Gary Brubaker, director of the Guildhall, Corey Clark, Guildhall deputy director for research, and John Wise, associate professor of biological sciences, gathered in Plano for a special Facebook Live event on Sept. 28, 2017. Watch their discussion of how their partnership has turned the popular game Minecraft into a vehicle for cancer research – and effectively doubled the computing power available for this work.
President R. Gerald Turner has invited the entire SMU community to the University’s relaunched staff recognition day on Thursday, Oct. 5. 2017.
The new Staff Celebration and Convocation, created by the SMU Staff Association (SMUSA) in collaboration with the Office of Operational Excellence, will take place at 10:30 a.m. in McFarlin Auditorium. A reception with light refreshments will precede the ceremony at 10 a.m.
The event is for all staff members, and President Turner will give his traditional State of SMU address as the keynote. University Registrar John Hall, SMU’s longest-serving staff member, is the featured speaker.
Staff members who have achieved 25 years of service to SMU will be honored, as well as the 2017 President’s Award and Loretta O’Reilly Hawkins Award recipients. The ceremony with also recognize staff members who have continued their SMU service beyond 25 years, and previous President’s and Loretta Hawkins Award recipients.
SMU researchers have received a $2.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to target the ongoing struggle of U.S. elementary and high school students with math.
The new four-year grant, to the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development, is led by SMU K-12 math education experts Leanne Ketterlin Geller and Lindsey Perry. They will conduct research and develop an assessment system comprised of two universal screening tools to measure mathematical reasoning skills for grades K–2.
When it comes to the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and math, research shows that U.S. students continue at a disadvantage all the way through high school and entering college. The NSF grant provides “an opportunity to develop an assessment system that can help teachers support students at the earliest, and arguably one of the most critical, phases of a child’s mathematical development,” said Ketterlin Geller, a professor in the Simmons School and principal investigator for the grant developing the “Measures of Mathematical Reasoning Skills” system.
Teachers and schools will use the assessment system to screen students and determine who is at risk for difficulty in early mathematics, including students with disabilities. The measures also will help provide important information about the intensity of support needed for a given student.
Few assessments are currently available to measure the critical math concepts taught during those early school years, Ketterlin Geller says. “Providing teachers with data to understand how a child processes these concepts can have a long-term impact on students’ success not only in advanced math like algebra, but also success in STEM fields, such as chemistry, biology, geology and engineering.”
— Written by Margaret Allen
Former varsity swimmer Joseph M. “Jody” Grant ’60 met his wife, Sheila Peterson Grant, while they were both SMU students. Now they have provided $1.5 million to help fund the University’s new Robson & Lindley Aquatics Center.
With their gift, they’ve also created the Sheila and Jody Grant Challenge, which encourages other donors to give the remaining $1.5 million to complete the Center’s $22 million funding goal. The 42,000-square-foot facility, soon to be home to the University’s internationally recognized men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams, will be dedicated Friday, Nov. 3, 2017, during SMU Homecoming.
“As community business and philanthropic leaders, Jody and Sheila Grant know the importance of reaching the finish line and completing worthy goals,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Their generosity is inspirational and helps get us closer to completing funding for the Robson & Lindley Aquatics Center and providing a place where our student athletes can continue the championship legacy of SMU swimming and diving.”
Jody Grant attended SMU on a swimming scholarship. He earned four individual Southwest Conference swimming championships and was twice named to the All-America team.
“SMU’s swimming program has been near and dear to my heart since Coach Red Barr recruited me many years ago to swim for the Mustangs,” said Dr. Grant. “I am honored to support this new facility, which will be home for the swimming program that was so meaningful to me.”
The SMU Meadows Theatre season begins with a new production of a Pulitzer Prize finalist that reimagines an American literary classic in a modern setting. Professor of Theatre Rhonda Blair directs Suzan-Lori Parks’ In the Blood , running through Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017 in the Margo Jones Theatre, Owen Arts Center.
Parks conceived In the Blood as a retelling of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, with Hester as a single mother living in poverty with her five children. As she struggles to support them, she decides to seek help from their various fathers, with tragic consequences.
The playwright has won awards and honors including a MacArthur “Genius” Grant, a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Tony Award; in 2002, she became the first African-American woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for drama. In the Blood, which premiered in 1999, was a Pulitzer finalist.
Showtimes are 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, with 2 p.m. matinees Saturday-Sunday. Tickets are $8 for SMU faculty, staff and students. Arrive early – there will be no late seating.
For more information, contact the Meadows Ticket Office, 214-768-2787 (214-SMU-ARTS).
SMU’s Office of Operational Excellence (OPEX) has met an important milestone: The University has passed the $20 million mark in annual savings as a result of Operational Excellence for the Second Century (OE2C) initiatives, as detailed in its September 2017 Progress Report.
According to the report, of the $20 million saved, $14.1 million has been committed for new uses, including research, fellowships, high-performance computing, and general academic reinvestments, among other items. The report also includes updates on new and ongoing initiatives designed to streamline and formalize administrative processes.
One notable highlight is an update on the status of funds available for SMU doctoral degree candidates. Currently, 34 doctoral students are receiving University Ph.D. Fellowships supported by funds saved through OE2C. A 2013 Faculty Senate resolution urged SMU to create such University-wide fellowships, stating they “play a crucial role in engaging and interfacing with undergraduate students in faculty research projects that in turn helps us recruit high-quality undergraduates and raise the academic quality of the incoming class.”
SMU family members from across the country will get “Wild About SMU” during 2017 Family Weekend, coordinated by the Student Foundation’s Family Weekend Committee. The festivities take place Sept. 22-24.
Student research, creativity and innovation take the spotlight during the Fall 2017 Engaged Learning Symposium and Big iDeas Pitch Contest, scheduled for Friday, Sept. 22 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Forum. Engaged Learning Fellows show their work 9 a.m.-1 p.m., and Pitch Contest teams will hold forth from 2-5 p.m. for the opportunity to win $1,000 in seed money for their projects.
Events include the traditional Game Day Barbecue, 3:30-5:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 23 on the Clements Hall South Lawn. Faculty and staff members can claim four free football tickets for the 6 p.m. SMU-Arkansas State at the Ford Stadium ticket window with SMU ID. Tickets may also be purchased by calling 214-768-GAME or by visiting the Athletic Department website.
Clear bag policy at Ford Stadium: The only bags permitted on Game Day are those made of clear plastic, vinyl or PVC that do not exceed 12-by-6-by-12 inches; one-gallon clear plastic freezer bags (Ziploc or similar), or small clutch bags (about the size of a hand) with or without a strap. See the complete list of SMU Ford Stadium Game Day policies.
SMU Gives Back: This year, the Student Foundation is partnering with Ronald McDonald House of Dallas, which supports the health and well-being of seriously ill or injured children receiving treatment in the Dallas area, as well as their families. Throughout SMU Family Weekend, University community members can eat and shop at a variety of local partner businesses – just mention that you are with SMU, and part of your purchase will directly benefit Ronald McDonald House of Dallas.
Celebrate student innovation at the 2017 Engaged Learning Fall Symposium and Big iDeas Pitch Contest, Friday, Sept. 22
The two events take place Friday, Sept. 22 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Forum, as part of SMU’s 2017 Family Weekend.
During the Symposium, which runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., students in research, service, creative and internship programs from across campus will present their work and take questions from the audience. They will include SMU’s Maguire and Irby Family Foundation Public Service Fellows, Summer Research Fellows, University Honors Richter Research Fellows and McNair Scholars, as well as Engaged Learning Fellows.
From 2-5 p.m., find out what some of SMU’s most innovative students are up to during the Big iDeas Pitch Contest. After developing their ideas, undergraduate teams pitch their ideas to a panel of judges with backgrounds in innovation and entrepreneurship. Next, judges determine which ideas are most realistic and can be developed in the following three months. The winning teams are eligible to win up to $1,000 in seed money to prepare prototypes and pilot programs for the Demo Day Fair in early 2018.
Local experts will discuss the path forward in “How Will Dallas Address the Issue of Affordable Housing?,” presented by SMU Reads and the Folsom Institute for Real Estate in SMU’s Cox School of Business. The event takes place 5-6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017 in the University’s Collins Executive Education Center.
The panelists include:
- Raquel Favela, Chief of Economic Development and Neighborhood Services, City of Dallas
- Bill Hall, CEO, Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity
- Mike Koprowski, executive director, Opportunity Dallas
- Linda McMahon, president and CEO, The Real Estate Council and The Real Estate Council Foundation
The discussion will be moderated by Nicole Stockdale, deputy editorial page editor of The Dallas Morning News. The event is free; advance registration is recommended.
Are you attending? Share your thoughts on social media with the #SMUServes hashtag.
The SMU Staff Association, in collaboration with the Office of Operational Excellence, has created a new Staff Celebration and Convocation program honoring SMU staff excellence. The ceremony is for all SMU staff members and will take place at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017 in McFarlin Auditorium.
President R. Gerald Turner will give his traditional State of SMU address as the keynote during the event. University Registrar John Hall, SMU’s longest-serving staff member, will be the featured speaker.
Staff members who have achieved 25 years of service to SMU will be honored, as well as the 2017 Presidential and Loretta Hawkins Award recipients. The ceremony with also recognize staff members who have continued their SMU service beyond 25 years, and previous Presidential and Loretta Hawkins Award recipients.
A reception with light refreshments will precede the ceremony at 10 a.m. For more information, visit the SMU Staff Association website.