faculty recognition

Four distinguished SMU scholars named 2017 Ford Research Fellows

Four outstanding SMU professors were honored for their scholarship and research with 2017 Ford Research Fellowships. The awards were presented during the Board of Trustees meeting Thursday, May 4.

This year’s recipients are Stephanie Al Otaiba, Teaching and Learning, Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development; Jeffrey Kahn, Dedman School of Law; Zhong Lu, Earth Sciences, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences; and Bruce Marshall, Perkins School of Theology.

Established in 2002 through a $1 million pledge from trustee Gerald J. Ford, the fellowships help SMU retain and reward outstanding scholars. Each recipient receives a cash prize for research support during the year.

Stephanie Al Otaiba is the Patsy and Ray Caldwell Centennial Chair in Teaching and Learning in the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development. Her research interests include school-based literacy interventions, response to intervention, learning disabilities, diverse learners, and teacher training. She has published more than 110 journal articles and book chapters and has also developed reading curricular materials. Her research has been supported by several federally funded grants from the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences and Office of Special Education Programs, and from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Jeffrey Kahn is a professor in Dedman School of Law whose areas of expertise include U.S. constitutional law, administrative law, Russian law, human rights and counterterrorism. His latest research focuses on the right to travel and national security law; his most recent book, Mrs. Shipley’s Ghost: The Right to Travel and Terrorist Watchlists, critically examines the U.S. government’s no-fly list. Professor Kahn’s work on Russian law has been noted by name by the editors of The New York Times and published in various law reviews, as well as the peer-reviewed journals Post-Soviet Affairs and Review of Central and East European Law. Professor Kahn is a founding member of the Advisory Board of SMU’s Embrey Human Rights Education Program and a Fellow of the John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies.

Zhong Lu is the Shuler-Foscue Endowed Chair and director of graduate studies in the Huffington Department of Earth Sciences, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. His geophysics research focuses on the use of satellite-borne radar to detect subtle changes in the earth’s surface preceding volcanic eruptions. He also researches volcano deformation, earthquake deformation mapping, fault geometry and modeling, and ground-water basin analysis. His work with InSAR (Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar) includes underground nuclear explosion monitoring, landslide monitoring and water-level changes of wetlands. Professor Lu has been awarded more than $3 million in grants from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the U.S. Geological Service, and the U.S. Forest Service.

Bruce Marshall is the Lehman Professor of Christian Doctrine in Perkins School of Theology. He ranks among the top scholars in the world who conduct research and write about the most enduring and debated of Christian beliefs – namely, the doctrine of the Trinity. His research and writing focus on this doctrine, as well as the relationship between Christianity and Judaism. He is also an expert on the theology of St. Thomas Aquinas and has lectured widely throughout the United States and abroad on topics ranging from Trinitarian theology to Christology. Professor Marshall has written two books and more than 90 articles, book chapters, and reviews, and is a frequent speaker in both national and international venues.

Four top teachers named SMU’s 2017-19 Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professors

Four outstanding SMU professors have been named 2017-19 Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professors, as announced by the University’s Center for Teaching Excellence during the Board of Trustees meeting Thursday, May 4, 2017.

The 2017 honorees are W. Keith Robinson, Tsai Center for Law, Science and Innovation, Dedman School of Law; Stephen Sekula, Physics, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences; Kumar Venkataraman, Finance, Cox School of Business; and Kathleen Wellman, History, Dedman College of Humanities and Science.

The new members of SMU’s Academy of Distinguished Teachers will join active returning members William Dillon, Marketing, Cox School of Business; Maria Dixon, Corporate Communication and Public Affairs, Meadows School of the Arts; Elizabeth Thornburg, Civil Procedure and Alternative Dispute Resolution, Dedman School of Law; and Gabriela Vokic, World Languages and Literatures (Spanish), Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.

Each year since 2001, the Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor Awards, named for SMU Trustee Ruth Altshuler, recognize SMU faculty members for their commitment to and achievements in fostering student learning.

“These are faculty whose concerns for higher education go beyond classroom boundaries and often the boundaries of their own discipline,” according to the CTE. “They represent the highest achievement in reaching the goals of higher education.”

Each recipient receives a $10,000 award and membership in SMU’s Academy of Distinguished Teachers for the two years of their appointment as Altshuler Professors. Members participate actively with other members of the Academy to address issues in classroom teaching.

> Read more about the 2017 Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professors at the SMU CTE homepage

SMU’s 2017 Honors Convocation and Hilltop Excellence Awards take place Monday, April 17

Honors Convocation 2016SMU’s annual celebration of high achievement in academics and community life takes place during the 2017 Honors Convocation and Hilltop Excellence AwardsMonday, April 17.

The 20th annual Honors Convocation begins at 5:30 p.m. in McFarlin Auditorium, and the Hilltop Excellence Awards ceremony takes place at 7:30 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Theater.

> Coming April 17: Watch Honors Convocation live on the web at smu.edu/live

SMU reserves one Monday each April to celebrate the achievements of students, faculty, staff members, trustees and administrators in the two ceremonies. The Honors Convocation recognizes academic achievement at the University and department levels.

Read the full list of SMU’s 2017 Honors Convocation award and honors recipients

Jo GuldiThis year’s convocation speaker is Jo Guldi, assistant professor of history in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. A native Dallasite, Guldi studies the history of Great Britain and the British Empire, landscape history, legal history, property law, infrastructure, digital methods, international development, and agrarian studies. As a digital and data historian, she also oversees the lecture series “Data is Made Up of Stories: University-wide Futures From the Digital Humanities,” offered through the Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute. Among other things, the series illustrates how text mining is used across different disciplines – from digital mapping of the transatlantic slave trade to an app that captures the inspiration for Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

Guldi is the designer of Paper Machines, a free, open-source software toolkit that allows users to visualize large amounts of text for historical and political analysis over time and space, without requiring special computational resources or technical knowledge. She is the author of Roads to Power: Britain Invents the Infrastructure State (2012, Harvard University Press) and co-author with David Armitage of The History Manifesto (2014, Cambridge University Press), currently being translated for publication in six languages. She graduated from Harvard with an A.B. degree in literature, earned her Ph.D. in history from the University of California-Berkeley and was a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital History at the University of Chicago. She was also a Junior Fellow in the Harvard Society of Fellows and served a fellowship in the metaLAB (at) Harvard. Prior to joining SMU, she served as an assistant professor of history at Brown University.

Find more information on Honors Convocation

Retired and current faculty members will assemble for Honors Convocation in academic dress no later than 5:10 p.m. on the third floor of McFarlin Auditorium. The faculty procession will begin at 5:30 p.m. A reception will immediately follow the ceremony on the Main Quad.

Participating faculty members may RSVP online by Thursday, April 13, 2017. Faculty members with questions regarding the procession can e-mail ceremonies@smu.edu or call 214-768-3417.

Later, the University will present several awards for excellence – including its highest honor, the “M” Award – during the 2017 Hilltop Excellence Awards. The ceremony begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Theater. Hilltop Excellence Awards honorees will be listed in SMU Forum the day after the ceremony.

Follow SMU Student Activities @SMUStuAct for live updates from the ceremony, and share your Twitter and Instagram posts from the Hilltop Excellence Awards with the #HilltopExcellence hashtag.

Learn more about the Hilltop Excellence Awards from SMU Student Life

SMU professors Zachary Wallmark, Sabri Ates earn 2017 NEH grants

Zachary Wallmark

Zachary Wallmark

The National Endowment for the Humanities has named SMU professors Zachary Wallmark and Sabri Ates as fellowship grant recipients in January – the only two recipients in North Texas for the current funding cycle.

Wallmark, assistant professor and chair of music history in Meadows School of the Arts, is using music studies, cognitive sciences and original brain imaging experiments to research the nature of our emotional response to music.

“I am deeply honored to receive this recognition,” Wallmark said. “With the support of the NEH, I hope in my work to help people better understand music’s grip on human emotion and imagination.”

Sabri Ates

Sabri Ates

Ates, associate professor in the Clements Department of History, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, is drawing on a variety of archival sources from different languages to write Sheikh Abdulqadir Nehri (d. 1925) and the Pursuit of an Independent Kurdistan. In the book, Ates will explore the quest for a Kurdish state between 1880-1925, when the creation of such a state emerged as a distinct possibility and then quickly unraveled.

“What this grant tells us is that our work has national relevance,” Ates said. “Recognition of SMU’s faculty work by a prestigious institution like NEH further cements SMU’s standing as a research university. With the support of NEH, I hope to answer one of the enduring questions of the contemporary Middle East: the Kurdish statelessness.”

> Read the full story from SMU News

Fred Chang inducted into National Academy of Engineering in D.C. ceremony

Fred ChangFred Chang, National Academy of Engineering induction, director of SMU’s Darwin Deason Institute for Cyber Security and a recognized leader in academia, business and government, was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016, at the organization’s National Meeting in Washington D.C.

He entered the NAE as part of a group of 80 new members and 22 foreign members who were elected in February. The citation honoring his admission lauded Chang, who is former director of research at the National Security Agency, “for leadership in cybersecurity research in the intelligence community and advancing the importance of cybersecurity science in academia.”

“I am proud to represent SMU, and honored to be a part of this prestigious assembly of people who have contributed so much to engineering and technology,” Chang said. “The mission of the National Academy of Engineering, to promote a vibrant engineering profession and provide independent advice to the federal government, has never been more important than it is today. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to support that mission.”

Chang joined SMU in September 2013 as Bobby B. Lyle Centennial Distinguished Chair in Cyber Security, computer science and engineering professor in the Lyle School of Engineering, and Senior Fellow in the John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. The Darwin Deason Institute for Cyber Security, focused on the most pressing cyber challenges facing individuals, business and government today, was launched in the Lyle School in January 2014 with Chang as its director.

Fred Chang and Bobby B. Lyle, National Academy of Engineering inductionSMU trustee Bobby B. Lyle, for whom SMU’s engineering school is named, attended the induction ceremony with Chang.

“Dr. Chang’s election into membership of the National Academy of Engineering is a recognition that is well deserved, given the depth and breadth of his contributions to his profession and our nation,” Lyle said.  “SMU is extremely proud that Dr. Chang has chosen to advance his important work in cybersecurity at the Lyle School of Engineering.  His leadership in the field is an inspiration for our students and his faculty colleagues throughout the university.  It is an honor to join his family, his professional peers and his many friends in congratulating Dr. Chang for achieving this important milestone in his distinguished career.”

— Kim Cobb

> Read the full story from SMU News

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