Cal Jillson, Political Science, Lights… cameras… committees!

WFAA

Originally Posted: July 6, 2015

DALLAS —At Dallas City Hall, they’re stringing cable and installing video cameras. The city is investing $2.5 million in new equipment that will broadcast city government to a wider audience.

Before now, many committee meetings were not televised, and none were archived for easy public access. Now — after the City Council returns from its July recess — citizens will have access to 200 hours of live and recorded meetings every month.

“We feel it will make it easier for our residents to understand our business; how Council members arrive at the policy decisions that they’re making; and, at the end of the day, just making what we do easier to understand,” said city spokeswoman Sana Sayed.

Cal Jillson, a political science professor at SMU, applauds the high-tech access. “I think openness and transparency are always a good thing,” he said.

Committee meetings are where much of the heavy policy work is done — like drafting a plastic bag ban or writing rules so Uber can operate in the city. It’s also where citizens get more time to speak their mind.  READ MORE

Cas Milner, Physics, subatomic particles could help detect damaged pipes

Inside Science

Originally posted: June 30, 2015

The subatomic muon could reveal potentially disastrous pipe corrosion.

By: Charles Q. Choi, Contributor
(Inside Science) — Of all the parts of the nation’s infrastructure that one might want least to fail, nuclear power plants might rank the highest. U.S. nuclear power plants are on average more than 30 years old now, and pipes within them can corrode over time with potentially lethal results. Now researchers suggest they could noninvasively scan infrastructure for weak points with the aid of subatomic particles streaking down from the sky.

Water and steam pumped through a pipe in a power plant or industrial refinery can eat away one side of the pipe. In 2004, such corrosion led a pipe to break at Mihama Nuclear Power Plant in Japan, killing five people and injuring six others with super-hot high-pressure steam in Japan’s worst nuclear power accident until Fukushima.

Analyzing the structural integrity of pipes typically involves ultrasound and X-ray scans. READ MORE

Willard Spiegelman, English, The Southwest Review Turns 100

July 2015 – D Magazine

By Ben Fountain

wiliard-spiegelman

“A hundred years is a long life,” says Willard Spiegelman one warm spring Saturday in the office of the Southwest Review, the magazine he’s edited for the past 30 years. We’re on the fourth floor of Fondren Library at SMU, with a view out the window of rooftops aligned on the campus quad, oak trees in new leaf, and, far in the distance, the jumbled silver skyline of downtown Dallas.

Spiegelman, the Hughes Professor of English at SMU, is in a reflective mood, necessarily so, since his visitor keeps bugging him with questions about the 100th anniversary of the Review’s founding. It’s a fluke, a cosmic hiccup, a kink of cultural fate that the third-oldest continuously published literary review in the country is located in the heart of Dallas, where commerce is king, money screams, and living loud and large is the air we breathe. Try to imagine one of the Ewings sitting back on a quiet Southfork evening to peruse the latest issue of the Review. (Query: did we ever see a Ewing holding an actual book?) Easier to picture a blowup of Einstein’s head superimposed on the orb of Reunion Tower. Who gives a proud Texas damn about literature? READ MORE

SMU Adventures: Katherine, Maguire Fellow and Medical Anthropology grad student in San Francisco

Originally posted: June 25, 2015

Katherine is a graduate student in the medical anthropology program. She was awarded a Maguire and Irby Family Foundation Public Service Fellowship for summer 2015 from the Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility at SMU for her research on struggles for LGBTQ immigrants in the San Francisco Bay area. READ MORE

Department of English Alumnus, Matt Alexander, featured in D Magazine

D MAGAZINE

JUNE 2015

Made in Dallas
Fifty years ago, we were the nation’s third-largest garment center. Today, a new generation of entrepreneurs is putting those old sewing machines back to work.

BY DICK REAVIS

Stubble-bearded, self-confident Matt Alexander, a 27-year-old Brit born of a Galveston mother, is on his way to becoming a titan of industry—or else he’s gathering material for a novel about failures in the start-up economy. After graduating with an English degree from SMU in 2010, he for a while held a communications job at Southwest Airlines. Then he founded a business consultancy before he took up daydreaming in the WELD co-op work space. Today he operates a company whose material assets consist of a few Apple laptops. The firm does, however, operate two websites that claim more than 250,000 registered users, and in May it attracted a $300,000 investment from several founders of CIC Partners, the private equity firm co-founded by Mayor Mike Rawlings. READ MORE

Pamela Corley receives Supreme Court Historical Society Award

Associate Professor of Political Science Pamela Corley was recently awarded the Hughes-Gosset Award for the best article published in the Journal of Supreme Court History in the previous year. Professor Corley received this prestigious award at the Supreme Court Historical Society during the Annual Meeting on June 1, 2015. The title of Professor Corley’s article is “Revisiting the Roosevelt Court: The Critical Juncture from Consensus to Dissensus” and she co-authored the work with Amy Steigerwalt (Georgia State University) and Artemus Ward (Northern Illinois University).

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Professor Corley (second from left) is pictured receiving the award from Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

NFL player and SMU alum, Kelvin Beachum visits campus over Father’s Day weekend

Kelvin Beachum shared his secrets for success as a college student with a group of SMU alumni, staff, faculty and community members last Friday evening at a reception hosted by Lori and Jon Altschuler. The new father returned to campus to kick off Father’s Day weekend and share his journey from Dedman College student to the NFL. He advised all students, and student athletes in particular to stretch and go beyond their comfort zones by getting involved with leadership opportunities on campus. Prayer, planning, position and “paying it forward” all hold special importance to this dynamic offensive tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers. The crowd of Beachum fans enjoyed the one-on-one time with Kelvin and the chance to ask about his experiences both at SMU and in the NFL. Click here for recent media coverage on Kelvin Beachum.

Jon Altschuler ’94, Dedman College Executive Board member Lori Altschuler ’92 (hosts of the reception)
Kelvin Beachum with Jon Altschuler ’94, Dedman College Executive Board member
and Lori Altschuler ’92 (hosts of the reception)
Lori White, Vice President for Student Affairs Tony Tillman, Assistant Provost for Strategic Initiatives and Director of Student Retention for SMU
Tony Tillman, Assistant Provost for Strategic Initiatives and Director of Student Retention for SMU, Kelvin Beachum and Lori White, Vice President for Student Affairs
KBeachumgroup
Group photo with Kelvin Beachum

 

 

 

Success! Power Plays: Geothermal Energy in Oil and Gas Fields, the 2015 Conference Summary:

The SMU Geothermal Lab recently hosted its 7th international energy conference Power Plays:Geothermal Energy in Oil and Gas Fields. Along with discussion on generating geothermal energy from oil and gas fields, topics at this year’s event included desalination, flare gas and induced seismicity. A summary of the presentations is available at http://www.smu.edu/Dedman/Academics/Programs/GeothermalLab/Conference/PastPresentations.

Read a summery of the event here.

Read more on the event here.

George Holden, Psychology, study cited in a story about parents’ unconscious influences on child’s career interests

Fast Company

Originally Posted: June 19, 2015

HOW YOU MAY BE UNCONSCIOUSLY SHAPING YOUR CHILD’S CAREER CHOICES

YOU MAY THINK YOU’RE ENCOURAGING YOUR CHILD’S DREAMS, BUT RESEARCH SHOWS THE TINY WAYS WE MAY BE NUDGING THEM IN ANOTHER DIRECTION.

BY GWEN MORAN

Ever since your son or daughter was little, you’ve been showering him or her with positive affirmations about the future. “Follow your dreams.” “The world is your oyster.” “You can do whatever you set your mind to doing.” And, one day, when you’re having the “what do you want to be when you grow up” conversation, you get the payoff for all of that empowerment: A crew member on one of the Deadliest Catch boats. An undercover homicide detective. Nik Wallenda’s next protégé.

Kids say the darnedest things—and sometimes their future career fantasies can be downright terrifying. The choices may range from dangerous to financially insecure, and somewhat far afield of what you had in mind, even if you’re loathe to admit it. But be careful in your response. A 2010 report by George Holden of Southern Methodist University found that the way we react to these types of situations can have a great deal of influence on the trajectories our children follow throughout life. The research found that the things to which we introduce them, how we help them navigate obstacles, and how we react to their actions and ideas has an impact on the decisions they make. READ MORE