Tune In: Faculty honored during Founders’ Day 2014

SMU Centennial Faculty Photo, April 11, 2014SMU’s 2014 Founders’ Day Weekend, April 10-13, spotlighted the University’s faculty as the centennial celebration of the Year of the Faculty gains momentum on the Hilltop.

The festivities included a Faculty Salute during the annual President’s Briefing, a showcase of faculty expertise as part of Inside SMU Powered by TEDxSMU, and a Centennial Faculty Photograph in Moody Coliseum.

Relive the event in photos and video courtesy of the Founders’ Day Weekend page at SMU Newsslide show video

Posted in Tune In, Year of the Faculty | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off

Volcano research shows link between ground deformation and eruption potential

InSAR image of volcanic uplift in Africa's Great Rift Valley

InSAR image shows volcanic uplift in Africa’s Great Rift Valley. (Credit: Study authors)

Using satellite imagery to monitor which volcanoes are deforming provides statistical evidence of their eruption potential, according to a new study in Nature Communications.

The European Space Agency’s Sentinel-1 satellite, launched from French Guiana in April 3, 2014, should allow scientists to test this link in greater detail. Its satellite interferometric synthetic aperture radar – InSAR for short – is a spaceborne imaging technology that will help scientists understand how volcanoes work, according to study co-author and geophysicist Zhong Lu, Shuler-Foscue Chair of geophysics in SMU’s Roy M. Huffington Department of Earth Sciences, Dedman College.

Volcano deformation – especially uplift – is often considered to be caused by magma moving or pressurizing underground. Magma rising towards the surface could be a sign of an imminent eruption. On the other hand, many other factors influence volcano deformation, and even if magma is rising, it may stop short rather than erupting.

InSAR technology will eventually help scientists develop a forecast system for all volcanoes, including those that are remote and inaccessible. “InSAR will aid in the prediction of future eruptions,” Lu said. “At SMU, we are developing and applying this technique to track motions of volcanic activities, landslide movements, land subsidence and building stability, among other events.”

Juliet Biggs of the University of Bristol in England led the study. Biggs looked at the archive of satellite data covering more than 500 volcanoes worldwide, many of which have been systematically observed for more than 18 years.

Satellite radar can provide high-resolution maps of deformation, allowing the detection of unrest at many volcanoes that might otherwise go unrecognized. Such satellite data is often the only source of information for remote or inaccessible volcanoes.

The researchers, who included scientists from Cornell University and Oxford University, applied statistical methods more traditionally used for medical diagnostic testing and found that many deforming volcanoes also erupted (46 percent). Together with the very high proportion of non-deforming volcanoes that did not erupt (94 percent), these jointly represent a strong indicator of a volcano’s long-term eruptive potential.

“The findings suggest that satellite radar is the perfect tool to identify volcanic unrest on a regional or global scale and target ground-based monitoring,” Biggs said.

Courtesy of the University of Bristol

> Read the full story at the SMU Research blog

Posted in Research | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Calendar Highlights: Finals week, May 5, 2014

celebratingSMU’s 99th Commencement is just around the corner – the end of Spring 2014 (and another academic year) at a glance:

  • May 5: Last day of instruction
  • May 6: Reading Day
  • May 7-13: Examinations (no exams scheduled for Sunday)
  • May 15-30: May Term 2014 for SMU main campus and SMU-in-Taos
  • May 16-17: May Commencement Weekend
  • May 26: University Holiday, Memorial Day
  • June 5: Last day to file for August Graduation
Posted in Calendar Highlights | Comments Off

SMU supports national effort on sexual misconduct prevention

The U.S. Department of Education announced May 1 that procedures regarding sexual misconduct and harassment are being examined at 55 higher education institutions. (Read the announcement.)

The University announced in a statement that:

“SMU applauds the U.S. Department of Education’s efforts to eradicate sexual violence on college campuses and to provide universities with additional tools to combat sexual assault. Our goals are the same.

“The matters under review by the Education Department have been investigated by SMU and predate our University task force review of sexual misconduct policies and procedures. The University has been aggressive in putting into practice wide-ranging new procedures to inform and protect our students, to provide prompt and effective resolution of complaints, and to hold violators accountable while treating all students fairly.

“SMU continually reviews and updates its programs in comparison with national benchmarks, and we are pleased that the White House also has made these matters a priority for all American universities. No issue is more important than the health and safety of our students.”

Continue reading

Posted in News | Comments Off

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings will deliver address at SMU’s 99th Commencement May 17, 2014

Mike-Rawlings-02Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings will deliver the address at SMU’s 99th all-University Commencement. The ceremonies begin at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 17, in Moody Coliseum.

The ceremony, including Rawlings’ address, will be broadcast live at smu.edu/live.

Elected mayor in June 2011, Rawlings immediately took on a broad agenda of citywide improvements. He has created new strategies for growing the arts through the Mayor’s Business Arts Initiative, has used his visibility as mayor to organize a campaign against domestic violence and has put Dallas in the spotlight by taking a leading role with the U.S. Conference of Mayors, which will meet in Dallas June 20-23, 2014.

With the launch of GrowSouth, Rawlings outlined a comprehensive strategy designed to boost the economic impact of southern Dallas. GrowSouth already has been a catalyst for new economic investment, job creation and public-private partnerships. In 2012, The Dallas Morning News praised Rawlings, saying, “After only six months, Rawlings has accomplished more for southern Dallas than many of his predecessors managed in their entire terms.”

Rawlings has adopted four DISD schools in southern Dallas in areas primed for growth and also is working closely with Commit!, an education collaborative for Dallas-area schools. SMU partners with Rawlings on the Mayor’s Summer Reading Club, which provides incentives to keep children reading over the summer months, as well as the Mayor’s Intern Fellows Program, an eight-week, paid summer internship program for students from public and charter high schools in Dallas.

“Mike Rawlings has a passion for improving the quality of life in Dallas,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “He is using his platform as mayor to work for more livable neighborhoods, increased economic opportunity throughout the city and strong public education for Dallas children. We prepare our graduates to become world changers, and I can’t think of a better example for them than Mayor Rawlings.”

> Read the full story from SMU News

Posted in Calendar Highlights, News | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off

For the Record: April 28, 2014

Anthony Cortese, Sociology, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, participated in the 2014 Pacific Sociological Association annual meetings in Portland, Oregon, serving as moderator and discussant for two sessions on the sociology of religion: “Secularization of Society” and “Research-in-Progress.”

 

Posted in For the Record, News | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

SMU names three honorary degree recipients for 2014

Three outstanding individuals, including a current and a former SMU professor, will receive honorary degrees at the University’s 99th Commencement ceremony Saturday, May 17, in Moody Coliseum.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Isabel Wilkerson and Methodist historian Richard P. Heitzenrater will receive honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees. SMU law professor Joseph W. McKnight will receive the honorary Doctor of Laws degree.

Each of the honorary degree recipients will be featured in symposia scheduled for Thursday, May 15 and Friday, May 16. All are free and open to the public.

SMU expects to award more than 2,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees to students at May Commencement.

“Conferring honorary degrees is an important and time-honored Commencement tradition,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “This year’s recipients’ achievements are outstanding examples of what we hope our students will strive to accomplish when pursuing their professional endeavors.”

Journalist and author Isabel WilkersonWhile writing for The New York Times, Wilkerson became the first African-American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize in journalism and the first African-American, male or female, to win the Pulitzer for individual reporting. Her award-winning book, The Warmth of Other Suns, is a definitive history of the Great Migration of African-Americans from the rural South to urban centers in the North and West. For her achievements as a journalist and contributions to understanding of the African-American experience, SMU will confer upon Wilkerson the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.

Methodist historian and theologian Richard P. HeitzenraterHeitzenrater is recognized as the world’s leading authority on John Wesley and early Methodism. His book,Wesley and the People Called Methodists, has been translated into seven languages. He served on the faculty of SMU’s Perkins School of Theology for 16 years and in 2010 retired from the faculty of Duke University Divinity School. He is best known for breaking the secret code of Wesley’s personal diaries, making them available to the world. For his scholarly achievements and his service to SMU, the University will confer upon Heitzenrater the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.

SMU Law Professor Joseph W. McKnightMcKnight has made historic contributions to scholarship in legal history and to law reform in Texas. He retires this year from SMU’s law faculty after serving for six decades. The author of six books, he directed the Texas Family Code project, which achieved important reforms, and was principal drafter of the Texas Matrimonial Property Act, recognizing property rights of married women. For his dedicated service to SMU, his distinguished scholarship and his leadership in the legal community, the University will confer upon McKnight the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.

The honorary degree symposia

• McKnight will be featured in a symposium from 3-5 p.m. Thursday, May 15, in the Underwood Law Library. “A Celebration of Joseph Webb McKnight, his Contributions to Texas Law, to Legal History, and to the SMU Dedman School of Law” will include speakers Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht; Chief Justice for the Fifth District Court of Appeals Linda B. ThomasJosiah M. Daniel, III, Esq., of the law firm of Vinson & Elkins; Professor Joshua C. Tate of the SMU Dedman School of Law; and Peter Winship, the James Cleo Thompson, Sr. Professor of Law in the Dedman School of Law. Dedman Law Interim Dean Julie Forrester will serve as emcee for the event.

• Wilkerson will participate in a symposium from 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Friday, May 16, in the Pavilion of Annette Caldwell Simmons Hall. The symposium, “Literature for Real: Journalism, the American Canon, and the Evolving American South,” will include keynote speaker Farah Jasmine Griffin, professor of English/Comparative Literature/African American Studies, Columbia University, and author of Who Set You Flowin’? and Harlem Nocturne. A discussion will include remarks from Wilkerson and feature panelists Ta-Nehisi Coates, senior editor of The Atlantic Monthly and author of The Beautiful StruggleBrittney Cooper, assistant professor of women’s and gender and Africana studies, Rutgers University, and columnist for Salon.com; Daina Ramey Berry, associate professor of history, University of Texas at Austin, and author of Swing the Sickle for the Harvest is RipeWalton Muyumba, associate professor of English at the University of North Texas and author of The Shadow and the Act: Black Intellectual Practice, Jazz Improvisation, and Philosophical Pragmatism; and moderator Karen Thomas, SMU professor of practice in journalism and Dallas Morning News writer.

• Heitzenrater will be featured in a symposium at 3 p.m., Friday, May 16, in the Great Hall of Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Hall. The symposium, “Grace Works: Reflections on Divine Grace, Human Works, and John Wesley – Celebrating the Scholarly Contributions of Richard P. Heitzenrater,” will include remarks by SMU Perkins School of Theology Dean William B. Lawrence and will feature panelists Ted A. Campbell, associate professor of Church History, Perkins School of Theology, and an ordained United Methodist minister and clergy member of the Texas Annual Conference; Sharon Grant, adjunct faculty in the Religion and Philosophy Department at University of the Incarnate Word, San Antonio, and an ordained elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church; Tamara Lewis, instructor in Church History, Perkins School of Theology, and an ordained United Methodist minister and clergy member of the Tennessee Annual Conference; and Andrew C. Thompson, assistant professor of Historical Theology & Wesleyan Studies at Memphis Theological Seminary and an ordained United Methodist minister and clergy member of the Arkansas Annual Conference. Heitzenrater will bring a response to the panel. In addition, an exhibition honoring Heitzenrater will be featured in the Entry Hall of Bridwell Library.

> Read the full story from SMU News

Posted in Calendar Highlights, News | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Meadows Theatre presents three spring plays in ‘The Rep’ April 22-May 4, 2014

sasha-davis-susana-batres-marisol-the-rep-spring-2014

Sasha Davis (B.F.A. ’16) and Susana Batres (M.F.A. ’14) in Marisol by José Rivera – one of three plays to be performed in repertory rotation by SMU Meadows Theatre in April and May 2014.

In a nod to repertory theatre, SMU Meadows Theatre will present three contemporary American plays – produced, directed and acted by students – on a two-week rotation from Tuesday, April 22 to Sunday, May 4, 2014.

The program, collectively called The Rep, will include the following individual productions. All will be performed in the Margo Jones Theatre, Owen Arts Center, and tickets are $5 for students and $7 for SMU faculty and staff. Visit the link at each play’s name to buy tickets online through Vendini:

This, Melissa James Gibson

• The first production follows four friends in their late 30s as they experience love, loss, remorse and doubt. The confusion of the characters is executed with “wit and melancholy comedy” to create a play that explores middle age.

Middletown, Will Eno

• Play number two was inspired by Thornton Wilder’s Our Town. The inhabitants of Middletown are extremely candid with their deepest fears and secrets. The thought-provoking script examines the anxieties we face through vignettes exploring the beauty and horror of life.

Marisol, José Rivera

• The final play follows Marisol, living in New York City, and how a subway attack changes the course of her life. The work explores a parallel universe where social injustices are brought to light through a world revolution.

The schedule of performances:

Screen shot 2014-04-21 at 12.09.24 PM

Find complete cast and crew lists under the link.

Continue reading

Posted in Calendar Highlights, News | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off

SMU hails outstanding achievement at 2013-14 Awards Extravaganza, Honors Convocation

2013 laurelsSMU faculty, staff, administrators and students were recognized with teaching awards, service honors and the University’s highest commendation, the “M” Award, at the 2014 Awards Extravaganza Monday, April 21.

> See images from Honors Convocation 2014 at SMU News

On the same day, the University honored its best students at the 17th Honors Convocation. The address was delivered by Eric Bing, professor of global health in the Department of Applied Physiology and Wellness in SMU’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development and in the Department of Anthropology in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.

Bing, who holds a concurrent appointment with the George W. Bush Institute as senior fellow and director of global health, has developed and managed global health programs in Africa, Central America and the Caribbean, including HIV prevention, care and treatment programs in Rwanda, Angola, Nigeria, Namibia, Belize and Jamaica.

Find a list of University, school and departmental awards from Honors Convocation 2014

See the Awards Extravaganza 2014 winners list under the link.

Continue reading

Posted in For the Record, News | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

SMU OIT issues advice on Heartbleed bug

Heartbleed graphicThe Heartbleed bug made big news in mid-April 2014 as an online security vulnerability with potentially devastating consequences.

SMU’s Office of Information Technology has issued advice on protecting yourself against Heartbleed, detailed in this e-mail message dated Wednesday, April 16, 2014:

By now you’ve probably heard about the internet bug known as Heartbleed. This security vulnerability has impacted a large number of online sites potentially exposing password information. OIT has been diligent in assessing and addressing SMU provided services as soon as the software patches were released.

Due to the potential risk that existed with this vulnerability, we are encouraging the campus community to take the following steps to ensure the protection of their accounts and data:

  1. Reset your SMU password by visiting smu.edu/password. If you know your current SMU password, click on CHANGE. If you do not know your password, click Reset. Once you have set a new password, update any mobile devices that may also be configured for email or wireless access using that account.
  2. Apple iOS devices: If you previously installed the Cisco AnyConnect client on your Apple iPad or iPhone, please visit the app store and download the latest version of the client. The previous version was impacted by this security flaw. Several other applications that you may have downloaded from the app store are releasing updates to address this flaw. We recommended applying these updates as well.
  3. Android devices: Please check the software version that your device is running. If it is on version 4.1.1, it is vulnerable. Check for updates to the OS which will be released by your cell phone vendor. Several other applications that you may have downloaded from the Playstore are releasing updates to address this flaw. We recommended applying these updates as well.
  4. External sites: The following external sites have recommended a password change: Dropbox, Facebook, Google, Etsy, Fandango, Android/Google apps, Hulu, Instagram, Pinterest, Steam, Stripe, TurboTax, Tumblr, Prezi, and Yahoo. This is not a comprehensive list! Please check with each website on which you currently have an account to review their recommendations.
  5. Be on guard against phishing attempts! With so many sites encouraging users to change their passwords, we anticipate an increase in phishing emails. Please visit the websites directly to access any password reset utilities rather than clicking on links in an e-mail.

Password Security Tips

Although it is inconvenient to change all of your online passwords, we strongly encourage you to do so to protect your information. The following are a few password tips to remember as you update your accounts:

  • Do not use personal information in your passwords such as birthdate, zip code, name, pet names, etc.
  • Do not use the same password for all of your accounts.
  • Select a strong password using capital letters, lowercase letters, numbers and symbols.
  • Select a password that is easy to remember (so you don’t have to write it down) but make sure it is difficult for anyone else to guess!

> Get help and find more information at smu.edu/oit

Posted in News | Tagged , , , | Comments Off