Provost’s Office

Matthew Desmond’s Pulitzer Prize-winner Evicted will be SMU’s 2017 Common Reading

'Evicted' cover, Matthew DesmondIn 2017, most poor renting families are spending more than half of their income on housing. Eviction, once a rare, last-resort scenario, has become an ordinary occurrence, especially for single mothers.

Harvard sociologist and MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipient Matthew Desmond went into the poorest neighborhoods of Milwaukee to learn the stories of families struggling to keep even meager shelter. The Pulitzer Prize-winning book that resulted – Evicted: Poverty and Profit In the American City – is SMU’s 2017 Common Reading.

Significantly, one of the families Desmond profiles includes a landlord and her husband, writes Peter K. Moore, SMU associate provost for curricular innovation and policy. “Discussing the great difficulties the poor face just to keep a roof over their heads, it would have been easy to demonize the landlords, but Desmond shows their struggles as well — providing real nuance and a window into the issue’s complexities.

“Ideally, this work will reveal to our students how much some people struggle to stay afloat financially — introducing them to the fact that those living near the poverty line typically spend up to 50 percent and in some cases 90 percent of their income on a decent and safe place to live,” Moore added.

> Follow Matthew Desmond on Twitter: @just_shelter

In a Washington Post review, Carlos Lozada wrote, “In this astonishing feat of ethnography, Desmond immerses himself in the lives of Milwaukee families caught in the cycle of chronic eviction. In spare and penetrating prose, [he] chronicles the economic and psychological toll of living in substandard housing, and the eviscerating impact of constantly moving between homes and shelters. With Evicted, Desmond has made it impossible to consider poverty without grappling with the role of housing.”

“Written with the vividness of a novel, [Evicted] offers a dark mirror of middle-class America’s obsession with real estate, laying bare the workings of the low end of the market, where evictions have become just another part of an often lucrative business model,” wrote Jennifer Schuessler in The New York Times.

The annual book discussion with faculty, staff members and new SMU students will take place on Sunday, Aug. 20, before Opening Convocation.

In addition, Desmond will visit the University Thursday, August 24, for a 6 p.m. lecture in McFarlin Auditorium, with a Q&A session and book-signing afterward.

> Learn more at the SMU Reads website: smu.edu/smureads

Three professors honored with 2017 Tunks Distinguished University Citizen Awards

Three faculty members were honored with SMU’s 2017 Thomas W. Tunks Distinguished University Citizen Award at the Faculty Breakfast held Saturday, May 20 before Commencement. This year’s recipients are:

The award, given by the Office of the Provost, honors three faculty members each year for service and activities that benefit students and the University’s academic mission and “who have demonstrated outstanding citizenship through dedicated service to the University and its governance.”

Formerly the Distinguished University Citizen Award, the honor was renamed in 2014 for Tunks, a professor of music education, former associate provost and founding Faculty-in-Residence in the University’s Residential Commons.

Five receive 2017 Faculty Senate Outstanding Staff Awards

The SMU Faculty Senate honored five staff members for outstanding performance with 2017 Faculty Senate Outstanding Staff Awards. The honors were presented during the Senate’s last meeting of the 2016-17 academic year on Wednesday, May 3.

This year’s winners:

  • James Dees, Graduate Student Administration, Lyle School of Engineering
  • Pamela Goolsby, Events and Facilities, Perkins School of Theology
  • Teresa Janicki, World Languages and Literatures, Dedman College
  • Carolyn Jeter, Executive Assistant to the Provost and VP for Academic Affairs, Office of the Provost
  • Sandra Oswalt, Sponsored Projects, Office of Research and Graduate Studies

In addition to the glass trophies presented to each honoree, they received gifts ranging from season tickets to art books to museum memberships, donated by SMU Athletics, the SMU Bookstore, SMU Dining Services, Meadows Museum and the Meadows School of the Arts.

Provost appoints search committee for new position of associate provost for Continuing Education

SMU Provost Steve Currall has appointed the search committee for the newly created position of associate provost for Continuing Education. In support of one of the major objectives in SMU’s strategic plan, “Engage the community for lifelong learning through professional training and continuing education,” and in response to the report provided by the Task Force on Continuing Education, SMU President R. Gerald Turner and Provost Currall have created this position.

“Although SMU currently engages in wide-ranging efforts in continuing education, we see great potential for the new associate provost to help prioritize continuing education by providing leadership and coordination across the university,” said Currall. “He or she will ensure that continuing education advances SMU’s academic mission and is in close alignment with the University’s academic values and its visibility in the eyes of SMU stakeholders.”

Reporting to the provost, the inaugural associate provost for Continuing Education will provide University-wide leadership to prioritize, coordinate, support and grow continuing education. An institution-wide strategy will build on the notable efforts that some academic units have already developed in continuing education. The associate provost will oversee Continuing and Professional Education (CAPE) and the Master of Science in Data Science program. He or she also will work with the new Continuing Education Program Council (CEPC), comprised of the deans of academic units and chaired by the provost. CEPC will provide input to the associate provost regarding the overall strategy for SMU’s continuing education and review new proposals as well as revisions to existing programs.

“President Turner and I seek a candidate for this position who has a clear and compelling vision for the development and implementation of continuing education at SMU,” Currall added. “The ideal person will have a strong record of administrative leadership and management skills with a demonstrated record of success in a large and multifaceted organization. They need the transformational leadership capacity to shepherd continuing education at SMU during a time of significant pedagogical innovation in higher education.”

SMU has offered continuing education to the community in different ways since the early 1920s. Currently, continuing education programs in the academic units report through their respective dean to the provost. CAPE and the M.S. in Data Science program report directly to the Provost’s Office.

Continuing Education at SMU includes noncredit courses such as those offered by CAPE and by Executive Education in Cox. The seven academic schools offer for-credit and degree programs as well.

Associate Provost for Student Academic Services Julie P. Forrester will chair the search committee. Its members include:

  • Hal Barkley, professor and chair, Dispute Resolution and Counseling, Simmons School of Education and Human Development
  • Ernie Barry, associate vice president for Budget and Finance
  • Bill Dillon, senior associate dean of academic affairs, and the Herman W. Lay Professor of Marketing, Cox School of Business
  • Michael Harris, director, Center for Teaching Excellence and associate professor of education policy and leadership, Simmons School of Education and Human Development
  • Kevin Hofeditz, senior associate dean and professor of theatre, Meadows School of the Arts
  • Robert Howell, professor of philosophy, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences
  • Renee McDonald, associate dean for research and academic affairs, and professor of psychology, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences
  • Volkan Otugen, senior associate dean and professor of mechanical engineering, Lyle School of Engineering
  • Priscilla Pope-Levinson, associate dean for external programs and professor of ministerial studies, Perkins School of Theology
  • Harold W. Stanley, vice president for executive affairs, and the Geurin-Pettus Distinguished Chair in American Politics and Political Economy, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences
  • Beth Thornburg, senior associate dean and the Richard R. Lee Endowed Professor of Law, Dedman School of Law
  • Kimberly Rutigliano, director of Continuing and Professional Education
  • Valerie Parker, Human Resources business partner

Rutigliano and Parker will assist the committee in a non-voting, ex officio capacity. The committee welcomes input from the SMU community regarding possible candidates for the position. The higher education search firm of Greenwood/Asher & Associates, Inc. will assist the University in the national search.

Inquiries, nominations and applications should be sent in strict confidence to:

Jan Greenwood or Betty Turner Asher
Greenwood/Asher & Associates, Inc.
42 Business Centre Drive, Suite 206
Miramar Beach, Florida 32550
Phone: 850-650-2277 / Fax: 850-650-2272
Email: jangreenwood@greenwoodsearch.com
Email: bettyasher@greenwoodsearch.com

 

Elena D. Hicks begins role as SMU’s new dean of admission Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017

This story was originally published Jan. 30, 2017.

Elena Hicks

After an extensive national search, SMU has appointed Elena D. Hicks, dean of admission at Loyola University Maryland, as the University’s new dean of undergraduate admission. She began her SMU service on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017.

In her new role, Hicks oversees all activities in the SMU Office of Admission, including admission for first-year, transfer and international applicants. She also will work closely with SMU Public Affairs to develop the University’s marketing messages, and with faculty, staff and alumni to recruit high achieving undergraduate students from across the United States and around the world.

“We are pleased to welcome Dean Hicks to the SMU admission team, and back to her home state of Texas,” said Wes Waggoner, associate vice president for enrollment management in the Office of the Provost. “Her experience and knowledge in admission is extensive, and she understands the profession in a way that will complement our current staff and guide SMU through the enrollment opportunities and complexities before us. She is firmly committed to increasing [the University’s] academic stature and ensuring that its student body is talented, diverse and eager to engage with our faculty in the classroom.”

With 27 years of education experience, Hicks has considerable knowledge about student recruitment, selective admission and family involvement. At Loyola, she successfully developed and implemented recruitment strategies that resulted in a significant increase in first-year applications and an increase in the enrollment size of the entering class during her nine-year tenure.

Hicks’ ties to SMU are deeply rooted. Her great-grandfather Robert L. Peace (a Dallas native), began working at SMU as it opened its doors, and he proudly served the institution for 37 years. Other family members, inspired by Robert’s passion for the University, worked at SMU in various capacities over the years.

“I have a passion for education and strongly believe in SMU’s commitment to shape world changers, thus I am extremely honored to be selected as the University’s new dean of undergraduate admission,” said Hicks. “I feel confident that my myriad of experiences will help move the office of admission’s goals and strategies forward, while establishing collaborative partnerships and strengthening relationships with the overall community.”

> Read the full story from SMU News

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