Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development

SMU’s Simmons School honors advocates for education with 2015 Luminary Awards

SMU’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development honored three outstanding advocates for students from pre-K through college with 2015 Luminary Awards on Thursday, Jan. 22.

This year’s honorees:

Michael Sorrell, president, Paul Quinn CollegeMichael Sorrell, president of Dallas’ Paul Quinn College, has brought new recognition, programs and funding to the 142-year-old historically black college. A former Dallas attorney and special assistant to President Bill Clinton’s executive staff, Sorrell and the college have received awards including the 2012 Historically Black College and Universities Male President of the Year, 2012 Top Liberal Arts HBCUs in America and 2013 HBCU Best Business Program.

Even as Sorrell develops his vision for Paul Quinn, he continues his own education: He is an Ed.D. candidate in the University of Pennsylvania’s executive doctorate in higher education management program.

Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children logo• The Luke Waites Center for Dyslexia and Learning Disorders at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in Dallas developed the first definition of dyslexia in 1968. Waites had established in 1965 one of the first programs in the world to identify and treat children with learning disorders, particularly dyslexia. Since then, the center’s team has demonstrated that, through research, evaluation and treatment, children with dyslexia can learn to read and be successful despite their learning differences.

The Dyslexia Training Program, a two-year intervention program, was developed at the Waites Center and is used throughout the United States. Medical Director Jeffrey Black and Administrative Director Gladys Kolenovsky lead the Waites Center, which provides diagnostic evaluations and recommendations for hundreds of children with learning disorders each year. The center also provides training for teachers and learning therapists and sponsors research on the causes and treatment of dyslexia.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of America logoBig Brothers, Big Sisters of America was created in 1904 to bring role models into the lives of at-risk children. Today the mentoring program serves 300,000 children in the United States and 12 countries, providing and monitoring one-to-one volunteer mentors who develop positive relationships with children ages 6 to 18. Big Brothers, Big Sisters also sponsors African American, Native American and Hispanic mentoring programs in addition to programs for children of military parents and children of incarcerated parents.

Research shows that children in the program get along better with their families and are less likely to engage in risky behaviors. Participation in Big Brothers, Big Sisters also has a measurable, positive effect on education. Research shows that 87 percent of children in the program maintained or improved in their educational expectations and 84 percent maintained or improved their grades. Participants are more likely to graduate from high school and reach a higher lever of education. Pam Iorio, CEO of Big Brothers, Big Sisters, accepted the award.

“This year’s awards show the power of individuals,” said David Chard, Leon Simmons Endowed Dean. “We see mentors give of themselves as they become a consistent presence in the lives of boys and girls who need them. We find teachers and doctors taking extra steps and care to treat children with learning disorders. And lastly, we look to a true leader in higher education who rebuilds confidence and direction in a historically black college. Their work exemplifies what all of us can do to elevate what’s important to the development of children and youth.”

The Luminary Award was created in 2009 by the Simmons School to honor individuals and organizations that have shown an extraordinary commitment to improving people’s lives through education. The award is given annually to a local, regional and national recipient.

SMU adds online course option for Jan Term 2015

SMU’s Jan Term – previously known as the J Term – is expanding again, adding its first online course offering to the dozens available at the SMU-in-Plano and SMU-in-Taos campuses. The 2015 Jan Term is scheduled for Jan. 5-14.

The January interterm session’s first online offering will be “Introduction to
Markets and Culture” (SOCI 2377), taught by Debra Branch of the Department of Sociology in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.

> Course description for “Introduction to Markets and Culture” online

In addition, continuing SMU students who live on the main campus may remain in their current campus housing during Jan Term 2015 at no additional charge. Students must register with Residence Life and Student Housing by 4 p.m. Monday, Dec. 8 if they plan to stay in their current campus residence during Jan Term.

In another new program enhancement, Jan Term courses are now available for registration through My.SMU. Students should meet with an adviser to select appropriate courses before they enroll.

The accelerated interterm session offers more than 50 courses at a reduced tuition rate; students can complete one three-credit-hour course in eight concentrated days. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

The Jan Term (short for January Term) allows students to complete one three-credit-hour course at a discounted tuition rate before the start of the spring semester. For Jan Term 2015, regular undergraduate students will pay a reduced tuition rate of $1,211 per credit hour ($3,633 per course). To avoid a late fee, payment is due by Friday, Dec. 19. Parking is free on the SMU-in-Plano campus, and no decal is required.

Watch a video about Jan Term from SMU News’ Myles Taylor

The Jan Term program allows students to use the time between the fall and spring terms to focus on a course of interest or stay on track for graduation. Students also can fulfill General Education or University Curriculum requirements.

This year’s offerings include courses from the Cox School of Business, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, Lyle School of Engineering, Meadows School of the Arts and Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development.

Students participating in Jan Term at SMU-in-Plano will be responsible for their own housing; discounted hotel rooms are available at the TownePlace Suites by Marriott-Plano, about a mile from the Plano campus. Shuttle service is also available. Information about housing at SMU-in-Taos during Jan Term is available here.

For more information, e-mail the SMU Jan Term program or call 214-768-3657.

> Learn more from the Jan Term homepage at smu.edu/janterm

SMU’s Caruth Institute for Engineering Education names Leanne Ketterlin-Geller director of K-12 STEM Initiatives

Leanne Ketterlin-GellerSMU’s Caruth Institute for Engineering Education has named Associate Professor Leanne Ketterlin-Geller as its new director of K-12 STEM Initiatives.

A faculty member in education policy and leadership and director of research in mathematics education in the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development, Ketterlin-Geller will bring a cross-disciplinary focus to her new role with the Institute, housed in the University’s Lyle School of Engineering.

Ketterlin-Geller is an expert in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education, and her research focuses on mathematics education through instructional leadership principles and practices. Her new position will include working with the Caruth Institute’s Infinity Project, developing partnerships with area schools, working with Lyle engineering programs geared toward middle and high school students, and working with departments and faculty members to match their engineering expertise to K-12 outreach opportunities.

Ketterlin-Geller will work closely with Delores Etter, executive director of the Caruth Institute and TI Distinguished Chair in Engineering Education, as well as other faculty members from both schools to advance the K-12 STEM initiatives of the Institute.

“Professor Ketterlin-Geller’s extensive experience as a leader in STEM and K-12 education will bring much needed expertise in addressing the critical mission of the Caruth Institute,” Etter said. “Her role within the Simmons School of Education and Human Development will strengthen the necessary collaboration between our two schools.”

“The work that Dr. Ketterlin-Geller will direct is essential to our goal to increase the number and diversity of students with both the enthusiasm and knowledge to pursue the engineering careers that are necessary for the U.S. to compete in a global economy,” said Lyle Dean Marc Christensen. “This appointment demonstrates our commitment to the emerging collaborations between the Simmons School of Education and the Lyle School of Engineering. We look forward to what we can achieve together.”

“Through these Caruth Institute initiatives students will see the power of math in daily life – and engineering is where we really see this at work,” said Ketterlin-Geller. “We hope to develop engaging and interesting programs for both teachers and students that will help all students develop both confidence and competence in STEM fields. This collaboration presents an exciting opportunity to work across disciplines to help foster innovation in K-12 STEM education.”

A former high school science teacher, Ketterlin-Geller has served as principal investigator for federal, state, and locally funded research grants emphasizing the development of instructional materials and formative assessment procedures in mathematics. Much of her research is focused on supporting algebra readiness in elementary and middle school mathematics. She works closely with teachers and administrators to understand the application of measurement and assessment principles for making decisions in school settings. She publishes and delivers presentations on mathematics education, measurement and assessment as well as special education.

Ketterlin-Geller and Simmons School Dean David Chard are part of the national research team working on the George W. Bush Institute’s education initiative, Middle School Matters.

> Read the full story from SMU News

Research: Learning algebra from Instagram

Stock photo of a student working a math problem on a blackboardCan students learn algebra from Instagram and video games?

SMU teaching researcher Candace Walkington thinks so. And her new study, funded by the National Academy of Education, will test the idea.

“In previous work, I found that students draw upon rich algebraic ways of reasoning when pursuing their out-of-school interests in areas like sports, social networking and video games,” says Walkington, an assistant professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning in the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development. “Making connections to these topics in algebra class can improve long-term understanding of algebraic ideas.”

The new study asks pre-algebra middle school students in the Dallas Independent School District to author their own algebra stories based on their personal interests. They will describe how linear relationships approximate what they encounter in their everyday lives, such as how they accumulate followers on Instagram or score points in a video game over time, says Walkington, whose research focus is evidence-based effective teaching. About 200 pre-algebra students in eight classrooms at DISD schools are participating in the study.

Based on results from earlier research, Walkington hypothesizes that authoring the stories will elicit students’ interest in the content to be learned by drawing on their knowledge about home and community.

Algebra is a gatekeeper to many careers and to higher-level mathematics, making it critical for students to master, Walkington says – but students struggle to understand the abstract representations.

“Students often can’t see the connection between their world and algebra,” she says. “Exploring ways to connect math to their lives, experiences and knowledge is critical for making it accessible and captivating. That’s especially true when considering students from diverse backgrounds.”

A pilot version of the study begins in spring 2015. The full study starts in fall 2015.

Walkington was awarded the grant as part of the Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship Program of the National Academy of Education. The $55,000 grant supports early career scholars working in critical areas of education research.

Written by Margaret Allen

> Read the full story at the SMU Research blog

Calendar Highlights: Oct. 16, 2014

b1830bce49be4c75ad18f2a0ce3f98f5World Changing 101: SMU Hegi Career Development Center presents World Changing 101: Why Should You Do Public Service? Featuring representatives from Teach for America, Peace Corps, CityYear and CitySquare, guests will explore how public service experiences apply to future careers. The event will take place Thursday Oct. 16 at 5:30 p.m. in the Annette Caldwell Simmons Hall, Room 138. For more information contact Devon Skerritt or visit the event webpage. 

Comini Lecture Series: The Comini Lecture Series presents “Oracle’s Signs (and Sounds): An Iconographic Exploration of the Ancient Andean Gods’ Images.” Guided by Marco-Curatola-Petrocchi, Professor at the Catholic University of Peru, the lecture will examine how Andean deities “spoke” to their priests. The event will take place Thursday, Oct. 16, 5:30 p.m., in the Greer Garson Screening Room. For more information call 214-768-1222.

Music at Meadows: SMU Organist and Professor of Harpsichord and Organ, Larry Palmer presents “Scarlatti’s Cat.” During a short program on the Museum’s Oldovini Organ, Palmer will play the 1762 instrument built for the Cathedral of Evora in Portugal. The performance will take place Thursday, Oct. 16, 5:30 p.m., in the Virginia Meadows Galleries. For more information call 214-768-4677.

Museum Evening Lecture: The Meadows Museum hosts “Into the Realm of the Imaginative: The Portraiture of Zuloaga, Goya and El Greco.” The evening lecture will examine portraiture, an artistic genre in which all three artists made great achievements. The event will take place Thursday, Oct. 16 at 6 p.m. in the Bob Smith Auditorium. For more information call 214-768-4677.

Larry Palmer. Professor of Harpsichord and Organ.

Larry Palmer. Professor of Harpsichord and Organ.

Meadows Wind Ensemble: The Meadows Wind Ensemble presents “The French Connection.” Featuring a menu of works by composers who share a “connection” to France, the program will also honor faculty artist and professor Larry Palmer as he celebrates his 45th year at SMU Meadows. Tickets are $7 for SMU faculty and staff. The event will take place Friday, Oct. 17 at 8 p.m. in Caruth Auditorium. 

SMU Football: SMU Mustangs will play Cincinnati Saturday, Oct. 18, 2:30 p.m., at the Gerald J. Ford Stadium.

Meadows Museum Art Activity: The Meadows Museum hosts “Drawing from the Masters.” Providing an opportunity to explore a variety of drawing techniques, guest artist Ian O’Brien will lead participants through the Meadows Museum‘s galleries. Attendance is limited to 20 and offered on a first-come, first-serve basis. Drawing materials will be available, but participants are encouraged to bring their own sketchpads and pencils. The activity will take place Sunday, Oct. 19 at 1:30 p.m. in Meadows Museum. For more information, call 214-768-4677.

Michael Ramirez to give 2014 Sammons Lecture Thursday, Oct. 2

Screen shot 2014-09-29 at 4.16.04 PMTwo-time Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist Michael Ramirez will give the 15th annual Rosine Smith Sammons Lecture in Media Ethics. Presented by SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts Division of Journalism, the lecture begins at 8 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 2 in the Bob Hope Theatre. 

Currently a senior editor and editorial cartoonist for Investor’s Business Daily, Ramirez cartoons are eye-catching, provocative and hilarious. Pairing an extensive news knowledge with a captivating drawing style, he consistently creates outstanding cartoons seen worldwide in over 400 newspapers and magazines. Ramirez offers a unique perspective on today’s issues with commentary on everything from the economy and markets to politics and international affairs.

> Ramirez’s cartoons may be seen online at IBD.editorials.com/cartoons 

The Rosine Smith Sammons Lecture Series in Media Ethics is funded by an endowment from the Rosine Foundation Fund of the Communities Foundation of Texas. Named after 1920 SMU journalism graduate Rosine Smith Sammons, the endowment provides permanent resources for the Meadows School of the Arts to present annual lectures focusing on media ethics.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information call 214-768-2787.

Read more from the SMU Meadows News site

Research: The speed secrets of super sprinters

The world’s fastest sprinters have unique gait features that account for their ability to achieve fast speeds, according to two new studies from SMU’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development.

The new findings indicate that the secret to elite sprinting speeds lies in the distinct limb dynamics sprinters use to elevate ground forces upon foot-ground impact.

“Our new studies show that these elite sprinters don’t use their legs to just bounce off the ground as most other runners do,” said human biomechanics expert Ken Clark, a researcher in the SMU Locomotor Performance Laboratory and lead author on the studies. “The top sprinters have developed a wind-up and delivery mechanism to augment impact forces. Other runners do not do so.”

The new findings address a major performance question that has remained unanswered for more than a decade. Previous studies had established that faster runners attain faster speeds by hitting the ground more forcefully than other runners do in relation to their body weight. However, how faster runners are able to do this was fully unknown. That sparked considerable debate and uncertainty about the best strategies for athletes to enhance ground-force application and speed.

“Elite speed athletes have a running pattern that is distinct,” Clark said. “Our data indicate the fastest sprinters each have identified the same solution for maximizing speed, which strongly implies that when you put the physics and the biology together, there’s only one way to sprint really fast.”

The critical and distinctive gait features identified by the study’s authors occur as the lower limb approaches and impacts the ground, said study co-author and running mechanics expert Peter Weyand, director of the Locomotor Performance Lab.

“We found that the fastest athletes all do the same thing to apply the greater forces needed to attain faster speeds,” Weyand said. “They cock the knee high before driving the foot into the ground, while maintaining a stiff ankle. These actions elevate ground forces by stopping the lower leg abruptly upon impact.”

The new research indicates that the fastest runners decelerate their foot and ankle in just over two-hundredths of a second after initial contact with the ground.

The findings are reported in the Journal of Applied Physiology in the article, “Are running speeds maximized with simple-spring stance mechanics?” It appears online at Physiology.org in advance of appearing in the print journal.

Written by Margaret Allen

> Read the full story at the SMU Research blog

SMU breaks ground on Harold Clark Simmons Hall

Harold Clark Simmons Hall at SMU, artist's rendering

An artist’s rendering of Harold Clark Simmons Hall, the second building in SMU’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development quad. The University broke ground for the new facility on Friday, Sept. 12, 2014.

SMU broke ground on Friday, Sept. 12, 2014 for the second building in the University’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development complex.

Harold Clark Simmons Hall was funded by a gift of $25 million from Annette Caldwell Simmons and Harold C. Simmons in February 2013. The gift will also support three new endowed academic positions. The new facility will be named in honor of the late Mr. Simmons, at Mrs. Simmons’ request.

“This new building will support the growing impact and leadership of the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development. The Simmons School excels in research productivity and innovative programs that have direct application to the critical education needs in our community and beyond,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “The generosity of Harold and Annette Simmons reflects their wisdom and foresight in supporting programs that expand human potential and achievement. We are grateful to them for enabling us to increase student and faculty achievement in the school.”

> Visit the Simmons School online at smu.edu/simmons

Situated along Airline Drive, Harold Clark Simmons Hall will be a three-story, 40,000-square-foot academic building and home to the Budd Center for Involving Communities in Education, the Teacher Development Studio and the Department of Teaching and Learning. The facility also will include classrooms, labs, faculty and administrative offices and conference rooms to meet the expanding program needs of the school. Completion is scheduled for late 2015.

“One dean should not have this much fun,” said David Chard, Leon Simmons Endowed Dean of the Simmons School, noting that in the space of a very short time, he has been privileged to break ground on two buildings made possible by Harold and Annette Simmons.

“Harold C. Simmons Hall represents a generous commitment to the teachers and children of our region,” Chard added. “It will enable the Simmons School to help teachers optimize their impact on children’s education. It will also serve as the hub of our community-based programs, allowing us to expand our understanding of the relationship between schools and the communities they serve.”

In 2007 Harold and Annette Simmons made a historic $20 million gift to SMU, which established endowments for the school and provided funding for the school’s first new building, Annette Caldwell Simmons Hall. The gift created an endowed graduate fellowship fund and an endowed deanship and faculty recruitment fund, both of which honored Mr. Simmons’ parents, who were educators in Golden, Texas. In recognition of their commitment, SMU named the school the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development.

Their combined gifts of $45 million to the school make Harold and Annette Simmons’ commitment among the largest to SMU’s Second Century Campaign, also making them among the most generous donors in SMU’s 100-year history. Previous gifts include the endowment of four President’s Scholars and the creation of the Simmons Distinguished Professorship in Marketing in the Cox School of Business.

“The innovative programs of the Simmons School, including those to be housed in the new Harold Clark Simmons Hall, have the potential to influence the direction of American education,” said Paul Ludden, SMU provost and vice president for academic affairs. “They are also examples of the kind of intellectual capital that SMU is increasingly able to provide for the region and the nation.”

“We were a collection of unrelated programs,” Dean Chard said to Mrs. Simmons. “The seeds you and Harold planted have (allowed the Simmons School to become) a force for change.”

Harold Clark Simmons Hall will serve as home for these Simmons School programs:

  • The Budd Center for Involving Communities in Education focuses on a strategic and holistic approach to fighting poverty by transforming education. It equips school districts and nonprofits as they work together to assess and meet the extraordinary needs of children in poverty. The center builds data-sharing infrastructure, makes previously inaccessible data available, teaches partners to translate data and uses data to develop collaborative and highly targeted plans to accelerate students’ academic success. Its work centers on West Dallas as a model that eventually can be adopted by other urban areas. Endowed in 2014 by Russell and Dorothy Budd ’06, the center is the backbone organization for The School Zone, a West Dallas collaboration of 26 social service agencies and 23 public and private schools.
  • The Teacher Development Studio will occupy three laboratories that are technologically equipped to train students in teaching, instructional design and assessment. These labs offer teachers a place to practice being teachers in low-stakes environments:
  • The Teaching Performance Lab will simulate pre-K–12 classroom environments with computer avatars standing in for students. The avatars play the roles of students in classroom situations, and the teacher interacts through the same technology used in video games.
  • The Assessment Lab offers software programs that allow teachers to create assessments and evaluate student performance. Assessment outcomes will be relayed to the Instructional Design Lab, where teachers can construct the resources they need to connect with their students.
  • The Instructional Design Lab will provide teachers access to state-of-the-art technology as well as conventional materials to develop unit and lesson plans and technology applications to support student learning.

> Read the full story from SMU News

Simmons School’s Michael Harris named director of SMU’s Center for Teaching Excellence

Michael Harris, Simmons School of Education and Human Development, SMUMichael Harris, associate professor in the Department of Education Policy and Leadership of SMU’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development, has been named director of the University’s Center for Teaching Excellence. He began his new duties on Friday, Aug. 1, 2014.

Harris worked with previous CTE director Beth Thornburg throughout the summer to become familiar with the CTE’s operations. Thornburg returns to full-time teaching in Dedman School of Law in Fall 2014.

“Professor Harris takes over a Center that has grown and thrived under the exceptional leadership of Professor Thornburg. During her time as Director, the CTE has sponsored Faculty Learning Communities, initiated the New Faculty Teaching Excellence (NFTE) workshop series, and spearheaded an effort to recognize the excellent teaching performed by our lecturers,” wrote Provost Paul Ludden in an e-mail message to the SMU community dated Friday, July 11, 2014.

“But more than developing programs and events, Professor Thornburg has underscored the importance of teaching to our academic mission. Please join me in extending our thanks and best wishes to Professor Thornburg and in welcoming Professor Harris to his new role.”

Harris came to SMU in August 2012 from the University of Alabama’s Department of Educational Leadership, Policy and Technology Studies. He earned his B.A. degree in history from the University of North Carolina and his M.S.Ed and Ed.D in higher education administration from the University of Pennsylvania. He has published extensively in peer-reviewed journals on issues facing higher education and has made numerous presentations to academic groups on such subjects as “Balancing the Demands of a New Faculty Position” and “Why Businesses Should Work Like a University.”

Professor Harris is a Council Member-at-Large of the American Educational Research Association, Division J, and has consulted with universities on various subjects including program planning for undergraduate general education curriculum.

> Visit SMU’s Center for Teaching Excellence online

Five SMU faculty members retire with emeritus status in 2013-14

Five distinguished faculty members, with nearly 200 years of combined service to SMU, retired with emeritus status during the 2013-14 academic year. Congratulations to the following professors:

• Richard V. Helgason, Professor Emeritus of Engineering Management, Information and Systems, Lyle School of Engineering (1979 to 2014)

• Joseph W. McKnight, Professor Emeritus of Law, Dedman School of Law (1955 to 2014)

• William Pulte, Professor Emeritus of Teaching and Learning, Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development (1973 to 2014)

• Lawrence S. Ruben, Professor Emeritus of Biological Sciences, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences (1986 to 2014)

Simon Sargon, Professor Emeritus of Composition, Meadows School of the Arts (1983 to 2014)

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