George Holden, Psychology, to speak at congressional briefing on corporal punishment in public schools


Originally Posted: November 13, 2015

SMU Professor and Psychology Department Chair George Holden will speak before a congressional briefing titled “Spare the Rod: Protect the Child” from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18, in Washington D.C.

Holden, a leading expert on parenting, discipline and family, will participate in a panel designed to tackle the ongoing practice of corporal punishment in schools – which is still legal in 19 states, including Texas, though outlawed in Dallas and the state’s other metropolitan areas.

“There’s very limited research about the impact of corporal punishment in schools, but what research is available is focused on how much it’s used and to whom its used on,” Holden says. “It’s mostly used on minority students and students with disabilities.”

U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, a Democrat from Florida, is hosting the briefing, which will be attended by congressional staffers. Hastings’ goal, says Holden, is to introduce a bill that will outlaw corporal punishment and paddling of children in schools.

Holden believes this is the second recent attempt to pass such a bill. In 2011, New York Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy introduced a bill called the “Ending Corporal Punishment in Schools Act,” which failed to make it out of committee.

The 19 states where corporal punishment in schools is still legal are: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wyoming.

At a Glance
What: SMU Professor and Psychology Department Chair George Holden speaks about corporal punishment in American public schools before a congressional briefing titled “Spare the Rod: Protect the Child” hosted by U.S. Representative Alcee Hastings.

Who’s invited: The event is free and open to the public.

When: 10-11:30 a.m., Wednesday, Nov. 18

Where: Room 122, Cannon House Office Building, 1st and C Street, SE, Washington, D.C.


SMU students in Paris report they are safe; SMU monitoring situation

SMU News

Originally Posted: November 14, 2015

SMU has heard from all 11 of its students studying in Paris that they are safe. The SMU Travel Oversight Committee is closely monitoring the situation and is receiving updates from the U.S. State Department and International SOS.

SMU community members abroad are asked to be aware that France has declared a national state of emergency and has tightened its borders. On Saturday, November 14, the U.S. Embassy in France issued a security message regarding the terrorist attacks: “Further incidents are possible. We strongly urge U.S. citizens to maintain a high level of vigilance, be aware of local events, and take the appropriate steps to bolster their personal security, including limiting their movements to essential activity. U.S. citizens are encouraged to monitor media and local information sources and factor updated information into personal travel plans and activities.” While airports and train stations remain open, travelers may expect delays due to heightened security measures.
All SMU Abroad students are covered by emergency travel assistance through I-SOS and may use the services of I-SOS worldwide during their term of study abroad. During SMU Abroad orientation, students received laminated cards with emergency phone numbers for I-SOS. I-SOS contact information also is available online at In addition, every SMU-approved study abroad program has its own emergency preparedness plan and protocols.

Students with concerns or questions are asked to contact the SMU Abroad Director, Dr. Cathy Winnie, at (214-768-4904) or SMU Assistant Chief of Police Jim Walters at (214-768-1586). Student safety is the highest priority of SMU and our partner study abroad programs. READ MORE

Event: Nov. 12, Noah’s Ark – Figuring Climate Change

SMU News

Originally Posted: Nov. 10, 2015

Professor Jeffrey Jerome Cohen of George Washington University, who specializes in medieval studies, ecotheory, posthumanism and the history of monsters, will speak on “Noah’s Ark — Figuring Climate Change” at SMU on Thursday, Nov. 12.

The lecture, which is free and open to the public, will be at 6 p.m. in Dallas Hall’s McCord Auditorium. It is part of the Gilbert Lecture Series.

Most medieval illustrations of Noah depict him serenely floating in his ark, surrounded by his family and a harmonious menagerie. What would happen if we stopped using the Flood as our unspoken cognitive frame for global warming – or at least if we stopped playing the role of Noah, if we abandoned the hope of salvaging a small community in an ark built against more complicated, more collective, more livable futures? What if we thought with more sympathy about what is lost when we assume the world must drown? This talk traces some alternative traditions about Noah and his ark, medieval and modern, attempting to use them to rethink the future during a time of climate change.

Cohen’s work ranges over medieval literature, cultural studies, digital humanities, posthumanist theory, and the environmental humanities. In addition to his traditional scholarship, Prof. Cohen manages a strong online presence on Twitter and on his group blog In the Middle, which features academic work in progress as well as reflections on higher education. He is also a key member of The BABEL Working Group, a co-disciplinary, global collective for scholars, researchers, and artists inside and outside the academy who are interested in the relationship between “medieval” and “modern.” READ MORE

Life on the Hilltop: Bonnie Wheeler’s Dedication to Scholarship and Students

Inside Dedman College

Originally Published: November 5, 2015

Bonnie Wheeler, Associate Professor and Director of Medieval Studies, was given a “40 years at SMU” party this August, and it came with a joyful twist: hosts Kathryn and Stephen Arata announced their intent to establish The Bonnie Wheeler Centennial Professorship in Medieval European Literature. The professorship will be housed in the English Department, Wheeler’s institutional home at SMU.

Wheeler wears many hats as a scholar-teacher. She founded the interdisciplinary SMU Medieval Studies Program in 1978 (and has directed it ever since). Here students can choose a minor, major, or M.A. Its graduates go into every career with the knowledge that, when they get to Paris or Istanbul, they will be able to impress their companions with information about the art, literature, and history of these places. READ MORE

Psychology professors Thomas Ritz and Alicia Meuret awarded a $2 million NIH grant to help develop a pediatric asthma monitor

Originally published: November 3, 2015

DALLAS (SMU) – A pair of SMU psychology professors working with University of Marylanasthma-childd engineers have been awarded a National Institutes of Health grant that will bring nearly $2 million to their joint project to create a wearable device for pediatric asthma patients that helps them avoid asthma triggers.

The asthma device will monitor air quality (including pollen levels and temperature), carbon dioxide levels in the blood, physical activity, breathing, emotional states and other stimuli to identify each patient’s individual asthma triggers and alert them when conditions are ripe for an attack. The concept is similar to the glucose monitor that alerts diabetes patients when their blood sugar is low, but it also includes much more complex monitoring of the patients’ environment.

The device’s current iteration is a portable unit, but the Maryland team is miniaturizing it so that it can be worn as a vest.

SMU psychology professors Thomas Ritz and Alicia Meuret, have teamed up with University of Maryland Center for Advanced Sensor Technology professors Yordan Kostov, Xudong Ge and Govind Rao, which provides a natural extension of each team’s research. The University of Maryland team also includes environmental engineering researchers Chris Hennigan and electrical engineering researchers Ryan Robucci and Nilanjan Banerjee. READ MORE

Anne E. Lincoln, Sociology, Work-Family Conflict in Academic Science

LincolnIn “Failing Families, Failing Science,” Ecklund and Lincoln paint a nuanced picture that illuminates how gender, individual choices, and university and science infrastructures play a role in shaping science careers, and how science careers, shape family life. Their research reveals that early career scientists struggle with balancing work and family lives. This struggle may prevent young scientists from pursuing positions at top research universities—or further pursuing academic science at all— a circumstance that comes at great cost to our national science infrastructure.

READ MORE on Anne E. Lincoln

Joe Kobylka, Political Science, runs 5K to support the Achievement Center of Texas

Dallas Morning News

Originally Published: October 30, 2015

The Achievement Center of Texas hosted a “Ghoulishly SpooktACTular” event Oct. 24 at Holford Park in Garland.

The annual 2015 ACTion event featured a 5K run/walk, 1 mile fun walk, games, a Halloween costume contest and prizes.

This year, it was billed as A Ghoulishly SpooktACTular to celebrate awareness for people with special needs. Proceeds will benefit the students of ACT, said David Parrish, president of the ACT board.

Since this year’s event is not the first, I asked David if he or Marilynne Serie, executive director of ACT, had a story to further explain what the organization does. READ MORE

Harvard professor explains why science is safe to trust

Daily Campus

Originally Posted: October 20, 2015

Society should trust science because it’s a long, time-tested process of accumulated expertise, Harvard University Professor of the History of Science Naomi Oreskes, Ph.D said Thursday night.

Speaking at the Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute’s annual Allman Family Lecture, Oreskes explained that some of society’s misconceptions of science exist because most people cannot judge whether or not a scientific finding is true. Most people assume the risk of accepting science is smaller than the risk of rejecting it. Parents vaccinate their children because the risk of precautionary vaccinating is smaller than the risk of not vaccinating and suffering potentially harmful consequences. But society is more skeptical of scientific findings than it was before.

“The larger issue is how to reduce the number of those who deny,” said Caroline Brettell, the institute’s director. “How do we build up the trust?” READ MORE