Dedman College

Bobby B. Lyle ’67 honored with SMU’s 2018 J. Erik Jonsson Ethics Award

Bobby B. Lyle, 2018 J. Erik Jonsson Ethics AwardSMU’s Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility recognized entrepreneur and civic leader Bobby B. Lyle for his work as an engineer, educator, business executive, philanthropist, community leader and mentor.

Dr. Lyle received the 2018 J. Erik Jonsson Ethics Award during a luncheon on Thursday, March 29 at Moody Coliseum. The annual honor recognizes a community leader who personifies moral leadership and public virtue.

The founder of Lyco Energy Corporation in 1981, Lyle has been a leader in the petroleum and natural gas industry for more than 25 years, exploring throughout the United States. He was instrumental in development of the Dallas Galleria and the InterFirst Bank-Galleria and, in 2005, established Lyco Holdings, Incorporated, a private investment firm.

He has received Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas, Volunteer Now, and the Dallas Historical Society. Lyle has been recognized with the Robert S. Folsom Leadership Award from Methodist Health System, inducted into the Dallas Business Hall of Fame by Jr. Achievement, and presented the William Booth Award by the Salvation Army for contributions to the betterment of humanity.

Dr. Lyle has served as an SMU trustee for 30 years, and the Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering was named in his honor in 2008. In addition, he served as Cox School of Business dean ad interim from 1971-73 and executive dean from 1973-75. He has endowed four academic chairs at SMU, supporting outstanding faculty in cyber security, engineering innovation, engineering entrepreneurship, and leadership and global enterprise.

Lyle is a past president of the SMU Alumni Association. He has served on the Executive Boards of the School of Engineering and the Cox School of Business, and as a trustee of the Institute for the Study of Earth and Man in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. He is vice chair of the Maguire Energy Institute in the Cox School and of the Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility. He is co-founder and current chair of the Associates Board in the Cox School and serves on the board of the SMU Hart Global Leaders Forum. He received the SMU Distinguished Alumni Award in 1995 and in 2006 was named to the School of Engineering Hall of Leaders.

His other civic activities have included leadership roles in the Boy Scouts of America, the Communities Foundation of Texas, the Volunteer Center of North Texas, the National and Dallas Advisory Boards of The Salvation Army, Texas Business Hall of Fame Foundation, Texas Trees Foundation, Center for Nonprofit Management, Trinity Trust Foundation, Kindness Foundation and Dallas Assembly Foundation.

Lyle graduated from Louisiana Tech University, received a graduate degree in engineering administration from SMU, and earned a doctorate from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

The J. Erik Jonsson Award is named after a co-founder and former president of Texas Instruments who, as Dallas mayor, worked tirelessly to improve the morale and image of the city in the wake of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The award is given to individuals who epitomize the spirit of moral leadership and public virtue.

“Mayor Jonsson was one of those people who was brilliant as a mayor, not necessarily for his solo acts, but for his ability to bring people together,” says Rita Kirk, William F. May Endowed Director of the Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility.

“Each of the people that we recognize in the J. Erik Jonsson Award brings people together,” Kirk adds. ”They figure that there’s a better way to do things if we take advantage of the talents and abilities and insights of everyone in our community, and then put those actions to use.”

Past recipients of the J. Erik Jonsson Ethics Award, now in its 21st year, include David O. Brown, Terry J. Flowers, Lyda Hill, Gail Griffin Thomas, Nancy Ann & Ray Hunt, Walter J. Humann, Ruth S. Altshuler, Bob Buford, Ronald G. Steinhart, Michael M. Boone, Zan W. Holmes Jr., Roger Staubach, Caren Prothro, Tom Luce, Ron Anderson, Jack Lowe Jr., William T. Solomon, Stanley H. Marcus, Charles C. Sprague and Curtis W. Meadows Jr.

— Written by Kenny Ryan

> Visit the SMU Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility online: smu.edu/ethics

35 outstanding teachers honored with 2017-18 HOPE Professors Awards

Alice Kendrick and Tiffany Giraudon, HOPE Awards 2018

Alice Kendrick (left) accepts the 2017-18 HOPE Professor of the Year Award from advertising major Tiffany Giraudon.

SMU’s Department of Residence Life and Student Housing (RLSH) honored 35 outstanding professors at the 2017-18 HOPE Awards Banquet Tuesday, Feb. 6.

Alice Kendrick, Marriott Family Endowed Professor of Advertising in Meadows School of the Arts, was recognized as 2017-18 Professor of the Year.

HOPE (Honoring Our Professors’ Excellence) Award recipients are named through RLSH student staff member nominations as professors who “have made a significant impact to our academic education both inside and outside of the classroom.”

The complete list of 2017-18 HOPE Award honorees:

Cox School of Business

  • Barry Bryan, Accounting
  • Jay Carson, Management and Organizations
  • Liliana Hickman-Riggs, Accounting +

Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences

  • Stephanie Amsel, English (Discernment and Discourse)
  • Joan Arbery, English (Discernment and Discourse)
  • Sarah Bogard, World Languages and Literatures (Spanish)
  • Richard Bozorth, English
  • Teresa Brentegani, World Languages and Literatures (Italian)
  • Alejandro D’Brot, Biological Sciences
  • LeeAnn Derdeyn, English (Discernment and Discourse)
  • Jill DeTemple, Religious Studies
  • Kirsten Egerstrom, Philosophy
  • Xiao Hu, World Languages and Literatures (Chinese)
  • Bruce Levy, English (Discernment and Discourse) *
  • Leticia Trevino McDoniel, World Languages and Literatures (Spanish)
  • Daniel Moss, English
  • Michael Saliba, Economics
  • Ross Sloan, English (Discernment and Discourse)
  • Teresa Strecker, Biological Sciences
  • Thierry Tirado, World Languages and Literatures (French)
  • Brian Zoltowski, Chemistry *

Lyle School of Engineering

  • Elena Borzova, Mechanical Engineering
  • Frank Coyle, Computer Science and Engineering
  • Rachel Goodman, Engineering Management, Information and Systems
  • Yildirim Hürmüzlü, Mechanical Engineering
  • Andrew Quicksall, Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Peter Raad, Mechanical Engineering

Meadows School of the Arts

  • Willie Baronet, Advertising
  • Sandra Duhé, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs
  • Alice Kendrick, Advertising (HOPE Professor of the Year) *
  • Troy Perkins, Film and Media Arts
  • Lauren Smart, Journalism

Perkins School of Theology

  • Tamara Lewis, History of Christianity
  • Stephen Long, Cary M. Maguire University Professor of Ethics

Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development

  • Kelyn Rola, Wellness +

+ Nominated by more than one student

* HOPE Distinguished Professor, indicating the faculty member has been nominated in five or more years

Research: SMU study finds that charismatic women inspire women students to pursue male-dominated careers

A low-budget field experiment to tackle the lack of women in the male-dominated field of economics has been surprisingly effective, says the study’s author, an assistant professor of economics in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.

Top female college students were inspired to pursue a major in economics when exposed very briefly to charismatic, successful women in the field, according to SMU economist Danila Serra. The results suggest that exposing young women to an inspiring female role model succeeds due to the mix of both information and pure inspiration, Serra said.

SMU economist Danila Serra

Danila Serra

“The specific women who came and talked to the students were key to the success of the intervention,” she said. “It was a factor of how charismatic and enthusiastic they were about their careers and of how interesting their jobs looked to young women.”

Given the simplicity and low cost of the intervention, similar experiments could be easily conducted in other male-dominated or female-dominated fields of study to enhance gender diversity.

Serra’s results showed that among female students exposed to the enthusiastic mentors, there was a 12 percentage-point increase in the number of female students enrolling in the upper-level Intermediate Microeconomics course the following year — a 100% increase, or doubling, for that demographic.

Not surprisingly, given that the intervention was targeted to female students, Serra found that the role model visits had no impact on male students.

But astonishingly it had the greatest impact on high-achieving female students.

“If we restrict the analysis to the top female students, the students with a GPA of 3.7 or higher, the impact is remarkable — it is a 26 percentage points increase,” Serra said. “So this intervention was especially impactful on the top female students who perhaps were not thinking about majoring in economics.”

The results were surprising to Serra, who teaches the upper-level class Behavioral and Experimental Economics. Serra’s research relies on laboratory and field experiments, a relatively new methodology in the field of economics. She launched and is co-leader of the Laboratory for Research in Experimental Economics at SMU.

“I didn’t think such limited exposure would have such a large impact,” Serra said. “So this is telling me that one of the reasons we see so few women in certain fields is that these fields have been male-dominated for so long. This implies that it is very difficult for a young woman to come into contact with a woman in the field who has an interesting job in the eyes of young women and is enthusiastic about her major and her work. Young men, on the other hand, have these interactions all the time because there are so many male economics majors out there.”

— Written by Margaret Allen

> Read the full story at the SMU Research blog

Books for giving (and keeping), created by the SMU community

2017 SMU books

Looking for last-minute gifts? Cherri Gann of SMU News compiles an annual list featuring books published in 2017 by the SMU community – including faculty, staff, alumni, libraries and museum.

This collection always has something for everyone, whether their reading preferences are light or serious, ranging from nonfiction to novels and from scholarly to children’s titles. Some selections are available at the SMU Bookstore, and most are available via online booksellers.

Find the full list under the cut.

> See all the books and their covers at SMU News

(more…)

SMU Guildhall, Biological Sciences faculty to help launch disease-fighting game technology in online event on Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017

HEWMEN alpha launch graphic

What would be the impact if humans could harness the resources of massive online communities to fight disease? SMU faculty members have developed a technology that gives video gamers the power to fight disease through data – and the entire University community is invited to participate in its online launch.

On Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017 from 6-8 p.m. CST, BALANCED Media Technology – cofounded by SMU Guildhall faculty members Corey Clark and Rob Atkins – will host an online Alpha Launch of its proprietary HEWMEN™ platform. The event will be streamed live on Mixer.com and hosted on the SMU Guildhall Facebook page.

> Learn more about HEWMEN™ and download the game client: hewmen.io/alpha

> Visit Facebook.com/SMUGuildhall to RSVP for the online launch

John Wise and Pia Vogel, faculty members in the Department of Biological Sciences of SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, will also be on hand for the launch. Their research on cancer-fighting drugs provided the impetus for the specially designed Minecraft mod, and their amassed data helps to power the HEWMEN™ integration.

Wise and Vogel have tapped the high-performance computing power of SMU’s Maneframe II, one of the most powerful academic supercomputers in the nation. Yet a network of gamers can crunch massive amounts of data during routine gameplay by pairing two powerful weapons: human intuition, and the massive computing power of networked gaming machine processors. Taking this research to the gaming community will more than double the amount of machine processing power attacking the problem.

> SMU Research: SMU Guildhall and cancer researchers level up in quest to beat cancer

Viewers can watch popular Minecraft streamers GhostfromTexas, Direwolf20, TangoTek and impulseSV demonstrate the high technology and the serious fun of games that help researchers fight disease. In addition, casual and committed gamers can join in through a modified version of the popular Minecraft “Bed Wars” designed to find new cancer therapies – all during regular gameplay.

> Learn more and find more useful links at the SMU Guildhall’s launch page

25 SMU professors receive 2018-19 Sam Taylor Fellowships

Twenty-five SMU faculty members have received 2018-19 Sam Taylor Fellowships from the Sam Taylor Fellowship Fund of the Division of Higher Education, United Methodist General Board of Higher Education and Ministry.

The Fellowships, funded by income from a portion of Taylor’s estate, award up to $2,000 for full-time faculty members at United Methodist-related colleges and universities in Texas. Any full-time faculty member is eligible to apply for the Fellowships, which support research, “advancing the intellectual, social or religious life of Texas and the nation.”

Applications are evaluated on the significance of the project, clarity of the proposal, professional development of the applicant, value of the project to the community or nation and the project’s sensitivity to value questions confronting higher education and society.

The winning professors for this academic year, by college or school:

Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences

  • Jing Cao, Statistical Science

  • Simon Dalley, Physics

  • Alan Elliott, Statistical Science

  • Jo Guldi, History

  • Chrystyna Kouros, Psychology

  • Priscilla Lui, Psychology

  • Karen Lupo, Anthropology

  • Alicia Meuret, Psychology

  • Thomas Ritz, Psychology

  • Peng Tao, Chemistry

  • Hervé Tchumkam, World Languages and Literatures

  • Jingbo Ye, Physics

Meadows School of the Arts

  • Amber Bemak, Film and Media Studies

  • LaShonda Eaddy, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs

  • Amy Freund, Art History

  • Yan Huang, Advertising

  • Anna Kim, Advertising

  • Zachary Wallmark, Music

  • Hye Jin Yoon, Advertising

Lyle School of Engineering

  • Ali Heydari, Mechanical Engineering

  • MinJun Kim, Mechanical Engineering

  • Jaewook Myung, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Perkins School of Theology

  • Jack Levison, Old Testament Interpretation

  • Natalia Marandiuc, Christian Theology

  • Priscilla Pope-Levison, Ministerial Studies

Research: SMU-led fossil study finds carbon dioxide link to global warming 22 million years ago

Fossil leaves from Ethiopia

Variations in the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide affect carbon fixation during photosynthesis and can be measured on a preserved fossil leaf like this one from Ethiopia.

Fossil leaves from Africa have resolved a prehistoric climate puzzle — and also confirm the link between carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and global warming.

Research until now has produced a variety of results and conflicting data that have cast doubt on the link between high carbon dioxide levels and climate change for a time interval about 22 million years ago.

But a new study has found the link does indeed exist for that prehistoric time period, say SMU researchers. The finding will help scientists understand how recent and future increases in the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide may impact the future of our planet, they add.

The discovery comes from new biochemical analyses of fossil leaves from plants that grew on Earth 27 million years ago and 22 million years ago, said geologist Tekie Tesfamichael, an SMU postdoctoral fellow in Earth Sciences and a lead scientist on the research.

The new analyses confirm research about modern climate — that global temperatures rise and fall with increases and decreases in carbon dioxide in our atmosphere — but in this case even in prehistoric times, according to the SMU-led international research team.

Carbon dioxide is a gas that is normally present in the Earth’s atmosphere, even millions of years ago. It’s dubbed a greenhouse gas because greater concentrations cause the overall temperature of Earth’s atmosphere to rise, as happens in a greenhouse with lots of sunlight.

Recently greenhouse gas increases have caused global warming, which is melting glaciers, sparking extreme weather variability and causing sea levels to rise.

The new SMU discovery that carbon dioxide behaved in the same manner millions of years ago that it does today has significant implications for the future. The finding suggests the pairing of carbon dioxide and global warming that is seen today also holds true for the future if carbon dioxide levels continue to rise as they have been, said Tesfamichael.

“The more we understand about the relationship between atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations and global temperature in the past, the more we can plan for changes ahead,” said Tesfamichael.

“Previous work reported a variety of results and conflicting data about carbon dioxide concentrations at the two intervals of time that we studied,” he said. “But tighter control on the age of our fossils helped us to address whether or not atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration corresponded to warming — which itself is independently well-documented in geochemical studies of marine fossils in ocean sediments.”

The researchers reported their findings in Geology, the scientific journal of the Geological Society of America. The article is “Settling the issue of ‘decoupling’ between atmospheric carbon dioxide and global temperature: [CO2]atm reconstructions across the warming Paleogene-Neogene divide.”

Co-authors from the Roy M. Huffington Department of Earth Sciences in Dedman College are professors Bonnie Jacobs, an expert in paleobotany and paleoclimate, and Neil J. Tabor, an expert in sedimentology and sedimentary geochemistry. Other co-authors are Lauren Michel, Tennessee Technological University; Ellen Currano, University of Wyoming; Mulugeta Feseha, Addis Ababa University; Richard Barclay, Smithsonian Institution; John Kappelman, University of Texas; and Mark Schmitz, Boise State University.

— Written by Margaret Allen

> Read the full story at the SMU Research blog: smuresearch.com

SMU scholars lead Community Conversation on renaming schools named for Confederate generals, Monday, Oct. 30, 2017

SMU Community Conversations - Dallas Public Schools Named After Confederates

As Dallas addresses the challenges of dealing with its Confederate monuments, SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences and Perkins School of Theology host a Community Conversation on the proposed renaming of four Dallas public schools currently named for Confederate generals.

The Dallas Independent School District Board voted in September to focus on renaming four Dallas ISD elementary schools named for Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, Albert Sidney Johnston and William Cabell. The SMU panelists will provide perspective and historical context surrounding the naming of Dallas ISD schools.

“Community Conversations: SMU Scholars Discuss Dallas Public Schools” will take place 6-7:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 30, 2017 in McCord Auditorium, 306 Dallas Hall.

Panelists include:

The discussion will be moderated by Ted A. Campbell, professor of church history in Perkins School of Theology. The event is free and open to the public.

> RSVP for “SMU Community Conversations” online

SMU Physics celebrates Dark Matter Days with a Halloween hunt, Oct. 29-31, 2017

Students paint rocks for Dark Matter Day 2017 at SMU

SMU physics students paint “dark matter” rocks for a Halloween hunt. Jasmine Liu, Christina McConville, Jared Burleson, Taylor Wallace, Bibi Schindler and Elijah Cruda took part.

This Halloween, SMU joins a worldwide celebration of the mysterious substance that permeates our universe: dark matter.

The Department of Physics in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences has planned a Dark Matter Day celebration – complete with a campus-wide hunt for “dark matter” rocks – and the entire community is invited to join in.

Each Oct. 31, science enthusiasts the world over celebrate “the hunt for the unseen” – the elusive matter that makes up much of the total mass and energy of the universe. Scientists don’t know if dark matter consists of undiscovered particles, or if it can be explained with known physics – but understanding it is key to unlocking the structure of the cosmos.

> Learn more about Dark Matter Day at its official website: DarkMatterDay.com

On Sunday, Oct. 29, the department hosts a free public lecture for lay audiences by Maruša Bradač, associate professor, University of California-Davis. The talk begins at 4 p.m. in McCord Auditorium, 306 Dallas Hall, followed by a reception with beverages and light snacks at 5-6 p.m. in the Dallas Hall Rotunda.

SMU’s resident dark-matter expert, Associate Professor of Physics Jodi Cooley, presents a free public lecture for audiences familiar with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) studies at 4 p.m. Monday, Oct. 30, in 158 Fondren Science Building.

#SMUDarkMatterOn Halloween, Tuesday, Oct. 31, the Dark Matter Rock Hunt begins. The Department of Physics has hidden 26 “dark matter rocks” around the SMU main campus; finders can collect special prizes from the Physics Department office in 102 Fondren Science. The hunt is free and open to the public and will take place 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Anyone who discovers a rock painted with a dark matter message on the SMU campus is encouraged to tweet a selfie with their rock and tag it #SMUDarkMatter.

> Follow @SMUPhysics on Twitter

“In the spirit of science being a pursuit open to all, we are excited to invite the public to become dark matter hunters for a day,”  Cooley says. “Explore the campus in the search for dark matter rocks, just as physicists are exploring the cosmos in the hunt for the nature of dark matter itself.”

Cooley is part of a 100-person international experiment team that uses ultra-pure materials and highly sensitive custom-built detectors to listen for the passage of dark matter at SNOLAB, an underground science laboratory in Ontario, Canada.

> Read more from the SMU Research blog

Jodi Cooley explains dark matter and its place in the universe in this video. Tap the YouTube screen to watch, or click here to open the Dark Matter Day 2017 video in a new windowvideo

Research: Prehistoric humans formed sophisticated social networks to minimize inbreeding

Artist's impression of an Upper Paleothic burial from Sunghir, Russia, issued by Cambridge University, credit Libor Balak, Anthropark

A paleolithic burial site in Russia has provided evidence that prehistoric humans formed complex mating networks to avoid inbreeding.

A new study examined genetic information from the remains of modern humans who lived during the early part of the Upper Palaeolithic, a period when modern humans from Africa first colonized western Eurasia, eventually displacing the Neanderthals who lived there before.

The humans buried at the site in Sunghir, Russia were no more closely related than first cousins. The findings suggest that they deliberately sought partners beyond their immediate family, and that they were probably connected to a wider network of groups from within which mates were chosen.

The work was carried out a research team led by the University of Cambridge (U.K.) and the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and including SMU archaeologist David J. Meltzer, whose expertise includes the First People in the Americas. Their findings are reported in “Ancient genomes show social and reproductive behavior of early Upper Paleolithic foragers,” published in the Oct. 5, 2017 issue of Science.

The researchers’ work demonstrate that by at least 34,000 years ago, human hunter-gatherer groups had developed sophisticated social and mating networks that minimized inbreeding. The authors also hint that the early development of more complex mating systems may at least partly explain why modern humans proved successful while other, rival species, such as Neanderthals, did not. More ancient genomic information from both early humans and Neanderthals is needed to test this idea.

The human fossils buried at Sunghir are a unique source of information about early modern human societies of western Eurasia. Sunghir preserves two contemporaneous burials – that of an adult man, and that of two children buried together and which includes the symbolically modified remains of another adult.

To the researchers’ surprise, however, these individuals were not closely related in genetic terms; at the very most, they were second cousins. This is true even for the two children who were buried head-to-head in the same grave.

“What this means is that people in the Upper Palaeolithic, who were living in tiny groups, understood the importance of avoiding inbreeding,” said Eske Willerslev, a professor at St. John’s College and the University of Copenhagen, who was senior author on the study. “The data that we have suggest that it was being purposely avoided. This means that they must have developed a system for this purpose. If the small hunter and gathering bands were mixing at random, we would see much greater evidence of inbreeding than we have here.”

— University of Cambridge, SMU

> Read the full story from the SMU Research blog

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