College grads, take heart: You’re entering best job market in years

Dallas Morning News

Originally Posted: May 24, 2016

On a recent Tuesday afternoon, the denizens of Southern Methodist University’s campus seemed to move at a leisurely pace.

A few cyclists clicked along the pathways and the stately brick buildings, with their bright white colonnades, were quiet. Commencement had taken place a few days earlier.

But for Regina James, the busy season was getting into full swing.

“There are still students who are in transition. They’re either waiting to hear back about offers — there’s a little anxiousness there — or they’re students that maybe just didn’t get around to the search, so they’re starting to reach out and say, ‘I don’t have anything yet,’” she said. “Those students, we’ll be helping throughout the summer.”

James is the associate director for employer relations at SMU’s Hegi career center.

Experts say newly-minted college graduates in the Dallas area are entering one of the best job markets they’ve seen. But James said that’s no excuse to slack off in the hunt.

“We encourage students to have multiple internships for a number of reasons,” she said. “You’ve got to think about it as, not only are you competing against your peers here, you’re competing against peers from other institutions in the area, you’re competing against institutions nationally [whose students] may desire to live in the Dallas area.”

According to a report by the firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas, 1.8 million Americans with four-year degrees are expected to enter the workforce this year, where they’ll be greeted by the best job market for college graduates in several years.

The report cites the fact that the nation has seen almost 70 months of job gains, meaning that 14 million workers have been added to payrolls across the country. Meanwhile, Baby Boomers are retiring.

A National Association of Colleges and Employers survey found that companies are slated to hire 5.2 percent more new graduates than a year ago.

And, the report says, 59 metro areas have unemployment rates below 4.0 percent.

All of those factors add up to a demand for workers who are ready to start their careers.

In Dallas-Fort Worth — one of those metro areas with a low unemployment rate — there’s extra momentum, said Bud Weinstein, an economist and associate director of the Maguire Energy Institute at SMU’s Cox School of Business.

The region’s economy is more diverse than it’s ever been. And more companies are relocating or expanding in North Texas — in part because they’re attracted by the area’s talent pool.

“Dallas-Fort Worth probably has the strongest job market in the nation among large metropolitan areas — maybe not in absolute numbers, but certainly in percentage terms,” Weinstein said. “I think the job market has never looked better, particularly for college graduates.”

Michael Carroll, director of UNT’s Economics Research Group, added that although energy and manufacturing jobs across the state are hurting, “we’re fairly insulated from that” in North Texas.

A flood of migration into the state, Carroll said, has also helped keep wages at a manageable level and competition for workers from scaring off new jobs.

“I think it’s a real positive with all the companies moving in,” he said.

Higher education institutions around the region say they’re bullish on the possibilities for their graduates — whether they’re armed with a bachelor’s degree or trade certification.

“I cannot even tell you — we’re tripping over jobs,” said Dawn Gomez, career services coordinator at the Dallas County Community College District’s Northlake College in Irving.

The hard part, she said, is connecting students with the right employer in an age when job hunters have countless online resources.

“Soft skills, communication, critical thinking, teamwork — employers want those that can pull it all together in a composed, succinct package,” Gomez said.

For Morgan Slottje, who graduated from SMU in December, settling on a career path wasn’t easy.

As an undergraduate, she said with a chuckle, she changed majors “at least 10 times.”

Throughout college, she also test drove various jobs through internships: She worked on Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, she worked in marketing.

When the time came to focus on the job search, Slottje, 23, applied to “hundreds” of jobs she said sounded interesting, from advertising to financial analysis. She considered getting a master’s degree in statistics.

In the end, Slottje said she went to a Deloitte presentation and felt a strong sense that its values aligned with hers: An emphasis on continuing to learn and grow.

“I picked a company where their values really align with mine,” she said. “That’s important with the job search — I want a career. I want to love what I’m doing.”

And although Slottje said she was open to moving to another city, she preferred to stay in Dallas, close to her parents and where living costs are more manageable than in New York, where she went to school for 2 and a half years before switching to SMU.

“I’d rather be in a city like Dallas when I’m starting a career,” she said. “I’m versed in tech, but when I was interviewing [with a company in the] Bay Area, I was thinking, ‘No matter what I’m getting paid, I’m going to be so poor.’”

She’ll be starting a job here, in business technology consulting at Deloitte in July.

Reggie Davis, a 21-year-old University of North Texas logistics student, won’t graduate until next year.

He said he’s optimistic about his job prospects, particularly in logistics. In D-FW, information technology and other “knowledge” jobs that require college degrees are in high demand, particularly given the breadth of the region’s transportation industry.

His father, too, works in logistics, meaning he’s had exposure to the jobs for years.

Nevertheless, Davis said he’s not cruising to graduation day.

For one thing, UNT’s logistics program requires that students intern before they graduate, so he’ll be working at Schneider Logistics this summer.

Davis is also participating in the school’s professional leadership program, which aims to prep students for business leadership with access to mentors and professional development opportunities.

He said that although he’s been around supply chain and logistics work — it’s what his dad does, too — he sees the internship as both a way to get an edge and to test out which specific type of job he might like best.

“If I end up doing well in the internship and enjoying it, I would be glad to consider a full-time position or transition to being a full-time employee,” he said. “But I don’t want to put all my eggs in one basket.” READ MORE

Tim Cassedy, English, creates Shakespeare-inspired card game Bards Dispense Profanity

Mental Floss

Originally Posted: May 19, 2016

If you’re a recovering English major with a debauched mind, then bawdy, literary-inspired word prompt games are likely more your speed than Apples to Apples. That’s why there’s Bards Dispense Profanity

The Shakespeare-themed group party activity contains 100 “mock-serious” prompts and 375 answers copied word-for-word from Shakespeare’s works. Each player receives seven quote cards, which they use to anonymously finish an open-ended prompt. A “Profanity Judge” chooses the best (read: the dirtiest and/or most hilarious) one. Then the next player serves as arbitrator and the process begins anew. READ MORE

Celebrating Dedman College Faculty Books

  • View a slideshow of the event photos here.
  • For more information on Dedman College faculty books, click here.

English professor establishes Kimbilio to provide networking, educational and professional advancement opportunities for emerging African-American writers.

Detroit News

Originally Posted: May 10, 2016

Author Desiree Cooper says newcomers to the annual Kimbilio Fiction retreat for African-American writers “talk like they’ve been on a lifeboat and they’re just trying to hold on until they can find that place that keeps them safe.”

David Haynes, a novelist and professor of English at Dallas’ Southern Methodist University, established Kimbilio in 2013 as a means of providing networking, educational and professional advancement opportunities for emerging African-American writers. The organization has since amassed a network of 60 fellows; held three writers’ retreats in Taos, New Mexico, and initiated a nationwide series of reading events featuring its fellows. Kimbilio’s next reading event will be Wednesday at Pages Bookshop, featuring fellows Cooper, Angela Flournoy and Cole Lavalais.

Haynes says the organization’s name was derived from a Swahili word meaning “safe haven.”

“For so many writers of color, traditional retreats or traditional M.F.A. programs or various other support networks have not always been welcoming and safe places,” Haynes says. “That’s been one of the real drivers behind creating spaces where we can grow and learn as a community, and really develop important and necessary mutual support networks.” READ MORE

May Commencement Weekend

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Congratulations to all the Dedman College graduates. Looking for the latest schedule of events? Read More 

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.

READ MORE

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

Dedman College Alumnus William C. Roberts, MD, Earns Lifetime Achievement Award From American College of Cardiology

SMU Magazine

Originally Posted: March 22, 2016

Bill Roberts photo

Physician William C. Roberts ’54, executive director of the Baylor Heart and Vascular Institute (BHVI), has been awarded the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award by the American College of Cardiology (ACC) for his contributions to the cardiovascular profession.

The award, which is the highest recognition bestowed by the ACC, honors Roberts’ outstanding work in cardiac pathology. Roberts will receive the award at the American College of Cardiology’s 65th Annual Scientific Session and Expo on April 4 in Chicago. The ACC was founded in 1949 and has more than 49,000 members worldwide.

“I am humbled and honored to receive this award from my peers,” Roberts says. “I am proud and pleased that the Baylor Heart and Vascular Institute has played a major role in my career and research done particularly after coming to Dallas made this award possible.”

The award also recognizes him as a role model through his service, research and teaching.

“Dr. William Roberts has made lasting contributions to the field of cardiovascular medicine through dedication to his patients, practice and colleagues,” says ACC President Kim Allan Williams, MD, FACC. “It is an honor to be able to recognize Dr. Roberts with the Lifetime Achievement Award and celebrate his contributions to and achievements in cardiology.”

Roberts earned a bachelor’s degree in English from SMU in 1954, which has served him well as editor-in-chief of The American Journal of Cardiology and Baylor University Medical Center Proceedings. He has published more than 1,600 peer-reviewed articles and served on the editorial boards of nearly three dozen cardiology publications.

“Bill has, indeed, experienced a lifetime of achievement as the most important and accomplished cardiovascular pathologist of his era, as a teacher of incalculable numbers of cardiologists including at the annual Williamsburg Conference on Heart Disease for more than 40 years, and as the successful editor of The American Journal of Cardiology for 34 years,” says Barry Maron MD, director of the Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Center at the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation.

Roberts also serves as dean of the A. Webb Roberts Center for Continuing Medical Education.

“It is a rarity to have the opportunity to work closely with such a stellar cardiac pathologist who is also an exemplary clinical research investigator and who is truly known to be the ‘father of cardiovascular pathology,’” says Kevin Wheelan, MD, chief of medical staff, Baylor Hamilton Heart and Vascular Hospital, Dallas. “To work with him on a daily basis is an honor. Dr. Roberts’ contributions to the cardiology world have been far-reaching.”

Marc Silver, MD, chief of the division of medical services and clinical professor of medicine at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, IL, said, “This award is so richly deserved. Perhaps no one more than my parents taught me so much over my entire career. He remains one of the most receptive and nimble minds in medicine. He has mentored and trained much of the current leadership in cardiovascular disease in America.”

Barry Maron MD, director of the Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Center at the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation, said, “No one in cardiovascular medicine is more deserving of this lifetime achievement award. Bill has indeed experienced a lifetime of achievement as the most important and accomplished cardiovascular pathologist of his era, as a teacher of incalculable numbers of cardiologists including at the annual Williamsburg Conference on Heart Disease for more than 40 years, and as the successful editor of The American Journal of Cardiology for 34 years.”

Decorated Poet Dora Malech to perform poetry reading, give Q&A at SMU

SMU News

Originally Posted: March 11, 2016

DALLAS (SMU) – Dora Malech, a widely published and highly decorated poet currently on faculty at Johns Hopkins University, will perform a poetry reading and engage in a question-and-answer session at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 15, in room 131 of the Dedman Life Science building at SMU.

“Dora Malech is one of the most exciting young poets writing in America,” says SMU Associate Professor of English Greg Brownderville. “She’s only in her mid 30s and already in a tenure track position for a prestigious seminar at John Hopkins University. She’s won virtually every award a poet of her age could conceivably win and she’s a very good performer of her poetry. She also has a delightful personality that will come through during the banter between reading her poems.”

Malech has published two collections of poetry, Shore Ordered Ocean, in 2009, and Say so, in 2011. Her poems have appeared in publications such as The New Yorker, Poetry and Best New Poets, and she’s received a Truman Capote Fellowship and a Frederick M. Clapp Poetry Writing Fellowship from Yale, among other honors.

“She writes poems in which there is this big heart yearning for contact or connection in a modern environment where connection is hard to come by,” Brownderville says. “She has a poem in which a woman is in a train station secretly saying a prayer within the privacy of her own mind, blessing every man she sees in the station. And you get the sense the speaker would love to meet the people she’s praying for, but she’s in a train station and everyone is going to another destination and nobody knows anybody. So there’s this transitory anonymity that everybody is having to deal with as a condition of their lives.”

The event is free and open to the public. READ MORE

Former Poet Laureate Kay Ryan headed to SMU Feb. 25

Dallas Morning News

Originally Posted: January 21, 2016

Southern Methodist University is bringing former U.S. Poet Laureate Kay Ryan to campus next month.

Ryan served as laureate from 2008 through 2010, then won the  Pulitzer Prize and a $500,000 MacArthur Fellowship grant.

She’ll speak at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 25 at Dedman Life Sciences Building Room 131, 6501 Airline Court, following a 6 p.m. reception.  Sponsors are SMU English Professor Willard Spiegelman, the SMU Department of English and the Gilbert Lecture Series. READ MORE