Calendar Highlights: Back to school in brief, Aug. 22, 2014

Dallas Hall stepsWelcome to the 2014-15 academic year, SMU community! Here are some Fall 2014 dates to remember:

  • Opening Convocation and Common Reading discussion: Sunday, Aug. 24
  • First day of classes: Monday, Aug. 25
  • General Faculty Meeting: 3:45 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 27
  • Labor Day: Monday, Sept. 1 (University offices closed)
  • Fall Break: Monday-Tuesday, Oct. 13-14
  • Family Weekend: Friday-Saturday, Oct. 24-25
  • Homecoming Weekend: Friday-Saturday, Nov. 14-15
  • Thanksgiving: Thursday-Friday, Nov. 27-28 (University offices closed)
  • Last day of classes: Monday, Dec. 8
  • Final exams: Thursday-Wednesday, Dec. 11-17 (no exams scheduled for Sunday)
  • December Graduation: Saturday, Dec. 20 (official close of term and date for conferral of degrees)
  • Christmas/Winter Break: Wednesday, Dec. 24, 2014-Thursday, Jan. 1, 2015 (University offices closed)

Visit the SMU calendar to keep an eye on upcoming events. Learn how to submit your own events at this link.

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SMU OE2C announces first initiative: travel and entertainment policy and tools

Dallas Hall renderingA 10-member SMU team representing various campus constituents has scheduled a demonstration of new tools to improve the way the University plans for and reimburses travel and entertainment expenses.

The vendors will visit campus to present their capabilities on Thursday and Friday, Sept. 4 and 5, 2014. These demonstrations will be open to the broader SMU community. The time and location for these demonstrations will be announced soon.

The review of the University’s existing travel and entertainment policies is part of Project SMU: Operational Excellence for the 2nd Century. The OE2C microsite will provide additional information in the coming days.

> Frequently Asked Questions about SMU OE2C

“As the OE2C team traveled across campus conducting interviews, the most frequent suggestion we heard was addressing the University’s policies and processes for travel and entertainment,” said Bill Detwiler, associate vice president for business services and program manager for OE2C, and Martin Sweidel, professor of music, associate dean for administrative affairs in Meadows School of the Arts, and OE2C program coordinator. “We determined that improving the way SMU plans for and gets reimbursed for these expenses can save the University dollars and staff time.”

> More questions? Send them to SMU OE2C

Project SMU: Operational Excellence for the 2nd Century (OE2C) is a University-wide review of SMU’s financial structure and operating model, which aims to strengthen the long-term economic vitality of the University through operational improvements and savings.

> Bain & Company briefing: “The Financially Sustainable University” (PDF format)

SMU’s current OE2C site is undergoing a redesign to feature more information and more frequent new posts. Bookmark the site to stay up to date on the latest news.

Read the full statement from Detwiler and Sweidel under the cut.

Continue reading

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Simmons School’s Michael Harris named director of SMU’s Center for Teaching Excellence

Michael Harris, Simmons School of Education and Human Development, SMUMichael Harris, associate professor in the Department of Education Policy and Leadership of SMU’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development, has been named director of the University’s Center for Teaching Excellence. He began his new duties on Friday, Aug. 1, 2014.

Harris worked with previous CTE director Beth Thornburg throughout the summer to become familiar with the CTE’s operations. Thornburg returns to full-time teaching in Dedman School of Law in Fall 2014.

“Professor Harris takes over a Center that has grown and thrived under the exceptional leadership of Professor Thornburg. During her time as Director, the CTE has sponsored Faculty Learning Communities, initiated the New Faculty Teaching Excellence (NFTE) workshop series, and spearheaded an effort to recognize the excellent teaching performed by our lecturers,” wrote Provost Paul Ludden in an e-mail message to the SMU community dated Friday, July 11, 2014.

“But more than developing programs and events, Professor Thornburg has underscored the importance of teaching to our academic mission. Please join me in extending our thanks and best wishes to Professor Thornburg and in welcoming Professor Harris to his new role.”

Harris came to SMU in August 2012 from the University of Alabama’s Department of Educational Leadership, Policy and Technology Studies. He earned his B.A. degree in history from the University of North Carolina and his M.S.Ed and Ed.D in higher education administration from the University of Pennsylvania. He has published extensively in peer-reviewed journals on issues facing higher education and has made numerous presentations to academic groups on such subjects as “Balancing the Demands of a New Faculty Position” and “Why Businesses Should Work Like a University.”

Professor Harris is a Council Member-at-Large of the American Educational Research Association, Division J, and has consulted with universities on various subjects including program planning for undergraduate general education curriculum.

> Visit SMU’s Center for Teaching Excellence online

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Save the date: SMU’s Fall 2014 General Faculty Meeting will take place Wednesday, Aug. 27

SMU President R. Gerald Turner will address the University faculty at the Fall General Faculty Meeting Wednesday, Aug. 27 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center. The meeting will begin at 3:45 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Theater, following a reception beginning at 3 p.m. in the Theater foyer.

Newly tenured faculty will receive their regalia during the meeting. Faculty Senate President Jody Magliolo will give the Senate’s report, and Provost Paul Ludden will announce the winner of the 2013-14 Scholar/Teacher of the Year Award from the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of The United Methodist Church.

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SMU’s 2014 Engaged Learning Expo connects students with opportunities on Wednesday, Aug. 27

SMU Engaged Learning group photo, 2014-15Community agencies and campus organizations are looking for highly motivated SMU students who want to learn outside the classroom, tackle real world issues and explore potential careers. They’ll have an ideal opportunity to get to know each other at the 2014 Engaged Learning Expo.

This year’s Expo takes place 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 27, in the Miller Event Center, Moody Coliseum.

Read about 2014-15 Engaged Learning student projects

The event is a valuable networking opportunity for faculty members who want to develop courses with community components, as well as staff members who want to expand their programs, says Susan Kress, director of Engaged Learning.

The following campus programs and community partners have confirmed their attendance at the 2014 Expo:

Campus programs

  • Big iDeas
  • Budd Center: Involving Communities in Education
  • Caswell Undergraduate Leadership Fellows Program
  • Center for Global Health Impact
  • Clinton Global Initiative University
  • Community Engagement and Leadership
  • Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute
  • Embrey Human Rights Program
  • Hamilton Scholars
  • Hunt Institute for Engineering and Humanity
  • Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility
  • Mayer Undergraduate Research Fellows
  • McNair Scholars
  • TEDxSMU – Young Fellows
  • Tower Center for Political Studies
  • Undergraduate Research

Community partners

  • Brother Bill’s Helping Hand
  • Buckner International
  • Dallas Holocaust Museum
  • Group Excellence
  • Interfaith Housing Coalition
  • Kids-U
  • Nexus Recovery Center
  • Reading Partners
  • Texas Discovery Gardens
  • Trinity River Audubon Center
  • Unite/Initiative
  • United Way Dallas
  • Uplift Education
  • Workers Defense Project

More about events and exhibits scheduled for the Expo

The Expo also celebrates 69 undergraduate Engaged Learning Fellows who are working on significant projects this academic year, and will provide opportunities to mix and match interested students with campus programs as well as DFW-area community partners.

Visit SMU’s Office of Engaged Learning online

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SMU revises University Policy Manual regarding sick leave, bereavement; changes are the first wave of a comprehensive update

Benefits U logoSMU’s Department of Human Resources is undertaking an overall review of its policies in Chapter 9 of the University Policy Manual. The first major changes will allow newer employees to make immediate use of accrued sick leave and create a formal procedure for taking bereavement leave.

“While previous updates typically have been driven by regulatory changes, Human Resources felt it was time for a comprehensive review,” says Jeff Strese, executive director of human resources.

As of Tuesday, July 1, 2014, the University has eliminated a rule stipulating that new hires be employed by SMU for six months before they can use accrued paid medical absence leave, says Amy Sample, assistant director of human resources for compensation and records management. “No one plans an illness, and this policy change recognizes that,” she says, adding that the update is also consistent with the University’s efforts to promote prevention and wellness in the campus community.

> See SMU Policy Number 9.21: Paid Medical Absence for Staff (log in with your 8-digit ID number and e-mail password)

In addition, SMU has created a new procedure to account for leave taken after the death of a family member. Employees may take up to three paid days of bereavement leave during each bereavement period. After the first three days, additional paid hours will be drawn from accrued medical absence leave. If and when these hours are depleted, the hours will be drawn from accrued vacation time.

These changes reflect current best practices among the University’s peer and aspirant institutions, as well as in other industries, says Sample, who is managing the Chapter 9 update project.

See SMU Policy Number 9.39: Staff Bereavement Policy (log in with your 8-digit ID number and e-mail password)

The Department of Human Resources sought the advice of several campuswide stakeholder organizations to formulate the first wave of policy updates. Representatives of groups including the SMU Staff Association, the Faculty Senate, the Office of Institutional Access and Equity, the Council of Deans and the President’s Commission on the Status of Women contributed to the final changes.

“We’ll continue to reach out to these representatives as we complete our updates to Chapter 9,” Strese says.

Other updates published on July 1 include minor language changes to the following sections:

  • 9.8 Pre-Employment Screenings
  • 9.12 Personal Conduct
  • 9.13 Corrective Action for Staff
  • 9.16 Termination of Employment
  • 9.28 Tuition Benefits
  • 9.31 Duty to Report Suspected Child Abuse

A comprehensive update to Chapter 9 of the Policy Manual should be completed by the end of the 2014-15 academic year, Sample says. The last major update took place in June 1994, when the Policy Manual was brought online.

News about future changes will be posted in the SMU Forum.

> Bookmark SMU’s online University Policy Manual (log in with your 8-digit ID number and e-mail password)

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SMU recognized by U.S. Department of Homeland Security for antiterrorism preparedness, effectiveness under the SAFETY Act

DHS Designated SAFETY Act sealThe SMU Police Department & Emergency Management Program has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for antiterrorism preparedness and effectiveness.

In the process, SMU has become the first university in the United States to receive the SAFETY Act Designation, conferred to providers of “qualified antiterrorism technologies that could save lives in the event of a terrorist attack.”

The University was recognized for “employ[ing] exceptional efforts to promote security/safety on campus.” The SMU Police Department submitted its antiterrorism preparedness program to the DHS Office of SAFETY Act for evaluation.

The DHS evaluation focused on two factors: the effectiveness of the program to substantially reduce risks of harm; and its demonstrated substantial effectiveness upon deployment or use.

SMU initiated antiterrorism planning after Sept. 11, 2001 and has built upon the effort in each successive year. The program was tested in preparation for the George W. Bush Presidential Center dedication ceremonies, as well as during the event itself, when all five living U.S. presidents visited the SMU campus.

The Support Anti-terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies (SAFETY) Act was enacted by Congress as part of the Homeland Security Act of 2002. To attain SAFETY Act Designation, an entity must submit extensive documentation of its anti-terrorism program, including training, drills and exercises, planning, and partnerships with other terrorism response agencies at the local, state and federal levels.

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Bush Center celebrates Oscar de la Renta with “Five Decades of Style” through Oct. 5, 2014

Bush Center Oscar de la Renta exhibit, 'Five Decades of Style'

The George W. Bush Presidential Center is hosting a major retrospective of American fashion designer Oscar de la Renta, from his earliest work to his most recent runway masterpieces.

Oscar de la Renta: Five Decades of Style” features several of the designer’s styles for Nancy Reagan, Hillary Clinton and Laura Bush (’68) – offering a unique look at the First Lady’s role as the nation’s official hostess and style ambassador. Also featured are outfits worn by members of First Families, including Jenna Bush’s wedding dress.

The exhibit also focuses on de la Renta’s Spanish and garden inspirations, as well as his use of motifs and silhouettes from cultures around the globe. Other sections detail his red-carpet work for stars of stage, screen and high society, and highlight the craftsmanship that goes into the creation of couture clothing.

SMU faculty, staff and students receive free admission to the Bush Center with their University IDs. The De la Renta exhibit runs through Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014.

> Find more details and images at the Bush Center’s “Oscar de la Renta: Five Decades of Style” homepage

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Meadows Museum to host exhibition of masterworks from the House of Alba’s private collections

Peter Paul Rubens (Flemish, 1577-1640), Charles V and the Empress Isabella, c. 1628. Oil on canvas. Colección Duques de Alba, Palacio de Liria, Madrid.

Charles V and the Empress Isabella, c. 1628. Peter Paul Rubens (Flemish, 1577-1640). Oil on canvas. Colección Duques de Alba, Palacio de Liria, Madrid.

SMU’s Meadows Museum will present a major exhibition of works from one of the oldest and most significant private art collections in Europe.

Treasures from the House of Alba: 500 Years of Art and Collecting will feature more than 100 European works – from paintings by Goya and Rubens to 16th-century tapestries by Willem de Pannemaker and 19th-century furniture created for Napoleon III – most of which have never been on public display or seen outside of Spain, as well as illuminated manuscripts, books, historic documents, miniatures, antiquities, prints, sculpture, drawings, and other objects.

Curated by Fernando Checa Cremades, former director of the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid, Treasures from the House of Alba will be on view at the Meadows from April 18 through August 16, 2015, and will serve as the cornerstone to the Museum’s 50th anniversary celebration, which will continue throughout 2015.

The House of Alba – for centuries the most illustrious household in Spain, with close ties to the monarchy – remains one of the foremost noble families in Europe, with roots dating back to the mid-15th century when Fernando Álvarez de Toledo was named Count of the town of Alba de Tormes. The Albas have since forged connections with members of some of the most prominent dynasties in European history, including the House of Stuart; the Count-Dukes of Olivares; the Duchy of Veragua, (descendants of Christopher Columbus); Napoleon III and his wife, Eugenia de Montijo; and the Churchill family.

Over the past five centuries, the Alba family’s patronage, connoisseurship, and ties to Western royalty have shaped the growth and trajectory of the Alba collection, which is now one of the greatest private collections in the world. The current head of the Alba family is Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart, the 18th Duchess of Alba, who bears more recognized titles than any other noble living today.

“Our will is to share the works and pieces that make up the collection of the Foundation House of Alba with an increasing public, each time more knowledgeable and more interested in culture and history. This sample allows us to present different works and documents that have survived the vicissitudes of history and that make the greatest treasure of the legacy of our family. It is also an extraordinary opportunity for making visible the steady and silent work of preservation and upkeep that the house of Alba has developed for centuries,” said Carlos Fitz-James Stuart y Martínez de Irujo, Duke of Huescar.

“The Meadows Museum is incredibly grateful for the generosity of the Duchess of Alba and the entire Alba family, who have so graciously agreed to lend a range of preeminent works from their collection for this groundbreaking exhibition. These extraordinary works of art, many of which have never left the Alba family’s personal estates, are a treasure trove and a fount of new art historical knowledge,” said Mark Roglán, Linda P. and William A. Custard Director of the Meadows Museum and Centennial Chair in the Meadows School of the Arts.

“We are honored to present the first exhibition of this outstanding collection in the United States, sharing these works of art that tell the story of a remarkable family and provide an unprecedented opportunity to explore the panoply of cultural achievement and European history. We are honored that Fernando Checa Cremades will be curating Treasures from the House of Alba and working with the Museum to present the collection in a way no one has experienced before.”

> Learn more about the exhibition’s themes and highlights at SMU News

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