Faculty in the News

Theatre Artist-in-Residence Will Power receives 2016 Doris Duke Artist Award

Will PowerWill Power, Artist-in-Residence in Theatre, SMU, theatre artist-in-residence in SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts, is one of 21 national performing artists announced as recipients of the fifth annual Doris Duke Artist Awards, presented by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF).

Appointed in recognition of their creative vitality and ongoing contributions to the fields of dance, jazz and theater, awardees will each receive $275,000 in flexible, multi-year funding as well as financial and legal counseling, professional development activities and peer-to-peer learning opportunities provided by Creative Capital, DDCF’s primary partner in the awards.

Other recipients include Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage, choreographer and MacArthur Fellowship awardee Mark Morris and Pulitzer Prize-winning musician Henry Threadgill.

Maurine Knighton, program director for the arts at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, said, “The foundation is pleased to support this new class of Doris Duke Artists. The composers, musicians, theater artists, choreographers and playwrights who comprise this cohort are visionaries who have already made important contributions to their respective fields. We hope these awards enhance their capacities for exploration and experimentation, in keeping with Doris Duke’s adventurous spirit. DDCF looks forward to their continued creativity, as their work is not only important to the creative sector, but vital to the vibrancy of our society, as well.”

Power is an award-winning playwright and performer who combines classic folklore with modern elements. His recent musical Stagger Lee (2015) spanned the 20th century, tracing mythical characters in their quest to achieve the American Dream. Its deep-seated themes of racism and power were translated through Joplin-inspired tunes, R&B and hip-hop.

His other plays include Fetch Clay, Make Man, which enjoyed a successful run Off-Broadway at the New York Theatre Workshop; Steel Hammer with SITI Company (Humana Festival); The Seven (winner of the Lucille Lortel Award for Best Musical, New York Theatre Workshop, La Jolla Playhouse); Five Fingers of Funk! (Children’s Theatre Company); Honey Bo and The Goldmine (La Jolla Playhouse); and two acclaimed solo shows, The Gathering and Flow, which toured over 70 cities in the U.S., Europe and Australia.

Power’s other awards include a United States Artist Prudential Fellowship, the TCG Peter Zeisler Memorial Award, a Jury Award for Best Theatre Performance at the HBO U.S. Comedy Arts Festival and the Trailblazer Award from The National Black Theater Network.

“I am thrilled and honored to receive a 2016 Doris Duke Artist Award,” said Power. “As an artist, the road is often unpredictable and nothing is guaranteed. I have tried to the best of my ability to travel this road and create stories the best I can. When you live life as an artist, you try to sustain your faith in what you’re doing, and you pray that you will also be able to adequately take care of your family. This award allows me to do just that – it is a public acknowledgment of what I am trying to say while giving me some long-term support to provide and care for those I love. I am forever grateful to receive this award from the Doris Duke Foundation.”

Power won the Meadows School of the Arts’ Meadows Prize in 2011, an international arts residency launched in fall 2009. During his residency at SMU, Power worked with Meadows student actors and designers to create a new theatre work, Alice Underground, a modern spin on the tale of Alice in Wonderland. His work in Dallas as winner of the Meadows Prize was a partnership between the Meadows School and the Dallas Theater Center.

Power was subsequently named an artist-in-residence at the Meadows School and is also the Andrew W. Mellon Playwright in Residence with the Dallas Theater Center, a position awarded through a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and HowlRound. Stagger Lee, which was produced and premiered by the Dallas Theater Center in 2015, was partially developed in workshops in collaboration with the Meadows School as a part of Powers’ Meadows Prize residency.

He also conceived and directed The Shakespeare Project at SMU in 2013, which fused the rhythms of Shakespeare’s iambic pentameter with the contemporary beats of hip-hop, and used that rhythm to explore key Shakespearean characters. The Shakespeare Project was an extension of a work Power created for the Royal Shakespeare Company and the London Olympics in 2012, a hip-hop version of Caliban’s speech from The Tempest.

His film and television appearances include The Colbert Report (Comedy Central), and Bill Moyers on Faith and Reason (PBS).

Power was a guest of the U.S. State Department on five separate occasions, traveling to South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan. On these trips and others, he taught community workshops in shantytowns, worked with poets in former regimes of the Soviet Union and lectured at various libraries, grammar schools and colleges.

Currently, he is working on Wade in the Water, which he describes as a “Nuvo-Gospel Musical,” or a work that brings a more contemporary viewpoint to a traditional Biblical or gospel tale. It is being commissioned and developed at Center Theater Group in Los Angeles.

> Read the full story from SMU Meadows News

May 12, 2016|Faculty in the News, For the Record, News|

Tune In: SMU students take on CNN

SMU students at CNNRita Kirk, SMU communications professor and director of the Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility, recently took three students to New Hampshire to visit presidential headquarters and organize focus groups for CNN during the Iowa Caucus. As a CNN analyst herself, Kirk has the opportunity to bring students as part of her research staff and throw them into a high-paced, challenging, exciting and demanding atmosphere.

Students put together a focus group of 60 independent voters, gathered poll data, and analyzed the data in real-time. They had to be in control of every piece of data that came across them. They visited different campaign field offices and ended the trip by helping Dr. Kirk run her focus group on live international television.

Learn more and read the perspective of a student on this trip at the SMU Adventures blog

February 18, 2016|Faculty in the News, For the Record, Tune In|

Willard Spiegelman poem featured in new collection inspired by Thomas Jefferson

Book cover of 'Monticello in Mind'SMU’s campus centerpiece, Dallas Hall, has inspired a poem published alongside the works of Pulitzer Prize winners in the poetry anthology Monticello in Mind: Fifty Contemporary Poets on Jefferson (University of Virginia Press).

That’s Jefferson as in Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States.

What’s the connection between Dallas Hall and one of America’s founding fathers? It doesn’t take Nicolas Cage and a map hidden on the back of the Declaration of Independence to find out.

“When the founders of SMU went to Chicago to find an architect for their first building, they said they wanted Dallas Hall to look like The Rotunda at the University of Virginia (which was designed by Jefferson), but of course bigger,” says Willard Spiegelman, Hughes Professor of English in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.

The author of the Dallas Hall-inspired poem explains, “My first thought was, ‘Jefferson went to the prairie.’”

The poem, titled Prairie Rotunda, is one of 50 poems featured in Monticello in Mind. An excerpt is below:

The Monticello ladies politely call him, still,

“Mister Jefferson,” spokesman for sanity.

And on north Texas plains, more arid

than his “little mountain” landscape, we too have

something of his legacy, in stone and Kansas brick.

— Kenny Ryan

> Visit SMU’s Department of English homepage: smu.edu/english

February 17, 2016|Faculty in the News, For the Record, News|

Calendar Highlights: Mustang Must-do’s for Feb. 12, 2016

Free Valentine’s Day Piano Duo Concert: Internationally acclaimed pianists and SMU alumni Liudmila Georgievskaya and Thomas Schwan will give a two-piano recital, featuring works of Mozart and Otto Singer’s rarely performed and brilliant transcription of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3. The concert is Sunday, Feb. 14 beginning at 7:30 in Caruth Auditorium.

TEDxSMU Live 2016: Beginning Feb. 15 and running through Feb. 19, TEDxSMU will host live simulcast talks of the TED 2016 conference. Free and open to the  SMU community, you are invited for one talk, one session or the whole week! Viewing will be held in 253 Caruth Hall on the SMU campus.

> See a complete list of speakers, times and events here

WaltScreen Shot 2016-02-12 at 12.51.13 PMer Horne’s “Triple Execution” Postcards: Death on the Border: Using photographer Walter Horne’s “Triple Execution” images of the Mexican Revolution, Claudia Zapata, SMU Ph.D. candidate in Rhetorics of Art, Space and Culture, examines the pattern that Horne used to portray the role of Mexico and Mexican identity in the picture postcard format. The event is sponsored by the William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies and will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 17 at noon in McCord Auditorium.

Tower Center Monthly Seminar: On Wednesday, Feb. 17 at 11 a.m., James C. Garand, the Emogene Pliner Distinguished Professor and R. Downs Poindexter Professor of Political Science at Louisiana State University, will speak on “Is it Documentation, or is it Immigration? Exploring the Effects of Attitudes Toward Documented and Undocumented Immigrants on Immigration Policy Attitudes.” Garand will examine the effects of attitudes toward documented and undocumented immigrants on immigration policy attitudes. The event will be held in the Tower Center Boardroom, 227 Carr Collins Hall. The event is free and open to the public, but reservations are required. Please RSVP to tower@smu.edu.

The Life and Times of George McGovern: The Rise of a Prairie Statesman, The Life and Times of George McGovern is the first major biography of the 1972 Democratic presidential candidate who became America’s most eloquent and prescient critic of the Vietnam War. In it, Thomas Knock, SMU Associate Professor and Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor in the William P. Clements Department of History, traces McGovern’s life from his rustic boyhood in a South Dakota prairie town during the Depression to his rise to the pinnacle of politics at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago as police and antiwar demonstrators clashed in the city’s streets. The book will be available for purchase and signing after the event.

The event, sponsored by the Center for Presidential History, will be on Wednesday, Feb. 17 at 6 p.m. in McCord Auditorium and is free and open to the public. Registration is required, and seating is not guaranteed. For more information visit SMU.EDU/CPH.

Fred Chang elected to National Academy of Engineering

Fred Chang, Lyle Endowed Centennial Distinguished Chair in Cyber SecurityFred Chang, director of SMU’s Darwin Deason Institute for Cyber Security and former director of research for the National Security Agency, has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering.

Chang and other new members will be formally inducted during a ceremony at the NAE’s Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 9, 2016.

The U.S. National Academy of Engineering is a private, independent, nonprofit institution that supports engineering leadership. Its mission is to advance the wellbeing of the nation by promoting a vibrant engineering profession and by marshaling the expertise and insights of eminent engineers to provide independent advice to the federal government on matters involving engineering and technology.

“I feel incredibly honored to be elected into the National Academy of Engineering,” Chang said. “The level of innovation and accomplishment achieved by its members is inspiring, and I take great pride in joining them. I am grateful to many, many colleagues who have worked with me and helped me over the course of my career, including those at SMU.

“This recognition further motivates me to continue pursuing the challenge of securing cyberspace,” Chang said. “It means continuing the important research we are doing at SMU, to help advance the science of cyber security, and training a workforce of skilled cyber defenders.”

Chang joined SMU in September 2013 as Bobby B. Lyle Endowed Centennial Distinguished Chair in Cyber Security, computer science and engineering professor and Senior Fellow in the John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies in Dedman College. The Darwin Deason Institute for Cyber Security was launched in SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering in January 2014, with Chang named as its director.

“Being inducted into the National Academy of Engineering is one of the highest honors a professor can achieve,” said Lyle School Dean Marc Christensen. “We are so pleased that Professor Chang is being recognized as one of the brightest minds of our generation at a time when his expertise in cyber security is so critical to our nation’s future.”

Chang is the second Lyle School professor to be named to the NAE. Delores Etter, the founding director of the Caruth Institute for Engineering Education in the Lyle School, a Caruth Professor of Engineering Education, a distinguished fellow in the Darwin Deason Institute for Cyber Security and a senior fellow in the John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies was elected to the NAE in 2000.

In addition to his positions at SMU, Chang is a distinguished scholar in the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law at the University of Texas at Austin. Chang has been professor and AT&T Distinguished Chair in Infrastructure Assurance and Security at the University of Texas at San Antonio and he was at the University of Texas at Austin as an associate dean in the College of Natural Sciences and director of the Center for Information Assurance and Security. Additionally, Chang’s career spans service in the private sector and in government including as the former Director of Research at the National Security Agency.

Chang has been awarded the National Security Agency Director’s Distinguished Service Medal and was the 2014 Information Security Magazine ‘Security 7’ award winner for Education. He has served as a member of the Commission on Cyber Security for the 44th Presidency and as a member of the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board of the National Academies. He has also served as a member of the National Academies Committee on Responding to Section 5(d) of Presidential Policy Directive 28: The Feasibility of Software to Provide Alternatives to Bulk Signals Intelligence Collection.

He is the lead inventor on two U.S. patents (U.S. patent numbers 7272645 and 7633951), and he appeared in the televised National Geographic documentary, Inside the NSA: America’s Cyber Secrets. He has twice served as a cyber security expert witness at hearings convened by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

Dr. Chang received his B.A. degree from the University of California, San Diego and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Oregon. He has also completed the Program for Senior Executives at the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Chang joins the National Academy of Engineering with 79 other new U.S. members and 22 new international members, bringing the group’s total membership to 2,275 U.S. members and 232 foreign members. Membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to engineering research, practice, or education, including, where appropriate, significant contributions to the engineering literature, and to the pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing/implementing innovative approaches to engineering education.

February 10, 2016|Faculty in the News, For the Record, News|
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