For the Record

Willard Spiegelman receives Scholar/Teacher of the Year Award at 2016 Fall General Faculty Meeting

Willard Spiegelman, Hughes Professor of English in Dedman College, was honored as the 2015-16 United Methodist Church University Scholar/Teacher of the Year at SMU’s 2016 Fall General Faculty Meeting Wednesday, Aug. 24.

The first meeting of the entire faculty for the 2016-17 academic year featured the Spring 2016 Faculty Senate report, the presentation of regalia to newly tenured faculty, and President R. Gerald Turner’s updates on initiatives ranging from cultural intelligence to continuing education.

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August 31, 2016|For the Record, News|

Al Niemi announces plans to step down as dean of SMU’s Cox School of Business after 2016-17 academic year

Albert W. 'Al' Niemi Jr., dean, SMU Cox School of BusinessAlbert W. Niemi, Jr., the dean of SMU’s Cox School of Business during a time of great growth and increasing national stature for the school, has announced his intention to step down from his administrative post at the end of the 2016-17 academic year.

He will continue to serve as dean during the University’s search, which will begin immediately.

Dean Niemi, who currently holds the Cox School’s Tolleson Chair in Business Leadership, will remain on the faculty as the William J. O’Neil Chair in Global Markets and Freedom after he completes his administrative duties.

“We just finished SMU’s first century and the Second Century Campaign, so now is a time to look ahead,” Niemi said. “We need someone with a vision to lead the Cox School to success in its next era. By stepping down as dean, but remaining to teach, I have the opportunity to support the next dean if he or she wants my advice, and I can be with my students, work with my faculty and staff colleagues, and continue to be part of this great campus. It will be a privilege to end my career the way I began it – in the classroom, doing what I love best.”

Since arriving at the Cox School in June 1997, Niemi has increased the school’s national and international visibility. Cox’s B.B.A., full-time M.B.A., Professional M.B.A. and Executive M.B.A. programs are ranked among the best in the world by Bloomberg BusinessWeek, The Economist, Financial Times, Forbes, and U.S. News & World Report. Niemi is the eighth dean – and, as he begins his 20th year at SMU, the longest-serving dean – in the Cox School’s history.

Niemi also has been an effective fund-raiser who has dramatically increased the school’s endowment from $78 million to more than $200 million. The new endowment funds have created 10 new endowed faculty positions, eight new endowed centers and institutes, and 60 new endowed scholarships. In addition, he helped raise $19 million to support the construction of the James M. Collins Executive Education Center.

During his tenure, donors have honored his service by establishing the Albert W. Niemi Center for American Capitalism at SMU Cox and the Maria and Albert Niemi Endowed Centennial B.B.A. Scholars Fund. The Niemi Center is a partnership with the George W. Bush Institute that puts the tenets of Niemi’s teaching and research into action through research fellowships, academic programs and community outreach. The Niemi Endowed Centennial B.B.A. Scholars Fund provides scholarships to support B.B.A. students in the Cox School.

“My professional relationship with Al Niemi pre-dates my own arrival at SMU as president,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “He had already earned a reputation as an outstanding educator and business school administrator at the University of Georgia, so when the opportunity arose to recruit him to serve as the dean of the Cox School, it was an easy choice and one that has greatly benefited both Cox and the University. Under his leadership, the Cox School has strengthened its connection to the Dallas and North Texas community of which SMU is a part and has also become a globally prominent business school.”

Before coming to SMU, Niemi served as dean of the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia from 1982-1996. An expert in economic growth, economic forecasting, and the history of capitalism in America, he has taught more than 15,000 students and consistently has been recognized for distinguished teaching. He also has written six books and more than 200 articles for leading academic journals and business periodicals.

“As an academician, administrator, and university citizen, Al Niemi is second to none,” SMU Provost Steven Currall said. “The business school faculty he leads enjoys a stellar global reputation. Both the undergraduate and graduate programs rank highly. The Cox BBA Scholars program, which allows first-year students with outstanding academic qualifications to be admitted directly into the Cox School, continues to attract the nation’s best and brightest undergraduates. In turn, the BBA Scholars program has helped enhance SMU’s student academic profile campus-wide.”

Niemi has served on and led search committees that have brought new leaders, including the current provost, to SMU. He has worked extensively in business school and university accreditation. In addition, he has chaired or served as a member on accreditation review teams to more than 20 universities, including Emory, Washington University, DePaul, Vanderbilt, Claremont, William and Mary, North Carolina, South Carolina, Wake Forest, Florida, Texas, Colorado, Syracuse, Monterrey Tech (Mexico), INCAE (Costa Rica), University of Monterrey (Mexico), the Autonomous Technological University of Mexico, and IESA (Venezuela).

The dean also served three-year terms on the Board of Governors of the American Association of University Administrators and Beta Gamma Sigma, and he served a six-year term on the Board of Trustees of Stonehill College, his alma mater, in Easton, Massachusetts.

Active in the business community, Niemi speaks to numerous civic and business groups across the nation. He is currently a member of the advisory board of the Bank of Texas and the Advisory Council of The Catholic Foundation.

Originally from Massachusetts, Niemi is the grandson of Finnish and Irish immigrants. He earned a scholarship to Stonehill College, from which he graduated cum laude with an A.B. degree in economics, and went on to earn his M.A and Ph.D. degrees in economics from the University of Connecticut.

The dean and his wife, Maria, have two grown children, Albert III and Edward Charles, and three grandchildren.

August 25, 2016|For the Record, News|

Luisa del Rosal named executive director of SMU’s Tower Center for Political Studies, Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center

Luisa Del Rosal, executive director, Tower Center for Political Studies and Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center, SMULuisa del Rosal ’08, former director of strategy and international affairs with the Cox School of BusinessLatino Leadership Initiative, has been named executive director of SMU’s Tower Center for Political Studies and its Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center. She began her duties on Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2016.

“Luisa del Rosal is a leader in higher education with the ideal background and combination of skills to build the Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center,” says Jim Hollifield, director of the Tower Center. “An SMU graduate and dual national, Luisa has a deep and intuitive understanding of the vital relationship between Texas and Mexico in all of its dimensions and complexities. We are delighted that she has returned to the Tower Center and Dedman College to assume this critical leadership role.”

Del Rosal was born in Chihuahua, Mexico and lived there until she moved to Dallas to attend SMU. She holds dual bachelor’s degrees in political science and sociology, with a minor in Italian, as well as a master’s in higher education policy and leadership. She is bilingual in her native Spanish and English, and proficient in Italian.

“I am honored to return to the Tower Center for Political Studies as its executive director and to serve as the founding executive director of the newly established Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center,” Del Rosal says. “Leading these centers enables me to contribute to the regional, national and global reach of SMU.”

“The centers will help shape important regional and national conversations on topics such as education, trade and energy – topics that impact our communities every day,” she added. “As research policy centers, they’ll be places not of rhetoric, but of facts and idea sharing. The unique missions of each will influence policy questions and carry out the critical goals of engaging and mentoring the students who will become our next generation of leaders.”

In her new position, Del Rosal will have strategic and operational responsibility for both centers, including staff oversight, programming strategy and execution, board coordination and ensuring all activities are aligned with the centers’ missions.

“Luisa will add a great deal to the knowledge base of those two centers,” says Thomas DiPiero, dean of SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. “She has tremendous international experience, she’s worked a great deal with people in public policy and in Mexico, and she has the diplomatic skill set that will allow the two centers to thrive under her leadership.”

The primary mission of the Tower Center is to promote the study of politics and international affairs and to stimulate an interest in ethical public service among undergraduates. Announced earlier this year, the Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center seeks to understand and explore the political, cultural, economic and business relationship between Texas and Mexico. The center focuses on the key areas of research and policy that include border issues, energy, human capital and education, immigration and trade.

Prior to working for the Cox School, Del Rosal was director of programs and external relations for the Tower Center.

— Kenny Ryan

August 24, 2016|For the Record, News|

Eighteen SMU faculty members receive tenure, promotions effective Sept. 1, 2016

Eighteen distinguished SMU faculty members are newly tenured as associate professors or have been promoted to full professorships to begin the 2016-17 academic year.

The following individuals received tenure or promotion effective Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016:

Cox School of Business

Recommended for tenure and promotion to Associate Professor:

  • Michael Braun, Marketing

Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences

Recommended for tenure and promotion to Associate Professor:

  • Heather DeShon, Earth Sciences
  • Scott Norris, Mathematics
  • Rubén Sánchez-Godoy, World Languages and Literatures (Spanish)
  • Hervé Tchumkam, World Languages and Literatures (French)
  • Nicolay Tsarevsky, Chemistry

Recommended for promotion to Full Professor:

  • Matthew Hornbach, Earth Sciences
  • Thomas Knock, History
  • Rajani Sudan, English

Dedman School of Law

Recommended for tenure and promotion to Associate Professor:

  • W. Keith Robinson, Law (patent law, intellectual property)
  • David O. Taylor, Law (patent law, patent litigation, federal civil procedure, appellate advocacy, contract law)

Lyle School of Engineering

Recommended for promotion to Full Professor:

  • Ping (Peggy) Gui, Electrical Engineering

Meadows School of the Arts

Recommended for tenure and promotion to Associate Professor:

  • Jake Batsell, Journalism
  • Hye Jin Yoon, Advertising

Recommended for promotion to Full Professor:

  • H. Clifton Forbis, Music (Voice)
  • Adam Herring, Art History
  • Lisa Pon, Art History

Perkins School of Theology

Recommended for promotion to Full Professor:

  • Jaime Clark-Soles, Theology (New Testament)
August 8, 2016|For the Record, News|

SMU CUL Dean Gillian McCombs announces her retirement, effective summer 2017

Gillian M. McCombs, Dean and Director, SMU Central University LibrariesGillian McCombs, dean and director of SMU’s Central University Libraries, has announced her retirement from that position effective in summer 2017.

SMU Provost Steven Currall will announce the timeframe for the search for a new permanent dean and director this fall.

McCombs joined SMU in 1998 and guided the University’s central library system through a transformation of resources, facilities and services in response to changing student and faculty needs. One of the most visible examples of her leadership is the Fondren Library Center renovation. The Fondren Foundation Centennial Reading Room and new Hillcrest Foundation Exhibit Hall opened April 15, marking the completion of the first phase. The final phase includes a Starbucks Café and Collaborative Commons, which will open with a student-centered celebration in September 2016.

> SMU News: SMU celebrates Fondren Library transformation

“Great libraries are the heart of the University, and at the heart of Dean McCombs’ leadership of SMU Central University Libraries has been an unwavering focus on our library users’ evolving needs, particularly those of our students,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “A prime example is the CUL Student Advisory Council she created to provide the student perspective as library staff shapes programs, services and spaces that enhance the user experience and support academic achievement. Gillian has been a passionate advocate for CUL, and we are grateful for her many contributions to the University.”

McCombs oversees three libraries on the main campus – Fondren Library Center, including the Norwick Center for Digital Services; DeGolyer Library, SMU’s principal repository for special collections in the humanities, the history of business, and the history of science and technology; and the Hamon Arts Library in Meadows School of the Arts – as well as the Fort Burgwin Library at SMU-in-Taos and the SMU-in-Plano Library Resource Room.

“Dean McCombs has had a longstanding and distinguished career leading Central University Libraries at SMU. In addition to being an insightful voice about advancing libraries at SMU, Gillian is a globally recognized intellectual leader about the future of libraries, digitization of documents, and the creative use of library buildings to foster innovation and interdisciplinary collaboration,” said SMU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Steven Currall. “One of the crowning achievements of her career was the recent renovation of SMU’s Fondren Library to ensure that it meets the current and future needs of SMU faculty and students. Gillian has been an inspiring leader of the CUL staff, a true academic partner with SMU’s other deans, and an invaluable colleague in advancing SMU.”

Among her SMU career highlights:

  • McCombs led CUL’s observance of the University’s Year of the Library in 2013, joining SMU President R. Gerald Turner in welcoming the acquisition of American explorer John Maley’s travel journal (1808-1812) that represented the libraries’ four-millionth volume. The gift was made by the SMU Board of Trustees in honor of former President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush and the opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Center.
  • She launched a digital collections initiative, which now numbers 51 collections comprising 50,000 images, documents, videos and other materials from SMU’s special collections, all available to the public online. CUL also scaled up its delivery of e-resources and now provides access to over one million e-books and 75,000 e-journals.
  • As dean and director, she guided CUL’s participation in several major collaborative ventures including the Greater Western Library Alliance’s Occam’s Reader Project, a groundbreaking e-book pilot program; the Association of College and Research Libraries’ three-year research initiative studying the impact of academic libraries on student achievement; and a partnership with the George W. Bush Presidential Library and the Mount Vernon Ladies Association to bring George Washington’s personal copy of The Acts of Congress to campus.

Throughout her service to SMU, McCombs has published extensively in the areas of organizational culture, technology and digital services, leadership and management, fundraising and historical children’s literature. She has won numerous awards in the library profession and serves on the editorial board of portal: Libraries and the Academy, a research journal focused on the evolving role of academic libraries and librarians.

Her professional affiliations include membership on the Greater Western Library Alliance Board of Directors. She has represented the United States on the International Federation of Libraries Association, Academic Libraries standing committee and has served on numerous committees and advisory boards of the American Library Association. In North Texas she has served on the Dallas Museum of Art’s Libraries, Archives and Imaging Services Committee, the University of North Texas School of Library and Information Sciences Board of Advisors and the Texas Woman’s University School of Library and Information Studies External Constituent Board.

McCombs began her professional career in England as the music librarian at Huddersfield Public Library in her native Yorkshire. Her career in the United States started in Washington, D.C., where she worked at the Landscape Architecture and Garden Library at Dumbarton Oaks, as well as such federal libraries as the National Library of Medicine, the Federal Reserve, and the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Prior to joining SMU, she served as assistant director of technical services and systems for 16 years at the University at Albany, State University of New York (SUNY), where she earned a master’s degree in public administration.

McCombs received a bachelor’s degree in French and European literature (honors) from the University of Warwick and a master’s degree from the Leeds School of Librarianship in England.

August 2, 2016|For the Record, News|
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