School of Education and Human Development

$20 million Simmons gift to support School of Education

Harold and Annette SimmonsA landmark $20 million gift from Harold C. and Annette C. Simmons (right) will provide endowment for SMU’s School of Education and Human Development and the lead gift for a new building to house the School. The School will be renamed the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development in honor of Mrs. Simmons, an elementary education graduate of SMU.

“Harold and Annette Simmons have demonstrated time and again their generosity and vision in meeting critical needs of our community, region and nation,” says SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “As civic leaders who deeply value education as the foundation of human achievement, they will help us extend SMU’s leadership in education. This gift will be instrumental in further defining the scope and impact of these programs.” Read more from SMU News.

For the Record: Nov. 9, 2007

Two SMU mock-trial teams took first place at the Billinger Barrister Invitational in St. Louis Oct. 13-14, 2007, finishing undefeated at 7-0-1. Sophomore Jessica Wikstrom also won a Best Witness Award. About 22 teams from 11 different schools participated in the competition, which was sponsored by St. Louis University.

Kim Cobb, Public Affairs, has received a 2007 Outstanding Alumni Award from the Texas Tech University College of Mass Communications. Cobb, who graduated from Tech in 1979, joined SMU in June as director of national media marketing after a lengthy career as a journalist, including more than two decades as a national writer for the Houston Chronicle. She and four others were honored Oct. 27 in Lubbock. Read more from the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.

Gail Hartin, Teacher Education, discussed what makes a good teacher with Park Cities People Nov. 2, 2007.

Research Spotlight: Learning differently

learning-differently-200.jpgAbout 45 million Americans – 15 percent of the population – have some form of learning disability. And when students reach college, their learning differences become amplified because of tougher curricula, increased workloads and the absence of supportive family members. In SMU’s School of Education and Human Development, researchers and reading specialists have developed training and research projects to answer some of the most critical questions about the development of students who struggle to read.

“While much has been accomplished, more work lies ahead,” wrote Education Dean David Chard in a Dallas Morning News op-ed printed Nov. 1, 2007. “The opportunity to pursue higher education should be a minimum standard for all Americans. Approximately 35 percent of students with learning disabilities are attending colleges and universities, up from 15 percent in 1987.”

At the International Dyslexia Association annual conference in Dallas (Oct. 31-Nov. 3, 2007), two SMU faculty members shared their experiences reaching students with learning differences. Patricia G. Mathes, director of the Institute for Reading Research at SMU, spoke on effective practices and research findings for English language learners with reading difficulties, and Karen Vickery, director of the Learning Therapy Program at SMU’s School of Education and Human Development, spoke on “Teaching the Teachers: Effective Models for Colleges and Universities.” Learn more about SMU research and resources at

For the Record: Sept. 20, 2007

Hector Rivera, Teacher Education, has received a research grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA) to address the needs of at-risk newcomer adolescents with limited English proficiency through professional development and English as a Second Language certification for middle and high school math and science teachers. Read more.

Paige Ware, Teacher Education, has received a research grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA) for Project Connect, a collaboration with the Irving and Grand Prairie Independent School Districts to create a model of integrated professional development that trains teachers to provide higher-quality education for students with limited English proficiency. Read more.

Dennis Grindle, Cox Career Center, discussed “How an MBA Mom Can Return to the Work Force” in the Sept. 11, 2007 edition of The Wall Street Journal.

Bruce Bullock, Maguire Energy Institute, discussed the trends that helped oil prices on Sept. 12 briefly reach historic highs of $80 per barrel. His comments appeared in the Sept. 13, 2007 edition of the Chicago Tribune.

Cal Jillson, Political Science, discussed Congressional Democrats’ plans to revise the alternative minimum tax in the Sept. 17, 2007 edition of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Meet the new administrators

A number of new faces begin serving in key University positions this fall. SMU Forum provides a reference guide:

Paul LuddenPaul Ludden, former dean of the College of Natural Resources at the University of California-Berkeley and a scholar in environmental biochemistry, has become SMU’s provost and vice president for academic affairs. Read more about Ludden.

Lori WhiteLori S. White, who has held student affairs positions at Stanford, Georgetown and the University of Southern California, became SMU’s vice president for student affairs July 1. Read more about White, and meet her at a welcome reception 4-5 p.m. Aug. 27 in the Umphrey Lee Center Ballroom.

James E. QuickJames E. Quick, a noted volcano expert with the U.S. Geological Survey and a frequently published geology scholar, has been named Associate Vice President for Research and Dean of Graduate Studies. He will join the University during fall 2007. Read more.

David ChardDavid Chard, associate dean of the College of Education at the University of Oregon and a frequently published scholar in reading and learning disabilities, has been named dean of SMU’s School of Education and Human Development, effective this fall. Read more.

Christine CaseyChristine Casey, a University of California administrator known for her skill in improving business processes, has been named Vice President for Business and Finance. Currently Assistant Vice President for Administrative Services for the University of California system, Casey will begin her SMU duties Sept. 1. Read more about Casey, and meet her at a welcome reception 4-5 p.m. Sept. 25 in the Umphrey Lee Center Ballroom.

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