administration

Elena D. Hicks begins role as SMU’s new dean of admission Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017

This story was originally published Jan. 30, 2017.

Elena Hicks

After an extensive national search, SMU has appointed Elena D. Hicks, dean of admission at Loyola University Maryland, as the University’s new dean of undergraduate admission. She began her SMU service on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017.

In her new role, Hicks oversees all activities in the SMU Office of Admission, including admission for first-year, transfer and international applicants. She also will work closely with SMU Public Affairs to develop the University’s marketing messages, and with faculty, staff and alumni to recruit high achieving undergraduate students from across the United States and around the world.

“We are pleased to welcome Dean Hicks to the SMU admission team, and back to her home state of Texas,” said Wes Waggoner, associate vice president for enrollment management in the Office of the Provost. “Her experience and knowledge in admission is extensive, and she understands the profession in a way that will complement our current staff and guide SMU through the enrollment opportunities and complexities before us. She is firmly committed to increasing [the University’s] academic stature and ensuring that its student body is talented, diverse and eager to engage with our faculty in the classroom.”

With 27 years of education experience, Hicks has considerable knowledge about student recruitment, selective admission and family involvement. At Loyola, she successfully developed and implemented recruitment strategies that resulted in a significant increase in first-year applications and an increase in the enrollment size of the entering class during her nine-year tenure.

Hicks’ ties to SMU are deeply rooted. Her great-grandfather Robert L. Peace (a Dallas native), began working at SMU as it opened its doors, and he proudly served the institution for 37 years. Other family members, inspired by Robert’s passion for the University, worked at SMU in various capacities over the years.

“I have a passion for education and strongly believe in SMU’s commitment to shape world changers, thus I am extremely honored to be selected as the University’s new dean of undergraduate admission,” said Hicks. “I feel confident that my myriad of experiences will help move the office of admission’s goals and strategies forward, while establishing collaborative partnerships and strengthening relationships with the overall community.”

> Read the full story from SMU News

Peter Moore appointed to campuswide curricular and policy role

Dedman Faculty Peter Moore PortraitPeter K. Moore, SMU associate dean for general education and a longtime advocate for liberal studies and scholarship, has been appointed associate provost for curricular innovation and policy effective Oct. 3, 2016.

Moore’s new role is part of a reorganization of the University’s Office of General Education, which will move from Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences to the Office of the Provost. The move was announced jointly by Steven Currall, provost and vice president for academic affairs, and Thomas DiPiero, dean of Dedman College, after extensive consultation with the SMU Faculty Senate.

Moore will also continue as co-chair of the Provost’s General Education Review Task Force.

Locating the Office of General Education in the Office of the Provost is expected to provide several benefits for both the University at large and to Dedman College, say Currall and DiPiero:

  • The new arrangement will allow SMU to be more strategically responsive to trends in higher education and in the marketplace.
  • The new structure will enhance flexibility to ensure the University Curriculum works for every undergraduate college and school.
  • The new associate provost will provide coordination across the curriculum.
  • The associate provost will also work to promote innovations in curricular structure and content.
  • University advising, the University Honors Program and the Hilltop Scholars Program will remain in Dedman College.

Moore brings to his new position a wealth of familiarity with SMU’s core curriculum. As head of the Office of General Education, since 2014 he has worked with the University Curriculum Committee and the Faculty Senate’s Academic Policies Committee, as well as faculty across the University, to develop the revised curriculum known as UC 2016 based on data and experience gained from the University Curriculum of 2010.

> Learn more about UC 2016 at the SMU General Education homepage

A professor of mathematics, Moore has also served as senior associate dean and associate dean of academic affairs in Dedman College since July 2010. Dean DiPiero will appoint a new full-time associate dean; plans for that process will be announced at a later date.

“During recent years, Professor Moore’s work has evolved to be more focused on campuswide general education and liberal arts,” said Currall. “This move will create an opportunity for Peter to use his considerable talents in the Provost’s Office and for Dedman College to have a fully dedicated associate dean.”

“Peter Moore is passionate about undergraduate education, and he knows more about how different institutions approach it than anyone I know,” said DiPiero. “I look forward to continuing a close and collaborative working relationship with him as we design new programs and continue to fine-tune our University Curriculum.”

Moore joined the Department of Mathematics in Dedman College in August 2000, after serving 11 years as a faculty member at Tulane University in New Orleans. His teaching interests include calculus, differential equations, numerical analysis and modeling.

He served as department chair from August 2005 to May 2009, and twice as dean ad interim of the College: from June 2009 to July 2010 and from June to August 2014. His SMU service also includes membership on the Provost’s Committee on Tenure and Promotion and the Steering Committee for Project SMU: Operational Excellence for the Second Century (OE2C), now the Office of Operational Excellence.

As a researcher, Moore is an expert in the computational solution of reaction-diffusion equations that occur in a variety of scientific and engineering applications. His projects have been funded by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy, among others.

Moore’s work has been published in several major peer-reviewed journals, including the Journal of Numerical Mathematics, Applied Numerical Mathematics, Mathematics of Computation, Chemical Physics Letters, the Journal of Computational Physics, the Journal of Physical Chemistry, Physica D: Nonlinear Phenomena, and Chaos: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Nonlinear Science.

Moore received the “M” Award, SMU’s highest honor for service to the University, in 2012. In 2010, during his first appointment as Dedman College acting dean, he became the first administrator to be elected to membership in Phi Beta Kappa by the SMU (Gamma of Texas) chapter. His professional service includes an appointment to the editorial board of Applied Numerical Mathematics from January 2004 to December 2009.

Moore received his B.S. degree in mathematics from Michigan Technological University in 1981. He earned his master’s and Ph.D. degrees in mathematics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1983 and 1988.

SMU names Rakesh Dahiya treasurer and chief investment officer

Updated Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016


Rakesh Dahiya, SMU Treasurer and Chief Investment OfficerRakesh Dahiya
, CFA, an experienced investment manager with a strong background in higher education, has been named SMU treasurer and chief investment officer, effective Sept. 12, 2016.

The University will welcome Dahiya with a reception on Tuesday, Oct. 11, from 4-5 p.m. in the Martha Proctor Mack Grand Ballroom, Umphrey Lee Center. Faculty and staff members may RSVP online.

Dahiya will be responsible for oversight of the University’s $1.5 billion endowment, mineral interests and planned giving assets. He will work with the Investment Committee of the Board of Trustees, setting agendas, developing policies, formulating investment strategies, as well as recommending specific investment managers and vehicles for carrying out the investment program.

“Rakesh Dahiya’s experience in higher education investment management, particularly with sophisticated institutional portfolios much like SMU’s, as well as his achievements in corporate finance, makes him an excellent fit as SMU’s chief investment officer,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “As we move forward in the University’s second century, Rakesh’s leadership and understanding of changing markets will ensure that SMU invests wisely with a close eye on the goals established by our Board of Trustees.”

“Current markets are complex and fast-moving. It was important that we find the best individual to monitor national and global markets and identify strategic opportunities that position the University for growth,” said Fred Hegi, chair of the Investment Committee of the SMU Board of Trustees. “I am pleased to say that we found that individual in Rakesh Dahiya.”

Since 2011, Dahiya served as Director of Marketable Strategies at the University of Florida Investment Corporation (UFICO), an independent investment management company with total assets over $2.7 billion. Prior to UFICO, he spent nine years at Washington University in St. Louis and six years at Ralston Purina.

Dahiya’s experience over the last 20 years includes working with investments of more than $3 billion in global equities and fixed-income markets. As Director of Marketable Strategies at the University of Florida, he was responsible for all hedge fund, traditional equity and fixed income strategies. At Washington University in St. Louis, a university with endowment assets over $5 billion, Dahiya oversaw the investment of $2.6 billion in global equities, fixed income and public real assets.

As a senior officer of SMU, Dahiya will serve on the President’s Executive Council and work with leadership on matters related to endowment spending and the communication of endowment strategy and performance. He will oversee investment research and analysis, implementation, risk management, accounting, performance measurement and reporting associated with the investment process, and with the management of real estate and mineral interests.

Dahiya graduated from Iowa State University with a B.B.A. degree in finance in 1994. He earned his M.B.A. from the University of Illinois in 1996.

> Read the full story from SMU News

Provost names Maria Dixon Hall to lead new campus-wide initiative on cultural intelligence

Maria Dixon HallSMU Provost Steve Currall has named Associate Professor of Organizational Communication and Director of Corporate Communication and Public Affairs Maria Dixon Hall as Provost’s Senior Advisor for Campus Cultural Intelligence Initiatives effective Monday, Aug. 1, 2016.

Professor Dixon Hall will have strategic oversight of an emerging initiative “designed to ensure that we are cultivating a campus culture involving faculty, staff and students that ensures our students are ready to effectively engage the complex world into which they will graduate,” said Currall, provost and vice president for academic affairs.

“The question that guides me in this unique appointment is: Whether in Detroit or Dubai, South Wales or South Dallas, do our classrooms equip our students to effectively communicate and negotiate human difference?” Currall added. “I believe the faculty has an especially vital role in fostering contexts that teach our students how to successfully and respectfully work, collaborate and create solutions regardless of who their partners may be. Professor Dixon Hall is uniquely qualified to lead this exciting initiative.”

“Last year, I promised the SMU community that we would be bold in our efforts to ensure that our campus was welcoming, inclusive and thoughtful about matters of difference. Maria’s appointment allows us to tap into her internationally recognized expertise in cultural intelligence,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “In addition to being an outstanding faculty member in the classroom, she has earned a reputation, through her research and consulting, for moving organizations and institutions beyond the old frameworks of diversity training to intelligent, thoughtful ways of communicating effectively across cultural boundaries. Her work as an organizational scholar and theologian will help us formulate sustainable actions to position SMU as a strategic leader in inclusion and cultural intelligence in higher education by 2025.”

Recognized throughout her SMU career for her teaching and research, Dixon Hall has been honored with the 2005-06 Willis M. Tate award for service to the student body; the 2009 Golden Mustang Award for outstanding teaching and research by junior faculty; the 2010 Rotunda Award for Outstanding Teaching; and the 2011 “M” Award, SMU’s highest award for service to the University. In 2016, she was named an Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor by SMU’s Center for Teaching Excellence.

“I am deeply honored by this appointment,” Dixon Hall said. “The conversations I’ve had with my colleagues during the past year have demonstrated the commitment our faculty has to ensuring that we are shaping world changers in every sense of the term. The opportunity to lead those conversations in service of a University I love is deeply gratifying. Provost Currall’s innovative structuring of this appointment can only encourage others like myself, who love the classroom, to occasionally step out of it and engage in these types of transformative opportunities on behalf of the University.”

Dixon Hall will return to research and teaching once the initiative is complete, at which time the University leadership will unveil a long-term plan to sustain the cultural intelligence programs she will develop.

Professor Dixon Hall joined the SMU faculty in 2004. As Director of Corporate Communication and Public Affairs in the Meadows School of the Arts’ Division of Corporate Communication and Public Affairs, she oversees curriculum and assessment for the Bachelor of Arts in Corporate Communication program.

She also serves as the director of Mustang Consulting, an in-house firm staffed by top communication students, whose global client list includes Southwest Airlines (Dallas), The Dance Theatre of Harlem (New York), the Ugandan American Partnership Organization (Kampala/Dallas), The Lydia Patterson Institute (El Paso), and Lifeworks (Austin). The firm’s research has been featured in The New York Times, The Dallas Morning News, D Magazine, The Franchise Times, and Restaurant Nation.

Dixon Hall’s research and professional consulting is focused on the implications of identity, power and organizational culture on the strategic communication of religious and non-profit organizations. Dixon Hall serves on the editorial boards and as a reviewer for both her field’s national and international publication outlets, as well as their academic conferences. Her work appears in the discipline’s top journals, including Management Communication Quarterly, The Journal of Communication and Religion, Business Communication Quarterly and Southern Journal of Communication.

Dixon Hall maintains an active speaking schedule and is a frequent contributor to national media outlets such as TIME Magazine and CNN on issues of race and education. Her examination of the University of Oklahoma’s failures in dealing with race, “Transformation 101,” became one of 2015’s most viral blog posts. A probationary deacon in the North Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church, she is also a frequent contributor to the United Methodist Reporter and The Religious News Service.

A graduate of the Culverhouse School of Business at the University of Alabama, Dixon Hall earned a Master of Divinity and a Master of Theology from the Candler School of Theology of Emory University. She received her Ph.D. in organizational communication and religion from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2004.

President Turner honored with 2016 Robert S. Folsom Leadership Award by Methodist Health System Foundation

R. Gerald TurnerSMU President R. Gerald Turner has won the 2016 Robert S. Folsom Leadership Award, an annual recognition offered by the Methodist Health System’s philanthropic arm.

Turner is being honored for his work in launching a $1 billion gift campaign for the university, making it just one of 34 in the nation to reach that landmark. The Folsom award is named after the former Dallas mayor and recognizes an individual who has had a major impact in the community. Turner has served on the boards of the American Council on Education and the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. He is a co-chair of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics and has served on the board of the Methodist Health System Foundation for years.

> Learn about past winners of the Robert S. Folsom Leadership Award

“We are very pleased to honor Dr. Turner with this prominent award. As the leader of my alma mater and a longtime Methodist supporter and board member, there is no one who understands the Methodist mission and values better than Dr.Turner,” said April Box, Methodist Health System Foundation President and CEO.

Turner will receive the award at the annual Folsom Event in October at the Hilton Anatole. Over the past 10 years, the event has helped generate more than $14 million to go toward offsetting Methodist’s costs of care. The system provided north of $110 million in unreimbursed charity care in 2015 alone.

Pamela D. Anthony named SMU vice president for student affairs

Pamela D. Anthony, SMU Vice President for Student AffairsPamela D. Anthony, dean of students at Iowa State University, has been named SMU’s vice president for student affairs effective February 1, 2016.

“As SMU’s new vice president for student affairs, Pamela Anthony brings varied experience in all aspects of programming and resources supporting the development of students,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “She has shown leadership in particular on issues related to student well-being, academic enrichment beyond the classroom, and multicultural affairs. She exhibits a dedication to students that will contribute greatly to improving the campus experience that we cherish as a critical part of the educational enterprise. I look forward to welcoming her to the University’s leadership team during this special time in our 100-year history.”

Dr. Anthony will oversee areas including the Office of the Dean of Student Life; Residence Life; women’s, LGBT, multicultural, volunteer and leadership programs; student activities; student conduct; campus ministries; health and wellness programs; career services; the Hughes-Trigg Student Center and the Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports.

As dean of students at Iowa State since August 2012, Dr. Anthony has been responsible for supervising programs and services including academic support, multicultural student affairs, LGBT student support, judicial affairs, fraternity and sorority life, women’s programs, student legal services, student disability resources, recreation services, and parent and family involvement, among others. She also serves as chair of the university’s Critical Incident Response Team, Sexual Misconduct Leadership Committee and Student Affairs Diversity Committee, as well as co-chair of its Academic Enrichment Subcommittee and Student Experience Enhancement Council.

“I am beyond excited to be selected as the vice president for student affairs at a world-class institution in a world-class city,” Dr. Anthony said. “SMU offers a vibrant campus life experience, intentional opportunities for student engagement, and evidence that learning happens everywhere. I look forward to collaborating with my colleagues to enhance and create innovative partnerships within academic and student affairs that prioritize student success.”

“My visit to campus and interactions with students, faculty, staff, and alumni only increased my respect for SMU,” she added. “I appreciate the confidence of President Turner and the support of the search committee, and I eagerly anticipate becoming a Mustang! Together, we will continue to shape world changers.”

She began her career in student life and development at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, where she served as area coordinator of residence life from 1996-98 and coordinator of multicultural affairs from 1997-2000.

Dr. Anthony also served as director of student activities at Spelman College from 2000-03. Her nine years of experience at Georgia State University included service as assistant dean and director of student life and leadership (2003-09) and as assistant dean of students (2009-12).

Dr. Anthony received her B.S. degree in speech pathology from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. She earned a Master of Education degree focusing on student personnel in higher education from the University of Georgia-Athens and a Ph.D. in educational policy studies from Georgia State University in Atlanta.

Dr. Anthony was selected after a nationwide search coordinated by a campus committee chaired by Tom Barry, vice president for executive affairs. She replaces Lori S. White, who joined Washington University in St. Louis as vice chancellor for students.

“Dr. Anthony has been an outstanding leader in her role as dean of students at Iowa State University,” said ISU President Steven Leath. “She’s been instrumental in our efforts to enhance Iowa State’s reputation for providing a first-rate student experience, and I thank her for her dedicated service. She will bring a wealth of experience and expertise in student affairs to Southern Methodist University and will certainly be a tremendous asset to the institution.”

Dean Joanne Vogel named interim VP for student affairs effective July 1, 2015

Joanne Vogel, Dean of Student LifeSMU Dean of Student Life Joanne Vogel has been named the University’s interim vice president for student affairs, effective July 1, 2015.

The University will conduct a national search for a new vice president to replace current VP Lori White, who has been appointed vice chancellor for students at Washington University in St. Louis.

The search committee is chaired by Tom Barry, SMU vice president for executive affairs. Committee members include:

  • Carlton Adams, Hunt Leadership Scholar and student body president
  • Ashley Garner, assistant residential community director, Mary Hay-Peyton-Shuttles Commons
  • Donna Gober, director of wellness and senior lecturer, Applied Physiology and Wellness, Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development
  • Monique Holland, senior associate athletics director/senior woman administrator, Athletic Department
  • Jorge Juarez, executive director, Dedman Center for Recreational Sports
  • Ashlee Kleinert, SMU alumna, Dallas entrepreneur and co-founder of Executives in Action
  • Patti LaSalle, associate vice president and executive director, Public Affairs
  • Creston Lynch, director, Multicultural Student Affairs
  • Connie O’Neill, SMU trustee and civic and philanthropic leader
  • Jennifer Post, director, Residence Life and Student Housing
  • Steve Rankin, chaplain and minister to the University
  • Rick Shafer, chief of police, Department of Public Safety
  • Tom Tunks, professor of music, Meadows School of the Arts, and founding faculty-in-residence, Ware Commons
  • Wes Waggoner, dean of undergraduate admission and executive director, Enrollment Services

“Dr. Vogel’s national leadership and expertise in student development and well-being will ensure that important student initiatives continue to make progress,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Her deep knowledge of student life at SMU will be a distinct asset as the Office of Student Affairs addresses the issues that help shape their college experiences.”

As interim VP, Vogel will oversee areas including the Residential Commons; women’s, multicultural, volunteer and leadership programs; student activities; student conduct; campus ministries; health and wellness programs; career services; the Hughes-Trigg Student Center and the Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports.

As dean of student life since January 2014, Vogel has been responsible for supervising programs and services ranging from new student orientation; to fraternity and sorority life and Multicultural Student Affairs; to student discipline procedures. She also serves as chair of the SMU Crisis Management Team and as a member of the President’s Commission on Substance Abuse Prevention and Task Force on Sexual Misconduct.

She is a member of several professional associations including NASPA, the Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors, the American College Counseling Association, the American Counseling Association and the Association for Creativity in Counseling.

Vogel received her A.B. degree in history and political science from Duke University. She earned an M.S. in mental health counseling from Stetson University and a Ph.D. in counselor education and supervision from the University of Central Florida.

> Visit SMU’s Office of Student Affairs online

Joanne Vogel named SMU Dean of Student Life

Joanne Vogel, Dean of Student LifeJoanne Vogel of Rollins College has been named associate vice president and dean of student life in SMU’s Division of Student Affairs. She will join the University Friday, Jan. 31, 2014.

“We are excited to welcome Joanne Vogel to SMU and look forward to the significant contributions she’ll make toward student success,” said Lori White, vice president for student affairs. “Joanne joins us at an important time as we are engaged in building a livelier, more connected campus community through the residential commons model and guiding our students toward leadership, healthy choices and personal responsibility. Our new dean is uniquely qualified and experienced in working on Greek life, wellness and other important student development initiatives.”

Vogel will be responsible for supervising programs and services ranging from new student orientation; to fraternity and sorority life and Multicultural Student Affairs; to matters of student discipline. Vogel also will serve as the chair of the SMU Crisis Management Team and as a member of the President’s Commission on Substance Abuse Prevention and the Task Force on Sexual Misconduct.

“Becoming a member of the SMU community and working with committed colleagues and engaged students is going to be invigorating,” Vogel said. “I look forward to providing leadership that focuses both on student success and institutional progress to further the strategic goals and mission of SMU.”

Vogel currently serves as director of Wellness and Counseling and Psychological Services at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. In this role she provides leadership for health services; counseling and psychological services; health promotion; victim advocacy; and alcohol, tobacco, and other drug programs. She has served as the psychological risk manager for the college, as well as a member of the Consultation, Assessment, Referral and Evaluation (CARE) Team and the Behavioral Evaluation and Threat Assessment Team.

Vogel is a member of several professional associations including the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, the Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors, the American College Counseling Association, the American Counseling Association and the Association for Creativity in Counseling.

Vogel attended Duke University, where she received an A.B. in history and political science. She received her M.S. in mental health counseling from Stetson University and a Ph.D. in counselor education and supervision from the University of Central Florida.

> Visit SMU’s Office of Student Life online

By | 2014-01-21T14:26:14+00:00 January 15, 2014|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , , |

Dean David Chard named to national education post

David Chard, Leon Simmons Endowed Dean of SMU's Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human DevelopmentThe U.S. Senate has approved President Barack Obama’s nomination of David Chard, Leon Simmons Endowed Dean of SMU’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development, to the Board of Directors of the National Board for Education Sciences. The 15-member board oversees and directs the work of the Institute of Education Sciences.

As the research arm of the U.S. Department of Education, the institute collects and analyzes education research data and funds researchers nationwide who are working to improve education outcomes for all students, particularly those at risk. In addition, the institute produces the Nation’s Report Card. Chard will serve a three-year term.

“Our nation’s students will be the beneficiaries of Dr. Chard’s service as a member of the Board of Directors of the National Board for Education Sciences,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Dr. Chard is dedicated to pursuing education reform through research-based programs and practices. We are proud of his work and the fact that his leadership and knowledge will be shared at the highest level of our government.”

“I am honored to serve on the National Board for Education Sciences as a researcher, educator, and a representative of SMU,” Chard said. “I look forward to working with colleagues so we may create a stronger understanding of what educators can do to teach all students, regardless of conditions.”

> Read the full story from SMU News

Dean Geoff Orsak named president of the University of Tulsa

Geoffrey Orsak, dean of SMU's Lyle School of EngineeringGeoffrey Orsak, dean of SMU’s Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering for the past 8 years, will become president of the University of Tulsa on July 1, 2012.

The University of Tulsa Board of Trustees announced that Orsak will be their university’s 18th president, succeeding Steadman Upham, who is retiring. The University of Tulsa provides undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees in the arts, humanities, sciences, business, education, engineering, law, nursing and applied health sciences. Current enrollment is 4,092.

“Under the leadership of Dean Geoffrey Orsak, the Lyle School of Engineering has established new academic programs, constructed new buildings and helped K-12 school districts prepare students for collegiate engineering studies,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Most of all, he defined and educated a new type of engineer, one who combines technology with a sense of social responsibility. We look forward to watching him lead the University of Tulsa with the same innovative thinking and creativity that he has exhibited at SMU.”

“In his time leading the Lyle School of Engineering at SMU, Geoffrey Orsak has forged a bold vision for engineering education that has been felt around our nation,” said Paul Ludden, SMU provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. “He has attracted outstanding faculty to our campus, and they in turn continue to attract top undergraduate and graduate students to our University.  It goes without saying that we will miss Dean Orsak, but we know that he will bring great vision and energy to his new role as president of Tulsa University. We congratulate Dean Orsak and Tulsa.”

Orsak joined SMU as associate professor of electrical engineering in 1997. He was named associate dean for research and development for the Lyle School in May 2001, and became dean in March 2004. Prior to coming to SMU, Orsak was associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at George Mason University, where he also served as a presidential fellow.

Orsak received his B.S.E.E., M.E.E. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical and computer engineering from Rice University.

“I have absolutely loved serving this great university,” Orsak said. “The excitement of leading the Lyle School of Engineering has been the greatest professional experience of my life. While we have accomplished so much in such a short period of time, there is no doubt that the Lyle School’s greatest days are ahead.”

Undergraduate enrollment in the Lyle School has increased by more than 400 percent while Orsak has been dean, and the percentage of women engineering students in the Lyle School is now about twice the national average, thanks to programs such as the school’s Gender Parity Initiative. The southeastern section of the campus has seen major build-out during Orsak’s tenure, including the construction of the Jerry Junkins Engineering Building, the J. Lindsey Embrey Engineering Building and Caruth Hall.

Orsak’s key accomplishments while on the Hilltop include the establishment of three institutes and centers:

  • The Caruth Institute for Engineering Education, which oversees multiple programs aimed at increasing interest (and the pursuit of careers) in engineering for K-12 students, including Visioneering and the Infinity Project.
  • The Hunter and Stephanie Hunt Institute for Engineering and Humanity, which combines engineering, science, business, international development and global economics to seek market-based solutions to improve the standard of living for those living in extreme poverty.
  • The Hart Center for Engineering Leadership, which provides multiple opportunities to immediately practice leadership skills through co-op and internship programs, leadership seminars and workshops, community engagement projects and mentoring relationships.

Orsak also established at SMU’s Lyle School the first university partnership with the Lockheed Martin SkunkWorks®, which provides SMU engineering students with challenging, immersive design and prototyping experiences under an innovative team approach to problem solving.

Written by Kimberly Cobb

> Read the full story from SMU News

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