Advocating for Special Needs Students

Professor Stephanie Al Otaiba urges states to adequately develop support and interventions for special needs students. Read her Letter to the Editor in Education Week here. She holds the Patsy and Ray Caldwell Centennial Chair in Teaching and Learning.


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2016 Luminary Awards

Three education advocates and organizations who are taking fresh and research-based approaches to the improvement and advancement of education will be honored with Luminary Awards Thursday, Jan. 21, by SMU’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development.

They includeIMG_2065

  • Barack Obama Male Leadership Academy and principal Nakia Douglas
  • Regional recipient Raise Your Hand Texas
  • National recipient All Stars Project, Inc.

Read more about them here.

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Glenn Simmons Professorship Awarded to Peter Weyand

Weyand apointment cropped

(L to R) Dean David Chard, Professor Peter Weyand, and Professor Lynn Jacobs, Applied Physiology and Wellness chair.

Peter Weyand, Ph.D., has been appointed Glenn Simmons Endowed Professor in Applied Physiology and Biomechanics by Dean David J. Chard.

Weyand, an internationally renown researcher in human running performance, teaches and directs SMU’s Locomotor Performance Laboratory. The professorship was endowed by the Simmons family in honor of Harold C. Simmons’ brother, Glenn, and Weyand’s appointment is for five years.

“I hope to be able to use the position to enhance the impact of our departmental and laboratory research and educational efforts,” Weyand says. “This will allow me to initiate a variety of strategic outreach efforts that would not be possible without it.”


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Alexandra Pavlakis Receives Sam Taylor Fellowship


Alexandra Pavlakis

Alexandra Pavlakis, Assistant Professor in Education Policy and Leadership, is one of 11 SMU faculty members to receive a Sam Taylor Fellowship Award from the Sam Taylor Fellowship Fund of the Division of Higher Education, United Methodist General Board of Higher Education and Ministry. Pavlakis researches how wide-ranging policies and the actions of schools and communities shape the educational experiences of low-income, highly mobile and homeless students and their families.

The award will help her examine the increase in student homelessness and specifically will look at North Dallas High School, where a cross-section of organizations and people are responding to the issue.


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Dispute Resolution Gains Recognition for Program and Faculty


Tom Hartsell

The Dallas Better Business Bureau recently won the Outstanding BBB Award for Conciliation and Arbitration, and credits support received from the Dispute Resolution program at SMU-in-Plano. Clinical Associate Professor Tom Hartsell began the training for the BBB, and continues to identify DR graduates who can serve as arbitrators for the Bureau’s arbitration forum.

“It obviously has worked out well for both the BBB and our DR program and more importantly for our DR graduates interested in getting experience arbitrating commercial cases,”says Hartsell.


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John Potter

A lifetime achievement award was given to John Potter, O.D., Clinical Assistant Professor in Dispute Resolution, for his contributions to the optometry field. The Pioneer Award credits him with providing advanced medical training in optometric medicine with a focus on patient care, dispute resolution and conflict resolution.  “Because of John’s sound clinical teaching, many of us are simply better doctors,” said Randall Thomas and Ron Melton, former colleagues. Potter remains a member of the Primary Care Optometry News Editorial Board, and an active practitioner in dispute resolution and conflict management. Read more.

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Closing the Teacher Gap


Elisa Villanueva Beard, CEO, Teach for America



Dean David J. Chard, SMU Simmons









In an essay for U.S. News and World Report, Simmons’ Dean David Chard and Elisa Villanueva Beard, CEO, Teach for America, offer ideas to make the teaching profession a viable option for younger generations. More needs to happen with compensation, professional support and flexibility. Read the article here.

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Sarah Feuerbacher Advises Prosper HS Students About Anxiety and Depression

Sarah FeuerbacherSarah Feuerbacher, director of Simmons’ Center for Family Counseling at SMU-in-Plano, was asked by broadcast journalism students in Prosper High School to talk to them about how teens struggle with anxiety and depression. The students say they face a lot of pressure to succeed.

In this story from KERA 90.1, Feuerbacher and the teens get a chance to talk about the importance of knowing what can happen and how to get help.

Feuerbacher’s former student in the Master of Counseling program, Brian Kennedy, is the journalism teacher at Prosper High School.

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Analyzing Language of Climate Change in Sixth Grade Science Textbooks

RomanD Assistant Professor Diego Román examines how climate change is framed in sixth grade science textbooks. He and co-author K.C. Busch from Stanford University conclude that the language used leads to doubts about the scientific occurrence.

Political and public discourse pertaining to climate change goes beyond the impact of scientific discourse, they observe, and there are implications for science education.

To read the abstract and access the paper published in Environmental Education Research, click here.

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Karla del Rosal Urges More Congressional Action on Bilingual Ed

Simmons Teaching and Learning Faculty Karla del Rosal PortraitIn Roll Call, Simmons Assistant Professor Karla del Rosal writes about solidifying more educational opportunities for 4.4 million immigrant students. Policymakers, she contends, can help by strengthening how teachers are trained to help bilingual children. Read her commentary here.

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Cheating in Sports Commentary Offered by Peter Weyand

Illustration credit: Andrew Bassey Udofa

Applied Physiology Professor Peter Weyand gives an assessment of how cheating in sports can change in definition. Weyand directs the Simmons Locomotor Performance Lab at SMU. Read his column in the Huffington Post here.

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