Students and holiday stress: How to cope, how to help

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Students and holiday stress: How to cope, how to help

Dallas Hall Rotunda with studentsAs SMU enters both the holiday and exam seasons, the Office of the Provost is asking that all University community members look out for signs of stress in themselves and in co-workers and students.

The stretch from Thanksgiving to the end of finals is “a time of significant stress for many members of our community,” wrote Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Steven Currall in an e-mail message dated Nov. 21, 2016. “We ask each of you to be aware of signs of stress in yourself and those around you. In particular, I ask that you be aware of signs of stress among students, especially first-year students as they are experiencing their first round of final exams.”

In addition, Currall urged students “who feel the stress of the season and finals” to visit the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center and make use of several resources available to them. Learn more under the jump.

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November 29, 2016|News|

Provost creates SMU faculty Task Force on Scholarly Research and Creative Impact

SMU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Steven C. Currall has appointed 17 University faculty members to serve on the Task Force on Scholarly Research and Creative Impact. The new task force, which began meeting in October, will examine and recommend ways for SMU to strengthen its scholarly research and creative activities to bolster the University’s position as the leading global research university in North Texas.

“SMU is in a unique position because of our geography, resources and faculty expertise to make significant strides in scholarly research,” Currall said. “For example, our high-performance computing capability, a university-wide focus on interdisciplinarity, and arts and cybersecurity research, along with our advantageous location near the heart of Dallas, have the University poised to expand its research footprint and become an even stronger catalyst for regional economic prosperity.”

Currall said the task force will provide “vital faculty-led guidance on how to strengthen our scholarly research and creative activities,” adding that “faculty leadership in this endeavor is crucial.”

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November 16, 2016|News, Research|

SMU Catering will take Thanksgiving baked-goods orders through Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016

Thanksgiving cornucopiaSMU Catering is taking orders for Thanksgiving pies, cakes, cookies and breads. Treats for 2016 include pumpkin, buttermilk and Jack Daniel’s pecan pies.

Also available are Mexican chocolate cake, white chocolate pumpkin cheesecake, almond citrus cake, pear tart (featuring champagne-poached pears with frangipane filling) and pumpkin dip with gingersnaps.

The baked-goods menu also includes Mustang bread in both original and jalapeño cheese varieties.

For pricing information and to place your Thanksgiving order, call SMU Catering at 214-768-2368, or fax your order to 214-768-2366 and include your contact phone number. Visa, MasterCard and checks (payable to SMU Catering) are accepted.

Thanksgiving dessert order forms are available in several on-campus food outlets.

All orders and payments must be turned into SMU Dining Services in 101 Umphrey Lee Center by 3 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17. All prices include tax.

Thanksgiving baked goods are for pick-up only. Orders will be available from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday, Nov. 21 and 8 a.m.-noon Tuesday, Nov. 22 in the SMU Catering office, 101 Umphrey Lee Center. Products are guaranteed fresh until Sunday, Nov. 27.

November 16, 2016|News, Save the Date|

Georges Bwelle, Carol Brady Houston to receive 2016 Triumph of the Spirit Awards Wednesday, Nov. 16

Georges Bwelle

Georges Bwelle

African physician Georges Bwelle and special-needs children’s advocate Carol Brady Houston will receive SMU’s 2016 Triumph of the Spirit Awards during an evening of entertainment and celebration Wednesday, Nov. 16 at the Kessler Theater in Oak Cliff.

Sponsored by the University’s Embrey Human Rights Program (EHRP), the bi-annual awards reward both an international and local humanitarian with a total of $30,000. The awards and related festivities are supported by an anonymous donor.

The “VOICES”-themed event will feature music by former Sudanese child soldier and current hip-hop peace activist Emmanuel Jal; the country-folk music of Austin-based BettySoo; spoken-word and live-action performances by Journeyman Ink; and mixed-media works created by SMU students and local professionals.

Carol Brady Houston

Carol Brady Houston

“These awards – which put a human face on the struggle for human rights – are unique to SMU and are rarely offered by higher-education institutions. We’re fortunate we’re able to help extraordinary individuals empower marginalized people in innovative ways,” says EHRP Director Rick Halperin. “The event is also designed to revitalize the spirit of the entire Dallas community as we work to build a kinder and more humanitarian city.”

Event tickets, which support human rights programming, start at $50 (via prekindle.com/triumph) and include a pre-event reception, the awards celebration, catered hors d’oeuvres, cash bar and valet parking. While they last, you may also order balcony tickets for $5 each with the promo code Balcony.

For information related to discounts for students and others, contact Sherry Aikman, 214-768-8347.

> Read more from SMU News

November 10, 2016|Calendar Highlights, News|

New federal overtime rules to raise salary threshold for exempt employees nationwide starting in December 2016

U.S. Department of Labor logoOn Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016, new federal overtime regulations will take effect under the U.S. Department of Labor’s Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) that apply to all U.S. employers, including SMU.

The FLSA classifies U.S. employees as either “exempt” or “non-exempt” from its regulations. As part of the new FLSA regulations, the salary threshold will increase to $47,476 annually, or $913 a week, for U.S. employees whose positions are classified as exempt from overtime.

In accordance with the FLSA, SMU will increase the salaries of exempt staff members who currently earn less than the new salary threshold to $47,476 annually, effective Dec. 1. The Department of Labor will update this salary threshold every three years, beginning in 2020.

Under the new regulations, SMU staff members whose positions currently are classified as exempt will maintain that classification, and they will continue to be paid a salary on a monthly basis.

SMU’s Department of Human Resources will contact staff members who are receiving a salary increase and their supervisors by email before Nov. 30 and will provide more information.

The new regulations do not affect SMU faculty members or non-exempt staff members. Non-exempt staff members are paid for hours worked at an established hourly rate on a biweekly basis and are paid overtime for hours worked in excess of 40 per workweek.

If you have questions about FLSA at SMU, please contact SMU’s Department of Human Resources.

November 10, 2016|News|
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