Provost creates SMU faculty Task Force on Scholarly Research and Creative Impact

Jim Quick

Provost creates SMU faculty Task Force on Scholarly Research and Creative Impact

SMU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Steven C. Currall has appointed 17 University faculty members to serve on the Task Force on Scholarly Research and Creative Impact. The new task force, which began meeting in October, will examine and recommend ways for SMU to strengthen its scholarly research and creative activities to bolster the University’s position as the leading global research university in North Texas.

“SMU is in a unique position because of our geography, resources and faculty expertise to make significant strides in scholarly research,” Currall said. “For example, our high-performance computing capability, a university-wide focus on interdisciplinarity, and arts and cybersecurity research, along with our advantageous location near the heart of Dallas, have the University poised to expand its research footprint and become an even stronger catalyst for regional economic prosperity.”

Currall said the task force will provide “vital faculty-led guidance on how to strengthen our scholarly research and creative activities,” adding that “faculty leadership in this endeavor is crucial.”

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November 16, 2016|News, Research|

OE2C: SMU to use savings to fund new Ph.D. fellowships initiative

Dallas Hall steps from a 3rd-story windowSMU is taking steps to increase the number of Ph.D. students on campus by creating a new University-wide fellowship program, announced by the University’s OE2C initiative:

Using funds saved as a result of the OE2C initiative, new graduate fellowships will be awarded this spring to up to 15 high-achieving Ph.D. students in a variety of SMU’s 22 doctoral programs.

Faculty graduate advisors across SMU were invited to submit up to two nominees for the new fellowship. The nominations were reviewed by the SMU University Research Council, a committee of faculty members drawn from disciplines across SMU; the council meets three times a year to vet nominees for SMU Ford Fellowships and other grants.

According to Associate Vice President for Research and Dean of Graduate Studies James Quick, increasing the number of Ph.D. students will provide benefits to the University as a whole.

“We want to have outstanding faculty to provide better education to undergraduates as well as graduate students, “ says Quick. “We want to have outstanding grad students because they add to the educational experience of the undergraduates. They are intermediate in their career development between faculty and undergraduates and are role models. If the grad student is also functioning as a teaching assistant, they add to the faculty member’s ability to teach.

“The new University-wide Fellowship program will enrich an outstanding Ph.D. program, and outstanding students coming to SMU enriches the atmosphere.”

The move to build up SMU’s doctoral programs was encouraged by the SMU Faculty Senate, which, in its resolution of December 4, 2013, urged SMU to create University-wide fellowships for doctoral students, saying they “play a crucial role in engaging and interfacing with undergraduate students in faculty research projects that in turn helps us recruit high quality undergraduates and raise the academic quality of the incoming class … and … [that] doctoral students are the future leaders of research, innovation and scientific progress, of creative enterprise and arts, and of great scholarship, all of which are some of the longest lasting contributions and legacies that SMU can make to the local economy and community. …”

The Faculty Senate followed up with a resolution on April 2, 2014, requesting that the SMU administration devote “… a substantial and appropriate portion of any savings or additional revenue resulting from Project SMU” toward recruitment and retention of high- quality faculty; investment in research infrastructure, university libraries and doctoral programs; increasing the number of laboratory and teaching assistants to improve the quality of undergraduate education; and University-wide fellowships to attract high-quality graduate students.

The new University-wide Fellowship program fund is expected to grow over time, starting with $150,000 for the program’s first year. The inaugural selected Fellows will receive up to $10,000 in addition to teaching or research assistantships offered by their department.

Quick expects the first award recipients to be announced after April 15.

April 20, 2015|News, OE2C|

SMU welcomes its new supercomputer: ManeFrame

ManeFrame with R Gerald Turner, James Quick, Chase Harker, Chase Leinberger and Paul Ludden

At the ManeFrame ceremony were (l. to r.) SMU President R. Gerald Turner; James E. Quick, Dean of Research and Graduate Studies; Chase Harker, finalist in the naming competition; Chase Leinberger, who suggested the winning name; and Paul Ludden, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.

SMU unveiled its new supercomputer, the ManeFrame, during ceremonies Wednesday, March 19, and award a Dell laptop computer to the student who named it – sophomore Chase Leinberger.

SMU students, faculty and staff selected the name from entries in a contest sponsored by SMU Provost and Vice President Paul Ludden.

With ManeFrame’s addition to its new data center at the southeastern end of campus, the University now has one of the top academic supercomputers in the nation. ManeFrame – named in honor of SMU’s mustang mascot, Peruna – will be opened to the campus in May, expanding the reach of faculty and student research into subjects ranging from particle physics, to human behavior, to water quality and drug discovery.

High-performance computing makes it possible for researchers to study complex problems involving massive amounts of data using sophisticated software and step-by-step recipes for calculations. At its peak, ManeFrame is expected to be capable of more than 120 trillion mathematical operations a second.

“High-performance computing has become an indispensible tool in the 21st century,” said Jim Quick, associate vice president of research and dean of graduate studies. “The incredible computational power provided by high-performance computing is widely used in science, engineering, business and the arts.  ManeFrame brings this capability to Dallas.”

March 26, 2014|News, Research|

Research: Fossil supervolcano discovered by SMU-led team
now part of new UNESCO Geopark

geopark“It is a rare event that geology is a catalyst of public cooperation and celebration,” says geologist and volcano expert Jim Quick, SMU’s associate vice president for research and dean of graduate studies.

The new Sesia-Val Grande Geopark is an example of just that, says Quick, whose international team in 2009 discovered a fossil supervolcano that now sits at the heart of the new geopark. The discovery sparked worldwide scientific interest and a regional geotourism industry.

Recently designated a geopark by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Sesia-Val Grande Geopark encompasses more than 80 communities in the Italian Alps.

The communities joined forces more than two years ago to promote the park’s creation, which UNESCO made official in September. The geopark spans tens of thousands of acres and has at its center the massive, 282 million-year-old fossil supervolcano.

“Sesia Valley is unique,” said Quick. “The base of the Earth’s crust is turned up on edge, exposing the volcano’s plumbing — which normally extends deep into the Earth and out of sight. The uplift was created when Africa and Europe began colliding about 30 million years ago and the crust of Italy was turned on end. We call this fossil the ‘Rosetta Stone’ for supervolcanoes because the depth to which rocks are exposed will aid scientific understanding of one of nature’s most massive and violent events and help us to link the geologic and geophysical data.”

The fossil supervolcano was discovered by Quick’s scientific team, which included scientists from Italy’s University of Trieste. The supervolcano has an unprecedented 15 miles of volcano plumbing exposed from the surface to the source of the magma deep within the Earth. Previously, the discovery record for exposed plumbing was about three miles, said Quick.

Only a handful of locations worldwide are chosen annually for UNESCO’s coveted geopark designation, which supports national geological heritage initiatives.

Written by Margaret Allen

> Read the full story at the SMU Research blog
> Visit the SMU Research and Graduate Studies homepage at smu.edu/research

December 3, 2013|Research|

SMU Digital Repository ready for faculty submissions

SMU Digital Repository logoSMU’s Central University Libraries, Office of Research and Graduate Studies, and Office of Information Technology have combined resources to create the SMU Digital Repository, an online archive for collecting and sharing the scholarly work of SMU faculty, staff and students.

The repository is the product of a strategic partnership headed by CUL Dean and Director Gillian McCombs, Associate Vice President for Research and Dean of Graduate Studies Jim Quick, and Chief Information Officer Joe Gargiulo.

Using the Digital Commons software platform created by Berkeley Electronic Press, the SMU Digital Repository provides open access to research documents, articles, preprints, working papers, conference agendas and papers, and scholarly image collections created by SMU faculty, students, and academic staff.

The Digital Commons software also allows the publishing of open-access or subscription-based journals, and includes journal management software to customize workflows.

In the early stages of building the repository, “we’re focused on getting faculty members comfortable with the interface and with the idea of storing their work online,” says Josh Lupkin, faculty liaison for the Digital Repository. “Professors are used to communicating with colleagues in particular ways and publishing in venues specific to their fields. We’re not competing with those, but offering them another way to showcase their work and to make it more visible and accessible.”

Repository staff members are available to address any questions regarding storage, Lupkin says. For example, “some faculty members may have concerns about uploading papers to the Repository, because of publishing agreements. In those cases, we may be able to store an abstract with descriptive keywords and an outside link to the full publication.

“Above all else, this is a service to faculty that will afford them and their departments the benefits of increased relevance in Google and other searches.”

Details about the Digital Repository, including information about submitting materials, can be found at digitalrepository.smu.edu. Digital Repository team members are also available to present information sessions tailored to individual schools, departments and centers.

The University’s Norwick Center for Digital Services (nCDS) works with faculty and academic units to identify, manage, upload and present a wide range of text, image, video, audio, database, and other files that showcase SMU’s research and scholarly achievements. The Scholarly Digitization Program – offered by the Office of Research and Graduate Studies – funds digitization of materials through the nCDS for University faculty and staff members who would like to contribute nondigital materials to the Repository but lack the technology or funds required to digitize them. Up to $25,000 per semester is available, and applicants can apply for up to $5,000 of funding per project. The funding application form is available online.

The Repository is working with the Office of Engaged Learning to create a space for approved student work, Lupkin says. Papers from the first three students to complete Engaged Learning projects will be uploaded by May 2012. “The Repository will also give graduate students a forum for getting their work out into the world, after consultation with faculty advisors,” he adds. “It’s all about making connections.”

The Repository can even provide an online home for conferences hosted by a University center or department, Lupkin says. “This could mean anything from storing programs, papers and abstracts to presenting audio or video of individual sessions,” he says. “We can tailor the experience depending on the host entity’s needs.”

For more information, contact Josh Lupkin or Rob Walker at digitalrepository@list.smu.edu.

> Visit the SMU Digital Repository
> Create an SMU Digital Repository account
> Learn more from the SMU Digital Repository FAQ
Learn how to submit materials to the SMU Digital Repository

March 8, 2012|News|
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