academic initiatives

Provost announces names of 11 SMU Faculty in Residence

SMU's southeast campus residential complex

Artist’s rendering of SMU’s southeast campus residential complex, which will help support the University’s Residential Commons experience.

SMU Provost Paul Ludden has announced the appointment of eight new Faculty in Residence (FiRs) selected in the Spring 2013 semester. The new FiRs join the three “founding FiRs” as the first full cohort to become part of the University’s new Residential Commons (RC).

Faculty in Residence are chosen in a competitive selection process. When the Commons program launches in Fall 2014, each FiR will live in a residence hall and work with student leaders and Student Affairs staff to shape the Residential Commons experience.

> SMU Forum: Three SMU professors named first Faculty in Residence

Four FiRs have moved into residence halls a year early as part of the Residential Commons transition process: Ann Batenburg, Teaching and Learning, Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development; Mark Fontenot, Computer Science and Engineering, Lyle School of Engineering; Robert Krout, Music Therapy, Meadows School of the Arts; and Charles Wuest, English, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.

The full list of faculty members who have been appointed for a 3-4 year term, and the halls where they will take up residence:

  • Ann Batenburg, Teaching and Learning – Virginia-Snider RC *
  • Martin Camp, School of Law – Residential Commons 4 (under construction)
  • Miroslava Detcheva, Spanish – McElvaney RC
  • Mark Fontenot, Computer Science and Engineering – Loyd RC (under construction) *†
  • Mark Kerins, Film and Media Arts – Morrison-McGinnis RC
  • Rita Kirk, Communication Studies – Armstrong RC (under construction)
  • Robert Krout, Music Therapy – Mary Hay/Peyton/Shuttles RC *†
  • Will Power, Theatre – Residential Commons 1 (under construction)
  • David Son, Chemistry – Boaz RC
  • Tom Tunks, Music – Residential Commons 3 (under construction) *†
  • Elizabeth Wheaton, Economics – Cockrell-McIntosh RC

* Living in residence during the 2013-14 academic year
† One of SMU’s three original Faculty in Residence, the “Founding FiRs

Along with the 11 FiRs, 23 Faculty Affiliates were selected and have been working in every residence hall on campus since the beginning of the year. For more information on participating in the Faculty Affiliate program, contact Jeff Grim, Residence Life and Student Housing.

> Learn more at the SMU Residential Commons website:

SMU’s 2013 Engaged Learning Expo takes place Sept. 5

SMU Engaged Learning studentsSMU students who want to learn outside the classroom, tackle real world issues and explore potential careers as part of their university experience will find representatives from DFW-area organizations and agencies who want their help at the 2013 Engaged Learning Expo from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 5, in the Mack Ballroom, Umphrey Lee Center.

The event also will be of interest to faculty who want to develop courses with community components and staff who want to expand opportunities for their programs.

> Find lists of campus programs and community partners scheduled for the Expo

The expo will celebrate 70 SMU undergraduates who worked on significant projects this summer, and provide opportunities to mix and match interested students with different campus programs as well as DFW-area community partners.

“A student who engages in a learning activity beyond the classroom has the opportunity to transfer the knowledge and skills of the classroom to a real-life situation, learn from the experience, reflect on it and use it as a basis for further learning,” said Susan Kress, director of Engaged Learning at SMU. “This is a taste of what it means to be a lifelong learner, and, for some, the first step in living a life of meaning and success in a complex world.”

Read about 2013-14 Engaged Learning student projects from SMU News
> Visit SMU’s Office of Engaged Learning online

SMU joins university consortium to offer courses online

SMU has joined a consortium of prestigious universities to offer a limited number of live, online courses for academic credit through Semester Online. The program will begin in fall 2013.

Approved University undergraduates will have the opportunity to take classes taught by faculty who teach the same courses at Boston College, Brandeis University, Emory University, Northwestern University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Notre Dame and Washington University in St. Louis. The online courses will be as rigorous as those offered on campus, but will allow students to join from anywhere they have internet access.

SMU is joining Semester Online as a Charter Affiliate Partner, along with Baylor University and Temple University.

See the list of partner schools at the Semester Online site

Provost Paul Ludden said that the agreement with Semester Online will provide valuable flexibility for SMU students, especially for those who need to spend a semester away from the main campus for internships or to manage personal commitments.

“This is an exciting opportunity for our students,” Ludden said. “The live, face-to-face classes will allow the students and the professor to all see each other in real time, enabling both conversations and visual presentations on the same platform.”

> Read more, including a full list of available classes, from SMU News

By | 2013-07-30T09:38:22+00:00 July 30, 2013|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , , |

One name, two fates: SMU’s 2013 Common Reading

Two boys with the same name were born within blocks of each other and less than a year apart. Both grew up fatherless in the same poverty-stricken Baltimore ghetto. Both experienced the same hazards of urban youth: racism, violence and trouble with the law. How did one become a Rhodes Scholar and investment banker and the other a convicted murderer serving a life sentence for killing an off-duty police officer?

SMU’s entering class of 2017 will examine the experiences of these two men whose lives turned out very differently, despite their similar backgrounds, in the 2013 Common Reading selection, The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates.

> Watch author Wes Moore discuss the book in his own words in a new YouTube window video

'The Other Wes Moore' book coverThe New York Times bestseller explores the contrast between the book’s author – who graduated from Johns Hopkins University and worked alongside Condoleezza Rice in the White House – and “the other” Wes Moore, whose path led to drug dealing, armed robbery and prison.

The difference between their destinies is troubling, and Moore the author aims to arrive at some conclusions about the factors and influences that led his counterpart down paths so divergent from his own.

The book “both disturbs and inspires readers with questions about the influence of family and education in the choices a young person makes,” wrote Associate Provost Harold Stanley in an e-mail to faculty and staff members dated Thursday, May 2, 2013.

The Common Reading Selection Committee is now seeking leaders for the pre-Convocation reading discussion that has become a first-week-on-campus tradition. Discussion leaders will receive a free copy of the book. Active and emeritus professors from all SMU schools are invited to take part.

To volunteer as a discussion leader, or for more information on this year’s selection, contact Diana Grumbles, 214-768-3832.

> Learn more about SMU’s 2013 Common Reading at

51 students to take on Engaged Learning projects in 2013-14

Engaged Learning students for 2013-14SMU’s Office of Engaged Learning has selected 51 undergraduates from throughout the University to take on self-designed projects in research, civic engagement, creative work and internships in 2013-14.

The students will participate through the SMU Engaged Learning initiative and will work with 39 different faculty and staff mentors in 12 countries to complete their projects.

The University community will have the opportunity to meet the 2013-14 Engaged Learners for pizza and discussion of their projects at the 2013 Engaged Learning Meet-Up, scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 30 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballroom.

Learn more about the meet-up at SMU’s Engaged Learning homepage

The new Engaged Learning cohort represents another significant increase in the total number of participating students. Thirty-seven undergraduates undertook Unbridled Projects during 2012-13; three conducted projects during the program’s first year in 2011-12.

The Office of Engaged Learning provides institutional support for SMU’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), created as part of the University’s reaccreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). “Engaged Learning Beyond the Classroom” allows all SMU undergraduate students to participate in at least one extensive experiential learning activity prior to graduation.

A full list of students pursuing 2013-14 Unbridled Projects appears below the link.


ORACLE course eases transition for SMU transfer students

Students who transfer to SMU after beginning their college experience on another campus will have the opportunity to take a class in Fall 2013 designed for a smoother transition.

Prospective students who attended Mustang Stampede on Saturday, Feb. 16 learned about ORACLE, which stands for Optimum Reading, Attention, Comprehension, Learning Efficiency. Students enrolled in the ORACLE class meet twice a week and earn a one-hour credit that can be applied to any degree program as an elective.

The class is a pilot project made possible by a donation from a family whose daughter transferred to SMU. It will be available to the first 23 transfer students who sign up for it.

The ORACLE class at SMU is primarily designed to strengthen reading and studying skills, including:

  • An approach to studying that builds on individual learning styles and strengths
  • Time-management skills that will help reach academic goals with time left for everything else
  • Strategies for reading faster with deeper comprehension
  • Techniques for improving concentration and memory
  • A system for taking and using class notes
  • Test preparation procedures and test-taking strategies to help students learn, recall and apply what they’ve learned
  • Methods for organizing desk, notebooks and planners

Transfer students make up a significant portion of SMU’s undergraduate studentpopulation – about 900 of SMU’s approximately 6,500 undergraduate students come to SMU after previously attending a community college or another university.

“This ORACLE class is geared specifically for transfer students,” said Nancy Skochdopole, SMU director of Transfer and Transition Services. “What we like to say about a transfer student is we know they’re not new to college, but they’re new to SMU.

“For the students who sign up for the ORACLE class, it could be tremendously significant as they transition to what will probably be a more rigorous curriculum at SMU,” Skochdopole said. “And it will help them find a group and make friends with other students who are transitioning to SMU.”

> Find more student resources at SMU’s Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center

CTE recognizes 2011-12 Peer Feedback Program participants

SMU’s Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE) recognizes 12 faculty members for serving in its Peer Feedback Program during 2011-12.

The CTE established the program in Fall 2010 as part of its mission to enhance teaching effectiveness across campus. The program matches a faculty member asking for an outside teaching assessment with a member of the Altshuler Academy of Distinguished Teachers – all of whom are recipients of the CTE’s Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor Award.

Working together, the two faculty members develop a comprehensive review of all aspects of the requesting faculty member’s teaching. The result is a confidential assessment for the requesting faculty member only.

Since its inception, the CTE has received about 40 requests from new and experienced teachers alike, says Beth Thornburg, CTE director.

The following Academy members provided Peer Feedback reviews during the past year:

  • Marc Christensen, Electrical Engineering
  • Melissa Dowling, History
  • Randall Griffin, Art History
  • Rita Kirk, Communication Studies
  • Joe Kobylka, Political Science
  • Alyce McKenzie, Preaching and Worship
  • Larry Ruben, Biological Sciences
  • Dennis Simon, Political Science
  • Don VandeWalle, Management and Organizations
  • Greg Warden, Art History
  • Bonnie Wheeler, Medieval Studies
  • Patty Wisian-Neilson, Chemistry

More about the Peer Feedback Program from SMU’s Center for Teaching Excellence
Request peer feedback from the CTE

New SMU May Term to launch in 2013

SMU students at the Bishop Boulevard gateway marker

SMU’s Office of the Provost has approved a relaunch of the University’s May interterm program on the main campus this spring. The Office of Summer Studies will accept course proposals for the 2013 May Term on the Dallas Campus through Friday, Feb. 15.

All proposals must demonstrate how the courses will be adapted to 11 class days of 4 hours each. Courses offered at the SMU-in-Taos campus may not be offered on the Dallas campus during May Term. Before a proposal is submitted, the instructor must receive approval from his or her department chair and dean.

Students must meet with their academic adviser before enrolling for any May Term on the Dallas Campus course. Enrollment forms will be available at in early February. The deadline to enroll for 2013 May Term on the Dallas Campus is noon Wednesday, May 1.

The University’s previous May interterm on the Dallas campus ended in 1990 due to declining revenue, but the time is ripe to reboot the program, says Kathy Rowe, director of Summer Studies.

“The campus hasn’t changed, but our students have,” Rowe says. “They are trying to make room for Engaged Learning projects, for study abroad, for internships and other endeavors that enhance their college experience. More and more, they need the ability to take required courses at different times of the year. The growing success of the J Term program is one indicator of that.”

The new May Term on the Dallas Campus will offer the same discounted tuition as all other non-Fall and Spring terms, Rowe confirms. With no general student fees attached, these classes cost about 33 percent less than a regular-term course. For the 2013 pilot year, Rowe hopes to schedule 10 courses that will accommodate 15-20 students in each.

The interterm’s May 31 end date is an advantage for students who live off campus, Rowe says; many upper-class students have apartment leases that last through the end of the month. She is also working with Senior Executive Director of Residence Life and Student Housing Steve Logan about the possibility of extending on-campus housing for students who enroll in May Term on the Dallas Campus. 

Rowe also has plans to recruit new kinds of students to the program. Possibilities include certificate programs in topics such as human rights that can be completed in consecutive May Terms over a student’s undergraduate career or in one summer. Such programs could be very attractive to visiting students who live in Dallas but attend other colleges and universities, Rowe says.

“One concern about launching a new program like this is that there are a certain number of SMU students each year who are trying to finish on time or get a second major or minor, and we’re just moving them around,” she says. “With May Term on the Dallas Campus, we’re looking to draw in students beyond that relatively stable market.”

For more information on the course proposal process, contact Kathy Rowe, Director of Summer Studies, 214-768-2736.

> Download an SMU May Term on the Dallas Campus course proposal form (PDF format)

SMU joins the Clinton Global Initiative University Network

Clinton Global Initiative University Network logoSMU has joined Ohio State, Tuskegee University, Brown, Cornell and the University of California-Berkeley as one of 23 members of the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) Network – a consortium of colleges and universities that support, mentor and provide seed funding to student innovators and entrepreneurs.

With the approval of SMU Provost Paul Ludden, the University’s Office of Engaged Learning has committed the required $10,000 in funding for SMU students who design and execute an accepted CGI U project in one of five focus areas: Education, Environment and Climate Change, Peace and Human Rights, Poverty Alleviation, and Public Health. The office will manage the budget and allocate the funds.

Successful applicants must submit their project ideas by the organization’s deadline of Jan. 30, 2013. The deadline for completion of each project will be built into its design, possibly ranging from a single academic term to multiple years. Director of Engaged Learning Susan Kress will guide SMU undergraduates through the process.

These project plans, called Commitments to Action, must be “new, specific and measurable initiatives that address social or environmental challenges on campuses, in communities or in different parts of the world,” according to the CGI U website. These commitments have ranged from manufacturing wheelchairs for developing countries to establishing campus bike-share programs, and from creating free vision clinics to mentoring youth through chess.

Through the SMU Engaged Learning initiative, “we’ve identified a few students who are thinking far beyond their years about projects that fit CGI U’s focus areas, and we’ve invited them to apply for funding,” Kress says. She will also work with students to identify faculty experts who can help steer their plans. “Engaged Learning has helped us build some very good relationships with several professors who are willing to work with students” on such projects, she says. Her office will give monthly updates to CGI U on each approved project.

President Bill Clinton launched the Clinton Global Initiative University ( in 2007 to engage the next generation of leaders from college campuses around the world in developing plans and taking action to create positive change. Participants attend CGI U’s annual meeting where students, youth organizations, subject matter experts and thought leaders discuss and develop innovative solutions to global challenges.

CGI U 2013 will be held at Washington University in St. Louis from April 5-7. About 1,200 students from around the world are expected to attend. The opportunity to network with peers and leaders at these meetings is “potentially life-changing for some of these students,” Kress says.

Five SMU students have participated independently in CGI U since its inception.

For more information, contact Meleah Chriss in the Office of Engaged Learning, 214-768-3223.

> Visit SMU’s Office of Engaged Learning online
> Learn more about the Clinton Global Initiative University

$1.5 million gift to fund new endowed chair in Art History

John B. and Marsha Kleinheinz

John B. and Marsha Kleinheinz

A $1.5 million gift from the Kleinheinz Family Endowment for the Arts and Education will establish an endowed chair in the Division of Art History in SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts.

“We are deeply grateful to the Kleinheinz Family Endowment for its generosity and visionary support,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “This gift will enable Meadows School of the Arts to add further strength to the faculty and academic offerings in one of the school’s leading departments. The gift supports a major goal of SMU’s Second Century Campaign to endow 100 faculty positions and brings the current total to 86.”

> The Dallas Morning News: Robert Miller: SMU’s Meadows School of Arts receives $1.5 million boost

The Kleinheinz Family Endowment for the Arts and Education is a private charitable foundation supported through contributions from Marsha and John B. Kleinheinz of Fort Worth. Their daughter, Marguerite, graduated from Meadows School of the Arts in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in art history.

“We are very impressed with Marguerite’s experience at the Meadows School and SMU. Meadows Dean José Bowen has made great progress during his tenure,” said Marsha Kleinheinz, president of the Kleinheinz Family Endowment. “We want to support the future of the University that is so important to our family.”

John Kleinheinz, a Stanford University graduate, started his career as an investment banker engaged in corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions for Nomura Securities and Merrill Lynch in Tokyo, New York and London. In 1996 he established Kleinheinz Capital Partners, Inc., a private investment management firm in Fort Worth.

Marsha Kleinheinz earned a B.B.A. degree from SMU in 1983. She is currently involved in several charitable organizations, including Gill Children’s Services, The Warm Place, The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Van Cliburn Foundation, Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, Performing Arts of Fort Worth and North Texas Public Broadcasting. The Kleinheinzes have three children.

“Our art history faculty are doing remarkable new things that will change the way art is studied,” said Dean Bowen. “With this exceptionally generous gift, we will be able to recruit and retain outstanding professors and continue to enhance our reputation as one of the very best art history departments in the country.”

SMU Provost Paul Ludden added, “The Kleinheinz Family Endowed Chair in Art History will help to ensure the continued development of the Art History Division as one of SMU’s strongest academic units. It will enhance the entire University as a center of excellence for historical studies.”

> Read the full story from SMU News

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