administrators

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

2017-02-03T10:03:50+00:00 January 30, 2017|For the Record, News|

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

2016-09-28T16:51:10+00:00 September 14, 2016|For the Record, News|

Al Niemi announces plans to step down as dean of SMU’s Cox School of Business after 2016-17 academic year

Albert W. 'Al' Niemi Jr., dean, SMU Cox School of BusinessAlbert W. Niemi, Jr., the dean of SMU’s Cox School of Business during a time of great growth and increasing national stature for the school, has announced his intention to step down from his administrative post at the end of the 2016-17 academic year.

He will continue to serve as dean during the University’s search, which will begin immediately.

Dean Niemi, who currently holds the Cox School’s Tolleson Chair in Business Leadership, will remain on the faculty as the William J. O’Neil Chair in Global Markets and Freedom after he completes his administrative duties.

“We just finished SMU’s first century and the Second Century Campaign, so now is a time to look ahead,” Niemi said. “We need someone with a vision to lead the Cox School to success in its next era. By stepping down as dean, but remaining to teach, I have the opportunity to support the next dean if he or she wants my advice, and I can be with my students, work with my faculty and staff colleagues, and continue to be part of this great campus. It will be a privilege to end my career the way I began it – in the classroom, doing what I love best.”

Since arriving at the Cox School in June 1997, Niemi has increased the school’s national and international visibility. Cox’s B.B.A., full-time M.B.A., Professional M.B.A. and Executive M.B.A. programs are ranked among the best in the world by Bloomberg BusinessWeek, The Economist, Financial Times, Forbes, and U.S. News & World Report. Niemi is the eighth dean – and, as he begins his 20th year at SMU, the longest-serving dean – in the Cox School’s history.

Niemi also has been an effective fund-raiser who has dramatically increased the school’s endowment from $78 million to more than $200 million. The new endowment funds have created 10 new endowed faculty positions, eight new endowed centers and institutes, and 60 new endowed scholarships. In addition, he helped raise $19 million to support the construction of the James M. Collins Executive Education Center.

During his tenure, donors have honored his service by establishing the Albert W. Niemi Center for American Capitalism at SMU Cox and the Maria and Albert Niemi Endowed Centennial B.B.A. Scholars Fund. The Niemi Center is a partnership with the George W. Bush Institute that puts the tenets of Niemi’s teaching and research into action through research fellowships, academic programs and community outreach. The Niemi Endowed Centennial B.B.A. Scholars Fund provides scholarships to support B.B.A. students in the Cox School.

“My professional relationship with Al Niemi pre-dates my own arrival at SMU as president,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “He had already earned a reputation as an outstanding educator and business school administrator at the University of Georgia, so when the opportunity arose to recruit him to serve as the dean of the Cox School, it was an easy choice and one that has greatly benefited both Cox and the University. Under his leadership, the Cox School has strengthened its connection to the Dallas and North Texas community of which SMU is a part and has also become a globally prominent business school.”

Before coming to SMU, Niemi served as dean of the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia from 1982-1996. An expert in economic growth, economic forecasting, and the history of capitalism in America, he has taught more than 15,000 students and consistently has been recognized for distinguished teaching. He also has written six books and more than 200 articles for leading academic journals and business periodicals.

“As an academician, administrator, and university citizen, Al Niemi is second to none,” SMU Provost Steven Currall said. “The business school faculty he leads enjoys a stellar global reputation. Both the undergraduate and graduate programs rank highly. The Cox BBA Scholars program, which allows first-year students with outstanding academic qualifications to be admitted directly into the Cox School, continues to attract the nation’s best and brightest undergraduates. In turn, the BBA Scholars program has helped enhance SMU’s student academic profile campus-wide.”

Niemi has served on and led search committees that have brought new leaders, including the current provost, to SMU. He has worked extensively in business school and university accreditation. In addition, he has chaired or served as a member on accreditation review teams to more than 20 universities, including Emory, Washington University, DePaul, Vanderbilt, Claremont, William and Mary, North Carolina, South Carolina, Wake Forest, Florida, Texas, Colorado, Syracuse, Monterrey Tech (Mexico), INCAE (Costa Rica), University of Monterrey (Mexico), the Autonomous Technological University of Mexico, and IESA (Venezuela).

The dean also served three-year terms on the Board of Governors of the American Association of University Administrators and Beta Gamma Sigma, and he served a six-year term on the Board of Trustees of Stonehill College, his alma mater, in Easton, Massachusetts.

Active in the business community, Niemi speaks to numerous civic and business groups across the nation. He is currently a member of the advisory board of the Bank of Texas and the Advisory Council of The Catholic Foundation.

Originally from Massachusetts, Niemi is the grandson of Finnish and Irish immigrants. He earned a scholarship to Stonehill College, from which he graduated cum laude with an A.B. degree in economics, and went on to earn his M.A and Ph.D. degrees in economics from the University of Connecticut.

The dean and his wife, Maria, have two grown children, Albert III and Edward Charles, and three grandchildren.

2016-08-25T12:19:53+00:00 August 25, 2016|For the Record, 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.

2016-07-22T13:28:45+00:00 July 22, 2016|For the Record, News|

Douglas A. Reinelt named SMU Associate Provost effective Aug. 1, 2016

SMU, Faculty, Dedman School of Humanities, Mathematics, Reinelt, Douglas, PhDSMU Provost Steve Currall has named Professor of Mathematics and Faculty Senate Past-President Douglas A. Reinelt as Associate Provost effective Aug. 1, 2016.

In his duties as associate provost, Professor Reinelt will manage faculty recruitment and hiring, assist the Provost in administering faculty tenure and promotion, organize general faculty events, and coordinate faculty honors programs such as the University Scholar-Teacher Award and the Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Awards. In addition, he will oversee department reviews and lead the annual Department Chair Review.

Reinelt will also chair the Educational Programs Committee, which advises the Provost on matters involving curricular change, new program initiation, and program discontinuance.

“Professor Doug Reinelt is ideally equipped to serve as SMU’s new Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs,” said Dr. Currall, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “He has a deep commitment to the University stemming from having served as a faculty member at SMU for more than 30 years. His leadership will also be informed by his experience as a two-time chair of the Department of Mathematics in Dedman College of Humanities and Science. Doug has held a variety of other leadership positions on campus including, most recently, President of the Faculty Senate and a member of the SMU Board of Trustees. I look forward to partnering with Doug to further develop faculty excellence at SMU.”

Reinelt, an expert in mathematical modeling of fluid problems, joined the Dedman College mathematics faculty in 1983. He served as department chair from 1999 to 2005 and from 2009 to 2015. His research focuses on scientific computation and perturbation analysis of free surface fluid problems including fluid dynamics of bubbles and thin films, coating flows, and foam rheology.

Reinelt has published dozens of articles that have appeared in journals such as Physical Review Letters, SIAM Journal on Applied Mathematics, Journal of Fluid Mechanics, Physics of Fluids, and the Journal of Colloid and Interface Science and has contributed chapters in Foams and Emulsions and other special volumes. His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation and Sandia National Laboratories.

In addition to serving as mathematics department chair, Reinelt has served as Undergraduate Director in the Department of Mathematics as well as on the Faculty Council, Advisory Committee for Promotion and Tenure in Dedman College Division III, and the Undergraduate Council. He has also served on the Operational Excellence for the Second Century (OE2C) Executive Committee and many other department, college and university committees.  In 2007, he received the Mathematics Department’s Betty McKnight Speairs Endowed Teaching Excellence Award.

As a Habitat for Humanity (HfH) volunteer for 25 years, Reinelt has helped build hundreds of houses as a construction volunteer and house leader primarily in South and West Dallas. He also serves as faculty adviser to SMU’s HfH Student Chapter and has been the adult leader for SMU student HfH trips to Paraguay, El Salvador and Costa Rica to build homes.  He received the SMU Faculty Volunteer of the Year Award in 2007 for his work with HfH and the Dallas Chapter’s highest honor, the Mary Brock Award, in 2011 for his commitment to the mission of eradicating substandard housing in the Dallas Area.

“I have seen the great progress that SMU has made during my many years as a faculty member and know that the university has the potential to become an even greater institution. I am enthusiastic about joining Provost Currall and his team as we strive to improve the overall academic excellence of SMU,” Reinelt said. “I believe that my experience as a faculty member, department chair, and President of the Faculty Senate will be helpful as we work together to create an even better environment where faculty members can realize their full potential and outstanding new faculty are excited about joining SMU.”

Reinelt earned his B.S. degree in physics and mathematics from the University of the Pacific in 1978 and his Ph.D. in applied mathematics from the California Institute of Technology in 1983. He has been a visiting scholar or visiting faculty member at Stanford University, Sandia National Laboratories and Université Louis Pasteur in Strasbourg, France.

2016-06-14T10:09:18+00:00 June 14, 2016|Faculty in the News, For the Record, News|
Load More Posts