Dr. Jeff Engel, Center for Presidential History, analyzes a likely Trump vs Clinton matchup.

Fox 4

Originally Posted: May 4, 2016

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Once dismissed as a fringe contender, businessman Donald Trump now is all but certain to lead the Republican Party into the fall presidential campaign against Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton — a stunning political triumph for a first-time candidate whose appeal to frustrated voters was widely underestimated.

Trump’s victory in Indiana Tuesday and Ted Cruz’s abrupt decision to drop out resolved the Republican nominee for 2016, but it still left the party in a deep state of uncertainty. Some Republican leaders remain acutely wary of the bombastic billionaire and have insisted they could never support him, even in a faceoff against Clinton. Watch

SMU’s May 14 Commencement celebrates academic achievement

SMU News

Originally Posted: May 3, 2016

SMU will celebrate the academic accomplishments of more than 2,500 students at its 101st annual Commencement ceremony at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 14, in Moody Coliseum.

Guests are urged to arrive early as seating in the coliseum is limited to four guests per student. Additional seating will be available for a simulcast of the event at Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports, Crum Auditorium and McFarlin Auditorium. The ceremony also will be broadcast outside Moody Coliseum on Bolin Plaza, and there will be a live webcast of the ceremony at http://www.smu.edu/live.


SMU recognizes outstanding achievement at 2015-16 Hilltop Excellence Awards, Honors Convocation

Congratulations to the Dedman College faculty and students who were recognized at the 2016 Awards Extravaganza on Monday, April 18.

Recipients of the Outstanding Professor Awards presented by the Rotunda yearbook include:

B. Sunday Eiselt, associate professor and director of undergraduate studies, Department of Anthropology
Laurence Winnie, senior lecturer and director of undergraduate studies, William P. Clements Department of History

Receiving the Extra Mile Awards, presented by Students for New Learning for graciousness and sensitivity to students with learning differences:

Sheri Kunovich, associate professor, Department of Sociology
• Laurie Nuchereno, adjunct lecturer, Department of Economics

For the full list of faculty, staff and student award recipients click here.



Associate dean for General Education addresses questions about UC-2016

SMU Daily Campus

Originally Posted: April 16, 2016

By: Peter Moore, associate dean, General Education

Let me take a moment to address the issues Noah Bartos raised in his editorial regarding UC-2016.

Noah is rightly concerned about the potential headaches various groups will face regarding two very similar curricula (UC-2012 and UC-2016). We are too. He notes the increase in paperwork. That comes in three forms: 1) course proposals that faculty must write; 2) assessment; and 3) student petitions.

He is right in pointing out that in the near-term faculty will have some additional work to do. A significant portion of that has already been completed this spring and I hope that most of the rest will be finished by December. There is a sense of fatigue, but this is offset to some extent by the improvements he notes in the structure which allow for new opportunities for participation. Regarding assessment, my expectation is that this will actually decrease initially (while eventually returning to the current level).

My biggest concern is with student petitions that will arise through confusion between the two curricula. Noah notes this problem as well regarding the mixture of requirements in the same course. This mixture does not involve Proficiencies and Experiences which are identical in both curricula. We are aware of the problem regarding pillars (UC-2012) and breadth and depth (UC-2016) and will be working to mitigate the headaches that are bound to result.

Noah also raises concerns with the new STEM requirements which he believes have the potential to unduly impact Meadows’ students. With regard to the lab-based portion (PAS under UC-2012) of this requirement the revision in UC-2016 is closer to the original intent of the UC adopted in 2010, that students complete two lab-based courses. The TM requirement, however, should not be an additional burden for most Meadows’ students who will be able to complete it in the major (e.g., Theater Lighting).

Noah notes the advantages from the simplified Second Language requirement which should prove beneficial across all majors. The changes in UC-2016 are designed to lessen the need for double-counting pillar courses by opening up courses in the major.

For example, I expect Cox majors to benefit when ITOM 3306 (a required course for all Cox students) satisfies the TM requirement. In this case the number of UC requirements met in the Cox major will increase from two to three. The modifications introduced in UC-2012 were designed to address high-credit majors and enhance students’ ability to double major. Students should find the same advantages in UC-2016 along with a simplified structure.

Finally he argues that the language of the proposal does not provide an adequate description of content. The descriptions match the information provided in the original UC and are augmented by the Student Learning Outcomes. Together these do provide a good basis for determining what the new breadth and depth requirements are all about.

Nearly two years ago the University Curriculum Council responded to concerns about the original UC and introduced key modifications. Those modifications have helped the class of 2012 to graduate on time. However, the modifications led to some unintended consequences which UC-2016 addresses. We expect that our efforts this time around will be even more beneficial. READ MORE

Congratulations Dedman College Dean’s Research Council Award Recipients

March 18, 2016

Dallas Hall4

Congratulations to the the recipients of this year’s Dean’s Research Council grants. The Dean’s Research Council provides competitively awarded seed funding for faculty research and allows them to compete for larger grants and fellowships outside SMU.


Peng Tao

Department of Chemistry
Extending the Protein Evolution Paradigm to Combat Antibiotic Drug Resistance

Karen Lupo
Department of Anthropology
Exposing the Myth of the Pristine Rain Forest: Building the Case for the Cultural Landscapes in the Tropical Forests of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

Jingbo Ye
Department of Physics
Developing an Integrated Circuit that Drives Arrays with Ultra Low Power


Phillipe Chuard
Department of Philosophy
Time Consciousness: The Lockean View



Dedman College experts: Supreme Court battle focuses on Garland

SMU News

DALLAS (SMU) – SMU experts are available to discuss the evolving fight over President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.



Engel minced few works when discussing Republican obstructionism to President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee – calling it unethical and unconstitutional.

“The constitution gives Republicans the right to not vote for a candidate, but it doesn’t give them the right to ignore the president,” Engel says. “Our first African American president getting to have three-fifths of a presidency is reprehensible.”

Engel also says the Republican argument for letting the American people decide the spot in the coming election sets a dangerous precedent.

“There is no guarantee Republicans or Democrats couldn’t say even after the election that they think the American people should get four years to decide who should pick the next nominee – it’s the same exact logic,” Engel says. “They’re playing with really dangerous things here.”

But no obstructionist draws more ire – and flirts more with violating the spirit of the constitution, says Engel – than Ted Cruz.

“The thing that gets me most furious is that when a political candidate or actor who simultaneously says they believe in the constitution and but that Obama should not have nominated someone – they are either willfully stupid or willfully lying, and I’m looking at you Senator Cruz,” Engel says. “The Constitution says if you’re going to vote the guy down you have to stand up and do it.”

Engel is director of the SMU Center for Presidential History.



With the Supreme court split evenly between liberal and conservative justices and a number of America’s most salient political issues likely to be argued in front of the court in the years ahead, Kobylka says the impact of Merrick Garland, if appointed, would be huge.

“If the appointee were to join the so-called liberal block, you could see changes in issues with affirmative action, campaign finance, abortion rights and questions of federal power like Obamacare,” Kobylka says. Garland’s nomination, he says, is likely more politically significant than legally significant because there’s a danger of his becoming a political pawn.

“Garland has been on the court of appeals for years,” Kobylka says. “He’s 63 years old, which is older than most nominees. I think Roberts was 50 and Kagan was 50 – so that might be to appeal to critics and show Obama’s not stacking the court for the next 30 years. The problem with Garland is he clerked for Brennan, who was a liberal, and Garland was a Clinton appointee, so this is a traditional democratic pick.

“In a sense, Garland could become a sacrificial lamb and a political whipping post,” Kobylka adds.

Kobylka is an associate professor of political science.



Stepping into trenches that were dug the moment Justice Scalia died, Republicans and Democrats are likely to become even less productive in Washington D.C. as the debate over Garland blocks out all other issues, says Wilson.

“It shows what sad point we’ve reached in politics where everything becomes a titanic battle and a huge conflict and it reflects the Supreme Court has become a more politicized institution and people are clearly recognizing it as such,” Wilson says. “It will dominate the political coverage of Washington for the next several months because there is no pending legislation, so this is the only game in town right now.”

That said, Wilson cautioned Republicans might be setting themselves up for trouble by arguing the next president should be allowed to pick the nominee.

“Republicans better be careful what they wish for,” Wilson says. “With the Republican Party barreling toward Donald Trump, the likely outcome in November is catastrophic losses and Hillary Clinton becoming the next president. They have a chance to appoint a nominee who is relatively moderate and somewhat older, which might be the best deal they get. If they don’t confirm Garland, they may end up wishing they had compared to the alternative.”

Wilson is an SMU associate professor of Political Science.



Grad student discovers river in Peru so hot it boils animals alive

Tech Insider

Originally Posted: February 22, 2016

Deep in the heart of the Peruvian Amazon, an anomalous and perplexing natural wonder lies: A raging river that boils.

Once just the stuff of folklore, geophysicist Andrés Ruzo, a PhD student at Southern Methodist University, set out to find the legendary waterway himself.

He not only found it, but he confirmed that it does, in fact, surge at a scalding 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

“It feels like I’m in a sauna inside a toaster oven,” Ruzo said sitting on the bank of the river in his new book, The Boiling River: Adventure and Discovery in the Amazon. (Ruzo also discussed his quest to understand its puzzling features in a recent TED talk.) READ MORE