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A trio of Notre Dame College policy experts have had their analysis of the College’s successful pandemic response selected for publication in an international journal.

The three scholars describe how Notre Dame simultaneously met the hierarchy of needs—physiological, security, social, esteem and self-actualization—of students, faculty and staff to maintain a community of educators despite external societal inequalities during the COVID crisis. The faculty also outline how the College was able to sustain levels of optimism while isolation was widespread.

Eric Matthews, Ph.D., assistant professor of political science; Gregory Moore, Ph.D., director and professor of the Center for Intelligence Studies; and Kelley A. Pesch-Cronin, Ph.D., professor of political science, have published the article “Testing Maslow’s Theory of Hierarchy in A COVID-19 Pandemic Climate: The Experience of a Small, Private Liberal Arts College” in the peer-reviewed Journal of Security, Intelligence and Resilience Education. The complete article is available online at JSIRE.org.

Individualized Intervention

In their case study, the faculty highlight the value of Notre Dame’s new president, J. Michael Pressimone, Ed.D., arranging to the join the College in April to quickly begin working with the administration and faculty to prepare for the fall semester. Pressimone was hired just weeks before the pandemic in spring 2020 and was not scheduled to start in his new position until July 1.

Notre Dame leadership ensured employees were safe and healthy while working remotely and on campus. Faculty and staff were engaged in the planning to maintain a family atmosphere and mutual respect. Together, administrators and employees quickly realized that each student was “experiencing the pandemic differently, and the challenges they were facing went well beyond the parameters of the classroom,” the scholars wrote.

In addition to providing carry-out meals, ensuring healthy residence halls, creating hybrid online and in-person classes and providing technology to those without access to meet basic physiological and safety needs, Notre Dame created Care Teams of more than 20 faculty and staff to provide individualized intervention. The teams developed systematic procedures for reaching out periodically to every current and prospective student from spring through fall. Details of each student’s hopes, dreams and challenges were entered into a data bank and shared with key educators and administrators to aid in cultivating students’ sense of belonging and esteem.

Simultaneously Actualized

The College’s 2020 virtual graduation exceeded expectations. Student participation and attendance in summer and fall classes was improved. Persistence rates for returning students were higher than averages, and first-year student recruitment rates met targeted expectations. Students indicated in surveys that they were excited to return to the classrooms and reengage in their community for fall 2020 and spring 2021, too.

For new and transfer students in fall and spring, under the leadership of Beth Ford, M.A., vice president of enrollment at the College, the Notre Dame Office of Admissions developed a program of resilience education through the transition via a completely remote orientation program. Utilizing the College’s learning management system, students were assigned texts and videos to read and watch while interacting with each other through discussion boards.
”Through the concerted efforts of the faculty, staff, administrators and students, the COVID-19 pandemic has provided Notre Dame College with the opportunity to live its mission: to demonstrate personal, professional and global responsibility for each other and our community,” the scholars stated.

College Scholars

Pesch-Cronin is a professor of political science at the College. Her research interests include homeland security issues and critical infrastructure protection and risk assessment. She is the author of numerous articles and books, including Critical Infrastructure Protection, Risk Management and Resilience: A Policy Perspective.

Moore is the director and a professor of the Center for Intelligence Studies at Notre Dame. He has served as a consultant for the NATO Humint Center of Excellence in Romania and lectured on American foreign policy at the Universities of Belgrade and Novi Sad in Serbia. He is a graduate of the FBI Citizen’s Academy and is a member of the Institute for National and International Security. His most recent book is Defining and Defending the Open Door Policy, Theodore Roosevelt and China, 1901-1909. He holds a Ph.D. in American Diplomatic History from Kent State University.

Matthews teaches courses in public policy, constitutional law, and comparative politics and serves as the Director of the Notre Dame College Moot Court Program. He holds a Ph.D. in Public Policy from Kent State University.

January 2021

About Notre Dame College

For almost a century, Notre Dame College has educated a diverse population in the liberal arts for personal, professional and global responsibility. Founded by the Sisters of Notre Dame in 1922, the College has grown strategically to keep pace with the rapidly changing needs of students and the dramatic changes in higher education. But it has never lost sight of its emphasis on teaching students not only how to make a good living but also how to live a good life.

Today, the College offers bachelor’s degrees in 30 disciplines plus a variety of master’s degrees, certification programs and continuing and professional development programs for adult learners on campus and online. Notre Dame College offers NCAA Division II intercollegiate athletic programs for men and women and is located in a picturesque residential neighborhood just 25 minutes from the heart of Cleveland. Hallmarks of the Notre Dame experience include stimulating academics, personalized attention of dedicated faculty and staff, and small class sizes.

Notre Dame College is located at 4545 College Road in South Euclid. For further information, contact pr@ndc.edu.