Frequently Asked Questions


What is the purpose of ND Innovates?

We want you to share your ideas for improvement. This invitation is part of our larger commitment to using University resources wisely and ensuring that we can continue to offer students and their families an affordable education. To accomplish these goals, we must continue to identify how we can become more effective and efficient in ways large and small. We hope you will share your ideas about how we can do so.  

Why is the University launching this effort now?

Over the last ten years, Notre Dame has experienced a period of significant growth. As beneficial as this time of growth has been, it is not possible for the University to continue to grow at the same pace. It is a good time to carefully examine whether we are using our resources in the best possible ways.

We have one of the largest university endowments, why is the ND Innovates initiative necessary?

Often when a benefactor makes a gift, the use of those funds is restricted by the purpose designated by the benefactor. Most of the University’s endowment is restricted in this way. We are fortunate that many generous benefactors have established endowments in support of financial aid. Nevertheless, more financial aid is needed to make a Notre Dame education accessible to all qualified, admitted students. As a University community, we want to find cost-savings that will allow more deserving students to attend Notre Dame. 

How will the cost-savings be utilized?

Any cost-savings will be redirected to student financial aid. 

Has the University looked at a cost-savings step before this?

Yes. In the last ten years, we have done many things to identify cost-savings and to reallocate resources to support the highest priorities of the University. This is a continuation and a broadening of those efforts, by inviting everyone to submit their ideas.

Is this connected to the early retirement initiative?

The Voluntary Early Retirement initiative is part of a set of stewardship initiatives the University is currently undertaking to ensure that Notre Dame remains financially sound and that a Notre Dame education is affordable for our students and their families. 

Will ND Innovates be an ongoing effort?

Stewardship of the University’s human, physical, and financial resources is the fourth goal of Notre Dame’s strategic plan and will always be a key priority. As part of that larger priority, ND Innovates is a focused, nearer-term effort to receive and implement your suggestions, ideas that we hope will make a difference in the next 12-18 months. The overall implementation of certain ideas may take longer depending on the complexity involved. 

Was this a mandate from the Board of Trustees?

This is a leadership initiative of the three Executive Officers—Fr. Jenkins, Dr. Tom Burish, and Dr. John Affleck-Graves—and fully supported by the Board of Trustees.

How do I submit an idea?

To submit an idea, please click on this form and share your thoughts. We will look very carefully at your idea and we will follow-up if it is selected! 

Are you looking for ideas from all parts of the University?

Yes, any employee, regardless of position, may submit an idea.

If the University uses my idea, will there be an incentive?

Yes! Although all of the cost-savings will go to support financial aid, the University is providing recognition and incentives for ideas that are selected. For those ideas that are implemented, an incentive will be awarded to the first person to submit the idea. You can read more details about recognition and incentives

When will you begin implementing ideas?

We will review ideas on a rolling basis, and implementation will follow as quickly as possible. News of implemented ideas will be shared on this website and through other University communication channels.

Why is the University providing incentives if the goal is to save money?

The University hopes to implement cost-saving initiatives that will far outweigh the incentive provided to participants. We want to incentivize faculty and staff to submit their great ideas and contribute to the stewardship of the University's resources.