$4 million in gifts will fund SMU Tower Scholars Program

Paul Ludden

$4 million in gifts will fund SMU Tower Scholars Program

SMU Tower Center logoGifts totaling more than $4 million will endow and provide operational support for the new Tower Scholars Program – a unique immersion experience for undergraduates in public policymaking through SMU’s John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies.

A gift of $2 million, made possible by Highland Capital Management L.P., will endow the Highland Capital Management Endowed Tower Scholars Program Fund. The participating students will be recognized as Highland Capital Management Tower Scholars.

A gift of $1 million from the Hamon Charitable Foundation will endow the Jake L. Hamon Endowed Internship Program in the Tower Scholars Program Fund. A $1 million gift from The Berry R. Cox Family Foundation will support endowment and provide operational support.

The University has received additional donations totaling over $400,000 toward operation of the Tower Scholars Program fund – important to the implementation of the program until the endowments mature.

> The Dallas Morning NewsBob Miller: SMU’s Tower Scholars Program receives over $4 million in gifts

Ten sophomore students will be selected as Highland Capital Management Tower Scholars every year. Students may apply to the program during the fall term of their sophomore year; the first applications are being accepted in fall 2014. The first scholars will begin their studies in spring 2015 leading to a minor in Public Policy and International Affairs.

The scholars will be steeped in domestic and foreign affairs, national security and defense, and international political economy. Access to global and national leaders and policy makers, study abroad opportunities and meaningful senior-year internships are hallmarks of the program. The specialized curriculum includes instruction by professors-of-the-practice and visiting diplomats.

“Few American universities offer a program designed for undergraduates with as much real-world policy education and experience as does the Tower Scholars Program,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “The gifts that make this program possible allow students to begin gaining professional perspectives while working toward their undergraduate degrees, bridging the usual gap between graduation and career development.”

“The Tower Center is a signature program within SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, and I’m delighted with the opportunity this presents for all of our SMU students,” said Dedman College Dean Thomas DiPiero. “The students who will graduate as Highland Capital Management Tower Scholars are destined for great things,” said Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Paul Ludden.

The invitation-only Tower Scholars Program and associated minor is open for application from all majors across SMU’s schools, with admission based on a competitive process. The minor in Public Policy and International Affairs requires 15 hours of political science courses, beginning with Introduction to Global Policy Making in the spring of the sophomore year. The scholars will develop mentor relationships with public policy practitioners, work with clients on actual cases, and have access to local businesses, decision makers and Tower Center Board members.

The gifts to fund the Tower Scholars Program count toward the $1 billion goal of SMU Unbridled: The Second Century Campaign, which to date has raised $874 million to support student quality, faculty and academic excellence and the campus experience.

Written by Kimberly Cobb

> Read the full story from SMU News

September 9, 2014|News|

Simmons School’s Michael Harris named director of SMU’s Center for Teaching Excellence

Michael Harris, Simmons School of Education and Human Development, SMUMichael Harris, associate professor in the Department of Education Policy and Leadership of SMU’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development, has been named director of the University’s Center for Teaching Excellence. He began his new duties on Friday, Aug. 1, 2014.

Harris worked with previous CTE director Beth Thornburg throughout the summer to become familiar with the CTE’s operations. Thornburg returns to full-time teaching in Dedman School of Law in Fall 2014.

“Professor Harris takes over a Center that has grown and thrived under the exceptional leadership of Professor Thornburg. During her time as Director, the CTE has sponsored Faculty Learning Communities, initiated the New Faculty Teaching Excellence (NFTE) workshop series, and spearheaded an effort to recognize the excellent teaching performed by our lecturers,” wrote Provost Paul Ludden in an e-mail message to the SMU community dated Friday, July 11, 2014.

“But more than developing programs and events, Professor Thornburg has underscored the importance of teaching to our academic mission. Please join me in extending our thanks and best wishes to Professor Thornburg and in welcoming Professor Harris to his new role.”

Harris came to SMU in August 2012 from the University of Alabama’s Department of Educational Leadership, Policy and Technology Studies. He earned his B.A. degree in history from the University of North Carolina and his M.S.Ed and Ed.D in higher education administration from the University of Pennsylvania. He has published extensively in peer-reviewed journals on issues facing higher education and has made numerous presentations to academic groups on such subjects as “Balancing the Demands of a New Faculty Position” and “Why Businesses Should Work Like a University.”

Professor Harris is a Council Member-at-Large of the American Educational Research Association, Division J, and has consulted with universities on various subjects including program planning for undergraduate general education curriculum.

> Visit SMU’s Center for Teaching Excellence online

August 21, 2014|For the Record, News, Year of the Faculty|

Save the date: SMU’s Fall 2014 General Faculty Meeting will take place Wednesday, Aug. 27

SMU President R. Gerald Turner will address the University faculty at the Fall General Faculty Meeting Wednesday, Aug. 27 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center. The meeting will begin at 3:45 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Theater, following a reception beginning at 3 p.m. in the Theater foyer.

Newly tenured faculty will receive their regalia during the meeting. Faculty Senate President Jody Magliolo will give the Senate’s report, and Provost Paul Ludden will announce the winner of the 2013-14 Scholar/Teacher of the Year Award from the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of The United Methodist Church.

August 19, 2014|Calendar Highlights, News, Save the Date|

Thomas DiPiero named SMU’s new Dedman College dean

Thomas DiPiero, June 2014-1The next dean of SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences is a multidisciplinary scholar whose academic interests range from French literature to the psychoanalysis of race and gender.

Thomas DiPiero has been named to lead the largest of SMU’s seven colleges and schools, as well as to professorships in the Departments of English and World Languages and Literatures. He will join the University on Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014.

Currently, DiPiero is dean of humanities and interdisciplinary studies in the College of Arts, Sciences and Engineering and professor of French and of Visual and Cultural Studies at the University of Rochester, New York. He replaces William Tsutsui, who resigned in May to become president of Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas.

DiPiero received both his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Romance studies from Cornell University, in 1984 and 1988 respectively. He earned a B.A. degree in French and an M.A. in Romance languages and literatures from The Ohio State University in 1978 and 1980.

“I am honored and exhilarated to have been named dean of Dedman College,” DiPiero said. “Dedman College is the academic heart of SMU, home to world-class, innovative teaching and research about the natural world, its people, their creations and institutions. The college’s departments, programs, and centers are leading the way in creating new knowledge and new fields of inquiry, and I am tremendously eager to work with faculty, students, and staff to extend the intellectual boundaries of our work and the geographic reaches of our discoveries.”

“I am excited about Dedman College’s future under the leadership of Dr. DiPiero,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “The College, which is the heart of an SMU education, will benefit from his interdisciplinary approach to the humanities and sciences, as well as from his passion for research and teaching. He’s a great fit for Dedman College and for SMU.”

“Dr. DiPiero has an outstanding reputation for working across boundaries to bring the humanities and sciences together,” said Paul Ludden, SMU provost and vice president for academic affairs. “He also established a strong record of promoting both graduate and undergraduate students during his time at the University of Rochester. The students of Dedman College and the broader University will be well served by his leadership and experience.”

Ludden also expressed thanks to Peter Moore, senior associate dean and associate dean for academic affairs in Dedman College, for serving as interim dean during the search. “Dr. Moore is a consummate professional, and his work in an interim role is helping Dedman College maintain its momentum as we prepare for Dr. DiPiero’s arrival.”

DiPiero is the author or co-editor of three books: White Men Aren’t (Duke University Press, 2002); Illicit Sex: Identity Politics in Early Modern Europe, edited with Pat Gill (University of Georgia Press, 1997); and Dangerous Truths and Criminal Passions: The Evolution of the French Novel 1569-1791 (Stanford University Press, 1992). He served as editor of the Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies (University of Pennsylvania Press) from 2005-13, and has written several book chapters, as well as numerous journal articles.

DiPiero previously served as a visiting faculty member at SMU-in-Taos in 2011 and as a guest lecturer for SMU’s Gilbert Lecture Series in 2008.

“Tom DiPiero will bring a superb combination of gifts to his new position as dean of Dedman College,” said William Lawrence, dean of SMU’s Perkins School of Theology and search committee chair. “He has excelled as an interdisciplinary and international leader in higher education, with creative initiatives in the sciences as well as the humanities. Our search committee was tremendously impressed with his qualifications, and we are thrilled with his appointment.”

Dedman College has 307 full-time faculty members, including 19 endowed professorships. About half of SMU’s undergraduates pursue majors in Dedman College through 39 baccalaureate degree programs, and minors in more than 50 areas. Nineteen graduate programs in Dedman College lead to a master’s degree, and 13 programs lead to a doctor of philosophy degree.

> Read the full story from SMU News

June 10, 2014|News|

Junior Rahfin Faruk receives 2014 Truman Scholarship

SMU junior Rahfin Faruk, 2014 Truman Scholar

SMU junior Rahfin Faruk has been named a 2014 Truman Scholar. The prestigious and highly competitive national scholarship recognizes college students who are “change agents,” with outstanding leadership potential and a commitment to public service careers.

Faruk was one of 59 students, mostly college juniors, from 52 U.S. colleges and universities selected to receive the award, which provides up to $30,000 for graduate study. He is the 14th Truman Scholar at SMU since the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation was established by Congress in 1975. He was one of 655 candidates nominated by 293 colleges and universities for one of academia’s most sought-after awards.

Two other SMU juniors also were selected as finalists for the Truman Scholarship: Prithvi Rudrappa, a Dedman College Scholar majoring in biochemistry in Dedman College and finance in Cox School of Business, with a minor in Spanish; and Fantine Giap, a President’s Scholar majoring in biological sciences and minoring in mathematics and psychology in Dedman College.

Faruk, of Richardson, Texas, is an SMU President’s Scholar majoring in economics, political science, public policy and religious studies, with a minor in mathematics, in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. He plans to pursue an MBA and a master’s in public policy to work in the social enterprise sector.

“It’s fitting that the Truman Scholarship Foundation honored Rahfin Faruk as a change agent,” said SMU Provost Paul Ludden. “Rahfin not only has excelled academically, but he also has applied his knowledge and research skills to important issues facing the North Texas and global community. With his record of servant leadership on campus and in the community, Rahfin is an SMU world changer with big ideas who no doubt will make a significant contribution as a Truman Scholar.”

“As someone who wants to break down sectoral boundaries, I was attracted to the societal impact I could have as a Truman Scholar,” Faruk says. “Truman Scholars are everywhere – in a wide array of sectors and functions – and they are working to serve humanity in better ways.”

In his graduate studies, Faruk intends to focus on improving financial inclusion, the financial system that gives the poor and marginalized access to credit, savings and insurance services. At SMU, Faruk founded a microfinance initiative called Green Riba, which provides zero-interest loans to low-income entrepreneurs in West Dallas. He twice was awarded grants for his organization through Big iDeas at SMU, an undergraduate research program.

“Services many take for granted — a savings account, free check cashing and ATM access — cost the poor disproportionately more money,” Faruk says. “Through my work with my microfinance organization, I came to realize that financial inclusion should have a bigger seat at the political table because it is interconnected to so many other aspects of life, such as health care, education and upward mobility.”

Written by Sarah Hanan

> Read the full story from SMU News

April 17, 2014|For the Record, News|
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