News

Meadows Theatre presents The Rep: Three Contemporary Plays April 26-May 6, 2018

For its final event of the 2017-18 academic year, the SMU Meadows Division of Theatre presents three contemporary American plays that will take turns sharing the black-box stage. The Rep: Three Contemporary American Plays Performed in Rotation runs April 26-May 6 on varying dates and times.

All three plays, all directed by students, will be performed in the Margo Jones Theatre, Owen Arts Center, on the SMU campus.

The plays, authors, dates, times and synopses:

Bethany by Laura Marks: Thursday, April 26 at 8 p.m.; Sunday, April 29 at 2 and 7:30 p.m.; Friday, May 4 at 8 p.m.

At the height of the foreclosure crisis, single mother Crystal loses more than her house. She struggles to stay positive – with plenty of help from a roommate with conspiracy theories, a motivational speaker with a secret, and her colleagues at the local Saturn dealership. But optimism is no match for a bad economy, and before long Crystal’s desperate quest to regain what she’s lost turns into the fight of her life. This darkly comic thriller explores just how far we’ll go to get back what’s ours.

Stupid F—ing Bird by Aaron Posner: Friday, April 27 at 8 p.m.; Wednesday, May 2 at 8 p.m.; Saturday, May 5 at 2 and 8 p.m.

An aspiring director rampages against the art created by his mother’s generation. A nubile young actress wrestles with an aging Hollywood star for the affections of a renowned novelist. And everyone discovers just how disappointing love, art and growing up can be. In this irreverent, contemporary and very funny remix of Chekhov’s The Seagull, Aaron Posner stages a timeless battle between young and old, past and present, and the search for the true meaning of it all.

Eurydice by Sarah Ruhl: Saturday, April 28 at 2 and 8 p.m.; Thursday, May 3 at 8 p.m.; Sunday, May 6 at 2 p.m.

In Eurydice, playwright Sarah Ruhl reimagines the classic myth of Orpheus through the eyes of its heroine. Dying too young on her wedding day, Eurydice must journey to the underworld, where she reunites with her father and struggles to remember her lost love. Ruhl has won the MacArthur “Genius” Award and is a Tony Award nominee and two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist.

Tickets are $8 for SMU students, faculty and staff. For more information call 214-768-2787 (214-SMU-ARTS).

— Written by Victoria Winkelman

> Learn more about The Rep at the Meadows School of the Arts website

Enjoy a gallery of images from BethanyEuridyce and Stupid F—ing Bird below.

Six speakers seek audience: Watch (and vote on) TEDxSMU student auditions Thursday, April 26, 2018

TEDxSMU logo

Six SMU students will vie for a speaking spot at the next TEDxSMU conference – and you can help select the winner.

Join the University community on Thursday, April 26, 2018 to hear students speak on topics ranging from innovation to infinity, and vote for the winner. This event is free and open to the entire SMU community.

The speakers and their topics are:

  • Melanie Calzada: Challenging the Idiom: The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From the Tree
  • Kathryn Chavez: Define Yourself
  • Chelsea Dobbin: How Singing With People Changes Your Brain
  • Mason Mason: The Audacity of Innovation
  • Seifey Mohammad: The Essence of Infinity
  • Matthew Sipes: inspirED Teaching

The event is free and open to the public and runs from 5:30-7 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Commons. Food will be served at 5:30 p.m.; talks begin at 6.

> Visit TEDxSMU online: tedxsmu.org

Celebration of Life for longtime SMU staff member Gary Shultz to take place Monday, April 23, 2018

The SMU Office of the Chaplain has invited the University community to celebrate the life of longtime staff member Gary Shultz at 4 p.m. Monday, April 23, 2018. The event will take place in The Great Hall, Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Hall, in the theology quad.

A former Dallas Times-Herald journalist, Shultz was an SMU employee for more than 25 years and most recently served as director of online media relations and communications in the Office of News and Communications, SMU Public Affairs. Among his many accomplishments was his involvement in the creation of SMU’s first website. The smu.edu site continues to bear the marks of his original and ongoing work.

Shultz died on Thursday, April 5 after a brief illness. He is survived by his wife, Mary Ann, two daughters, and grandchildren. His family requests that memorial donations may be made to the Arbor Day Foundation.

For more information, contact the SMU Office of News and Communication, 214-768-7650.

Think green for SMU Earth Week 2018, April 23-28

SMU Earth Week Flier 2018Recycling demonstrations, a film screening, and Barefoot On the Boulevard mark SMU Earth Week 2018. The celebration takes place April 23-28 with events and activities all over campus.

The City of University Park and Town of Highland Park will be part of the action with a Park Cities Recycling Drive beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 28 in the Commuter Lot. Bring your recycling – including old electronics such as tablets, computers or phones – to the parking lot next to the SMU Catholic Center, across the street from Burleson Park in the 3000 block of University Boulevard.

Earth Week opens with Become Aware – an event designed to demonstrate the contamination that occurs between SMU’s trash and its recycling, and how community members can recycle with confidence. Demos will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, April 23 at the West Bridge and the flagpole on the Main Quad.

In Think Green, SMU faculty, staff and students will learn which items can and can’t be recycled. Visit the tables in Starbucks at Fondren Library Center from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, April 24.

One Earth features a screening of “Chasing Coral” – the award-winning 2017 documentary by Jeff Orlowski that captures the effects of climate change on the deaths and disappearances of coral reefs throughout the world. The movie begins at 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 25 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Theater.

The traditional Barefoot On the Boulevard celebration takes place 1-3 p.m. on Thursday, April 26. Relax on the Dallas Hall lawn, enjoy a free lunch, and learn how to tie-dye and build your own trail-mix bars.

> Learn more about SMU Sustainability: smu.edu/sustainability

SMU Meadows’ Ignite/Arts Dallas presents Pancho Villa From a Safe Distance May 4, 2018

Ignite Arts Dallas-SMU Meadows production of 'Pancho Villa From a Safe Distance'

For one night only, Ignite/Arts Dallas at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts will present a touring bilingual rock opera exploring the life and lore of Pancho Villa, the enigmatic general, legendary bandit and hero of the Mexican Revolution. Pancho Villa From a Safe Distance takes the stage Friday, May 4, 2018 at 8 p.m. at the Texas Theatre, 231 W. Jefferson Boulevard in Oak Cliff, Dallas. The concert is presented in association with AT&T Performing Arts Center, the Oak Cliff Cultural Center and De Colores Radio.

Commissioned and premiered in 2016 by Ballroom Marfa and co-commissioned by Fusebox Festival, the opera is the third installment of The Marfa Triptych, a trilogy of musical performances by composer Graham Reynolds that was inspired by his interest in the intermingled populations of the Texas-Mexico border regions. The opera explores facts from Villa’s biography, examines the mythology surrounding him, and asks what Pancho Villa means to Mexican and American culture and where these meanings intersect and conflict.

Pancho Villa From a Safe Distance represents the kind of aesthetic and cultural hybridity that makes Texas such a unique place, which is why we present work like this for our students and the city,” said Clyde Valentín, director of Ignite/Arts Dallas.

> Learn the backstory of Pancho Villa From a Safe Distance: www.panchovillaopera.com

The opera is sung partly in Spanish, partly in English, with accompanying projected translations along with film clips and historic photos. The ensemble features LOLA’s (Local Opera Local Artists) Liz Cass and Austin Lyric Opera’s Paul Sanchez as mezzo-soprano and tenor vocalists, as well as six instrumentalists accompanying Grammy Award-winning producer Adrian Quesada on guitar. The work is directed by Shawn Sides of the Rude Mechs.

Tickets are $10 per person, available online at igniteartsdallas.info or at the door on the night of the show.

> Read the full story from the SMU Meadows website

SMU honors outstanding achievement, community service at 2017-18 Hilltop Excellence Awards and Honors Convocation

Laurel wreath stock photo - Hilltop Excellence AwardsSMU faculty, staff, administrators and students were recognized with teaching awards, service honors and the University’s highest commendation – the “M” Award – at the 2017-18 Hilltop Excellence Awards Monday, April 16.

Earlier in the day, the University honored its best students at the 21st annual Honors Convocation. The address was delivered by Maria Dixon Hall, senior adviser to the SMU Provost, associate professor in the Division of Corporate Communication and Public Affairs in Meadows School of the Arts, and adjunct associate professor of homiletics in Perkins School of Theology.

> Find a complete list of award winners from Honors Convocation 2018

Appointed in August 2016 as Senior Advisor to the Provost for Cultural Intelligence, Dixon Hall is charged with oversight of the University’s efforts to ensure that all members of the SMU community are equipped to effectively create, collaborate, and work on solutions to change the world. In this role, she is responsible for development and implementation of the University’s new cultural intelligence curriculum and training program.

As director of mustangconsulting, Dixon Hall heads a staff of some of SMU’s best and brightest communication students. The group serves a global client list that includes corporate, nonprofit, and religious organizations such as Southwest Airlines (Dallas), The Dance Theatre of Harlem (New York), the Ugandan American Partnership Organization (Kampala/Dallas), The Lydia Patterson Institute (El Paso), and Carry the Load (Atlanta/Dallas).

A graduate of the Culverhouse School of Business at the University of Alabama, Dixon Hall earned her Master of Divinity and Master of Theology from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University, as well as a Ph.D. in organizational communication and religion from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

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Anthony Elia named Bridwell Foundation Endowed Librarian, director of Bridwell Library

Anthony Elia, Bridwell Foundation Endowed Librarian and Director of Bridwell Library, SMUAnthony Elia has been named J.S. Bridwell Foundation Endowed Librarian and director of Bridwell Library in SMU’s Perkins School of Theology, effective June 1, 2018. He succeeds retiring director Roberta Schaafsma, who has served in that role since April 2007.

Elia, director of library and educational technology at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis since 2013, will be responsible for providing vision, strategic direction and operational leadership for Bridwell Library. In addition, he will promote the development of collections and oversee the library’s public service and user education efforts.

“Bridwell Library is an extraordinary institution, both in the theological library world and the greater global community of research and scholarship,” Elia said. “It is a great honor to join such an exceptional staff and inclusive community, where students, teachers, scholars, lay community members, ministers, alumnae/i, and many others are able to work with world-class collections.

“The vision for Bridwell will be a vision of partnerships, engagement, and community participation, where all will continue to feel welcome to find inspiration and spirit in their work, life, and vocations,” he said.

Elia earned a B.A. degree in religious studies from St. Lawrence University, M.A. degrees in religious studies from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and in history of Christianity from the University of Chicago Divinity School, and the Master of Science in Library and Information Science (MSLIS) degree from the University of Illinois.

He brings significant expertise in library science and educational technology, which he has utilized in both U.S. and global contexts.  From 2010-13, he served as head Public Services Librarian at Burke Library, Columbia University, and was a lecturer in theological writing at Union Theological Seminary, both in New York City.  In addition, he has held positions at the JKM Library of McCormick Theological Seminary and Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, the American Theological Library Association, and the Regenstein Library, University of Chicago.

The author of numerous publications, he will present “The Theology of Cybersecurity” at the June 2018 American Theological Library Association (ATLA) conference in Indianapolis.  Elia has held numerous leadership positions in his field, including membership on the Directors’ Committee of the Private Academic Library Network of Indiana (PALNI), where he also served as secretary of the Executive Committee.  He was chair/president of the New York Area Theological Library Association (NYATLA) from 2011-12 and vice-president of the Chicago Area Theological Library Association (CATLA) in 2010.  In addition, he was chair and past co-chair of the International Relations Round Table IVC Committee, American Library Association (ALA) from 2013-15.

Elia has also been awarded a number of grants, including a 2015-16 Wabash Center Grant for “Pedagogy of the Archive.”

A composer, Elia served as Composer in the Religion, Spirituality, and the Arts Seminar at Butler University and was also invited by the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra to deliver a pre-concert lecture on Olivier Messiaen and Theology in 2016.

“Anthony Elia brings extraordinary energy and intellectual curiosity to this position,” said Perkins Dean Craig C. Hill. “In addition to his academic degrees, he has studied some twenty languages, including work in Prague, Rome, and Nairobi. Just as important, he has demonstrated the ability to forge connections between a theological library and the wider university and community.”

The J.S. Bridwell Library—among the best theological libraries in the nation—includes a full range of theological, biblical, and historical materials relating to the development of Christianity. In addition to the material available in the basic lending collection of the library, which is strong in Methodist materials, Bridwell Library contains a number of special collections that are especially valuable for the study of topics related specifically to the background, rise, development, and present status of Methodism.

With total holdings exceeding 370,000 volumes, Bridwell Library’s Special Collections contain over 50,000 printed books dating from the fifteenth to the twentieth century. Most of the printed works in these holdings, often in first and early editions, are in the fields of theology, church history, scripture, liturgy, and philosophy. Many of these editions are distinguished by fine illustration and typography, notable provenances, and historically significant bindings. Holdings also include manuscript correspondence by John Wesley and other important figures in early Methodism, archival collections of American Methodism and private presses, and a small group of Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts.

> Visit SMU’s Bridwell Library online: smu.edu/bridwell

SMU Human Resources shares the latest on the ePerformance management system

Eperformance icon at MySMU

Look for the Performance Management section in Employee Self-Service at My.SMU.

SMU’s ePerformance performance management system is now available for all benefit-eligible University staff members, including postdoctoral fellows.

Within the ePerformance module in My.SMU, employees may:

  • set goals that are specific and measurable for important work projects
  • understand the context of the work they do in relationship to the strategic goals of the department, their division and the University’s strategic plan
  • host meaningful conversations with their manager about the work they do.

Goals may be adjusted as necessary based on new information and/or new work priorities.

The format provides for three formal checkpoints during the performance year:

  1. Creating goals: The employee and the manager come to agreement on the work to be done and the specific measures that will indicate the work is successfully completed, so there are no surprises.
  2. Mid-year review: an opportunity for an informal conversation about what is working well, what isn’t, obstacles encountered and course corrections.
  3. Annual review: Formal feedback is provided in the system via the employee self-evaluation and the manager evaluation. This information is used to host the annual review conversation and to inform goals for the upcoming performance year. One change is that employees and managers will now rate themselves on the work that they do as well as on SMU’s core competencies.

Ongoing performance management means that goals are created when the work is identified, not just at the beginning of the performance year. Goals may even carry over to the next performance year if the work is not completed during the current performance year. Managers may also distribute goals to other team members who can support completion of the work.

Employees should set simple goals that are specific, measurable, and prioritize important work so that the employee has a clear understanding of what needs to be accomplished. Entering goals into the system helps to ensure that both employee and  manager are in agreement about the work to be accomplished.

Within the performance document, the left navigation panel includes a list of important dates tailored for each school and division. Senior leadership will share important timelines specific to your area. Talk with your manager about these dates to ensure you understand the timing for your mid-year and annual reviews.

> Learn more about ongoing Performance Management at smu.edu/hr

Shawn Achor, expert in the science of happiness, to speak in SMU’s 2017-18 Tate Disinguished Lecture Series Tuesday, April 10

Shawn AchorShawn Achor, best-selling author and noted researcher in the science of happiness, will deliver the Ebby Halliday Companies Lecture in SMU’s 2017-18 Tate Distinguished Lecture Series.

The lecture takes place at 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 10 in McFarlin Auditorium.

> Follow Shawn Achor on Twitter @shawnachor

A native Texan, Achor is considered a leading expert on human potential. His research into happiness and positive psychology has unveiled evidence that changing one’s mindset about stress alters the physical effects of stress.

In 2007, Achor founded GoodThink, a company that offers coaching services and seminars focused on positive psychology to improve workplace performance. He is the author of the New York Times best-sellers The Happiness Advantage (Crown Publishing, 2010) and Before Happiness (2013). His most recent work is Big Potential, published in January 2018, in which he advocates for an approach to success and happiness based on “how well we connect with, relate to, and learn from each other.”

Achor received his B.A. degree from Harvard University and earned an M.A. in Christian and Buddhist ethics from Harvard Divinity School.

The Happy Secret to Better Work,” a speech Achor delivered at TEDxBloomington in May 2011, has accumulated more than 17 million views and ranks among the 25 most popular TED Talks of all time.

All SMU community members are invited to the free Tate Lecture Series Student Forum at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 10, in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballroom. Doors open at 4 p.m. Tweet questions for Shawn Achor to #TalkTate.

On the night of the event, students can go to the basement of McFarlin Auditorium at 7 p.m. with their SMU IDs for possible free seating at the evening lecture. Seats will be given on a first-come, first-served basis.

> Follow the Tate Series on social media: Twitter – @SMUtate | Instagram – @smutate

SMU Meadows Spring Dance Concert honors Danny Buraczeski through April 8, 2018

In the City by Danny Buraczeski, SMU Meadows Spring Dance Concert 2018

In the City by Danny Buraczeski, part of a seven-work tribute to the retiring SMU professor in the Meadows 2018 Spring Dance Concert. All photos: Paul Phillips

The SMU Meadows 2018 Spring Dance Concert honors retiring jazz dance faculty artist Danny Buraczeski with a retrospective of seven of his works. The concert will be presented in two alternating programs, April 4-8, 2018, in SMU’s Bob Hope Theatre, Owen Arts Center.

Featured will be dances created over the past 30 years for professional companies and for SMU students, ranging from 1989’s Merry Go Round to In the City, which premiered in 2013 at SMU’s “Meadows at the Winspear” concert. Performers will include current students; alumni Albert Drake and Adrián Aguirre; and the Zenon Dance Company from Minneapolis, long-time collaborators of Buraczeski’s who performed his critically acclaimed Ezekiel’s Wheel in 2016 in Cuba.

> SMU Forum: Spring Dance Concert to honor retiring SMU dance faculty artist Danny Buraczeski

The concert programs include the following works, to be performed on the days listed:

Program A, to be performed April 4, 5 and 7, opens with In the City (2013), based on “Three Dance Episodes” from the popular Leonard Bernstein musical On the Town. Inspired by the urban rhythms and textures of Bernstein’s music, the work features 15 dancers celebrating youth, optimism and the vibrant new energy that the Dallas Arts District has brought to the city.

It’s followed by Scene Unseen (1998), set to music by Billy Strayhorn and Duke Ellington, featuring a duet with alumni Albert Drake, a founding member of Bruce Wood Dance Project, and Adrián Aguirre, a current member of the company.

Song Awakened (2001) follows, a work set to the songs of the late Cesária Évora, a noted singer of Creole-Portuguese soul music. The work, which debuted to critical acclaim at New York’s Joyce Theater, will be performed by eight Zenon Dance Company members.

The next piece, Points on a Curve (1998), is danced to music by Ornette Coleman; The New York Times said the low-key choreography evoked the music “in often witty and thought-provoking ways.”

Program A concludes with Swing Concerto (1994), an athletic and ebullient exploration of the relationship between two musical traditions: European klezmer music and the American swing of Artie Shaw and Benny Goodman. The piece synthesizes the grounded qualities of folk dance with the exuberance of swing era movement. The Times wrote, “Swing Concerto is Mr. Buraczeski’s choreography at its most inventive, perceptive best.”

Program B, to be performed April 6 and 8, opens with the aforementioned In the City, followed by Merry Go Round (1989), set to music by Glenn Miller and the Army Air Force Band and featuring Zenon company dancers Scott Mettille and Sarah Steichen Stiles.

Next is Points on a Curve (noted above).

The final work in Program B will vary. On April 6, it will be Ezekiel’s Wheel (1999), a piece for eight dancers that was inspired by the life and work of author and civil rights activist James Baldwin. The work, exploring the themes of recognition, responsibility and redemption, will be performed by Zenon Dance Company. Commissioned when Buraczeski was artistic director of the acclaimed Minneapolis-based JAZZDANCE, Ezekiel’s Wheel was praised by The Times as “a balm for the soul in troubled times.”

On April 8, the concert program will conclude with the aforementioned Swing Concerto.

Performance times are 8 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $8 for students, SMU faculty and staff. Buy your tickets online or contact the Meadows Ticket Office at 214-768-2787 (214-SMU-ARTS).

Buy Meadows Spring Dance Concert tickets online at Vendini

Enjoy a gallery of can’t-miss photos from Swing Concerto, Points On a Curve and In the City, all by Paul Phillips.

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