The Kroc Institute partners with Notre Dame departments to offer six distinct but related doctoral degrees. Because each is a dual degree in a traditional discipline and peace studies, Kroc Institute Ph.D. graduates are equipped for academic jobs in a wide range of areas. Fully-credentialed in their home discipline, graduates possess the added depth—much in demand—of transdisciplinary research and teaching in peace, justice, and human rights.
"Our program goals and growing number of graduates meet the changing needs of U.S. higher education as it adjusts to the challenges of the twenty-first century. We equip doctoral candidates to become both exceptional teaching faculty and high quality researchers invested in bettering the human condition. Increasingly, colleges and universities want to hire scholars with such breadth, versatility, and professional commitments, as these recent graduates superbly exemplify." — George A. Lopez, Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., Professor Emeritus of Peace Studies and Placement Director
Four recent Ph.D.s reflect on how their dual degrees and training at the Kroc Institute helped them secure coveted tenure-track positions and prepare them to teach.
Janna Hunter-Bowman received her Ph.D. in Theology and Peace Studies in April 2017. She is Assistant Professor of Peace Studies and Christian Social Ethics and Director of the Master of Arts: Theology and Peace Studies program at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS) in Elkhart, Indiana. AMBS established a peace studies program rooted in “peace theology” in the mid-1970s, making it one of the first institutions in the world to combine theology and peace studies in a single degree program.
“Firm foundation notwithstanding, one of my first assignments as Director was to revise the program of study,” said Hunter-Bowman. She characterizes Mennonite “peace theology” and the field of peace studies defined by political science as sharing an overemphasis on direct violence and negative peace. “My seminary-mandated task entailed making the turn from this important but limited focus toward the more expansive vision of transformative peacebuilding.” Hunter-Bowman credits her training in the Kroc Institute’s dual degree program with informing the way she has established a three-way conversation among theology, peace studies, and grounded practice, a multidisciplinary approach reflected in her teaching.
Hyunjin Deborah Kwak, who completed her Ph.D. in June 2017, has begun the position of Assistant Professor of Sociology and Criminal and Restorative Justice at Malone University, a private, liberal arts university in Canton, Ohio. In her words, “The Ph.D. program in Sociology and Peace Studies has allowed me to be both a sociologist and a peace and conflict researcher,” enabling her to study theories and cases from both disciplines to understand a problem. “I was able to do that in my dissertation—draw theories from social movement literature as well as from strategic peacebuilding and civil society literature—to analyze the focus of attention and collective action styles of peace activists in Mindanao, Philippines.”
In Kwak’s view, justice is at the core of both disciplines. As a teacher, her ambition is to accompany her students in the process of understanding the mechanisms through which inequalities are produced and reproduced in social institutions, and then to go further—to brainstorm and identify points of intervention, tools for constructive discourse, and ideas and strategies for joint action. “I am convinced that this is what I was equipped to do in my joint Ph.D. program in Sociology and Peace Studies at Notre Dame.”
In August, Kathrin Kranz will join the Department of History and Political Science at Bridgewater College, Virginia, as an Assistant Professor in Global Politics. She received her doctorate in Political Science and Peace Studies in 2016 and spent last year as a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Politics at Oberlin College.
Kranz plans to contribute to Bridgewater's mission by preparing students to live in a global society by, among other activities, teaching courses in global politics and peace studies. “My education at the Kroc Institute directly prepared me for this role. Not only did the Kroc train me to conduct peace research; it also offered an interdisciplinary community that engaged different viewpoints critical to teaching global politics and peace studies.” The collegiality with faculty, staff, and students at the Kroc Institute meant there were numerous opportunities to develop ideas related to both teaching and scholarship. As a teaching assistant at Notre Dame, she gained firsthand experience in how to engage students in discussions of difficult topics, helping to prepare her to teach at a liberal arts college.
Ji Eun Kim, who received her Ph.D. in Political Science and Peace Studies in June 2017, heads to Harrisonburg, Virginia, to join the History Department at Eastern Mennonite University as an Assistant Professor of Political Studies.
Kim describes EMU’s History Department as dedicated to examine global history through a peace and justice lens. She said, “Kroc’s distinctive interdisciplinary doctoral program enabled me to pursue my interest in political reconciliation and justice, and equipped me with rigorous methodological skills in social science.” Further, her classroom experience, as both student and teaching assistant, exposed her to great examples of peace studies education by scholars from various disciplines. That training, she believes, has fully prepared her for her new position.
Kim described entering the job market as challenging. She says she received excellent career advice from mentors and colleagues. “The Kroc community helped me in each step of the job application process and I am grateful to the Kroc for its strong support and assistance.”