Paul Ludden

Robert Krout honored at Fall 2012 General Faculty Meeting

Robert Krout, director of Music Therapy in SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts, received The United Methodist Church University Scholar/Teacher of the Year Award for 2011-12 at the Fall 2012 General Faculty Meeting Wednesday, Aug. 22.

The award was established by the UMC’s General Board of Higher Education and Ministry to recognize outstanding faculty members for their dedication and contribution to the learning arts. Provost Paul Ludden presented the award to Krout.

Faculty Senate President Steve Edwards discussed the Senate report, and SMU President R. Gerald Turner gave updates on the Second Century Campaign and other University initiatives.

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2012 Fall General Faculty Meeting takes place Aug. 22

SMU President R. Gerald Turner will address the University faculty at the Fall General Faculty Meeting Aug. 22 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. In addition, Faculty Senate President Steve Edwards will give the Senate’s report, and Provost Paul Ludden will announce the winner of the 2011-12 Scholar/Teacher of the Year Award from the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of The United Methodist Church.

Christensen to serve as interim Engineering Dean as of July 1, 2012

Marc ChristensenMarc Christensen has agreed to serve as dean ad interim of SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering effective July 1, 2012. He will serve an initial appointment that ends in August 2013.

Christensen is the school’s Bobby B. Lyle Professor in Engineering Innovation and chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering. He also holds an appointment as a research associate professor in the Department of Physics in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. He began his SMU career in 2002.

In addition, Christensen serves as faculty representative to SMU’s Second Century Campaign.

“In my discussions with faculty, staff and students of the Lyle School, Marc received great support for this new role,” said SMU Provost Paul Ludden. “I’m sure that you will join me in working with Marc to ensure the continued success of the Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering.”

>  Visit the Lyle School of Engineering online

Jeffrey Engel named SMU’s Director of Presidential History Projects

Jeffrey A. Engel, new director of Presidential History Projects at SMUJeffrey A. Engel, an award-winning American history scholar, has been selected as SMU’s new director of Presidential History Projects and associate professor of presidential studies in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.

Engel will join SMU on July 1, 2012, from Texas A&M University, where he serves as an associate professor of history and public policy and as the Verlin and Howard Kruse ’52 Founders Professor. Engel also has served as director of programming for the Scowcroft Institute for International Affairs at Texas A&M.

Engel’s wife, Katherine C. Engel, also will join the Dedman College faculty as an associate professor of religious studies. She currently serves as an associate professor of history at Texas A&M and as an affiliate fellow of the Center for the Study of Religion at Princeton University.

In addition to his role as a tenured faculty member of SMU’s William P. Clements Department of History, Jeffrey Engel will be the founding director of the SMU Presidential History Project. The director will oversee a team of scholars who will interview individuals involved in formulating and implementing U.S. presidential policies.

“With the opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Center in the near future, it is fitting that SMU have an academic center devoted to the study of the presidency,” said SMU Provost Paul Ludden. “With his broad range of experience and outstanding academic credentials, Dr. Jeffrey Engel is the perfect choice to lead this new effort. Engel is recognized for his insightful writings on the presidency. Most recently, he received the Bernath Lecture Prize as the outstanding young historian writing on foreign affairs.

“At the same time, we are pleased to welcome Katherine Engel, one of the rising young scholars of American religious history working in the field today. Her transnational approach to the study of religion, deploying numerous languages and work on several continents, sets the standard for interdisciplinary scholarship.”

Jeffrey Engel received a Ph.D. in American history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2001, and a Master of Arts in American history from Wisconsin-Madison in 1996. He graduated magna cum laude from Cornell University in 1995 with a Bachelor of Arts in history and attended St. Catherine’s College at Oxford University in 1994.  He was also a John M. Olin Postdoctoral Fellow at Yale University’s program in International Security Studies.

“I am honored indeed to join SMU’s prestigious faculty, filled with scholars engaged in studying the United States and beyond,” Jeffrey Engel said. “The American presidency has in many ways become a global office in the 20th century and beyond. I look forward to working with my SMU colleagues to explore the innumerable ways presidents have shaped our country, and our world.”

Jeffrey Engel is the editor of Into the Desert: Reflections on the Gulf War (Oxford University Press, 2012); The Fall of the Berlin Wall: The Revolutionary Legacy of 1989 (Oxford University Press, 2009); The China Diary of George H.W. Bush: The Making of a Global President (Princeton University Press, 2008); and Local Consequences of the Global Cold War (Stanford University Press and Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 2008).

He is the author of Cold War at 30,000 Feet: The Anglo-American Fight for Aviation Supremacy (Harvard University Press, 2007), which received the American Historical Association’s 2008 Paul Birdsall Prize, awarded biannually to honor important work in European military and strategic history. In addition, he is the author or co-author of 40 academic and professional articles and book reviews and has presented more than 40 scholarly presentations and lectures on American foreign relations, international relations and military history to more than 25 universities and professional associations. Currently, he is writing When the World Seemed New: American Foreign Policy in the Age of George H.W. Bush, to be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Katherine C. Engel, associate professor of religious studies at SMUKatherine Engel has served as an assistant professor of history at Rutgers University and holds a prestigious Charles A. Ryskamp Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies. Her recent research has focused on international Protestantism during the American Revolution.

She is the author of the prize-winning Religion and Profit: Moravians in Early America (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009) and numerous articles and book chapters.

She holds both a Ph.D. (2003) and a Master of Arts (1996) in American history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She received a Bachelor of Arts in history from Haverford College in 1994.

> Read the full story from 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

SACS reaffirms SMU’s accreditation at 2011 meeting

SMU received full reaffirmation of its accreditation at the annual meeting of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) Dec. 5, 2011, in Orlando. Provost Paul Ludden made the announcement to faculty and staff members in an e-mail message dated Dec. 9:


This past Monday at the Annual SACS Meeting in Orlando, SMU received full reaffirmation of its accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools SACS.  Many of you were involved, either directly or indirectly, in developing the materials for that review process, and I thank you for your effort as well as your continued support of SMU.

A list of those who served on the SACS Steering Committee and those who served on the Committee to develop SMU’s Quality Enhancement Program (QEP), “Unbridled Learning: Engaged Learning Beyond the Classroom” is attached.  When you see these individuals, please congratulate them and thank them for their efforts.

Best wishes for a wonderful Holiday Season.


> Visit SMU’s SACS Reaffirmation of Accreditation page
> See a list of SMU’s SACS Committee members (PDF format)

Dedman Law’s Beth Thornburg named next CTE director

Elizabeth Thornburg, SMU professor of lawElizabeth Thornburg, professor in SMU’s Dedman School of Law, will serve as director of the University’s Center for Teaching Excellence effective June 1, 2012. During Spring Term 2012, she will begin work with current CTE Director Ron Wetherington to become familiar with the Center’s activities, according to an e-mail announcement from Provost Paul Ludden dated Nov. 17, 2011.

Wetherington, professor of anthropology in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, will return to full-time teaching.

“Professor Thornburg takes over a Center that for years has been ably managed by Professor Wetherington, and we thank him for his many years of service and leadership in promoting teaching excellence at SMU,” Ludden wrote. “Professor Wetherington has earned our thanks and applause, especially from those who have begun their teaching careers at SMU.”

Thornburg teaches and writes in the area of civil procedure and alternative dispute resolution. Her scholarship focuses on the procedural fairness of the litigation process, especially at the pleadings, discovery and jury charge stages. She has taught in the Law School since 1988 and served as its associate dean for academic affairs from 1996-98. She has received the Law School’s Don M. Smart Teaching Award and has served on the Provost’s Commission on Teaching & Learning. She also participated in a Common Law Countries Project on Teaching Civil Procedure.

How the SMU community can cope and help with holiday stress

Students in Fondren Science BuildingThe holiday season traditionally brings warm memories, shared friendship and a significant amount of stress for members of a university community. The pressures of exams, travel plans and preparations for family gatherings can overwhelm faculty, staff and students alike – especially new undergraduates facing their first college finals.

The Office of the Provost asks that all SMU community members be aware of signs of stress in themselves and those around them.

“In particular, I ask that you be aware of signs of stress among students, especially first-year students as they enter into their first set of final examinations,” wrote Provost Paul Ludden in an annual e-mail to SMU faculty and staff dated Nov. 15, 2011.

Any faculty or staff member who has concerns about a student and is not sure what to do is urged to refer to the University publication A Guide For Faculty and Staff for Recognizing and Responding to Students in Distress (PDF format) or to contact Dean of Student Life Lisa Webb, 214-768-4564. Students who feel overwhelmed by the stress of the season and finals can get help at the Memorial Health Center.

Faculty and staff members can share information securely and confidentially through the Dean of Students’ Caring Community Connections website (SMU ID and password required for access).

In addition, regular physical exercise at the Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports can help individuals stay fit for the season while relieving the stress it can bring.

Ludden also encouraged all SMU community members to “reach out to an individual who is separated from family and friends at this time and invite them to share some of your traditions and goodwill.”

Check in with these campus resources for referral information:

In addition, SMU Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS) offers a variety of online resources for faculty, staff, students and parents in dealing with stresses ranging from anxiety and trauma to insomnia and homesickness.

SMU names Wes K. Waggoner Dean of Undergraduate Admission

SMU Dean of Undergraduate Admission Wes K. WaggonerWes K. Waggoner, whose university admissions experience spans 20 years, is SMU’s new dean of undergraduate admission and executive director of enrollment services. Waggoner will begin his duties at SMU Oct. 17, 2011. He was chosen after a national search.

“Wes stood out for his experience with financial aid, marketing, search strategies and leadership ability,” said SMU Provost Paul Ludden. “He is passionate about taking SMU to the next level, and he has the intellectual and professional skills to help us reach our goals.”

Waggoner currently serves as the associate dean and director of freshman admission at TCU. Previously, he held admissions roles at the University of Tulsa, Tulane University, Fort Worth Country Day School and The Episcopal School of Baton Rouge. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Tulane University and an M.B.A. with a concentration in not-for-profit management from the University of Dallas.

At SMU, he will report to Stephanie Dupaul, associate vice president for enrollment management. Dupaul said Waggoner’s background and personality made him a good fit for SMU.

“I hoped we would find someone who would bring expertise, intelligence and creativity to SMU. Wes brings these strength, and more,” Dupaul said. “He has demonstrated his skills in developing comprehensive recruiting plans, redesigning processes, and mentoring a professional team of admissions professionals. He is passionate about SMU and excited about the path the university is on as we implement a new curriculum, develop our residential commons, and continue to expand our academic research. Wes will use his many strengths to tell the SMU story – a story 100 years in the making but also a story that is just beginning.”

Waggoner is a nationally known leader in the admission profession, having served as chair of the Professional Development Committee for the National Association of College Admission Counselors, chair of the Admissions Practices Committee for the Texas Association of College Admission Counselors (TACAC), instructor for the TACAC Summer Institute, chair of the Higher Education Curriculum committee for the Admission and College Counseling Institute, and as a member of The College Board‘s SAT Advisory Committee and the SAT Score Choice Task Force.

> Get the full story from SMU News

By | 2011-11-14T11:47:03+00:00 September 27, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , , |

SMU raises safety awareness during 2011 National Preparedness Month

September is National Preparedness Month, and SMU is planning several events to raise awareness of proper emergency procedures.

The University will focus on three major preparedness themes throughout the month:

  • Lockdown Awareness Week, Sept. 6-9
  • Shelter Awareness Week, Sept. 12-16
  • Evacuation Awareness Week, Sept. 19-23

Provost Paul Ludden asked faculty and staff members to review campus safety procedures with students when possible in an e-mail dated Aug. 22, 2011:

This September marks the tenth anniversary of the 9-11 terrorist attacks on the United States and, as such, it has been proclaimed National Preparedness Month by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. It is also a time for all of us to reflect on the importance of strengthening the security and safety of our campus community.

SMU will observe this occasion during the month of September by hosting a series of events that are intended to orient students, faculty, and staff to various aspects of SMU’s emergency plan. The theme for Emergency Preparedness Month is “A Time to Remember, A Time to Prepare.”

If you feel it is appropriate, please take a few moments during class time to review with students the three principal emergency response mechanisms for all emergencies: Evacuation, Shelter, and Lockdown. For your convenience, a summary of these actions entitled “Know What to Do” is attached and a poster has been placed in each classroom.

Thank you for your support.

Watch SMU’s new “Know What To Do” video on lockdown emergency procedures by clicking the YouTube screen above, or click here to open the SMU lockdown procedures video in a new window. video

> Review the “Know What To Do” emergency document
> Download the Emergency Management calender of educational events (PDF format)
> Bookmark SMU’s Emergency Management homepage at smu.edu/emergency
> Read more about National Preparedness Month at ready.gov

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