Moby Dick-inspired card game by SMU professor and students exposes subversive humor in Melville’s classic novel

'DICK, the card game' box setThe upcoming movie In the Heart of the Sea promises to offer a potentially Oscar-worthy take on the whale hunt that inspired Henry Melville’s Moby Dick. For folks who still giggle at the title, there’s another way to enjoy that classic novel this winter: DICK, the card game, from the mind of SMU English Professor Tim Cassedy.

Moby Dick is really, really funny,” Cassedy says. “You can downplay the irreverence and read the book as a very earnest story about American ruggedness and Ahab’s will and vengeance, and it is those things. But if you go into it knowing Melville is often kidding, it reads completely differently.”

DICK, the card game, exposes that humor.

In a concept familiar to anyone who’s played Apples to Apples or Cards Against Humanity, DICK is a humorous game of “complete the sentence.” Each turn, one player serves as a judge and asks their fellow players to submit cards that complete the sentence on one of the prompt cards, which contain phrases such as:

“Oh yeah? Well I graduated from the University of _______!” or, “Ted Cruz caused a stir today when he called a press conference to denounce ______.”

The player whose response card most tickles the judge’s fancy wins the round.

> Read more about DICK, the card game in the SMU Campus Weekly

What sets DICK apart from its play-on-words peers is that the response cards all contain quotes from Moby Dick. This is where it quickly becomes apparent that Moby Dick is, indeed, rife with toilet humor.

“Humor is something everyone can relate to – especially low-brow humor,” says co-developer Chelsea Grogan. “It makes Moby Dick accessible, and not this ivory tower we make it out to be.”

Potential response cards include: “An eruption of bears,” “Immaculate manliness” and “A sort of badger-haired old merman.”

Cassedy, Grogan and Jenna Peck came up with DICK while Grogan and Peck (recent SMU graduates) were students in one of Cassedy’s spring classes. They debuted the game at a conference of English professors from across Texas, where it was a hit. DICK, the card game is now selling in select bookstores around the country and online at whysoever.com.

— Kenny Ryan

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Harold Stanley named SMU vice president for executive affairs

Harold StanleyAcademic leader and political science scholar Harold W. Stanley has been named SMU’s vice president for executive affairs, effective Feb. 1, 2016. Stanley has been serving as vice president for academic affairs and provost ad interim since June.

Dr. Stanley previously served as an SMU associate provost. In his new role he will work with President R. Gerald Turner on strategic planning, campus master planning and a variety of other University matters. He replaces Thomas E. Barry, who has served in the position since 1995. Barry has announced his retirement from that position, effective Dec. 31, 2015.

> SMU Forum: Tom Barry announce his retirement as SMU VP for executive affairs

“Harold Stanley’s service in the Office of the Provost has provided him with deep knowledge of the University and its operations,” Turner said. “He has served on committees focusing on the curriculum, honors program and the Second Century Campaign. As a distinguished member of the Political Science faculty, he brings a strong understanding of the University’s mission of teaching, research and service. I am delighted that an accomplished academic administrator from within the SMU community is ready to step into this important role.”

As an associate provost, Stanley oversaw SMU’s international study, research and internship programs in its International Center; teaching, research and other activities at the University’s New Mexico campus, SMU-in-Taos; student academic services in the Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center and the Loyd Center for the Academic Development of Student Athletes; and the University’s most prestigious scholarship for exceptional students, the President’s Scholars program.

Stanley came to SMU in 2003 as the Geurin-Pettus Distinguished Chair in American Politics and Political Economy in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.

> SMU Forum: Harold Stanley named 2015-16 Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar

At SMU, Stanley has been a member of the Executive Board of the John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies since 2003. He has also chaired the Honors Task Force (2006-07), served on the General Education Review Committee (2007-09), and co-chaired the Faculty/Staff Steering Committee for the Second Century Campaign (2009-10). He received SMU’s Distinguished University Citizen Award in 2008 and the University’s highest recognition, the “M” Award, in 2010. He was honored with the Outstanding Administrator Award in 2013.

Stanley has written three books: Vital Statistics on American Politics, now in its 15th edition (CQ Press); Voter Mobilization and the Politics of Race: The South and Universal Suffrage, 1952-1984 (Praeger, 1987), and Senate vs. Governor, Alabama 1971: Referents for Opposition in a One-Party Legislature (University of Alabama Press, 1975). He has also published numerous reviews, book chapters and journal articles in the American Political Science Review, the American Journal of Political Science, and the Journal of Politics, among others.

A former president of the Southern Political Science Association, Stanley received the 2010 Outstanding Teaching in Political Science Award from Pi Sigma Alpha and the American Political Science Association. Earlier this year, he was named a 2015-16 Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar.

Stanley received his B.A. degree from Yale in 1972, graduating magna cum laude as well as with honors with exceptional distinction in political science. He was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford University (Worcester College) from 1972-75, earning a Master of Philosophy in politics. He returned to Yale to earn his Ph.D. in political science in 1981.

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Calendar Highlights: Mustang Must-do’s for Dec. 4, 2015

Meadows Chamber Music Honors Concert: The chamber music program presents a dynamic, varied, passionate performance of jury-selected wind, brass, piano and string ensembles. Come hear these students showcasing the results of a semester of intense, peer-driven collaborative work. The event is on Saturday, Dec. 5 at 7:30 p.m in Caruth Auditorium and is free and open to the public.

Is ForensicScreen shot 2015-12-04 at 1.51.39 PM Science an Oxymoron?: Forensic science evidence (e.g., fingerprints, DNA, microscopic hair, & bite marks) is widely believed to provide powerful proof of identity in both criminal and civil trials. But in recent years, forensic scientists in some areas have been taken to task for overclaiming, failing to test their assumptions, and neglecting to explain to judges and jurors how the risk of error affects the value of reported matches. Solutions will be explored by professor Jonathan Koehler, professor at Northwestern University School of Law, on Monday, Dec. 7 at 12:15 p.m. This event will be in 153 Heroy Halland is free and open to the public. Lunch will be provided. R.S.V.P. at lawandstatistics.eventbrite.com or 214-768-3527.

Learn more about Jonathen Koehler

The Science of Listening to Music: On Monday, Dec. 7, Professor Elizabeth Margulis, director of the Music Cognition Lab at the University of Arkansas, will examine the interface between science and music by using a series of the Lab’s recent experiments. The event will  begin at 4:30 p.m. in 2020 Owen Arts Center. For more information, click here.

Christmas and Crêpes: Come join the SMU Wesley Foundation at 3220 Daniel Avenue for crêpes, coffee, community, and Christmas music on Monday, Dec. 7 from 8 – 9:30 p.m.

Student Film Association Fall Film Festival: The Student Filmmakers’ Association will host their annual fall film festival showcasing the best recent short works created by SMU students. The festival is free and open to the public and will take place on Tuesday, Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. at the Angelika Film Center in Mockingbird Station.

Paws and Take a Break: A team of registered therapy dogs from the A New Leash on Life group will visit the Taubman Atrium on Wednesday, Dec. 9, hosted by Hamon Arts Library. Research has shown that spending 5-24 minutes with a calm dog reduces blood pressure and the levels of stress hormones in the body. Come visit with a certified therapy dog from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.!

Therapy Dogs at Fondren

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Central University Libraries’ 2015 Food for Fines program continues through Wednesday, Dec. 16

Stock photo of canned foodsSMU’s Central University Libraries (CUL) is once again giving students, faculty and staff members an opportunity to help the community – and possibly save some cash as well.

During the 2015 Food for Fines program, CUL will accept food donations for the North Texas Food Bank in return for waiving library fines.

For every donation of a can or package of nonperishable food, SMU faculty, staff members and students will receive a $2 credit toward fines for overdue materials from Fondren Library Center and the Hamon Arts Library.

Learn more about the North Texas Food Bank

To collect your credits, just bring food donations to either of these libraries through Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015. All SMU community members are welcome to participate – even those who have no library fines to cancel. Last year, the SMU community donated 374 cans, equaling $748 in waived library fines.

The Food for Fines program began in 2000 as a way for students to reduce or eliminate library fines while also giving back to the community. “The initiative encourages students to take a look around their dorm rooms to see if they do have any books that might well be overdue,” said Gillian McCombs, dean and director of Central University Libraries. “It is easy to forget these deadlines when you are powering away on a research paper during finals.”

Visit SMU’s Central University Libraries online

Waiver credits do not apply to lost book replacement charges or processing fees. Credit only applies to overdue book fines currently assessed; no future credit can be applied. Overdue fines cannot be waived if they have already been sent to the Bursar’s Office for collection.

“Every year we see students show enthusiasm for the program,” said Sam Cavanaugh, front desk receptionist at Fondren Library. “Last year we had several students bring in cans that amounted to more than their library fines. It’s great to see students giving back.”

— Emily Hooper

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Play and review student-designed games in the SMU Guildhall’s 2015 Fall Beta Test

SMU Guildhall 2015 Fall Beta Test flyerGraduate students from the SMU Guildhall bring their designs to the main campus for a just-in-time-for-finals gaming party.

The 2015 Fall Beta Test takes place 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 3 in two locations: the M Lounge in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center and the Doolin Gallery, 1600 Owen Arts Center. Free food and refreshments will be available for volunteer game-testers.

The following student-designed titles will be available for play-testing and review:

  • A.N.D.Y
  • King Pufferfish
  • Doctor’s Note
  • Lonely HAL
  • Laika
  • Tokyo Tempest
  • Kirie
  • RE.PULSE
  • The Adventures of Boom Boom

> Visit the SMU Guildhall online

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Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns returns to SMU’s Tate Distinguished Lecture Series Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015

Ken BurnsRenowned director and documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, creator of Baseball, The War and The Roosevelts, will return to SMU Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015 for another engagement with the Tate Distinguished Lecture Series. Burns will present The Oncor Lecture at 8 p.m. in McFarlin Auditorium

Burns has been making documentary films for almost 40 years. Since the Academy Award-nominated Brooklyn Bridge in 1981, he has directed and produced some of the most acclaimed historical documentaries ever made, including The Civil War; Baseball; Jazz; The Statue of Liberty; Huey Long; Lewis & Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery; Frank Lloyd Wright; Mark Twain; Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson; The War; The National Parks: America’s Best Idea; The Roosevelts: An Intimate History; and, most recently, Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies.

> Learn more about Ken Burns’ work at his website: KenBurns.com

In 2009, David Zurawik of The Baltimore Sun said, “Ken Burns is not only the greatest documentarian of the day, but also the most influential filmmaker, period. That includes feature filmmakers like George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. I say that because Burns not only turned millions of persons on to history with his films, he showed us a new way of looking at our collective past and ourselves.” The late historian Stephen Ambrose said of Burns’ films, “More Americans get their history from Ken Burns than any other source.”

His future projects include films on Jackie Robinson, the Vietnam War, the history of country music, Ernest Hemingway and the history of stand-up comedy.

Burns’ films have been honored with dozens of major awards, including 13 Emmy Awards, two Grammy Awards and two Oscar nominations. In 2008, at the News & Documentary Emmy Awards, Ken Burns was honored by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

This is Burns’ second visit to SMU to deliver a Tate Distinguished Lecture. Previously, he spoke during the 2004-05 series.

> Follow Ken Burns on Twitter: @KenBurns

All SMU community members are invited to the Turner Construction/Wells Fargo Student Forum at 4:30 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballroom. Doors open at 4 p.m. Please tweet your questions for the forum to #SMUtate.

Tickets for the evening are sold out. However, students can go to the basement of McFarlin Auditorium at 7 p.m. with their SMU IDs for possible seating on a first-come, first-served basis.

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

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2015 Stella Porter Russell Fund faculty bonuses arrive Nov. 30

Eligible SMU faculty members will receive a salary bonus of $1,860 each in their Nov. 30, 2015, paychecks through projected available resources from the Lester A. and Stella Porter Russell Fund.

SMU’s Office of the Provost has identified 686 faculty members as eligible according to the parameters set by Stella Porter Russell in her will. The net amounts received by individuals will vary based on each person’s employment tax withholdings.

The annual supplement was awarded to 678 faculty members in 2014. Every year the amount of the supplement is based on the number of faculty who are eligible, the expected spending distribution from the endowment, and the effect of current investment market conditions on the endowment.

In her will, Russell stipulated that SMU establish an endowment fund in memory of her late husband and herself, to be used to supplement University faculty salaries.

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U.S. Department of State issues Worldwide Travel Alert through Feb. 24, 2016

U.S. Department of State sealThe U.S. Department of State has issued a Worldwide Travel Alert that alerts U.S. citizens to possible risks of travel due to increased terrorist threats.

If students, faculty or staff are planning to travel internationally, please consult the travel alert and country-specific information.

The State Department says U.S. citizens should exercise vigilance when in public places or using transportation; be aware of immediate surroundings; avoid large crowds or crowded places; and exercise particular caution at holiday festivals or events.

State Department security tips include:

  • Follow the instructions of local authorities. Monitor media and local information sources and factor updated information into personal travel plans and activities.
  • Be prepared for additional security screening and unexpected disruptions.
  • Stay in touch with your family members and ensure they know how to reach you in the event of an emergency.
  • Register in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security updates and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.

> Follow updates from the U.S. Department of State on Twitter at @TravelGov or on Facebook

> Find information about advance international travel registration for SMU-affiliated programs or activities

— Sarah Hanan

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Helping students with stress during the holiday and exam season

SMU students in Fondren Science BuildingAs SMU enters both the holiday and exam seasons, Interim Provost Harold Stanley is asking that all University community members watch for signs of stress in themselves and in students.

Dr. Stanley asked that each faculty and staff member “be aware of signs of stress in yourself and those around you” in an e-mail message dated Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015.

“In particular, I ask that you be aware of signs of stress among students, especially first-year students as they are experiencing their first set of final exams,” he added.

He also reminded the University community that “[s]tudents who feel overwhelmed by the stress of the season and finals can visit the offices at the Memorial Health Center, currently located at Perkins Hall, just to the north of Perkins Chapel.”

In addition, Dr. Stanley urged faculty and staff members to visit SMU’s Caring Community Connections homepage for information on identifying and helping students who may be in crisis. The confidential system “will allow us to identify students about whom we are concerned so that we are able to provide them with appropriate information, support, and advice,” he wrote.

He encouraged all to become familiar with SMU’s Guide for Faculty and Staff for Recognizing and Responding to Students in Distress, available online.

Dr. Stanley also issued the University’s traditional call for faculty and staff members to “reach out to an individual who is separated from family and friends at this time and invite them to share some of your traditions and goodwill.”

Many SMU resources are available to help University community members stay healthy and safe during the holiday and exam season, including these:

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Calendar Highlights: Mustang-Must-do’s for the Holiday Season

Celebration of Lights at SMUCelebration of Lights: Twinkling white lights will illuminate the SMU campus Nov. 30-Jan. 3 for Celebration of Lights, the University’s annual holiday celebration. The lighting ceremony on SMU’s Main Quad will take place at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 30.   and will feature student musicians performing songs of the season, SMU President R. Gerald Turner reading the Christmas story from the New Testament, and lighting of the SMU Christmas tree. The celebration ends bathed in candlelight as participants light candles and sing “Silent Night.”

Christmas Worship Service at Perkins Chapel: On Thursday, Dec. 3, SMU’s Perkins School of Theology celebrates its Advent/Christmas Worship Service  at 4 p.m and 8 p.m. in Perkins Chapel. The services this year draw upon the journeys that take place in the nativity narratives: the journey to Bethlehem, the journey of the Magi, and the journey to Egypt. The Seminary Singers will be joined by Diva Dolce, a women’s ensemble from Meadows School of the Arts, at 4 PM, and the Palestrina Singers from St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, directed by Perkins Alum, Michael Conrady, at 8 PM. Admission is free and the 4 PM service will be webcast. For more information, contact Michael Hawn mhawn@smu.edu.

All-University Holiday Party: President and Mrs. R. Gerald Turner will host their annual All-University Holiday Party from 3:30-5 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 15, in the Martha Proctor Mack Ballroom, Umphrey Lee Center.

Winter Exhibition: The SMU Guildhall hosts its Winter Exhibition on Friday, Dec. 18, at SMU-in-Plano. Graduating students in art creation, level design, production and programming will show their work, and attendees will have the opportunity to play games designed by students in multiple cohorts.

December Commencement Convocation and faculty breakfast: The University celebrates its 2015 December Commencement Convocation at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 19, in Moody Coliseum. Retired and current faculty members will assemble for procession in academic dress no later than 9:45 a.m. in the Miller Champions Club in Moody Coliseum. Prior to the ceremony, a faculty breakfast will be served beginning at 8:45 a.m. in the Moody Coliseum. RSVP online for the faculty breakfast and processional by Friday, Dec. 4 and learn more about the ceremony.

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