Kimberly Cobb

SMU event: What memoirs reveal about the Bush Administration

Melvin Leffler

Historian Melvin Leffler will discuss the evolving story of the George W. Bush administration at SMU Friday, Feb. 1, 2013.

One of the nation’s foremost diplomatic historians will use the memoirs produced by members of George W. Bush’s administration to analyze foreign policy shaped by the 43rd president in the post-9/11 world.

Melvin Leffler, the Edward R. Stettinius Chair of Modern American History at the University of Virginia, will speak from 5-7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 1 in Jones Great Hall, Meadows Museum. The lecture is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Add your name to the waiting list.

Leffler’s lecture will focus on what the memoirs reveal about the motives, goals, and decision-making processes of the Bush administration. The event is the second produced by SMU’s new Center for Presidential History.

“As for disagreements, I shall highlight the discord in the memoirs over the basic questions of whether officials felt that Iraq was contained and whether they thought that military action made sense,” Leffler said. “Some officials felt that Saddam was contained; others felt he was a looming threat. Some felt that war against Iraq made sense; others felt that the dangers of war might exceed the benefits.”

Written by Kimberly Cobb

Learn more at the SMU Center for Presidential History homepage
> Visit the CPH on Facebook 

TEDxSMU 2012 offers live webcasts Nov. 30-Dec. 1

TEDxSMU and its companion event, TEDxKids @SMU, return for another celebration of “Ideas Worth Spreading” Nov. 30-Dec. 1, 2012, in a new and larger venue: Dallas City Performance Hall. Both events will be streamed live as free webcasts from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the TEDxSMU website.

Speakers include New York Times Magazine-lauded playwright and Meadows Prize winner Will Power, PBS KIDS marketing guru Lesli Rotenberg, “Pay It Forward” leader Charley Johnson and dozens of other speakers.

The TEDxSMU program is built around rapid-fire, highly visual talks and performances, all wrapped around a theme this year of re:THINK. Among the presenters is Christian Genco of Colleyville, Texas – an SMU senior computer science major who has created a unique experiment in playing music by sampling various foods. Genco will be a presenter at both TEDxSMU and TEDxKids @SMU. Click the YouTube screen to watch him play The Star-Spangled Banner with fruits, vegetables and a beverage straw, or click this link to see Christian Genco’s performance in a new window.

“We are just pumped about the speakers and topics this year,” said TEDxSMU Executive Director Sharon Lyle. “This is our fourth year, now, and we can track real change in the Dallas area tied to people who were inspired to act after attending TEDxSMU. I can’t tell you how exciting that is.”

Tickets sales for TEDxSMU 2012 are closed, but the live-stream is free and designed to help the conversations that start at TEDxSMU get bigger, travel further and find new audiences.

Written by Kimberly Cobb

> Read the full story from SMU News
> Watch TEDxKids @SMU live Nov. 30, 2012
> Watch TEDxSMU live Dec. 1, 2012

SMU panel to explore the history (and future) of privacy Oct. 31, 2012

A panel of SMU faculty members from a wide range of disciplines will examine the history of and emerging ramifications for the concept of privacy in the 21st century at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31, in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center West Ballroom.

The program launches the Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute’s IMPACT (Interdisciplinary Meetings to Address Pressing Current Themes) series of symposia. Sponsored by the Embrey Family Foundation, the symposium is free and open to the public and includes a 3 p.m. reception.

Lee Cullum, journalist and fellow in SMU’s John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies, will moderate the discussion. Panelists include SMU professors whose studies touch on some aspect of privacy:

  • George Holden is professor of psychology in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. Holden specializes in developmental psychology with a focus on family violence and parent-child interactions. His current research involves analyzing home audio recordings of mothers and their preschoolers. “Psychologists are in the business of exploring people’s private lives — such as their secret thoughts and behavior behind closed doors,” Holden says. “Consequently, we are confronted with various thorny issues.”
  • Alexis McCrossen is associate professor of history in Dedman College whose specialty is U.S. social and cultural history. “Privacy is an institution that came of age in early modern Europe,” she says.
  • Beth Newman is associate professor of English and director of the Women and Gender Studies Program in Dedman College. Newman, whose specialty is 19th-century British literature, says “The concept of privacy developed alongside the rise of the novel, which reinforced its importance — especially for the middle class.”
  • Santanu Roy is professor of economics in Dedman College. Roy’s research interests are in industrial organization, natural resources and environment, international and economic growth.
  • Mary Spector is associate professor of law and director of the Consumer Law Project – both in Dedman School of Law. Spector’s research interests are in the areas of consumer credit, landlord-tenant law and clinical legal education.
  • Suku Nair is chair and professor of computer science and engineering in the Lyle School of Engineering. Nair’s research interests are in network and systems security and reliability.

The Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute was made possible by a $5 million gift from the Dedman Family and the Dedman Foundation. The Institute was created to bring together faculty and students from the humanities, sciences and social sciences for collaborative research and other programs. The Institute will host annual seminars bringing together faculty, graduate and undergraduate students and members of the community to discuss global issues.

Written by Kimberly Cobb

> Read the full story at SMU News

TEDxSMU announces 2012 speakers and topics

TEDxSMU
Charley Johnson
Johnson
Lesli Rotenberg
Rotenberg
Will PowerPower

TEDxSMU 2012 will guide its audience through a crowd-sourced hunt for Genghis Khan’s tomb, a bio-anthropological search for love in all the right places and demonstrations of science and gadgetry. The fourth annual event returns from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1 at a new, larger venue – Dallas City Performance Hall.

Speakers include acclaimed playwright and SMU Meadows Prize winner Will Power, PBS KIDS marketing guru Lesli Rotenberg, Pay It Forward leader Charley Johnson and dozens of other speakers. The TEDxSMU program of “Ideas Worth Spreading” is built around rapid-fire, highly visual talks and performances, all wrapped around a theme this year of re:THINK.

The last speaker for the Dec. 1 event is still a question mark and will audition for his or her spot on the TEDxSMU stage at 5 p.m. Friday, October 19 at Union Station. Anyone can attend the auditions, and the audience and celebrity judges (KERA’s Anne Bothwell, D Magazine’s Zac Crain and former TEDxSMU audition winner Will Clarke) will vote on as many as a dozen, pre-screened hopefuls to select the speaker with the best idea worth spreading. Previous audition winner Jasmin Brand of Brandpointe will emcee, and a cash bar will be available. Tickets are available for $10.

“We are just pumped about the speakers and topics we’ve already confirmed,” said TEDxSMU Executive Director Sharon Lyle. “And the auditions are a wild card for us because we just don’t know what to expect!  We had so many terrific auditions last year that we added three people to the program instead of the one we had planned for.“

This is the first year that TEDxSMU tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis. TEDxSMU audiences previously were required to apply for ticket options, a process designed for the first three years to include as many thought leaders from as many backgrounds as possible in the experience. Building on the larger venue, the more widely available ticketing is designed to help the conversations that start at TEDxSMU get bigger, travel further and find new audiences.

Tickets, which are $150, include full-day conference attendance, a light breakfast, lunch, snacks throughout the day, and access to the Saturday evening after-party. Tickets may be purchased at tedxsmu2012.eventbrite.com.

Written by Kimberly Cobb

> Find a full list of TEDxSMU 2012 speakers and events at SMU News

SMU joins North Texas Food Bank to ‘Stampede Against Hunger’

SMU students volunteer at the North Texas Food Bank

Members of the SMU men’s and women’s basketball squads volunteered at the North Texas Food Bank on Sept. 6, 2012.

SMU students, faculty and staff will have a unique opportunity to fight regional hunger this fall through a new partnership with the North Texas Food Bank.

The “Stampede Against Hunger” will build on SMU’s strong support for NTFB, connecting campus groups already working with the food bank, as well as encouraging new types of participation for the campus and alumni community.  The “Stampede” is NTFB’s first university partnership.

“The work of the North Texas Food Bank is a vital service to hundreds of thousands of individuals and families in our community.  SMU is always proud to partner with the food bank and especially during its 30th anniversary this year,” SMU President R. Gerald Turner said.

In the coming year, the SMU community will have the opportunity to support the food bank through a variety of planned activities and will be challenged to develop others. Members of the men’s and women’s SMU basketball teams participate in a “sort-a-thon” Sept. 6 at the organization’s distribution center in southwest Dallas.

In November, the campus community and local alumni will join a brown bag campaign that challenges students to donate to NTFB the cost of the lunch they would have otherwise purchased, as well as participate in a food bank service day.

Written by Kimberly Cobb

> Read the full story from SMU News

Engaged Learning Expo 2012 connects students with opportunities

SMU students who want to learn outside the classroom, tackle real world issues and explore potential careers as part of their university experience will find representatives from DFW-area organizations and agencies who want their help at Monday’s Engaged Learning Expo. The event also will be of interest to faculty who want to develop courses with community components and staff who want to expand opportunities for their programs.

Scheduled for 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Aug. 27, 2012, in the Umphrey Lee Center’s Mack Ballroom, the expo will celebrate 100 SMU undergraduates who worked on significant projects this summer, and provide opportunities to mix and match interested students with 15 different campus programs as well as 45 DFW-area community partners. Refreshments will be served, and participating students will be issued an Engaged Learning “passport” that can be entered into a lottery for prizes.

“A student who engages in a learning activity beyond the classroom has the opportunity to transfer the knowledge and skills of the classroom to a real-life situation, learn from the experience, reflect on it and use it as a basis for further learning,” said Susan Kress, director of Engaged Learning at SMU. “This is a taste of what it means to be a lifelong learner, and, for some, the first step in living a life of meaning and success in a complex world.”

SMU President R. Gerald Turner will speak about SMU’s commitment to community partnerships and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Paul Ludden will outline the impact of Engaged Learning on the University. Gillian McCombs, dean and director of Central University Libraries, will explain how the Digital Repository: Engaged Learning Collections will house the publications of students who produce Engaged Learning projects.

In addition, James Quick, associate vice president for research and dean of graduate studies, will announce the first recipient of the Excellence in Mentoring Award and introduce SMU’s first director of undergraduate research.

Kimberly Cobb

> Find a list of participating companies and organizations at SMU News

Dean Geoff Orsak named president of the University of Tulsa

Geoffrey Orsak, dean of SMU's Lyle School of EngineeringGeoffrey Orsak, dean of SMU’s Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering for the past 8 years, will become president of the University of Tulsa on July 1, 2012.

The University of Tulsa Board of Trustees announced that Orsak will be their university’s 18th president, succeeding Steadman Upham, who is retiring. The University of Tulsa provides undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees in the arts, humanities, sciences, business, education, engineering, law, nursing and applied health sciences. Current enrollment is 4,092.

“Under the leadership of Dean Geoffrey Orsak, the Lyle School of Engineering has established new academic programs, constructed new buildings and helped K-12 school districts prepare students for collegiate engineering studies,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Most of all, he defined and educated a new type of engineer, one who combines technology with a sense of social responsibility. We look forward to watching him lead the University of Tulsa with the same innovative thinking and creativity that he has exhibited at SMU.”

“In his time leading the Lyle School of Engineering at SMU, Geoffrey Orsak has forged a bold vision for engineering education that has been felt around our nation,” said Paul Ludden, SMU provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. “He has attracted outstanding faculty to our campus, and they in turn continue to attract top undergraduate and graduate students to our University.  It goes without saying that we will miss Dean Orsak, but we know that he will bring great vision and energy to his new role as president of Tulsa University. We congratulate Dean Orsak and Tulsa.”

Orsak joined SMU as associate professor of electrical engineering in 1997. He was named associate dean for research and development for the Lyle School in May 2001, and became dean in March 2004. Prior to coming to SMU, Orsak was associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at George Mason University, where he also served as a presidential fellow.

Orsak received his B.S.E.E., M.E.E. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical and computer engineering from Rice University.

“I have absolutely loved serving this great university,” Orsak said. “The excitement of leading the Lyle School of Engineering has been the greatest professional experience of my life. While we have accomplished so much in such a short period of time, there is no doubt that the Lyle School’s greatest days are ahead.”

Undergraduate enrollment in the Lyle School has increased by more than 400 percent while Orsak has been dean, and the percentage of women engineering students in the Lyle School is now about twice the national average, thanks to programs such as the school’s Gender Parity Initiative. The southeastern section of the campus has seen major build-out during Orsak’s tenure, including the construction of the Jerry Junkins Engineering Building, the J. Lindsey Embrey Engineering Building and Caruth Hall.

Orsak’s key accomplishments while on the Hilltop include the establishment of three institutes and centers:

  • The Caruth Institute for Engineering Education, which oversees multiple programs aimed at increasing interest (and the pursuit of careers) in engineering for K-12 students, including Visioneering and the Infinity Project.
  • The Hunter and Stephanie Hunt Institute for Engineering and Humanity, which combines engineering, science, business, international development and global economics to seek market-based solutions to improve the standard of living for those living in extreme poverty.
  • The Hart Center for Engineering Leadership, which provides multiple opportunities to immediately practice leadership skills through co-op and internship programs, leadership seminars and workshops, community engagement projects and mentoring relationships.

Orsak also established at SMU’s Lyle School the first university partnership with the Lockheed Martin SkunkWorks®, which provides SMU engineering students with challenging, immersive design and prototyping experiences under an innovative team approach to problem solving.

Written by Kimberly Cobb

> Read the full story from SMU News

Living Village is showpiece of 2012 Engineering and Humanity Week

Living Village at SMUThe Living Village is back for its second year at SMU, serving as an interactive display and teaching tool for 2012 Engineering & Humanity Week. Through Friday, April 20, students will live, cook and sleep in temporary shelters designed for international refugees and rapidly expanding urban populations.

Students, faculty and members of the North Texas community began building the village on the lawn just west of the Engineering Quad on Wednesday, April 11, preparing to showcase a variety of shelter technologies with applications for people displaced by war and natural disasters, as well as impoverished urban dwellers in the developing world. The village’s temporary residents – student volunteers from disciplines all over campus – will be without electricity and running water in the shelters, as is frequently the case for refugee populations.

Many of this year’s shelters are designed for longer-term habitation than last year’s, and two are student projects. Harvey Lacey is back with his popular recycled plastic Ubuntu Blox House, fresh from exhaustive earthquake testing that proved his house to be a potential fit for quake-prone places like Haiti. And bcWORKSHOP’s Brent Brown has brought his Rapido Prototype, the largest structure in the village, developed as part of the state of Texas’ Natural Disaster Housing Reconstruction Plan. During Engineering & Humanity Week, bcWORKSHOP designers will seek feedback from SMU students and visitors to help them improve the project’s design, construction process, deployment method and performance.

Read more about the innovative structures that will make up the Living Village. The public is welcome to tour the village and speak with student participants, who also will be blogging their experiences.

The Living Village also will host a special event at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 19, designed to spotlight approaches to preserve culture among populations that are housed long-term in refugee camps.

Written by Kimberly Cobb

> Learn more about the Living Village and the week’s events from SMU News
> Follow the Living Village students at their SMU Adventures blog
> Visit the Engineering & Humanity Week website

‘Unconventional geothermal’ a game changer for U.S. energy policy?

SMU-Google geothermal map of North AmericaSMU geothermal energy expert David Blackwell gave a Capitol Hill briefing Tuesday, March 27, 2012, on the growing opportunities for geothermal energy production in the United States, calling “unconventional” geothermal techniques a potential game changer for U.S. energy policy.

Blackwell’s presentation outlined the variety of techniques available for geothermal production of electricity, the accessibility of unconventional geothermal resources across vast portions of the United States and the opportunities for synergy with the oil and gas industry. Also speaking at the briefing were Karl Gawell, executive director of the geothermal energy association, and James Faulds, professor at the University of Nevada-Reno and director of the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology.

“This is a crucial time to do this briefing,” said Blackwell, W. B. Hamilton Professor of Geophysics in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences and one of the nation’s foremost experts in geothermal mapping. “Everybody is worrying about energy right now.”

The session was one in a series of continuing Congressional briefings on the science and technology needed to achieve the nation’s energy goals, titled collectively, “The Road to the New Energy Economy.” The briefing was organized by the National Science Foundation, DISCOVER Magazine, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada was honorary host for the March 27 briefing at the Senate Visitor’s Center, which included congressional staffers, members of science and engineering associations, government, private and industry representatives.

SMU’s geothermal energy research is at the forefront of the movement to expand geothermal energy production in the United States. Blackwell and Maria Richards, the SMU Geothermal Lab coordinator, released research in October that documents significant geothermal resources across the United States capable of producing more than three million megawatts of green power — 10 times the installed capacity of coal power plants today. Sophisticated mapping produced from the research, viewable via Google Earth, demonstrates that vast reserves of this green, renewable source of power generated from the Earth’s heat are realistically accessible using current technology.

Blackwell began his presentation by debunking the common misperception that geothermal energy is always dependent on hot fluids near the surface – as in the Geysers Field in California. New techniques are now available to produce electricity at much lower temperatures than occur in a geyser field, he said, and in areas without naturally occurring fluids. For example, enhanced geothermal energy systems (EGS) rely on injecting fluids to be heated by the earth into subsurface formations, sometimes created by hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.”

Blackwell noted the potential for synergy between geothermal energy production and the oil and gas industry, explaining that an area previously “fracked” for oil and gas production (creating an underground reservoir) is primed for the heating of fluids for geothermal energy production once the oil and gas plays out.

The SMU geothermal energy expert called these “unconventional” geothermal techniques a potential game changer for U.S. Energy policy. Geothermal energy is a constant (baseload) source of power that does not change with weather conditions, as do solar and wind-powered energy sources. Blackwell noted that SMU’s mapping shows that unconventional geothermal resources “are almost everywhere.”

Blackwell closed his presentation with acknowledgment that site-specific studies and more demonstration projects are needed to make geothermal energy a strong partner in the new energy economy.

The briefing was taped and will be posted to the Science 360 website hosted by the National Science Foundation at a later date.

Written by Kimberly Cobb

> More news from the SMU Research blog at smuresearch.com

SMU VP Lori White appointed to national sustainability board

Lori White, vice president for student affairs at Southern Methodist University-SMU.Lori White, SMU’s vice president for student affairs, has been appointed to the board of directors of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) – a national organization that provides sustainability resources for campus engagement, education and research, as well as campus operations. She will serve for a term to run through December 2014.

AASHE was founded in 2005 to help coordinate and strengthen campus sustainability efforts at regional and national levels, and to serve as the first North American professional association for those interested in advancing campus sustainability. The organization’s STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System) program, for example, is a self-reporting framework that allows colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.

AASHE sponsors North America’s largest college sustainability conference every fall, and SMU’s Sustainability Committee traditionally funds attendance for student representatives. AASHE also produces professional development workshops and seminars for faculty and staff.

“What attracts me to AASHE is that they define sustainability in a much broader way than most people do,” White said. “They’re about leaving the world a better place for people tomorrow. Their approach to social justice is about opportunities for the next generation, and I’m committed to the education component of the AASHE program.”

White often has lunch in the dining hall at Umphrey Lee Center, she said, and recently sat with a group of students who identified themselves as environmental representatives (E-Reps) for the campus residence halls.

“They told me about how they had gone to the AASHE national conference in October, and they were excited about what they had seen and learned there,” White said. “Here at SMU we want to work with our students to help them become leaders in their community, in their country and in the world. Getting involved in sustainability will give them an avenue to develop those tools.”

Written by Kimberly Cobb

> Read more from SMU News

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