DRCM Students Win National Mediation Competition

(L to R): Yanina Vashchenko, Nate Owens, Dana Garnett, Elizabeth Blake, David Russell, Anjana Vellingiri, Samreen Hooda, Kimberly Wise, Gerry Plata

At the 5th Annual Graduate Mediation Competition hosted by SMU’s Center for Dispute Resolution and Conflict Management, April 1-2, in Plano, Simmons student teams won every award category. They are as follows:

First Place Team award: Dana Garnett, Nate Owens, and Yanina Vashchenko. Second Place Team award: Samreen Hooda, Kimberly Wise, and Anjana Vellingiri. First Place Mediator: Dana Garnett. Second Place Mediator: Anjana Vellingiri. First Place Client/Advocate: David Russell. Second Place Client Advocate: Elizabeth Blake.

This year, the competing schools included Champlain College, Kennesaw State University, Brandeis University and SMU.




Posted in Dispute Resolution, General News & Announcements | Leave a comment

Dean David J. Chard Named President of Wheelock College

23070513David J. Chard, the inaugural dean of SMU’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development, will become president of Wheelock College in Boston, Massachusetts, on July 1, 2016.
Following a nationwide search, Wheelock’s board of trustees announced today that Chard will be the college’s 14th president, succeeding Jackie Jenkins-Scott, who concludes her presidency at the end of the current academic year.  Read more.

Posted in General News & Announcements | Leave a comment

Brian Fennig Honored by Provost’s Teaching Recognition Award

FennigBBrian Fennig, Ph.D. received the 2016 Provost’s Teaching Award for demonstrating commitment to excellence and consummate dedication to teaching and learning.

A senior lecturer in Wellness, Fenning teaches Personal Responsibility and Wellness, and Individual Fitness. “I’ve always believed that I do something important and lasting for the students,” he says.” I’m happy to be honored among so many talented peers.”

Posted in General News & Announcements | Leave a comment

SMU Opens Harold Clark Simmons Hall

Harold Clark Simmons Hall Exteriors SMU will dedicate Harold Clark Simmons Hall at 1 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 25. The three-story building designed to serve a new generation of teachers and leader will support work ranging from strengthening the academic skills of the youngest preschooler in West Dallas to research on new uses of technology in education.

The hall features an innovative teacher developmeStudents in Harold Clark Simmons Hall Classroomsnt studio, which uses technology to simulate classroom environments, the Budd Center: Involving Communities in Education, and the Department of Teaching and Learning.

Posted in Bilingual/ESL, Education Research, General News & Announcements | Leave a comment

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.


Posted in General News & Announcements | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in General News & Announcements | Leave a comment

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.”


Posted in Exercise Physiology, General News & Announcements | Leave a comment

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.


Posted in Education Policy, General News & Announcements | Leave a comment

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.


POTTER 011 medium 300dpi file

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.

Posted in General News & Announcements | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Education Policy, General News & Announcements | Leave a comment