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

Dedman College experts comment on Democrats’ internal struggles on display in Nevada

SMU News

Originally Posted: May 19, 2016

Comments below were taken from an SMU news release. READ MORE

DON’T SWEAT NEVADA, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION SHOULD BE FINE
Matthew Wilson

MATTHEW WILSON: Associate professor of Political Science

The Democratic Party was shaken this week when the Nevada State Convention descended into chaos, sparked by disruptive Bernie Sanders supporters. The scenes of anger and reports of death threats prompted some to ask, . “Is the Democratic National Convention suddenly at greater risk of being a disaster than the Republican National Convention?”

“No,” says Wilson. “Because that’s a really high bar.”

“The Democrats have all long underestimated the level of dissatisfaction with their own establishment that exists within the ranks,” Wilson continued. “The real anti-establishment anger has been made obvious on the Republican side with Trump’s campaign, but there’s a lot of that with Sanders’ movement as well and some of that bubbled to the surface this week.”

Wilson predicts the Democrats will orchestrate a “reasonably” smooth convention this summer, but did say there are other causes for concern revealed by the hubub in Nevada.

“The thing we can lose sight of is that Hillary Clinton would be the least popular candidate that either party has ever nominated, which is obscured by the fact that Trump is even more unpopular,” Wilson says. “Clinton is not beloved by the Democratic Party. The big worry is disaffected Sanders supporters could stay home or gravitate toward Trump if he’s able to reach out to them with his populist message.”

And Wilson doesn’t expect Sanders to do anything to allay those fears anytime soon.

“Sanders thrives on the anti-establishment sentiment,” Wilson says. “He thrives on this sense the game is rigged and the party bosses are cheating him, and he doesn’t want to tamp that down. Clearly he doesn’t want violence, but he’s perfectly happy having a certain amount of righteous anger.”

As for the Democratic Party’s handling of the Sanders and the Nevada protests, Wilson thinks the party is doing just fine, with the caveat that maybe they should let Sanders have some of the delegates he’s fighting for since it won’t make up the difference in the end. But Wilson did caution that more acrimony could lie ahead.

“June 7 is the last day of primaries,” Wilson says. “It will be very interesting to see what Bernie Sanders says on June 8.”

PROVIDING HISTORIC PERSPECTIVE TO ‘YEAR OF THE OUTSIDER’ IN POLITICS

Jeffrey A. EngelJEFFREY ENGEL: Director of the SMU Center for Presidential History

It’s not uncommon for politicians running for the presidency to flash their outsider status and promise to, “Clean up Washington,” but normally they’re at least long-time, card-carrying members of the party they’re running to represent.

Not so this year, courtesy Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. Engel says historians might have to look back 200 years to find a similar scenario.

“Ronald Reagan, in some ways, was an outsider and Jimmy Carter was, in some ways, an outsider, but you might have to look back 100 years ago to find a nominee like Trump who, if you had asked six years ago, would have been a member of the opposite party,” Engel says.

Despite the recent chaotic protests at the Democrats’ Nevada State Convention, Engel thinks the Democratic National Convention will still be more unified than the Republican National Convention this summer.

“Alliances are not made between friends,” Engel says. “Alliances are made in opposition to common enemies, and Sanders and the Democrats are a great example of this. Sanders has had some questions or political reasons to identify as an independent instead of a Democrat, but he sure as heck won’t identify as a Republican.”

Seven Dedman College students awarded prestigious national fellowships and awards for the 2015-16 academic year

SMU News

Originally Posted: May 17, 2016

Congratulations to the Dedman College students recently awarded prestigious national fellowships and awards for the 2015-16 academic year, including Fulbright Grants and a fellowship to the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress.

scholar-hena-rafiq

Hena Rafiq, graduated May 14 with degrees in human rights and political science and has earned a Fulbright Award to teach English in Kosovo. READ MORE

scholar-nate-whiteSenior Nate White has received a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Award to teach next year in Spain. He is graduating this spring with a Bachelor’s degree in economics, as well as a minor in Spanish, from Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. He also is earning a Bachelor’s degree in education from Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development.

scholar-joseph-DiPaneJunior Joseph Di Pane, a biological sciences and history major, was named a 2016-17 Barry Goldwater Scholar, one of 252 sophomores and junior college students selected nationwide to receive the honor. READ MORE

Junior Patricia Nance, a chemistry and mathematics major, was awarded the 2016-17 Barry Goldwaterscholar-patricia-nance Scholarship. Nance plans to earn a Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry and pursue a university teaching and research career. READ MORE

scholar-nicole-hartman

Senior Nicole Michelle Hartman, a recipient of The National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP), will graduate with majors in physics and mathematics from Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, and a minor in electrical engineering from the Lyle School of Engineering. READ MORE

scholar-margaret-sala

Margaret Sala, doctoral student in clinical psychology, has been awarded a three-year Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation. READ MORE

scholar-ryan-crossSophomore Ryan Cross has been named a Presidential Fellow to the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress in Washington, D.C. Cross is majoring in political science and international studies with minors in Spanish and history. He is a member of the Tower Scholars program, and has been selected for an internship at the Library of Congress as part of the Junior Fellows Summer Internship Program. READ MORE

For a full list of SMU students who received prestigious national fellowships and awards for the 2015-16 academic year, CLICK HERE.

Celebrating Dedman College Faculty Books

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

An appreciation for SMU’s Jeremy Adams, who helped us understand the past

Dallas Morning News

Originally Posted: May 11, 2016

Professor Jeremy Yvon leMercier duQuesnay Adams — the words roll off the tongue as if steeped in history, and surely they were.

The late professor of medieval European history at Southern Methodist University was himself a historical figure. Born in New Orleans to an old family of that old city wedded to another of New England, he grew up in Columbus and Cincinnati, the latter the venerable river city of Ohio with its own long history — both Native American for millennia and U.S. dating back to the 18th century. He knew all of this.

His father, Philip Rhys Adams, a name redolent of both Anglo and Dutch American history, was the distinguished director of the Cincinnati Art Museum and, during his long tenure, managed to acquire antiquities from many parts of the world both for the museum he adored and for his family. His son, Jeremy, handled and considered objects from the civilizations of the ancient Near East, from Egypt, Greece and Rome, and from the various landless migratory peoples who came from the steppes and the deserts of Central Asia to create a new, enriched Europe. READ MORE

May Commencement Weekend

HeaderNarrow

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

The Dallas Man Who Inspired Yellow Submarine’s Jeremy Hillary Boob Has Died

Dallas Observer

Originally Posted: May 4, 2016

Jeremy DuQuesnay Adams didn’t live a life in music, but for the world at large it will be the thing he’ll always be remembered for. Adams, a longtime professor at SMU, was a brilliant scholar who dedicate his life to education and writing. But in 1968, he became a part of music history when he was immortalized as the inspiration for a major character in the Beatles’ animated film, Yellow Submarine. READ MORE