graduate studies

SMU Guildhall graduate students compete at the 2014 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco

Intel University Games Showcase logoTwo teams of graduate students from The Guildhall at SMU will compete for cash prizes and gaming glory at the 2014 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. Computing and game-hardware giant Intel® will host the Intel® University Games Showcase on Thursday, March 20, 2014 at the Marriott Marquis.

The SMU teams will demonstrate two distinct creations: Hymn of the Sands, an action-adventure whose story draws on Egyptian mythology; and the viral hit Kraven Manor, a horror-based puzzle game.

Joining the Guildhall groups at the invitation-only event will be teams from USC, Drexel, Carnegie Mellon, the University of Utah, UC-Santa Cruz, the Rochester Institute of Technology, the DigiPen Institute, and UCF’s Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy (FIEA).

The competitors will demonstrate their best projects running exclusively on Intel® graphics platforms, and a panel of industry luminaries will select those that demonstrate the best gameplay and the best visual quality.

Follow The Guildhall at SMU on Twitter @SMUGuildhall

Prizes will be awarded based on innovation in gameplay, game performance, immersiveness, art style, entertainment value, and quality in rendering, character design and user interface. In addition, Intel® will conduct live polling of the audience and display the results in real time as input to the judging panel.

The programs represented by the winning projects will each receive a $10,000 hardware grant from Intel®.

> Read updates from The Guildhall at GDC 2014 at SMU Adventures

SMU Meadows and Dallas Chamber Symphony host international piano competition, March 12-15, 2014

Dallas Chamber Symphony logoEighteen young pianists from around the globe will come to Dallas March 12-15, 2014, to participate in the second annual Dallas Chamber Symphony International Piano Competition. The event, a community partnership between the Dallas Chamber Symphony and SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts, will be hosted in SMU’s Owen Arts Center.

The event will consist of three rounds of competition before a distinguished international jury panel, as well as master classes and private lessons from renowned SMU faculty. Twelve pianists have been selected for the master classes taught by Joaquín Achúcarro, professor of piano and Joel Estes Tate Chair, and Carol Leone, associate professor and co-chair of the keyboard department.

The first place winner will receive $1,500 and will perform his or her winning concerto with the Dallas Chamber Symphony this fall at Dallas City Performance Hall. Second and third place winners receive $1,000 and $500, respectively.

Stock photo of a grand pianoThe pianists chosen by audition for the quarter-finals are from China, Cuba, Russia, South Korea, Thailand and the U.S.  Two are SMU Meadows graduate students: Lizhen Wu (China) and Dario Martin (Cuba), both of whom are studying with Achúcarro.

All of the finalists are professional or pre-professional pianists under age 25, and most have won multiple competitions in their home countries and elsewhere.

The international panel of judges includes South African native Petronel Malan, a concert and recording artist, Grammy nominee and winner of multiple gold medals at international piano competitions; Roger Lord, first prize winner of the major Canadian competitions, international performer and currently professor of piano at the Université de Moncton in Canada; and Deniz Gelenbe, a native of Turkey, hailed by critics in France as one of the world’s best chamber musicians, an international master instructor and adjudicator, and currently head of piano and organ at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London.

All competition rounds and master classes are open to the public; admission is free, but tickets must be reserved in advance.

> Read the full story from SMU News

Student work takes center stage at 2014 Research Day Feb. 26

Research Day at SMUSMU graduate students, and select undergraduates, from a wide variety of disciplines will share their work as part of the University’s 2014 Research Day. All SMU faculty, staff members and students are invited to visit the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballrooms from 2-4:30 p.m Wednesday, Feb. 26, to meet the student researchers and discuss their results.

Awards will be presented from 4:30-5 p.m., and refreshments will be served throughout the event.

> See a list of participating student researchers and their projects from SMU News
Visit SMU Graduate Studies online

Calendar Highlights: Feb. 12, 2014

Stanton Sharp Lecture: Mark Hunter, associate professor and associate chair in the Department of Human Geography at the University of Toronto-Scarborough, will give the 2014 Stanton Sharp Lecture Wednesday, Feb. 12. Hunter will speak on the AIDS epidemic in South Africa and how that has transformed gender intimacy over time. Hunter released a book on his research, Love in the Time of AIDS, which received the 2010 C. Wright Mills Award and 2010 Amaury Talbot Prize for African Anthropology. The night begins with a reception at 6 and lecture at 6:30, both in McCord Auditorium, 306 Dallas Hall.

A heart for veterans: The U.S. Military Veterans of SMU have something sweet for the University community. The student organization will sell Sprinkles cupcakes for their Valentine’s Day fundraiser from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14 at the flagpole. Get there early for the best selection!

SMU's Meadows Symphony OrchestraMSO student concert: Conducting graduate student Daniel Peterson leads the Meadows Symphony Orchestra in concert on Friday, Feb. 14 and Sunday, Feb. 16. The program will feature solos by Sami Eudi (flute) and Scott Leger (horn), winners of the Meadows Undergraduate Concerto Competition. Friday’s concert is at 8 p.m. and Sunday’s at 3 p.m.; both are in Caruth Auditorium, Owen Arts Center. Tickets are $7 for faculty, staff and students.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Research: To spank or not to spank? SMU studies show research can change minds about corporal punishment

Some parents who spank their children believe it’s an effective form of discipline. But decades of studies have found that spanking is linked to short- and long-term child behavior problems.

Is there any way to get parents to change their minds and stop spanking? Child psychologist George Holden, a professor in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, wanted to see if parents’ positive views toward spanking could be reversed if they were made aware of the research.

Holden and three colleagues in the Department of Psychology used a simple, fast, inexpensive method to briefly expose subjects to short research summaries that detailed spanking’s negative impact. With Professor Alan Brown, Assistant Professor Austin Baldwin and graduate student Kathryn Croft Caderao, he carried out two studies: one with non-parents and one with parents. They found that attitudes were significantly altered.

“Parents spank with good intentions – they believe it will promote good behavior, and they don’t intend to harm the child. But research increasingly indicates that spanking is actually a harmful practice,” said Holden, lead author on the study. “These studies demonstrate that a brief exposure to research findings can reduce positive corporal punishment attitudes in parents and non-parents.”

The findings, “Research findings can change attitudes about corporal punishment,” have been published in the international journal Child Abuse & Neglect. The researchers believe the study is the first of its kind to find that brief exposure to spanking research can alter people’s views toward spanking. Previous studies in the field have relied on more intensive, time-consuming and costly methods to attempt to change attitudes toward spanking.

Research has found that parents who spank believe spanking can make children behave or respect them. That belief drives parental behavior, more so than their level of anger, the seriousness of the child’s misbehavior or the parent’s perceived intent of the child’s misbehavior.

In the first SMU study, the subjects were 118 non-parent college students divided into two groups: one that actively processed web-based information about spanking research; and one that passively read web summaries.

The summary consisted of several sentences describing the link between spanking and short- and long-term child behavior problems, including aggressive and delinquent acts, poor quality of parent-child relationships and an increased risk of child physical abuse.

The majority of the participants in the study, 74.6 percent, thought less favorably of spanking after reading the summary. Unexpectedly, the researchers said, attitude change was significant for both active and passive participants.

A second study replicated the first study, but with 263 parent participants, predominantly white mothers. The researchers suspected parents might be more resistant to change their attitudes. Parents already have established disciplinary practices, are more invested in their current practices and have sought advice from trusted individuals.

But the results indicated otherwise. After reading brief research statements on the web, 46.7 percent of the parents changed their attitudes and expressed less approval of spanking.

“If we can educate people about this issue of corporal punishment, these studies show that we can in a very quick way begin changing attitudes,” said Holden.

Written by Margaret Allen

> Read the full story at the SMU Research blog

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