Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings to Deliver Commencement Address

Mike-Rawlings-02Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings will deliver the address at SMU’s 99th all-University Commencement. The ceremonies begin at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 17, in Moody Coliseum.

The ceremony, including Rawlings’ address, will be broadcast live at smu.edu/live.

Elected mayor in June 2011, Rawlings immediately took on a broad agenda of citywide improvements. He has created new strategies for growing the arts through the Mayor’s Business Arts Initiative, has used his visibility as mayor to organize a campaign against domestic violence and has put Dallas in the spotlight by taking a leading role with the U.S. Conference of Mayors, which will meet in Dallas June 20-23, 2014.

With the launch of GrowSouth, Rawlings outlined a comprehensive strategy designed to boost the economic impact of southern Dallas. GrowSouth already has been a catalyst for new economic investment, job creation and public-private partnerships. In 2012, The Dallas Morning News praised Rawlings, saying, “After only six months, Rawlings has accomplished more for southern Dallas than many of his predecessors managed in their entire terms.”

Rawlings has adopted four DISD schools in southern Dallas in areas primed for growth and also is working closely with Commit!, an education collaborative for Dallas-area schools. SMU partners with Rawlings on the Mayor’s Summer Reading Club, which provides incentives to keep children reading over the summer months, as well as the Mayor’s Intern Fellows Program, an eight-week, paid summer internship program for students from public and charter high schools in Dallas.

“Mike Rawlings has a passion for improving the quality of life in Dallas,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “He is using his platform as mayor to work for more livable neighborhoods, increased economic opportunity throughout the city and strong public education for Dallas children. We prepare our graduates to become world changers, and I can’t think of a better example for them than Mayor Rawlings.”

> Read the full story from SMU News

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SMU Supports National Effort on Sexual Misconduct Prevention

The U.S. Department of Education announced May 1 that procedures regarding sexual misconduct and harassment are being examined at 55 higher education institutions. (Read the announcement.)

The University announced in a statement that:

“SMU applauds the U.S. Department of Education’s efforts to eradicate sexual violence on college campuses and to provide universities with additional tools to combat sexual assault. Our goals are the same.

“The matters under review by the Education Department have been investigated by SMU and predate our University task force review of sexual misconduct policies and procedures. The University has been aggressive in putting into practice wide-ranging new procedures to inform and protect our students, to provide prompt and effective resolution of complaints, and to hold violators accountable while treating all students fairly.

“SMU continually reviews and updates its programs in comparison with national benchmarks, and we are pleased that the White House also has made these matters a priority for all American universities. No issue is more important than the health and safety of our students.”

SMU provided additional information:

The Department of Education is reviewing three SMU cases that predate the University’s Task Force on Sexual Misconduct Policies and Procedures. One case involved a complaint of inappropriate language in a classroom; one involved an alleged sexual assault that was later dismissed by the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office; and the third case, which does not involve a sexual assault allegation, is currently the subject of litigation.

A year ago, SMU President R. Gerald Turner adopted the task force’s recommendations for new and revised policies and procedures, including programs promoting education and training. Students, faculty and staff members have implemented many of these recommendations and continue to develop others.

  • Read an op-ed about sexual misconduct prevention efforts from Vice President for Student Affairs Lori S. White and SMU Title IX Coordinator Samantha Thomas in the May 2 Daily Campus.

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Final Exam Tips from SMU Learning Experts

A semester’s end brings final exams, projects and often stress to students. SMU’s learning specialists say that if students plan accordingly for the last stretch of the semester, success comes more easily and with less stress. Final exams this year are scheduled for May 7-13, with Reading Days scheduled May 6.

“Final exam week is different from any other week throughout the semester; therefore, it is vital that students plan ahead for when they are going to study, sleep and relax during that week,” says Rebecca Umobong, senior academic counselor at SMU’s Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center (A-LEC). “I encourage students to use A-LEC’s Finals Week Master Schedule to plan how they will spend their time.”

A-LEC academic counselor David Lee says, “As part of the finals planning stage, students should analyze each of their past tests and papers looking to identify any repetitive errors or problem areas. These are important focal points for exam preparation.” Lee also suggests that students reflect on how they have studied in the past in order to adjust and improve study practices.

A-LEC offers learning strategies workshops throughout the semester, including “Prepare for Finals: The Last Week,” on Monday, April 28 and Tuesday, April 29. Students should bring their calendars and all syllabi to the workshops.

Click the “More” link for A-LEC’s tips for students on final exam preparation and for parents on supporting their students during finals.

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SMU Summer Studies Offers Options in Dallas, Taos and Abroad

SMU students at the Bishop Boulevard gateway marker

Offering more than 400 courses, SMU Summer Studies allows students to make progress on their degrees, change or add majors or minors, and add value to their education with smaller courses that cost less than regular-term courses. The schedule includes:

MayTerm on the Dallas campus: MayTerm offers 27 courses May 15-30, allowing students to earn three hours of credit in fewer than three weeks; find the course schedule here and click here for the online application.

Summer on the Dallas campus: The full Summer Term runs June 2-August 5; Summer I courses are June 2 to July 1; Summer II courses are July 7 to August 5. Financial aid, campus housing and meal plans are available. Find the course schedule and other information online.

SMU-in-Taos: Northern New Mexico’s Sangre de Cristo mountains provide a spectacular backdrop for classes in art, archaeology, biology, business, history, marketing and more. The May Term at SMU-in-Taos is May 14-May 31; the June Term is June 4-July 3; the Mini June Term is June 4-June 21; and the August Term is August 5-22. Find the course schedule here.

SMU Abroad:  SMU offers a number of summer learning, service and internship opportunities in locales ranging from Paris to Bali.

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SMU Hails Outstanding Achievement

2013 laurelsSMU students, faculty, staff and administrators were recognized with  service honors, teaching awards and the University’s highest commendation, the “M” Award, at the 2014 Awards Extravaganza Monday, April 21.

On the same day, the University honored its best students at the 17th Honors Convocation. The address was delivered by Eric Bing, professor of global health in the Department of Applied Physiology and Wellness in SMU’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development and in the Department of Anthropology in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.

Find a list of University, school and departmental awards from Honors Convocation 2014

See the Awards Extravaganza 2014 winners list under the link.

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Three Cheers: SMU Honors Day 2014 is Monday, April 21

Photo from SMU Honors Convocation 2013 by Kim RitzenthalerEvery third Monday in April, SMU takes a day to celebrate the high achievements of students, faculty and staff members in two different ceremonies.

This year’s Honors Convocation and Awards Extravaganza take place on the afternoon and evening of Monday, April 21, 2014.

2014 Honors Convocation award recipients (coming soon)

Eric Bing will deliver the address during the 17th Honors Convocation – celebrating academic achievement at the University and department levels – at 5:30 p.m. in McFarlin Auditorium. Bing is professor of global health in the Department of Applied Physiology and Wellness in SMU’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development and in the Department of Anthropology in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. He has a concurrent appointment with the George W. Bush Institute as senior fellow and director of global health.

Bing has developed and managed global health programs in Africa, Central America and the Caribbean, including HIV prevention, care and treatment programs in Rwanda, Angola, Nigeria, Namibia, Belize and Jamaica. At the Bush Institute, he has initiated worldwide health initiatives, including serving as co-leader of the Institute’s Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon partnership, an $85 million public-private program designed to combat cervical and breast cancer in Africa and Latin America. In addition, he has published more than 90 articles and abstracts. His book, Pharmacy on a Bicycle: Innovative Solutions in Global Health and Poverty, was released in May 2013.

Watch Honors Convocation via live streaming Monday, April 21 at smu.edu/live

Later, the University presents several awards for excellence – including its highest honor, the “M” Award – during the 2014 Awards Extravaganza at 7:30 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballrooms. SMU Student Body President Ramon Trespalacios will speak at the event. Awards Extravaganza honorees will be listed in SMU Forum the day after the ceremony.

Photo from Honors Convocation 2013 by Kim Ritzenthaler

Find more information on Honors Convocation at the Registrar’s website
Learn more about the Awards Extravaganza from SMU Student Life

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SMU Junior Awarded Prestigious Truman Scholarship

Rahfin Faruk

Rahfin Faruk

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.

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.

“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.”

“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.”

Two 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.

Read more from SMU News.

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Founders’ Day Weekend Celebrates Year of the Faculty

_GR18996SMU’s Founders’ Day Weekend, April 10-13, shined a spotlight on the University’s faculty as the centennial celebration of the Year of the Faculty gains momentum on the Hilltop.

Faculty salute
SMU President R. Gerald Turner honored the University’s faculty during a special event April 11 at Moody Coliseum. President Turner’s Faculty Salute spotlighted the contributions and impact of the University’s distinguished scholars and included a video tribute and the taking of a group faculty photo. The faculty celebration was part of President Turner’s annual Founders’ Day Weekend Presidential Briefing, which highlighted the University’s accomplishments during the past year and provided a look ahead for the coming year. See the video. video icon

Inside SMU Powered by TEDxSMU
This year Founders’ Day Weekend added a new performance program, Inside SMU Powered by TEDxSMU, highlighting faculty, students, staff and alumni. The program featured compelling stories and demonstrations from 16 SMU faculty, staff, alumni and student speakers on topics ranging from NSA wiretapping, to civil rights, to a whimsical exercise in giant origami. See the slide show. camera icon

Community Day
Founders’ Day Weekend expanded its annual Community Day activities this year, including family events at the Bush Presidential Library and Museum as well as at the Meadows Museum.

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Students Say Thank You!

Students showed appreciation to donors for the support that makes their education possible. Watch the video here, or by clicking on the movie frame at right. video

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SMU to Celebrate Founders’ Day Weekend

Founders’ Day Weekend, April 10-13, offers SMU families an opportunity to connect with SMU students, parents, professors and alumni. This year’s event occurs during the centennial celebration of the Year of the Faculty and features many ways to engage with SMU’s outstanding scholars.

DSC_0985Events include:

Register online for Founders’ Day Weekend activities.

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