Dedman College

Caroline Brettell elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Caroline BrettellNoted SMU anthropologist Caroline Brettell joins actress Carol Burnett, musician John Legend, playwright Lynn Nottage, immunologist James Allison and other renowned leaders in various fields as a newly elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The class of 2017 will be inducted at a ceremony on Saturday, Oct. 7 at the Academy’s headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Brettell joins 228 new fellows and foreign honorary members — representing the sciences, the humanities and the arts, business, public affairs and the nonprofit sector — as a member of one of the world’s most prestigious honorary societies.

“Caroline Brettell is an internationally recognized leader in the field of migration, and one of Dedman College’s most productive scholars,” said Thomas DiPiero, dean of SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. “I couldn’t be happier to see her win this well-deserved accolade.”

“I am surprised and deeply honored to receive such a recognition,” said Brettell, Ruth Collins Altshuler Professor in the Department of Anthropology and director of the Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute. “It is overwhelming to be in the company of Winston Churchill, Georgia O’Keeffe, Jonas Salk and the ‘mother’ of my own discipline, Margaret Mead. And I am thrilled to have my favorite pianist, André Watts, as a member of my class. I am truly grateful to join such a distinguished and remarkable group of members, past and present.”

> See the full list of American Academy of Arts and Sciences members

Brettell’s research centers on ethnicity, migration and the immigrant experience. Much of her work has focused on the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex as a new immigration gateway city, especially on how immigrants practice citizenship and civic engagement as they meld into existing economic, social and political structures. She has special expertise in cross-cultural perspectives on gender, the challenges specific to women immigrants, how the technology boom affects immigration, and how the U.S.-born children of immigrants construct their identities and a sense of belonging. An immigrant herself, Brettell was born in Canada and became a U.S. citizen in 1993.

She is the author or editor of nearly 20 books, most recently Gender and Migration (2016, Polity Press UK) and Identity and the Second Generation: How Children of Immigrants Find Their Space, co-edited with Faith G. Nibbs, Ph.D. ’11 (2016, Vanderbilt University Press). Her research has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Wenner Gren Foundation and the Russell Sage Foundation, among many others.

An SMU faculty member since 1988, Brettell has held the Dedman Family Distinguished Professorship and served as chair in the Department of Anthropology and as director of Women’s Studies in Dedman College. She served as president of the Faculty Senate and a member of the University’s Board of Trustees in 2001-02, and was dean ad interim of Dedman College from 2006-08. Brettell is a member of the American Anthropological Association, the American Ethnological Society, the Society for Applied Anthropology, the Society for the Anthropology of Europe, and the Society for Urban, National and Transnational Anthropology, among others.

She joins David Meltzer, Henderson-Morrison Professor of Prehistory in Dedman College (class of 2013), Scurlock University Professor of Human Values Charles Curran (class of 2010), and the late David J. Weber, founding director of the University’s Clements Center for Southwest Studies (class of 2007) as the fourth SMU faculty member to be elected to the Academy.

“It is an honor to welcome this new class of exceptional women and men as part of our distinguished membership,” said Don Randel, chair of the Academy’s Board of Directors. “Their talents and expertise will enrich the life of the Academy and strengthen our capacity to spread knowledge and understanding in service to the nation.”

“In a tradition reaching back to the earliest days of our nation, the honor of election to the American Academy is also a call to service,” said Academy President Jonathan F. Fanton. “Through our projects, publications, and events, the Academy provides members with opportunities to make common cause and produce the useful knowledge for which the Academy’s 1780 charter calls.”

Since its founding in 1780, the Academy has elected leading “thinkers and doers” from each generation, including George Washington and Benjamin Franklin in the 18th century, Daniel Webster and Ralph Waldo Emerson in the 19th, and Albert Einstein and Winston Churchill in the 20th. The current membership of about 4,900 fellows and 600 foreign honorary members includes more than 250 Nobel laureates and more than 60 Pulitzer Prize winners. The Academy’s work is advanced by these elected members, who are leaders in the academic disciplines, the arts, business, and public affairs from around the world.

Members of the Academy’s 2017 class include winners of the Pulitzer Prize and the Wolf Prize; MacArthur Fellows; Fields Medalists; Presidential Medal of Freedom and National Medal of Arts recipients; and Academy Award, Grammy Award, Emmy Award, and Tony Award winners.

> Read the full story, and learn more about selected members of the AAAS class of 2017, at SMU News

Research: SMU study finds helicopter parenting harms boys and girls in different ways

Students Studying in Fondren Library CenterSMU researchers have found surprising gender differences in how college students react to misguided parenting. Their findings on the impact of helicopter parenting and fostering independence have been reported in a new article, “Helicopter Parenting, Autonomy Support, and College Students’ Mental Health and Well-being: The Moderating Role of Sex and Ethnicity,” in the Journal of Child and Family Studies.

Measuring both helicopter parenting as well as autonomy support — fostering independence — was important for the researchers to study, said family dynamics expert Chrystyna Kouros, SMU assistant professor of psychology and an author on the study.

“Just because mom and dad aren’t helicopter parents doesn’t necessarily mean they are supporting their young adult in making his or her own choices,” Kouros said. “The parent may be uninvolved, so we also wanted to know if parents are actually encouraging their student to be independent and make their own choices.”

The researchers found that young women are negatively affected by helicopter parenting, while young men suffer when parents don’t encourage independence.

“The sex difference was surprising,” said Kouros, an expert in adolescent depression. “In Western culture in particular, boys are socialized more to be independent, assertive and take charge, while girls are more socialized toward relationships, caring for others, and being expressive and compliant. Our findings showed that a lack of autonomy support — failure to encourage independence — was more problematic for males, but didn’t affect the well-being of females. Conversely, helicopter parenting — parents who are overinvolved — proved problematic for girls, but not boys.”

The study is unique in measuring the well-being of college students, said Kouros, director of SMU’s Family Health and Development Lab. The tendency in research on parenting has been to focus on the mental health of younger children.

“When researchers do focus on college students they tend to ask about academic performance, and whether students are engaged in school. But there haven’t been as many studies that look at mental health or well-being in relation to helicopter parenting,” she said.

Unlike children subjected to psychological control, in which parents try to instill guilt in their child, children of helicopter parents report a very close bond with their parents. Helicopter parents “hover” out of concern for their child, not from malicious intent, she said.

What helicopter parents don’t realize is that despite their good intentions to help their child, it actually does harm, said Naomi Ekas, a co-author on the study and assistant professor of psychology at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth.

“They’re not allowing their child to become independent or learn problem-solving on their own, nor to test out and develop effective coping strategies,” Ekas said.

Young men that reported more autonomy support, measured stronger well-being in the form of less social anxiety and fewer depressive symptoms.

For young women, helicopter parenting predicted lower psychological well-being. They were less optimistic, felt less satisfaction with accomplishments, and were not looking forward to things with enjoyment, nor feeling hopeful. In contrast, lacking autonomy support wasn’t related to negative outcomes in females.

“The take-away is we have to adjust our parenting as our kids get older,” said Kouros. “Being involved with our child is really important. But we have to adapt how we are involved as they are growing up, particularly going off to college.”

Other co-authors on the study are Romilyn Kiriaki and Megan Sunderland, SMU Department of Psychology, and Megan M. Pruitt, Texas Christian University. The study was funded by the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health at UT-Austin.

— Margaret Allen

> Read the full story from the SMU Research blog

Three SMU professors receive 2017-18 Colin Powell Fellowships

SMU Colin Powell Fellows 2017-18Three SMU professors have received 2017-18 Colin Powell Global Order and Foreign Policy Fellowships from the University’s John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies.

The award gives SMU faculty members up to $5,000 for research contributing to knowledge of what President George H.W. Bush referred to as the New World Order. The professors will present their findings at a Tower Center seminar in fall 2018.

The three honorees and their projects:

  • Sabri Ates, associate professor of history in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, will use the award to finish writing his latest book, Seyyid Abdulqadir Nehri’s Pursuit of an Independent Kurdistan. Ates explores the historical conditions that account for how the Kurds became the largest ethnic group without its own nation and is writing the work “as part of an ongoing discussion about the Kurds in particular and the greater Middle East in general.”
  • Michael Lusztig, professor of political science in Dedman College, will use the award to finish his new book, The Culturalist Challenge to Liberal Republicanism, which has been accepted for publication by McGill-Queen University Press. Lusztig explores the risks multiculturalism poses to liberal democracy through examination of Mexican immigration to the United States and Islamic immigration to Europe.
  • Hiroki Takeuchi, associate professor of political science in Dedman College, plans to investigate the security implications of global value chains in the Asia Pacific. Takeuchi will explore whether cross-border relationships built off of trade – such as those created by multinational corporations that have different stages of production in different countries – contribute to peace and international cooperation.

> Read the full story from the SMU Tower Center blog

SMU Chemistry now accepting applications for new Ph.D. degree in Theoretical and Computational Chemistry

ManeFrame supercomputer at SMUSMU’s Department of Chemistry seeks to meet a high demand for well-trained computational and theoretical chemistry professionals with a new doctoral program. The department is now accepting applications for its Ph.D. program in Theoretical and Computational Chemistry.

The four-year, 66-unit degree offers “an intensive and success-oriented education in computational and theoretical chemistry, with the goal to prepare students for a future career in academia or private industry,” according to the department. Mandatory courses include advanced computational chemistry, computer-assisted drug design, Hartree-Fock Density Functional Theory and electron correlations methods; and models and concepts in chemistry, symmetry and group theory.

A minimum of five publications is expected for the thesis defense. The degree program also features extensive training in how to write a paper and prepare for presentations, interviews and a future career path.

The American Chemical Society’s ChemCensus 2010 reports that the number of computational chemists with a Ph.D. degree working in industry nearly doubled over 20 years, from 55,200 in 1990 to 109,500 in 2010. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that there will be a further annual increase of at least 15 percent until 2022, making this the fastest-growing sector among all chemistry-related jobs.

For more information, contact Dr. Dieter Cremer or Dr. Elfi Kraka.

> Learn more about SMU’s Ph.D. in Theoretical and Computational Chemistry online

Sylvia Barack Fishman to deliver Nate and Ann Levine Lecture during One Day Jewish University at SMU

One Day Jewish University banner, Dedman College

SMU faculty members will present mini-courses on topics ranging from “Israel: Startup Nation” to “Rhythm and Jews: Jewish Self-Expression and the Rise of the American Recording Industry” during One Day Jewish University, offered by the SMU Jewish Studies Program in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.

The event takes places 12:30-5:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 26 in Dallas Hall. Registration is free; donations to SMU’s Jewish Studies Program are welcomed. Suggested donation levels are $15 for students, $25 for seniors and $50 for adults.

Participating SMU faculty members include Mark Chancey, Religious Studies; Jeffrey Engel, History; Serge Frolov, Religious Studies; Danielle Joyner, Art History; Shira Lander, Religious Studies; Bruce Levy, English; Simon Mak, Strategy, Entrepreneurship and Business Economics; Justin Rudelson, Master of Liberal Studies Program; and Martha Satz, English.

The day culminates with the Nate and Ann Levine Lecture in Jewish Studies by sociologist Sylvia Barack Fishman, co-director of the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute and Joseph and Esther Foster Professor of Contemporary Jewish Life at Brandeis University. She will speak on “Diverse Jewish Families in 21st-Century America.”

Sylvia Barack Fishman, Brandeis UniversityProf. Fishman is the author of eight books, including Love, Marriage, and Jewish Families: Paradoxes of a Social Revolution (2015), which explores the full range of contemporary Jewish personal choices and what they mean for the American and Israeli Jewish communities today. Her recent book, The Way Into the Varieties of Jewishness, explores diverse understandings of Jewish identity, religion and culture across the centuries, from ancient to contemporary times. She has published numerous articles on the interplay of American and Jewish values, transformations in the American Jewish family, the impact of Jewish education, and American Jewish literature and film. Among other honors, Prof. Fishman received the 2014 Marshall Sklare Award from the Association for the Social Scientific Study of Jewry.

> Find a complete schedule and registration information from the Dedman College Jewish Studies Program

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