For the Record

SMU, LIFT team in semifinals for $7 million Barbara Bush Foundation Adult Literacy XPRIZE

 

An SMU and Literacy Instruction for Texas (LIFT) team has been named one of eight semifinalists advancing in the $7 million Barbara Bush Foundation Adult Literacy XPRIZE presented by Dollar General Literacy Foundation. The XPRIZE is a global competition that challenges teams to develop mobile applications designed to increase literacy skills in adult learners.

> Learn more about the semifinalists at the Adult Literacy XPRIZE website

SMU’s Simmons School of Education and Human Development and Guildhall graduate video game development program are working with LIFT to design an engaging, puzzle-solving smartphone game app to help adults develop literacy skills. The SMU and LIFT team, People ForWords, is one of 109 teams who entered the competition in 2016.

Drawing upon the education experts at SMU’s Simmons School, game developers at Guildhall and adult literacy experts at LIFT, the team developed Codex: The Lost Words of Atlantis. In the game, players become archaeologists hunting for relics from the imagined once-great civilization of Atlantis. By deciphering the forgotten language of Atlantis, players develop and strengthen their own reading skills. The game targets English- and Spanish-speaking adults.

> Learn more about the Codex: The Lost Words of Atlantis team at PeopleForWords.org

Students at LIFT, a North Texas nonprofit adult literacy provider, have tested and provided key insights for the game during its development. According to LIFT, one in five adults in North Texas cannot read, a key factor in poverty. Dallas has the fourth highest concentration of poverty in the nation, with a 41 percent increase from 2000 to 2014.

Testing of the eight semifinalists’ literacy software begins in mid-July with 12,000 adults who read English at a third grade level or lower. Selection of up to five finalists will depend on results of post-game testing to evaluate literacy gains among test subjects. Finalists will be named in May 2018, and the winner will be named in 2019.

> See the full story at SMU News

> Download the Codex: The Lost Words Of Atlantis app for Android at Google Play

Check out the Codex gameplay with this gallery of screen captures:

Eighteen SMU professors receive tenure, promotion for 2017-18

Eighteen outstanding SMU faculty members will begin the 2017-18 academic year with new tenure as associate professors or promotion to full professorships.

The following individuals have received tenure or promotion effective Friday, Sept. 1, 2017:

Cox School of Business

Recommended for promotion to Full Professor:

  • Stanimir Markov, Accounting

Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences

Recommended for tenure and promotion to Associate Professor:

  • Karisa Cloward, Political Science
  • Erin Hochman, History
  • Chrystyna Kouros, Psychology
  • Benno Rumpf, Mathematics
  • Jayson Sae-Saue, English
  • Brian Zoltowski, Chemistry

Recommended for tenure (associate professorship previously awarded):

  • Barry Lee, Mathematics

Dedman School of Law

Recommended for tenure and promotion to Associate Professor:

  • Chris Jenks, Law (autonomous weapons, military law, national security law, evidence, criminal law, international law, human rights)

Recommended for promotion to Full Professor:

  • Thomas Wm. Mayo, Law (bioethics, election law, health law, nonprofit/tax-exempt organizations)
  • Meghan J. Ryan, Law (law and science, torts, criminal law, criminal procedure, death penalty, actual innocence)
  • Joshua C. Tate, Law (legal history, trusts and estates, property)

Meadows School of the Arts

Recommended for tenure and promotion to Associate Professor:

  • Archie Cummings, Theatre
  • Amy Freund, Art History
  • Jon Hackler, Theatre
  • Peter Kupfer, Music (Musicology)
  • Brian Molanphy, Art

Recommended for promotion to Full Professor:

  • Carol Leone, Music (Piano)

Larenda Mielke named SMU Associate Provost for Continuing Education

Larenda Mielke, an international leader in professional, online, and executive education, has been named SMU’s first associate provost for continuing education. She will begin her new duties Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017.

University President R. Gerald Turner and Provost Steven C. Currall created the position to support one of the major objectives in SMU’s strategic plan, to engage the community for lifelong learning through professional training and continuing education, and in response to a report provided by the Task Force on Continuing Education.

SMU has offered continuing education to the community in different ways since the early 1920s. Currently, SMU’s Continuing and Professional Education (CAPE) and Master of Science in Data Science (MSDS) programs report directly to the Provost’s Office. CAPE includes noncredit courses, and SMU’s seven academic schools offer for-credit and degree programs as well. Existing continuing education programs in SMU’s academic units report through their respective dean to the provost.

SMU Forum: Provost appoints search committee for Associate Provost for Continuing Education

“The vision for SMU’s continuing education is to further strengthen our commitment to academic excellence by broadening accessibility to the outstanding instruction offered by SMU’s faculty members,” said Steven C. Currall, SMU provost and vice president for academic affairs. “Ms. Mielke’s background in domestic and international programs, as well as her breadth of experience in intercultural communication, research writing, English language programs in a medical school, and leadership, equips her to succeed in expanding SMU’s continuing education efforts. We expect that continuing education will generate financial surplus that will be reinvested in the University’s academic mission. Larenda is the ideal leader to propel the growth of SMU’s continuing education.”

Mielke stated, “It is with great excitement that I prepare to join SMU’s continuing and professional education team. Together we will build upon the ongoing vision of student-centered, external-facing educational offerings to enrich lives, foster innovation, and enhance productivity. Using the latest technological advances in teaching and learning, and harnessing the synergies of a University-wide effort, together we will join with the other exemplary initiatives of SMU to provide an unbridled residential student experience to include those attending SMU online and at a distance, doing our part to galvanize the University upward and outward while contributing to cutting-edge excellence and leadership among our peers.”

As senior director of Executive Education at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, Mielke is a member of the leadership team of an internationally recognized program ranked No. 2 in the United States by the Financial Times. She has developed and led continuing education programs in top academic, corporate, government, and medical organizations and has experience in expanding initiatives, course offerings and revenues.

From 2004-14, Mielke held steadily advancing roles at Washington University in St. Louis, serving ultimately as associate dean and managing director of an Executive M.B.A. program run jointly by the Olin Business School and Fudan University’s School of Management in Shanghai, China. In that role, she managed a multimillion-dollar international program and brought Olin’s Executive M.B.A. program ranking to No. 5 in the world, as assessed by the Financial Times.

Mielke received a Bachelor of Science degree cum laude in biology from Indiana State University. She holds an M.A. degree magna cum laude in cross-cultural education from Wheaton College Graduate School and an Executive M.B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis’ Olin Business School.

Reporting to the SMU provost, Mielke will provide University-wide leadership to prioritize, coordinate, support and grow continuing education. She will oversee CAPE and the MSDS programs, as well as help create an institution-wide strategy to build on notable efforts that some of SMU’s academic units have already developed in continuing education.

In addition, Mielke will work with the new Continuing Education Program Council (CEPC), comprised of the deans of academic units and chaired by the provost. CEPC will provide guidance to the associate provost regarding the overall strategy for SMU’s continuing education and coordinate new proposals as well as revisions to existing programs.

Associate Provost for Student Academic Services Julie P. Forrester chaired the search committee. “We considered a number of outstanding candidates. Larenda, with her combination of experience and enthusiasm for our goals, was clearly the most impressive,” Forrester said. “We’re looking forward to working with her.”

The higher education search firm of Greenwood/Asher & Associates, Inc. assisted the University in the national search.

SMU chemist Alex Lippert receives 2017 NSF CAREER Award

Alex LippertSMU chemist Alex Lippert has received a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, expected to total $611,000 over five years, to fund his research into alternative internal imaging techniques.

NSF CAREER Awards are given to tenure-track faculty members who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research in American colleges and universities.

Lippert, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Science, is an organic chemist and adviser to four doctoral students and five undergraduates who assist in his research. Lippert’s team develops synthetic organic compounds that glow in reaction to certain conditions. For example, when injected into a mouse’s tumor, the compounds luminesce in response to the cancer’s pH and oxygen levels. Place that mouse in a sealed dark box with a sensitive CCD camera that can detect low levels of light, and images can be captured of the light emanating from the mouse’s tumor.

“We are developing chemiluminescent imaging agents, which basically amounts to a specialized type of glow-stick chemistry,” Lippert says. “We can use this method to image the insides of animals, kind of like an MRI, but much cheaper and easier to do.”

Lippert says the nearest-term application of the technique might be in high-volume pre-clinical animal imaging, but eventually the technique could be applied to provide low-cost internal imaging in the developing world, or less costly imaging in the developed world.

But first, there are still a few ways the technique can be improved, and that’s where Lippert says the grant will come in handy.

“In preliminary studies, we needed to directly inject the compound into the tumor to see the chemistry in the tumor,” Lippert says. “One thing that’s funded by this grant is intravenous injection capability, where you inject a test subject and let the agent distribute through the body, then activate it in the tumor to see it light up.”

Another challenge the team will use the grant to explore is making a compound that varies by color instead of glow intensity when reacting to cancer cells. This will make it easier to read images, which can sometimes be buried under several layers of tissue, making the intensity of the glow difficult to interpret.

“We’re applying the method to tumors now, but you could use similar designs for other types of tissues,” Lippert says. “The current compound reacts to oxygen levels and pH, which are important in cancer biology, but also present in other types of biology, so it can be more wide-ranging than just looking at cancer.”

“This grant is really critical to our ability to continue the research going forward,” Lippert adds. “This will support the reagents and supplies, student stipends, and strengthen our collaboration with UT Southwestern Medical Center. Having that funding secure for five years is really nice because we can now focus our attention on the actual science instead of writing grants. It’s a huge step forward in our research progress.”

Lippert joined SMU in 2012. He was a postdoctoral researcher at University of California, Berkeley, from 2009-12, earned his Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania in 2008 and earned a bachelor’s in science at the California Institute of Technology in 2003.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 “to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense…” NSF is the funding source for approximately 24 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America’s colleges and universities.

— Kenny Ryan

Eighteen SMU faculty members retire with emeritus status in 2016-17

Eighteen distinguished faculty members with a combined total of nearly 585 years of SMU service retired with emeritus status in the 2016-17 academic year.

The professors, and their dates of service:

• Thomas E. Barry, Professor Emeritus of Marketing, Cox School of Business, 1970-2017

• Janis Bergman-Carton, Professor Emerita of Art History, Meadows School of the Arts, 1991-2017

Edward Biehl, Professor Emeritus of Chemistry, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, 1962-2017

Gordon Birrell, Professor Emeritus of World Languages and Literatures, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, 1974-2017

Dolores M. Etter, Professor Emerita of Electrical Engineering, Lyle School of Engineering, 2008-2016

 Richard F. Gunst, Professor Emeritus of Statistical Science, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, 1971-2017

 C. Michael Hawn, University Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Church Music, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, 1992-2017

• Debora Hunter, Professor Emerita of Art, Meadows School of the Arts, 1976-2017

Alireza Khotanzad, Professor Emeritus of Electrical Engineering, Lyle School of Engineering, 1984-2017

 Ndiva Kofele-Kale, Professor Emeritus of Law, Dedman School of Law, 1989-2017

• Robert Krout, Professor Emeritus of Music, Meadows School of the Arts, 2004-2017

• Patricia Mathes, Texas Instruments Chair of Reading and Professor Emerita of Teaching and Learning, Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development, 2003-2017

 Sherry L. Smith, University Distinguished Professor Emerita of History, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, 1999-2017

 Willard Spiegelman, Hughes Professor Emeritus of English, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, 1971-2017

 Steve Sverdlik, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, 1982-2017

• Martin Sweidel, Professor Emeritus of Music, Meadows School of the Arts, 1986-2016

 John Walther, Professor Emeritus of Earth Sciences, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, 1994-2017

 Ronald Wetherington, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, 1964-2017

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