Author Archives: Yolette Garcia

About Yolette Garcia

AA-ExtContStu(PreCollege)

STEM Academy for Middle-School Science Teachers Launches

Eighteen science teachers from six DISD middle schools are shooting off rockets, kayaking the Trinity River and collecting data on animals at the Dallas Zoo this summer as part of the new STEM Academy directed by Professor Leanne Ketterlin-Geller in Simmons.

The academy is designed to give the middle-school science teachers tools they need to strengthen their engagement with students. Read more.

The program is done in partnership with the Lyle School of Engineering. A major grant from the Texas Instruments (TI) Foundation and support from the O’Donnell Foundation help fund the academy.

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Mentoring Students Changes Lives

Eric Bing, professor of global health in Applied Physiology and Wellness, has an impact on his students inside and outside of his classroom.

His work with students can be seen through his one-on-one mentoring and the teaching he does in his rigorous global and public health class. In the case of graduating senior Dylan DeMuth, he gained a new philosophy from Bing, and also participated in the class for which he hadn’t initially qualified. Mentoring from Bing has changed his life. Read more.

For a look at one of Bing’s student projects for the global and public health class this spring, see this report from NBC5.

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Simmons Welcomes New Dean, Stephanie L. Knight

Stephanie L. Knight, associate dean and  professor of education in the College of Education at Pennsylvania State University will become dean of the Simmons School at SMU on August 1.

Well-respected in her field, Knight joined Pennsylvania State University in 2009 as professor of educational psychology, where she taught courses in educational psychology and effective learning. In 2013 she became associate dean at Penn State, leading the College of Education’s undergraduate and graduate studies programs. Prior to that, she held a 20-year tenure at Texas A&M.  Read more.

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New Book Features Work by Denisa Gándara

Denisa Gándara, assistant professor in Education Policy and Leadership, co-authored the recently released Outcomes Based Funding and Race in Higher Education Can Equity be Bought?

Published by Palgrave Macmillan, the book examines how Performance or Outcomes Based Funding (POBF) policies impact racial equity in higher education.

Through POBF, public colleges and universities receive state funding through formulas that no longer rely solely on student enrollment, but are instead based on student outcomes. The book gives policymakers a view of how racial equity has been addressed, and makes recommendations for moving forward.

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Texas Tribune Conducts Q&A with Candace Walkington about Teaching Math

Candace Walkington, assistant professor in Simmons, conducts research on connecting students to algebra.

The Texas Tribune interviewed Assistant Professor Candace Walkington in Teaching and Learning about her research looking at engaging ways to teach math in grades 6-10. She notes that during these grades students find it difficult to get motivated to learn math. The Q&A, where she is highlighted, is a weekly feature for Trib+Edu. Read the complete interview here. 

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Study Co-authored by Baker Says Pre-college Factors Impact College Graduation Rates for Nonwhites

Dominique Baker, assistant professor in Education Policy and Leadership, co-authored a new study in The Journal of Higher Education that looks at the gap of college graduation rates for Black and Hispanic students compared to white peers. Researchers Stella Flores (NYU), Toby Park (Florida State University) and SMU’s Baker say pre-college factors, such as attending segregated schools and poverty, contribute to as much as 61% of the variance in college graduation rates by race.

Their data analyzed a cohort of Texas students who graduated from high school in 2002. Read more.

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Congratulations to 2017 Luminary Award Recipients

Paige Ware, dean ad interim, is pictured with Luminary Award recipients Mark Meadows, The Meadows Foundation; Maureen Costello, Teaching Tolerance; and Ben Leal and Rev. Christopher Girata, Jubilee Park.

The Simmons School honored Jubilee Park and Community  Center, The Meadows Foundation, and Teaching Tolerance, a project of The Southern Poverty Law Center  as catalysts for change in education during its annual Luminary Award dinner on March 29.

Jubilee Park and Community Center serves neighborhoods near Fair Park in Dallas by providing a range of services for families. This includes after-school programs for children and adult education. The Meadows Foundation was honored for its work across the state in strengthening public education, and Teaching Tolerance received recognition for teaching materials that support equitable school experiences for all students in the nation’s classrooms. Read more.

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Simmons Faculty Highlights Math in Everyday Life

Three Simmons professors from the Department of Teaching and Learning participated in the launch of  walkSTEM, a program conducted in the Dallas Arts District during the Pi Day Math Festival on March 14.

Drs. Dara Rossi, Candace Walkington, and Annie Wilhelm helped students, teachers, and families from the Dallas-Fort Worth area understand real-life applications of mathematics. They were a part of the organizer’s efforts, talkStem, to make instruction relevant and engaging. Click here to view SMU’s Mustang Minute.

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Stephanie Al Otaiba Recognized With Distinguished Researcher Award

Congratulations to Stephanie Al Otaiba, Patsy and Ray Caldwell Centennial Chair in Teaching and Learning, who is the recipient of the 2017 American Educational Research Association’s Distinguished Researcher Award in Special Education Research . AERA is a flagship research body for education scholars.

She will receive her award at the annual meeting held in San Antonio, April 27-May 1.

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Making the Case for Quality Pre-K Funding in Texas

Paige Ware, interim dean of Simmons, in a commentary written for The Dallas Morning News proposes that the Texas Legislature continue with its commitment to funding pre-K education by increasing the quality of the programs and the allocation of money.

She suggests looking at the way Michigan has made a difference in the education of young children. Read her commentary here.

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