Denise Gee

FAA Deputy Administrator Michael G. Whitaker to deliver keynote at 2014 SMU Air Law Symposium, April 3-4

2014 SMU Air Law SymposiumFederal Aviation Administration Deputy Administrator Michael G. Whitaker will be keynote speaker at the 48th annual SMU Air Law Symposium sponsored by the University’s Dedman School of Law and Journal of Air Law and Commerce. The two-day event will be at the Omni Mandalay Hotel Las Colinas.

More than 500 aviation lawyers and industry experts are expected to attend the symposium, the world’s oldest and largest annual aviation law conference.

Discussions on how current issues are changing the aviation landscape will include:

  • Recent Developments in Aviation Law
    Jared L. Watkins, Kreindler & Kreindler LLP
    Thursday, 8:45 a.m.
  • Delivering the Benefits of NextGen Now
    Michael G. Whitaker, FAA
    Thursday, 1:05 p.m.
  • Drones: The Good, the Bad, and What About the Ethics?
    Elaine D. Solomon, Blank Rome LLP
    Thursday, 3:25 p.m.
  • Recent Developments in Professional Responsibility: 10 Ethics Opinions in 30 Minutes
    William J. Bridge, SMU Dedman School of Law
    Friday, 1:55 p.m.

For a complete schedule and registration details, visit the SMU Law Review website. For more information, call (214) 768-2570.

Written by Denise Gee

Embrey Human Rights Program seeks nominees for new award

SMU's Embrey Human Rights Program graphicSMU’s Embrey Human Rights Program will present its first Triumph of the Spirit Award and $25,000 to a person who has dedicated his or her life to social justice and human rights issues on a local, national or global scale. A related award and $5,000 will go to a human rights defender in the Dallas-Fort Worth region.

“The Triumph of the Spirit Award is meant to serve as a symbol of hope in the continued struggle for human rights,” says Embrey Human Rights Program Director Rick Halperin.

Award winners must exemplify the missions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Embrey Human Rights Program, says Halperin, adding, “Often these human rights defenders are working against tremendous odds and at grave personal risk.”

The deadline to submit Triumph of the Spirit nominations is Monday, March 3. Winners will be announced Tuesday, July 1 and honored at a fall reception.

> Read more about the Triumph of the Spirit award and make a nomination online

SMU is the first university in the South and the only one west of Ohio to offer a Bachelor of Arts in human rights. Approved in 2011 by the SMU Board of Trustees, the academic degree was offered five years after the creation of the Embrey Human Rights Program in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.

For more details about the Triumph of the Spirit Award, contact Bradley Klein, assistant director of the Embrey Human Rights Program, 214-768-3241.

Written by Denise Gee

> Visit SMU’s Embrey Human Rights Program homepage

Jennifer M. Collins named new SMU law dean

SMU’s new law dean is a scholar at the intersection of criminal and family law whose background includes extensive academic administration experience as well as service as a federal prosecutor. Jennifer M. Collins will begin her duties as the Judge James Noel Dean of Dedman School of Law on Tuesday, July 1, 2014,

Collins comes to SMU from Wake Forest University, where she currently serves as vice provost. Collins has been on the law school faculty at Wake Forest since 2003 and was named associate provost in 2010 and vice provost in September 2013. She has continued to teach courses on gender and the law and legal professionalism while serving in the provost’s office.

“We are delighted to welcome Jennifer Collins to SMU and Dallas,” said Paul Ludden, SMU provost and vice president for academic affairs. “She is a brilliant legal scholar and an outstanding academic administrator. Her experience as associate provost at Wake Forest has provided her with a campus-wide perspective that will be invaluable in leading Dedman School of Law at SMU.”

“The Dedman School of Law can be proud of the reputation it has built for academic rigor, as well as its excellent record in preparing students to practice in prestigious law firms,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Because Jennifer Collins’ career spans a lengthy tenure as a federal prosecutor as well as serving in academia, she is uniquely positioned to continue the Dedman School of Law tradition of preparing men and women to enter a competitive legal market.”

Collins graduated magna cum laude with a J.D. from Harvard University in 1991, and received her B.A. in history, cum laude with Distinction in the Major, from Yale University in 1987.

“I am absolutely delighted to be joining the SMU community,” Collins said. “I loved having the opportunity to meet with terrific, dedicated faculty and staff, and truly outstanding students, during my visit to campus, and I am eager to work together to address the challenges currently facing legal education. I cannot imagine an institution better positioned to respond to those challenges than the Dedman School of Law, and it is a great privilege to become part of the SMU family.”

Collins clerked for the Hon. Dorothy W. Nelson in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit after graduating from Harvard Law School, and worked briefly in private practice in Washington, D.C., before joining the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel as an attorney-adviser in 1993. Collins served in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia from 1994 to 2002, working in the homicide section for the last six of those years and prosecuting more than 30 jury trials.

She returned briefly to private practice in 2002 and joined the faculty of Wake Forest University School of Law in 2003. While at Wake Forest, Collins has taught criminal law, criminal procedure, family law, and gender and the law. She is the 2009 winner of the Jurist Excellence in Teaching Award, selected by the graduating class of the law school, and the 2010 recipient of the Joseph Branch Excellence in Teaching Award, selected by the dean of the law school.

Collins became associate provost for academic and strategic initiatives at Wake Forest in 2010, where she spearheaded the university’s entry into the online and distance education market and developed new initiatives to increase diversity and inclusion across campus. She promoted efforts to examine the relevance and value of a liberal arts education and coordinated a large-scale strategic planning effort to improve campus culture for Wake Forest students.

Collins’ legal research has focused on issues involving families and the criminal justice system, including the prosecution of parents who are responsible for their children’s deaths. She is the author, with Dan Markel and Ethan Lieb, of Privilege or Punish? Criminal Justice and The Challenge of Family Ties, published by Oxford University Press in 2009, and has written many other law review articles and essays.

Provost Ludden expressed thanks to Julie Forrester, an award-winning scholar in property law, who has served since June 1 as Dean ad interim for Dedman School of Law. “Professor Forrester provided a great service to Dedman Law, providing outstanding leadership and laying the groundwork for a smooth transition,” Ludden said.

Collins, who was selected after a nationwide search, succeeds John Attanasio, who served as dean for three terms, from 1998 to 2013.

Written by Denise Gee

> Read the full story from SMU News

SMU celebrates 50 years of ‘I Have a Dream’ Aug. 28, 2013

Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. at SMU's McFarlin Auditorium, March 1966

Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. at SMU’s McFarlin Auditorium, March 1966

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March On Washington, SMU students will gather to watch televised anniversary march ceremonies, debate the progress of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream with Wiley College students and attend a lecture on the legacy of the civil rights movement.

An all-day student watch party is scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013 – 50 years to the day after the March. The Hughes-Trigg Student Center Commons will host live streaming of ceremonies marking the anniversary. Students are encouraged to write comments on a life-size poster regarding what MLK’s dream will mean 50 years from now.

Listen to Dr. King’s historic 1966 speech at SMU

At 7 p.m. Aug. 28, SMU hosts Wiley College for a “I Have A Dream 2013” Debate in 241 Umphrey Lee Center. The two teams will debate on the question of whether America is advancing on King’s dream in 2013. The event will feature readings from Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech and from a letter by “Great Debater” James Farmer Jr., a key civil rights leader from Texas. The event is free and open to the public.

More about the SMU-Wiley College “I Have a Dream” debate

On Friday, Sept. 6, SMU presents “The End of Civil Rights in America? Reflections on the Future of Economic Justice from the Perspectives of Law and Religion” from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Karcher Auditorium,  100 Storey Hall.

The event will feature noted U.S. civil and human rights leaders, scholars and SMU faculty who will examine the legacy of the Civil Rights movement — with its growing emphasis on economic justice and the struggle for racial equality — and its implications for the future.

The keynote speaker is the Rev. James Lawson, a legendary leader of the Civil Rights movement who was personally recruited by King with the words, “We don’t have anyone like you.” Rev. Lawson helped found the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), which played a key role in the 1963 March on Washington, as well as other prominent actions of the Civil Rights movement

The lecture is open to public and costs $20 per person, including lunch and parking.

Additional lecture and registration information

Written by Denise Gee

SMU examines the costs of capital punishment April 15-18, 2013

The Goddess of Liberty statue, Capitol Building, State of TexasAs the State of Texas draws closer to executing the 500th death row inmate since capital punishment resumed here in 1982, a multidisciplinary symposium on the SMU campus will address “Death By Numbers: What Moral, Legal and Economic Price Are We Paying to Maintain the Death Penalty?” April 15-18, 2013.

“Such a morbid milestone should make us stop and look at the record number of people being executed, the high cost of maintaining capital punishment and the increasing number of states eliminating it,” says Rick Halperin, director of SMU’s Embrey Human Rights Program, the symposium’s sponsor.

Since the modern era, nearly 40 percent of all U.S. executions have occurred in Texas. “That significant number should make us wonder why this state so eagerly embraces capital punishment, despite evidence that mistakes have been made,” Halperin says.

All symposium events are free and open to the public. They include:

April 15 — The Legal Path to Execution, noon to 1:30 p.m., 201 Florence Hall. Dedman School of Law faculty will discuss the development of the U.S. Supreme Court’s limitations on capital punishment, the trend among states to abolish the death penalty, profiles of people who have been executed and changes that a person can undergo during incarceration. Panelists will be associate professor Vicki Palacios, assistant professor Meghan Ryan and instructor/mitigation specialist Vince Gonzales.

April 17 — Capital Punishment: Theological Perspectives, 12:30 to 1:25 p.m., Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Hall. Faculty members from Perkins School of Theology will discuss the death penalty from the vantage points of their academic disciplines. Panelists will be Susanne Scholz, associate professor of Old Testament; Joerg Rieger, Wendland-Cook Endowed Professor of Constructive Theology; Theodore Walker Jr., associate professor of ethics and society; and Joseph Allen, Professor Emeritus of Ethics. Note: Lunch can be purchased for $5 in the Prothro Hall Refectory at 12:15 p.m.; food and beverages will be allowed in the Great Hall.

April 18 — Literary, Societal & Economic Impacts of the Death Penalty, 7 to 9 p.m., 131 Dedman Life Sciences Building. Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences professors Dick Hawkins (Sociology), Mike Holahan (English), Steve Sverdlik (Philosophy) and Beth Wheaton (Economics) will engage in a panel discussion moderated by Dallas Morning News Editorial Writer Tod Robberson.

“Lighting the Torch of Conscience” — On May 7, closer to the projected date of the 500th execution, the Embrey Human Rights Program will sponsor the “Lighting the Torch of Conscience” demonstration expected to be the largest anti-death penalty event ever held in Dallas. It will include a press conference and vigil at 6 p.m. in front of the Dallas County Old Red Courthouse, 100 S. Houston Street in downtown Dallas, where public lynchings once took place.

For more details, contact Sherry Aikman, 214-768-8347.

Written by Denise Gee

New pope’s age, name, Jesuit history clues to future, says Curran

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, S.J., now Pope Francis, in 2008

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, S.J., now Pope Francis, in 2008. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

News that Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio would become Pope Francis revealed “two significant surprises,” says Father Charles Curran, SMU’s Elizabeth Scurlock University Professor of Human Values and one of the nation’s foremost experts on Catholic theology.

The first surprise? Pope Francis’ age: “He is 76, and will be 77 this year,” Curran says. “Every bishop and archbishop is expected to retire at age 75, so his age is older than what people thought the new pope’s age would be. Perhaps a precedent has been set with Pope Benedict XVI, and most Cardinals weren’t afraid of going beyond retirement age.”

> Curran in The Houston Chronicle: Picking a pope for the 21st century

Next, his name: “His selection of the name ‘Francis’ after Saint Francis of Assisi reflects that he’s obviously a very simple man,” Curran says. “He gave up the archbishop’s big house in Buenos Aires to live in a modest apartment. He takes public transportation to his office. That says he’s not very high on the trappings of the church.” What’s more, Curran notes, “Everybody loves St. Francis, whether Catholic, Protestant or Jewish. Francis is universally respected for his commitment to peace, poverty and ecology, so one would expect those to be significant issues for the new papacy.”

While Curran doesn’t expect Pope Francis will try to change any great teachings, “I do think he will be more open to dialogue about issues of social importance,” he says. “Having been a Jesuit priest and superior, he is used to having a collegial, brotherly relationship with others — and taking a less down-from-on-high approach to decision making.”

Written by Denise Gee

> More on Pope Francis in The Dallas Morning News

Nancy Ann and Ray L. Hunt receive 2013 Jonsson Ethics Award

Nancy Ann and Ray L. Hunt

Nancy Ann and Ray L. Hunt have become the first couple to receive SMU’s J. Erik Jonsson Ethics Award.

Nancy Ann and Ray L. Hunt – whose business, public service and education leadership has helped shape Dallas for more than 40 years – received the 2013 J. Erik Jonsson Ethics Award during a sold-out luncheon Monday, Feb. 25, at the Belo Mansion Pavilion.

Presented each year by SMU’s Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics & Public Responsibility, the award is given to individuals who exemplify the spirit of moral leadership and public virtue.

For the Hunts, the first couple ever to receive the award, the honor also reflects their longtime support of SMU, where they met 44 years ago and married three weeks after graduation.

“Individually, Nancy Ann and Ray have distinguished themselves as servant leaders, quietly influencing change that is benefiting Dallas in so many ways,” says Bobby Lyle, SMU Board of Trustee member and chair of the 2013 J. Erik Jonsson Ethics Award luncheon. “Together, they are truly remarkable, as they have combined their talents for the good of our community, most often without the knowledge of those around them.”

Among the Hunts’  contributions to SMU is their namesake Hunt Leadership Scholars Program, which  supports and enables community-minded students to enhance their leadership and learning skills.

“Over the years, I have had the privilege of teaching a number of Hunt Scholars. These academically talented students often need funding to enable them to focus on their educations full time and assume leadership roles within the University and our community. The Hunts make that happen,” says Rita Kirk, director of the Maguire Ethics Center and distinguished communications professor. “These quiet heroes never asked for recognition; they just saw a need and set out to fill it. Each of us will benefit as the next generation of leaders is guided by the ethical, committed and visionary role models established by Ray and Nancy Ann Hunt.”

The Hunts, parents of five children and grandparents to nine, often cite their favorite expression: “There are two things of real value we can give our children. One is roots. The other is wings.”

Past J. Erik Jonsson Ethics Award winners include Walter J. Humann, Ruth Collins Sharp 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.

This year the award has raised more than $248,000 for SMU’s Maguire Ethics Center.

Written by Denise Gee

> Read the full story from SMU News

Research: Texas public-school Bible courses skirt state law

Stock photo of open BibleMost of the 60 public school districts in Texas that offer courses on the Bible aren’t meeting a 2007 state law mandating that those courses be fair as well as academically and legally sound, according to a new study by SMU religious studies expert Mark Chancey.

The study uncovered bias, factual errors and insufficient curriculum standards in Texas public school Bible courses. The report “Reading, Writing & Religion II” was carried out for the Austin-based education watchdog group Texas Freedom Network (TFN).

Chancey, a religious studies professor in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, recommends the Texas State Board of Education develop Bible course curriculum standards and the Texas Education Agency be allowed funds for a teacher training program. Chancey has devoted considerable attention to the constitutional, political and academic issues raised by religion courses in public schools.

“If public schools are going to have courses on the Bible, those courses need to be just as academically rigorous as courses in history, English, and math, not less rigorous. Some schools’ courses seemed more intent on promoting religious belief than religious literacy,” said Chancey, who reviewed tens of thousands of pages of material from Texas school districts.

“When public schools teach about religion, it’s essential that they do so in a way that does not promote some people’s religious beliefs over others,” he said. “Students and the Bible deserve our very best efforts, and at this point, as a state we’re not giving them that.”

Unable to lawfully insert creation science into science classes, some schools inserted it into Bible classes, Chancey said.

His research found, for example, that courses in several districts included efforts to reconcile a literalistic reading of the Genesis creation story with modern science. Some suggested that assuming lengthy gaps of time between each of the six days of creation explained why scientists believed the earth is so old. Several courses implied that belief in evolution was incompatible with being religious.

“One course’s materials even included a religious tract claiming that NASA had discovered a missing day in time that corresponded to the story of the sun standing still in the biblical book of Joshua,” Chancey said. “The first time I heard this claim, I did what any reasonable person would do: I called NASA. I knew that this story was an urban legend, of course, and NASA was able to direct me to a web page discrediting it.”

Written by Denise Gee

> Read the full story from the SMU Research blog

 

Women’s health care in Texas is subject of SMU public forum Jan. 31

Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis

State Sen. Wendy Davis will participate in a public forum on women’s health care in Texas at SMU Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013.

The SMU Women’s and Gender Studies Program will sponsor a public forum Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013 on the effects of proposed Texas anti-abortion legislation that has been criticized by women’s rights advocates as crippling state-funded health care options for all women.

Scheduled for 7 p.m. in McCord Auditorium, 306 Dallas Hall, the forum comes 40 years to the week after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled abortion legal in the landmark Texas case Roe v. Wade.

The event will feature a discussion with Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis (pictured right, D-Fort Worth), Dallas physician (OB-GYN) Deborah Fuller and Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas President and CEO Ken Lambrecht. It will be moderated by Dave Mann, editor of The Texas Observer, which has been highlighting the issue in a series of articles and events.

Admission will be free to the public, but reservations are required; RSVP to Jenny Leigh Walthall at The Texas Observer.

“This forum will address the forgotten needs of under- and uninsured women, the key role of funding in the women’s health debate, and the uncertain future of choice in Texas,” says Beth Newman, director of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program in SMU’s Dedman College. The program is sponsoring the event with The Texas Observer.

“Recent actions by the Texas Legislature are putting the health of women and their families at risk,” Newman says. “The defunding of Planned Parenthood is not only an assault on women’s reproductive freedom, but also on the total health of many of our citizens, especially low-income women.”

“Collateral Damage” continues the Women’s and Gender Studies Program’s focus on women’s health care issues after its panel discussion with Sandra Fluke last fall.

Written by Denise Gee

Learn more about the SMU Women’s and Gender Studies Program
Visit The Texas Observer online

Good reading, good giving: SMU books for 2012

From art, history and religion to sweet Texas cuisine and fiction, SMU’s 2012 book roundup offers a wide selection to satisfy the readers in your life. Treat yourself or those on your gift list to one of the current titles listed below the link.

(more…)

Load More Posts