network of professors who are interested in developing or refining their own courses. It will also expand the course into four to five sections each year, which will reach up to 700 students or, the university says, one-third of the freshman class.

"We’re very grateful to the Mellon Foundation for their willingness to invest in philosophy education,” Sullivan said in a news release. “Notre Dame is committed to the belief that every person can reason well about the major questions facing human lives — and we’re committed to highly innovative and collaborative teaching. This grant gives us the opportunity to share the value of philosophy with a much broader audience, to lead a growing movement in curriculum design and to pursue an ambitious dream for humanities education.”

Notre Dame says the grant will fund week-long curricular development workshops held on the South Bend campus each of the next three-years with faculty being encouraged to adapt the model to fit their own schools' unique cultures. It will also expand the course's undergraduate fellows program and fund two graduate fellowships.

"Many traditions in philosophy have aimed at helping individuals think more deeply and rigorously about the good life," said Sullivan. "With this grant, we are partnering with universities across the country to imagine new and higher-impact ways to introduce students to these traditions."

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