<em>Just Mercy</em> author Bryan Stevenson gives two lectures at SMU Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016


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Just Mercy author Bryan Stevenson gives two lectures at SMU Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016

This story is updated from a version that was published Aug. 17, 2016.

Attorney and author Bryan Stevenson'Just Mercy' book cover, whose intimate account of politics and error in the U.S. criminal justice system became SMU’s 2016 Common Reading, visits the Hilltop on Thursday, Oct. 13. The Common Reading Public Lecture begins at 4:30 p.m. in McFarlin Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

Also on Thursday, at 8 p.m., Stevenson will deliver the Jones Day Lecture in SMU’s 2016-17 Tate Distinguished Lecture Series.

Students who wish to attend the Tate Lecture can go to the basement of McFarlin Auditorium at 7 p.m. with their SMU IDs for possible free seating on a first-come, first-served basis.

> Visit the SMU Reads website: smu.edu/smureads

Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of the criminal justice system.

> Follow Bryan Stevenson and the Equal Justice Initiative on Twitter: @eji_org

Bryan Stevenson

Author and attorney Bryan Stevenson will give a free lecture at SMU Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016.

One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a murder he insisted he didn’t commit. The case drew Stevenson into a tangle of conspiracy, political machinations, and legal brinksmanship — and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice. His telling of the McMillian case is captured in Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption.

The story is “[e]very bit as moving as To Kill a Mockingbird, and in some ways more so … a searing indictment of American criminal justice and a stirring testament to the salvation that fighting for the vulnerable sometimes yields,” wrote David Cole of The New York Review of Books in his review.

And Stevenson is “doing God’s work fighting for the poor, the oppressed, the voiceless, the vulnerable, the outcast, and those with no hope,” wrote legal writer and novelist John Grisham, author of A Time to KillThe Client and The Innocent Man.

> Learn more at SMU’s Common Reading website: smu.edu/commonreading

October 13, 2016|Calendar Highlights, News|

Changes ahead as SMU rolls out 2017 Open Enrollment, Oct. 14-31, 2016

Benefits U logoMedical premiums will increase by two percent as SMU prepares for its 2017 Open Enrollment period. University faculty and staff members will be able to make benefits changes for 2017 from Friday, Oct. 14 to Monday, Oct. 31, 2016.

SMU Human Resources will hold several information sessions at Expressway Tower and SMU-in-Plano. Faculty and staff members are encouraged to attend and become more familiar with the University’s health plans. You may review your options online before your session.

> RSVP online for an “Understanding the SMU Health Plans” session

Notable among this year’s changes is the discontinuation of the University’s $1,000 deductible plan effective Jan. 1, 2017, originally announced in 2015. Benefits-eligible employees will have the opportunity to choose a new plan at the $2,000, $2,600 or $5,000 deductible levels.

All copays will remain the same for all plans in 2017, including Primary Care Physician (PCP) and specialist office visits as well as emergency room and Urgent Care Center (UCC) visits.

Get your flu shot for free during SMU’s Fall 2016 clinics

Prime Therapeutics, the University’s pharmacy benefits manager, is integrated with BlueCross BlueShield of Texas. Plan members have one customer service number and one online portal (BCBSTX) for all medical and pharmacy information. SMU’s DFW-area network of retail pharmacies include, but are not limited to, chains such as Costco, CVS, Kroger, Sam’s Club, Target, Tom Thumb, Walmart and Walgreens. In addition, many locally owned, independent pharmacies throughout the area, including compounding pharmacies, are included in the network.

The open enrollment period is the only opportunity for SMU employees to make changes to benefits elections for the coming year, unless you have a qualified life event such as marriage or the birth of a child.

For 2017 open enrollment, you must take action if:

  • You are currently enrolled in the $1,000 deductible medical plan. If you are, and don’t make a new election, you will be enrolled in the $2,000 deductible medical option.
  • You want to make other changes to your current coverage, including adding or dropping dependents (eligible dependents include legal spouses and children).

  • You want to participate in one or both of the Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) or the Health Savings Account (HSA) in 2016. You must re-enroll in the FSAs or the HSA even if you participated in 2016.

In order to comply with the reporting requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a Social Security number (SSN) is required for every individual enrolled in the SMU Medical Plan. If you have a spouse or dependent child enrolled in the plan, it is important that you enter a SSN for each.

> Find more information in SMU’s 2017 Benefits Guide

SMU uses a secure online open-enrollment application available through My.SMU.edu. To make your benefits elections for 2017:

  • Enter your My.SMU.edu user ID and password as you normally would to review your pay statement.
  • Click Benefits in the Employee Self-Service navigation on the right, then choose Benefits Enrollment to access your personalized Open Enrollment record.
  • Be sure to read all instructions carefully before making elections for 2017.

You will receive a confirmation statement summarizing your 2017 benefits elections in early December 2016.

> Learn more from the SMU Human Resources homepage: smu.edu/hr

October 12, 2016|News, Save the Date|

Coverage of July’s Dallas police ambush is the topic of SMU’s 2016 Sammons Lecture in Media Ethics, Wednesday, Oct. 19

SMU’s 2016 Rosine Smith Sammons Lecture in Media Ethics will focus on the events of July 7, 2016, when a gunman killed four Dallas police officers and a DART officer during a Black Lives Matter protest march downtown.

The 17th annual lecture, “Making Sense of a Tragedy in Real Time: Media Coverage of the Dallas Ambush,” will be a panel discussion featuring Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, Dallas Morning News editor Mike Wilson and Emmy-winning CBS 11 journalist Steve Pickett.

The event takes place at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 19 in Caruth Auditorium, Owen Arts Center. Admission is free, and tickets are not required. The Sammons Lecture Series is presented by the Division of Journalism in SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts.

Steve Pickett, CBS 11 NewsSteve Pickett is a two-time Emmy Award-winning journalist for CBS 11 News. He has spent 20 of his 34 years in broadcast news in the Dallas-Fort Worth market. He was on air with live reporting the night of the Dallas police ambush shootings. He has been recognized nationally for his coverage of public education, with heavy focus on the Dallas Independent School District. The Press Club of Dallas acknowledged his coverage of Hurricane Katrina. He also was embedded with members of the Texas National Guard in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Pickett has worked in newsrooms in Portland, Oregon; Fresno, California; Oklahoma City; and Wichita Falls. He is a native Oklahoman and a graduate of The University of Oklahoma.

Dallas Mayor Mike RawlingsMike Rawlings was elected mayor of Dallas in 2011 and again in 2015. He is a native of Borger, Texas, and a graduate of Boston College. Following his first election he launched GrowSouth, his signature initiative to spur economic development south of the Trinity River. He has also sought to improve public education and led a campaign against domestic violence, Dallas Men Against Abuse. On the evening of July 7 when four Dallas Police Department officers and one DART officer were killed in an ambush, Mayor Rawlings worked closely with Dallas Police Chief David Brown to assess and end the situation as well as keeping media and the public informed.

Mike Wilson, Dallas Morning NewsMike Wilson is editor of The Dallas Morning News, responsible for news coverage in print and online. Wilson began his career at the Miami Herald where he worked as a writer and editor. He joined the St. Petersburg Times (now Tampa Bay Times) in 1994, working 18 years as a writer, editor and, finally, managing editor. His staff won two Pulitzer Prizes during his tenure. In 2013 he moved to ESPN as founding managing editor of Nate Silver’s data journalism website, FiveThirtyEight. Wilson graduated from Tufts University. He has written two books, Right on the Edge of Crazy, about the U.S. downhill ski team, and The Difference Between God and Larry Ellison, about the founder of Oracle Corporation.

> Read more from SMU Meadows

October 7, 2016|Calendar Highlights, News|

Artist-in-Residence Will Power to present free workshop for emerging playwrights; applications due Friday, Oct. 14, 2016

Meadows Artist-in-Residence Will Power

Artist-in-Residence Will Power leads a free six-week workshop at SMU for emerging DFW-area playwrights.

Applications are now being accepted for the fourth annual Dallas Playwrights’ Workshop, a free, six-week program for emerging playwrights presented by SMU faculty member Will Power.

Power, artist-in-residence in SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts and playwright-in-residence and Mellon Foundation Fellow at Dallas Theater Center, will work closely with participants to sharpen their writing and help them develop professional relationships and learn from their peers in a rigorous and supportive environment.

> Learn more about Meadows Artist-in-Residence Will Power

Each participant will develop his or her own three-scene project, followed by a closed reading for workshop members with actors from SMU and the local community. SMU will host the program, which will meet once a week from Nov. 1-Dec. 5, 2016. Participants must be available on Nov. 1 and then on Monday evenings through Dec. 5.

The Dallas Playwrights’ Workshop is intended for emerging and mid-career professional playwrights who live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, have previously written at least one play and are able to demonstrate a unique and compelling voice.

Download a 2016 Dallas Playwrights’ Workshop application

Interested writers should apply by submitting a completed application, a 10-page excerpt from any play they’ve written, a full-length play (one or two acts), a résumé or biography, and a one-page summary explaining their writing goals, the ways in which they’d like to develop as an artist and why they would like to participate in the program.

Application forms are available online and should be submitted via e-mail to Will Power. The application deadline is Friday, Oct. 14 at 5 p.m. Central time.

In its first three years, the Dallas Playwrights’ Workshop has helped foster the work of a number of local theatre artists. Award-winning playwright and SMU staff member Jonathan Norton ’11, a participant in the inaugural class in 2013-14, said the workshop was “a game changer for me. It was great, and very necessary, to have a place to return to week after week to deep-dive into the craft of playwriting.

“Will creates a very supportive environment that is still incredibly demanding and rigorous. Through the workshop I was able to articulate my strengths and weaknesses as a writer, and develop strategies to get better.”

> Read the full story from SMU News

October 7, 2016|Calendar Highlights, For the Record, News, Save the Date|

National Night Out 2016 at SMU features active-shooter simulation at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 4

National Night Out 2016 posterThe SMU community can learn more about what to do in an active-shooter situation through a simulated event that is part of the University’s National Night Out 2016.

The annual event, which promotes partnership among police and communities, is scheduled for 4-7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 4 on the Main Quad.

The SMU and University Park Police Departments, along with student actors from Meadows School of the Arts, will be part of the active-shooter simulation, which will begin at 5:30 p.m. in front of McFarlin Auditorium.

National Night Out also features free food and refreshments, as well as safety information from police and the University Park Fire Department. This year’s event is the culmination of SMU’s National Preparedness Month activities, designed to educate faculty, staff and students about safety in the event of evacuation, severe weather or lockdown situations.

October 3, 2016|Calendar Highlights, News, Save the Date|
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