Roche is the Rev. Edmund P. Joyce, C.S.C., Professor of German Language and Literature and Concurrent Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame.
Roche teaches courses in German language, literature, and culture as well as in intellectual history, philosophy, and film. He also offers broader courses, such as the two-semester Humanities Seminar, which takes students in the Fall from Homer to Dante and in the Spring from Machiavelli to Woody Allen, and the College Seminar, which is oral-intensive, explores great questions, and draws on the arts, humanities, and social sciences. In 2013 Roche received the Joyce Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and in 2006 the Kaneb Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. See also teaching.
His publications have been on German literature and on philosophy, film, and higher education. Roche is the author of nine books, including Why Choose the Liberal Arts? (University of Notre Dame Press, 2010), which received the 2012 Frederic W. Ness Book Award from the Association of American Colleges and Universities, and Why Literature Matters in the 21st Century (Yale University Press, 2004), which was chosen as an Outstanding Academic Title by Choice Magazine. His two most recent books address issues of higher education. Realizing the Distinctive University was published in February 2017. An interview based on the book appeared in InsideHigherEd. In October 2014 Roche published with Meiner Verlag in Germany, Was die deutschen von den amerikanischen Universitäten lernen können und was sie vermeiden sollten. An excerpt in advance of publication appeared in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, as did a subsequent essay based on the book. A German television review is available here and a print review here. See also scholarship and curriculum vitae.
From 1997 to 2008, Roche served as the I. A. O’Shaughnessy Dean of the College of Arts and Letters. He arrived at Notre Dame in 1996 after having served 12 years at the Ohio State University, including the final five years as Chairperson of the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures. See also service.
He received a bachelor’s degree in the History of Ideas from Williams College in 1978, a master’s degree in Philosophy from the Eberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen in Germany in 1980, and a doctorate in German Literature from Princeton University in 1984.