Meadows kicks off new community performance series in 2013-14

community initiatives

Meadows kicks off new community performance series in 2013-14

Meadows Symphony OrchestraSMU’s Meadows School of the Arts is transporting its art and music into the community as part of a new “Meadows Community Series,” which will present five events in diverse venues throughout Dallas over the fall and spring semesters.

The series launches with a concert by the Meadows Wind Ensemble at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13 in the new Dallas City Performance Hall. Other offerings will include concerts by the Meadows Symphony Orchestra and Meadows choirs, a creative take on Shakespeare at NorthPark Center, and a dance performance and children’s creative movement class at Klyde Warren Park.

The new series is part of Meadows’ ongoing initiative to engage the community with art, music, theatre, dance and more. Sam Holland, professor and director of the Division of Music at Meadows, says the series is about more than showcasing talented Meadows performers in new city locales; it’s also about inviting the audience members to have an aesthetic experience.

“People don’t come to concerts to learn something, or to be edified, or to be in the presence of greatness,” says Holland. “They come to feel something, to be moved by something greater than themselves. That is what the aesthetic experience is, and that is what we want to provide.”

Three of the events are ticketed, and two are free. Ticket prices range from $7-$13 and may be purchased at the door or online in advance at For more information contact the Meadows Ticket Office, 214-768-2787 (214-SMU-ARTS).

> Find a full schedule of Meadows Community Series events at SMU News

September 11, 2013|Calendar Highlights, News|

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

September 4, 2013|Calendar Highlights, News|

SMU accepts recommendations of Sexual Misconduct Task Force

SMU President R. Gerald Turner announced May 8 that he has accepted the recommendations of the SMU Task Force on Sexual Misconduct Policies and Procedures for maintaining and improving programs related to sexual misconduct. The recommendations address areas including sexual misconduct reporting procedures, requirements of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the student conduct process, education programs for students, enhanced training for staff and communications to parents.

Turner established the Task Force in September 2012 to re-examine the University’s procedures and policies related to sexual misconduct to determine what changes are needed. Among the 20 members of the Task Force were external experts, including a representative of the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office and the executive director of the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Initiative, as well as SMU students, faculty and staff members.

“Sexual misconduct is a serious issue at universities and colleges nationwide, which are required by the federal government to investigate allegations and hold violators accountable through an internal grievance procedure,” Turner said. “Even without such requirements, SMU is committed to policies and procedures that uphold community standards and foster a healthy learning environment based on mutual respect, responsible behavior and fair treatment of all students. I am grateful to the Task Force for its careful deliberations and recommendations. SMU is committed to implementing these changes and monitoring our practices.”

The Task Force made 41 recommendations, some of which address policies and procedures in place at SMU that the group felt should be continued but strengthened. Among these are procedures related to student reporting of sexual misconduct and the process for dealing with sexual misconduct allegations under the Student Code of Conduct. New initiatives recommended include new and more extensive education programs for students, as well as student mentoring and bystander intervention programs. Several Task Force recommendations were implemented during the past year, such as expanding information on SMU’s website. The full report is available online.

“Through our research and meetings, we learned that SMU has in place policies and procedures that align with national benchmarks,” said Task Force chair Kelly Compton, SMU trustee and chair of the Board’s committee on Student Affairs. “We also found areas that should be improved or more effectively addressed with new measures, particularly programs promoting education, training and communication. We are united in our commitment to the well-being of students through effective procedures, helpful resources and the support of a caring community.”

During its deliberations, the Task Force took into account adherence to state and federal laws, in particular Title IX of the Education Amendments and its requirements for handling sexual misconduct allegations. Members also examined other universities’ conduct processes, which – like SMU’s conduct process – are separate and independent of the criminal process.

The Task Force report emphasized that students who experience sexual misconduct should continue to be allowed to choose options that best meet their needs and foster personal healing, as is recommended by sexual misconduct experts. At the same time, SMU should continue to urge students to seek medical care and alert law enforcement about sexual misconduct. The Task Force recommended that SMU enhance efforts to educate students about the right to pursue a Title IX complaint under University policy and their options to pursue criminal charges, the SMU conduct review process, or both processes at the same time. Read more about these options here.

Because these options must be considered during a sensitive time, SMU must clearly communicate and explain processes and ensure that staff members are well-informed in providing guidance. According to the Task Force, education efforts also should focus on students’ understanding of consent, the interpersonal communications related to consent and the impact of alcohol use.

The Task Force recommended that SMU continue its use of hearing boards in student conduct cases, including those related to sexual misconduct cases, a practice similar to that of other universities. It also recommended that SMU continue to have a sexual misconduct hearing board and, also consistent with benchmark practices, reaffirmed that students continue to serve on this board, with these changes: They should not be in the majority nor serve as chair. The majority of this board would consist of faculty and staff, and all members would receive special training and be bound by strict confidentiality requirements.

Regarding student participation on the sexual misconduct hearing board, the Task Force received feedback from students that their understanding of campus social life is critical in aiding conduct deliberations and that SMU has a long history of trusting and valuing student leadership, including appointing a voting student member of the Board of Trustees. Students also described student participation on conduct boards as a way to educate other students about the conduct process. The Task Force agreed with these perspectives.

The Task Force also recommended that student leaders encourage the student body to develop, adopt and disseminate a new SMU Values Statement, such as the following: “I, as a citizen of the SMU Community, commit myself to upholding the values of intellectual integrity, academic honesty, personal responsibility and sincere regard and respect for all SMU students, faculty, and staff.”

The Task Force said SMU should develop a bystander intervention program similar to those at Duke and Yale universities. Those programs provide students the skills to intervene when they perceive peers to be in high-risk situations. In addition, students who may hesitate to report sexual misconduct because of their alcohol or drug use could be granted immunity for those transgressions in order to encourage reporting of sexual misconduct first and foremost, though they also would be referred for counseling to SMU’s Center for Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention.

During meetings with the Task Force, several visiting experts shared information and perspectives, including law enforcement and health officials. The Task Force invited feedback from the campus community, including from students involved in sexual misconduct cases through SMU’s conduct process. During their 12 meetings and additional small-group meetings, the Task Force reviewed more than 45 benchmarking reports, including student conduct codes and task force reports from other universities and government agencies.

“The Task Force valued all of the input provided, and especially appreciated hearing from students and members of our North Texas community,” Compton said. “Sexual misconduct is a community issue that requires community partnerships, including with local service and health care providers and law enforcement officials. We recommend that SMU continue building these relationships.”

SMU’s vice president for student affairs, Lori White, will oversee implementation of the Task Force recommendations in coordination with campus offices including Counseling and Psychiatric Services, the Health Center, Dean of Student Life Office, Title IX Coordinator, SMU Police, the Women’s Center for Pride and Gender Initiatives, Chaplain’s Office and Residence Life and Student Housing. As recommended by the Task Force, Student Affairs and other University representatives will maintain regular meetings on sexual misconduct issues with local law enforcement and resource agencies.

“The University thanks the Task Force and the many experts and campus and community members who have provided their perspectives,” Turner said. “SMU regularly reviews its policies and procedures, and no issue is more important than our students’ well-being. We will continue to monitor the effectiveness of all our policies and procedures on sexual misconduct.”

May 8, 2013|News|

High school teachers see ‘Physics in Action’ at SMU

quarknet-participants-2008-300.jpgThis summer 20 teachers from Dallas-area high schools participated in QuarkNet – an SMU program that showed them recent discoveries in physics through lectures and hands-on labs. The program is conducted by scientists from the Department of Physics in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, chaired by Ryszard Stroynowski.

The one-week workshop included lectures and labs led by physics faculty members Simon Dalley, Fred Olness and Randy Scalise.

High school physics teacher Nancy Jane Hall from Garland, Texas, describes QuarkNet as “one of the most valuable seminars for the advancement of current physics topics” and “a treasure trove of cutting-edge information.” Hall has participated in QuarkNet for three years, learning about recent discoveries in physics and better ways of teaching the subject.

The QuarkNet program is sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the Office of High Energy Physics, the Office of Science, and the U.S. Department of Energy.

October 2, 2008|News|

SMU to host Sally Ride Science Festival April 26

Dr. Sally RideDr. Sally Ride, the United States’ first woman in space, has partnered with the SMU School of Engineering and ExxonMobil to bring the Sally Ride Science Festival to the Hilltop April 26.

The festival is designed to encourage more young women to pursue higher education and careers in math, science and engineering. Featured events include workshops for students, parents and teachers led by local scientists and engineers; a street fair with booths, activities, food and music; and a keynote speech by Ride herself.

Advance registration is required; the $18 fee includes all the day’s activities, plus lunch. Register online at the Sally Ride Science Fair website. For more information, visit the School of Engineering website.

Hear Ride’s interview on KERA’s “Think” or download it to your iPod (37 min.).

April 25, 2008|Calendar Highlights, News|
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