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.

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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 students Aubrey Chapman, Carly Shuttlesworth, and Hannah Dudley discuss early graduation

SMU Daily Campus

Originally Posted: March 28, 2016

Aubrey Chapman, a junior double majoring in psychology and religious studies, is looking forward to graduating in May of 2016, a year earlier than her peers. After graduation, Chapman will immediately move on in her studies and get her master’s degree in marriage and family therapy at seminary.

Even though Chapman has heard many say that college is the best four years of your life, she has no qualms about missing out on her senior year. She said she has enjoyed her time at SMU.

“Personally, graduating early is allowing me to step into seminary sooner to receive the education that is in complete alignment with what I want to do in the future,” said Chapman. “I’m excited to be in an atmosphere that will strengthen and encourage me in my specific dreams and goals.”

Chapman is one of many students graduating early. Michael Tumeo, the director of institutional research at SMU, said that of the students who started at SMU in 2009, 67 percent graduated in four years or less. That statistic includes students who graduated “on time,” a semester early, or an entire year early. More specific data on those who have graduated in three years or three and a half years was not available.

Completing college a semester early is much more common across the nation and has even become a growing trend at some universities. According to a 2014 study at Duke University, there was a 30 percent increase in students graduating a semester early since 2010. READ MORE

Twentieth Nate and Ann Levine Lecture in Jewish Studies

Event date: April 5, 2016
Time: 7:30 pm

“Imagining a Vibrant Future for American Judaism.” Dr. Arnold Eisen is one of the world’s leading experts on American Judaism and the Chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary. He will discuss and debunk the recent forecasts of gloom and doom when it comes to the future of non-Orthodox Judaism in America, a future that — so it is said — mirrors the decline of mainstream Christian groups and the triumph of the “nones”: individuals who turn away from any kind of religious belief or community. For more information: sfrolov@smu.edu

 

Mark Chancey, Religious Studies, comments on Bible Study in Public Schools

Education Week Blog, Curriculum Matters

Originally Posted: March 17, 2016

New bills on the table in Kentucky and Idaho would pave the path for more study of the Bible in public schools.

In Idaho, the state’s senate approved a bill that would “expressly permit” schools to use the Bible for academic study, the Associated Press reports. It specifies that the Bible can be used in studies of history, literature, and the arts.

The bill in Kentucky would allow schools to offer Bible Literacy classes as an elective passed the state senate’s education committee earlier this month, the Courier-Journal reports.

According to Mark Chancey, a professor of religious studies at Southern Methodist University who has studied the use of the Bible in public schools, the bills won’t likely permit anything that’s not already technically permissible under state and federal law.

A 1963 Supreme Court ruling affirmed that, while public schools cannot teach devotional practices, they can teach about the Bible “when presented objectively as part of a secular program of education.” READ MORE

Blue Like Me: The Art of Siona Benjamin

image DATE: March 1, 2016
TIME: 5:30 pm
LOCATION: Dedman Life Sciences Building 110

Siona Benjamin, a painter originally from Bombay now living in the U.S., will discuss her work and how it reflects her background of being raised as a Jew in a predominantly Hindu and Muslim India. Her paintings combine the imagery of her past with the role she plays in America today, making a mosaic inspired by Indian miniature painting and Judeo-Spanish icons. More information: http://www.smu.edu/Dedman/academics/programs/jewishstudies/events

 

Confucianism Then and Now

Event Date: Thursday February 25, 2016
Time: 5:15 p.m. Reception, 5:45 p.m. Lecture
Location: Meadows Museum, Jones Hall

Join SMU Professor and Chair of Religious Studies, Johan Elverskog as he continues the 2016 Spring Godbey Lecture Series. Please RSVP at https://godbey2016.eventbrite.com or 214-768-3527. For more information http://www.smu.edu/Dedman/DCII/Events

SMU is closed December 24-January 1. Have a safe and happy holiday!

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