Sisters of Charity, CWRU study details how Catholic nuns contribute through ministries

Rob Fischer

The quiet heroes in many poor neighborhoods are Catholic nuns, who work long hours and at a fraction of the wages of their lay counterparts.  A survey of sisters serving in Cuyahoga County within the Cleveland Diocese found they particularly play a vital role in education and social services in Northeast Ohio’s poorest urban areas.

The Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University prepared a report for the Sisters of Charity Foundation on findings from one of the first studies to look at where the sisters live and what kinds of work they do.

The results came from responses by 164 sisters, who are not serving in strictly contemplative or administrative roles, or are retired or infirmed.

The study began in early 2009 as the Cleveland Diocese started to reduce the number of parishes by 20 percent, many of which are in urban areas where the sisters undertake their ministries.  The closing or merging of parishes can potentially lead to social service gaps in neighborhoods where churches have closed.

Findings from Women Religious in a Changing Urban Landscape:  The Work of Catholic Sisters in Metropolitan Cleveland were reported by Rob Fischer, the research associate professor and co-director of the Center on Urban Poverty & Community Development in the social work school, and MSASS doctoral student Jenni Bartholomew. The study was funded by the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland.

For Fischer, this work evolved from research on faith-based services and a paper he presented at a White House Conference on Research Related to the Faith-Based and Community Initiative in 2008. The study showed that faith-based services generally show more favorable client outcomes when compared to similar secular services focused on the same target population. Read more.

Campus News
Family Fun Weekend features good, clean fun.

Please join us for Family Weekend 2010 Nov. 5-7.  Family Weekend provides a fun, unique and memorable opportunity for Case students to share campus life with their families. Take a few minutes to review this year’s dynamic schedule. There is fun for the entire family, whether you enjoy a faculty-led lecture or night out at Fat Fish Blue! Registration is $15 per person. Case students are free. Register online

The Center for Genetic Research Ethics and Law (CGREAL) is accepting applications to its post-doctoral fellowship program. The Center is recruiting one or two post-doctoral trainees who have demonstrated promise as future leaders in research examining ethical, legal, and social issues (ELSI) in human genetics, and who would benefit from didactic training and intensive mentorship. The goal of the CGREAL Post-Doctoral Training Program is to train researchers whose work is focused on ELSI in the design and conduct of human genetic research, the translation of research results into clinical medicine, public health, and health policy needs related to genetics.  We offer a flexible one- to two-year training program to help guide young investigators in this field of study and to provide them with integrated but focused training. Application reviews begin Nov. 1. For more information on the fellowship, please contact Assistant Director Aaron Goldenberg or visit our website.

For Faculty and Staff

The 2010 Benefits Fair is scheduled for Nov. 9 and 10 in the Thwing Ballroom, and the 2011 Open Enrollment will be Nov. 8 through 30. Mark your calendar for the fair where you can speak with benefits staff and Benelect insurance carriers, make your 2011 Benelect selections, get your flu shot and enter the annual SAC basket raffle. Significant changes are coming to Benelect for 2011; additional information will be announced soon. More information is available online.


The Office of Housing, Residence Life and Greek Life has one anticipated graduate staff position opening, Recovery House Coordinator (RHC). The RHC manages and lives in the Recovery House and works to create a positive, welcoming, confidential environment in a substance-free recovery-based house. Please email Alexis Melville with inquiries, job description or application information. First consideration deadline is Nov. 1. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

UCITE on Thursday presents Tenure and Promotion, a session geared toward those faculty who are either tenured, on the tenure track or anticipate a tenure track position. Provost William “Bud” Baeslack and Deputy Provost Lynn Singer will attend this session to share with you what the university is looking for, how you should set about preparing your case for tenure and to answer your questions. The session is noon-1 p.m. Thursday in the Herrick Room on the ground floor of the Allen Building. Pizza lunch and sodas will be provided at the sessions. To help us estimate the amount to order, please let us know if you plan to attend by email. More information is available online.

The 10th annual Staff Advisory Committee Basket Raffle is coming up on Nov. 9 and 10 during the Benefits Fair. Now in its 10th year, the SAC Basket Raffle is a program coordinated by the Staff Advisory Council Community Service Committee. In past years we have donated as much as $6,000 to charity. This year, the proceeds from the raffle will go to Suicide Prevention Education Alliance. To donate your basket, please contact Bonnie Copes. Please notify us with your commitment by Friday. Basket drop-off is Nov. 8 at Thwing Center in the 1914 Lounge.

For Students

The Undergraduate Student Government would like to invite all students, undergraduates and graduates, to the second annual Student State of the University Address this evening in Strosacker Auditorium. The doors open at 6 p.m. and President Snyder will speak at 6:30 p.m. about the university's exciting new initiatives. Students will also have a chance to ask questions and address any concerns. Refreshments will be provided.


There is still time to sign up for the department of Bioethics’ 3-credit course for winter break to San Jose, Costa Rica, which includes an optional week of service learning through the Center for Civic Engagement and Learning before the course. This course is open to all undergraduate and graduate students, is registered as a spring course and financial aid is available.  Go online for more information or contact Michelle L. Champoir, director of International Education Programs for the Department of Bioethics, at 368.5377 or by email.

Many study abroad opportunities are available to students over winter, spring and summer breaks.  All are 3-credit courses open to all undergraduate and graduate students.  An information meeting will take place on Oct. 28 at Thwing in Meeting room C, 11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m., and in meeting room Euclid at Thwing on Oct 29, 12:30-1:30 p.m.

The Church of the Covenant is offering a free brunch to all students 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Sunday. No membership required. Brunch is in the lower level of the church, 11205 Euclid Ave.


Top Secrets! Five Reasons Why Engineers Succeed, is 6-7:30 p.m. next Wednesday at Nord 310. Presented by Master of Engineering and Management Program, Women in Science and Engineering, Society of Women Engineers and Case Engineering Council. Reserve your spot by email.

The Year of Water speaker series at Case Western Reserve University will continue with the appearance of Katie Spotz, a local hero from Mentor, at 12:30 p.m. Friday in Ford Auditorium. Her talk is free and open to the public. Spotz, a modern-day adventurer, is the youngest person at 21—and the first American—to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Sharing how she became interested in the issue of safe drinking water, Spotz will also describe her adventures with stories and pictures. More information is available online.


The panel discussion Ritual and Pilgrimage will explore the theme of ritual and pilgrimage from the cross-cultural perspectives of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism and African religions.  The free, public forum, co-sponsored by the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities at Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Museum of Art, is held in conjunction with the CMA’s exhibit, Treasures of Heaven. The discussion takes place at the Cleveland Museum of Art, 11150 East Blvd., at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. It features discussions by Deepak Sarma (moderator), professor of religious studies at Case Western Reserve. Registration online is recommended.  For information, contact Maggie Kaminski, Baker-Nord Center administrative director, at 368.2242.


The views and opinions of those invited to speak on campus do not necessarily reflect the views of the university administration or any other segment of the university community.

Et al.

Jack Kleinhenz

The National Retail Federation recently announced that Jack Kleinhenz, PhD, has been selected to serve as chief economist. In this role with the Washington, D.C.-based NRF, Kleinhenz will serve as spokesperson for the organization on economic issues.
Kleinhenz, CEO of Kleinhenz & Associates, Ltd., an economic, financial consulting and wealth management firm headquartered in Cleveland, is on leave this semester as adjunct professor of economics at Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management. Kleinhenz will author the NRF's “Retail Sales Outlook” and  prepare holiday and annual retail sales forecasts. 

Alumni and interested area individuals can take advantage of a specialized professional class offered through the Kelvin Smith Library CaseLearns program. Put your data into ArcGIS software and your research can be analyzed and visualized in high-quality maps. Learn more about this certificate course taught by an ESRI-authorized instructor in a series of Friday classes. The class is Oct. 29. Registration deadline is Friday for ArcGIS Desktop: Tools and Functionality; more details are available on the KSL NewsBlog.

In Memoriam

Stephen Wotman

Stephen Wotman, professor of dental medicine, died Saturday. There will be a memorial service commemorating the life of Dr. Wotman at Amasa Stone Chapel at 4:30 p.m. Nov. 10. Sara Wotman and the Wotman family welcome your attendance.

Wotman came to Case Western Reserve University from Columbia University and was a previous dean of the School of Dental Medicine.  His vision, energy, and commitment are largely responsible for the strong public health orientation that is emblematic of the school today. He was also the principal investigator on the first National Institutes of Health funded dental practice-based research network grant. He was an important mentor and friend to many and will be missed, both professionally and personally. Prior to his illness, Wotman established the Wotman Chair for Public Health. He was able to attend the celebration of his generosity on Oct. 12. 

Oct. 20, 2010

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In the News

Jimmy Dimora's lawyer says commissioner needs help paying for representation

The Plain Dealer, Oct. 19, 2010
Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora, whose house is valued at more than $400,000 and who made $92,000 last year as a county commissioner, wants taxpayers to foot the bill for his legal defense. Ordinarily the standard for having a court-appointed lawyer is indigency, said Lewis Katz, a law professor at Case Western Reserve University, but it can be defined broadly to include someone who's resources have been frozen. Dimora’s legal costs could exceed $500,000. “Of course, the public's going to be outraged at the notion,” Katz said.

Americans taking closer look at foods with an ‘ewwww’ factor

Sacramento Bee, Oct. 20, 2010
Alan Rocke, a science historian at Case Western Reserve University whose teaching interests include food and its history, tells the Sacramento Bee, "Why we don't eat horse meat, or at least very little, is probably because we view the horse as a noble animal and the cowboy's best friend." So-called creepy food varies from culture to culture and is influenced by religion, customs, availability and other cultural differences, Rocke said.

Want Super Powers?
Try Super Technology, Oct. 19, 2010
Case Western Reserve University associate professor of chemical engineering Harihara Baskaran, who was part of a team that won a contract from the U.S. Army to research an artificial gill system that would allow humans to breathe underwater, said such devices seem far-fetched, but scientists believe they are viable. “I am up for the challenge, but it would take my lifetime,” Baskaran said.

Higher Ed News

Humanities in the Marketplace: Major Misconceptions?

The Atlantic, Oct. 13, 2010
A report finds that studying the humanities has more practical applications in business than is often the public perception.

Are We Commodities?

Chronicle of Higher Ed, Oct. 17, 2010
Russell Rickford of Dartmouth College writes, “Colleges and universities increasingly promote themselves as brands, and pupils understand entitlement and privilege as part of the product they purchase at enrollment.” He believes that cheapens the value of education.