December 4, 2007

David J. Chard

When David J. Chard joined SMU this fall as dean of the School of Education and Human Development, he had no idea that, within weeks, his university world would change. As he settled into his office in a converted apartment building long overdue for updating, he was well aware of the School’s need for resources, including a suitable building and endowment for programs, research and faculty. President R. Gerald Turner was acutely aware of the needs, too, and, in fact, had been talking with prospective donors about a major gift for the school.

So it was that, only two months after joining SMU, Chard was gathering with other members of the University community to celebrate a $20 million endowment for his school from Harold and Annette Simmons. The school now would be named the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development, and he would hold the Leon Simmons Endowed Deanship, with special resources for faculty recruitment.

"When I accepted the position, I knew that we could build on SMU’s rich history of developing programs in disciplines critical to our region," Chard says. "Now we will have resources to address more fully some of the greatest challenges in education and human services. We can expand our partnerships with area schools and agencies and become increasingly competitive for research funding with national implications."

Chard came to SMU from the University of Oregon, where he was associate dean for curriculum and academic programs in the College of Education. He holds a Ph.D. in special education from Oregon and a B.S. degree in mathematics and chemistry education from Central Michigan University. He has taught at Boston University, the University of Texas at Austin and in California public schools, and served as a Peace Corps educator in Africa.

A scholar on reading and learning disabilities, Chard is widely published. His research focuses on reading and mathematics instructional strategies for early grades, learning disabilities, special education, and reading instruction for students with disabilities.

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