SMU Magazine

SMU Magazine is updated monthly on this website and the print edition is published each spring and fall.

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After-school Programs Boost Children’s Academic Performance

School-age children who participate in structured after-school activities improve their academic achievement, according to a new study by researchers in SMU’s Simmons School of Education and Human Development. The study by associate professors Ken Springer and Deborah Diffily measured academic performance of children enrolled in Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas. Springer and Diffily both teach in Simmons’ Department of Teaching and Learning. The study looked at data on 719 students in second through eighth grades who participated in after-school activities at one of 12 clubs during the 2009-2010 academic year. Among elementary and middle-school children who participated frequently in club activities, the researchers saw grades improve from the start to the end of the year. That was especially true for elementary students. The researchers also saw improved school attendance for both age groups. Afterschool care activities can provide a child with a sense of success, says Diffily. “For children who live in poverty – often those who attend Boys and Girls Clubs – the clubs can ameliorate the pressures of poverty, such as living in an overcrowded apartment or a lack of after-school snacks.” Read more ...

2017-04-04T10:25:21+00:00 December 21, 2012|

Letters Shed New Light On Bone Wars

Louis Jacobs The fieldwork of SMU paleontologist Louis Jacobs normally takes him to Angola, Mongolia or Ethiopia. But Jacobs’ latest research took him to SMU’s DeGolyer Library. There he dug through the archived papers of Robert T. Hill and discovered a treasure trove of 13 historic letters. Hill was a frontier geologist for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is now called the Father of Texas Geology. “Hill found rocks of an age that were nowhere else known in North America,” Jacobs says. “The Eagle Ford Shale that Hill named and mapped is one of the biggest producers of oil and gas in South Texas today.” The personal letters to Hill were from Edward D. Cope, one of two antagonists in the infamous 1800s fossil feud known as the Bone Wars. Cope’s letters to Hill sought inside information about Cope’s arch-enemy, O.C. Marsh, who had an in with the USGS. East Coast scientists Cope and Marsh competed for decades during the opening of the American West to collect more fossils than the other. The Cope letters add new knowledge about the Bone Wars. “What a treasure these Cope letters are, that nobody ever saw before,” says Jacobs, a professor in Dedman College’s Roy M. Huffington Department of Earth Sciences and president of the Institute for the Study of Earth and Man. Read more ...

2017-04-04T10:25:22+00:00 December 21, 2012|

Historian Studies Islam’s Kings And Saints

Historian A. Azfar Moin A new study by SMU historian A. Azfar Moin explores why Muslim sovereigns in the early modern era began to imitate the exalted nature of Sufi saints. Uncovering a widespread phenomenon, Moin shows how the charismatic pull of sainthood (wilayat) – rather than the draw of religious law (sharia) or holy war (jihad) – inspired a new style of sovereignty in Islam at the end of the 16th century. Commonly described as the mystical dimension of Islam, Sufism encompasses a diversity of ideas and practices, including asceticism and meditation, devotion to a spiritual guide, and pilgrimage to saint shrines. Sufism became especially popular in Islam beginning in the 14th-century and was widespread in Iran before the country converted to Shia Islam in the 16th and 17th centuries. His research, published in The Millennial Sovereign (Columbia University Press, 2012), uses the anthropology of religion and art to trace how royal dynastic cults and shrine-centered Sufism came together in the imperial cultures of Timurid Central Asia, Safavid Iran and Mughal India. Moin is assistant professor in the Clements Department of History. Read more ...

2017-04-04T10:25:22+00:00 December 21, 2012|

Task Force Examines Sexual Misconduct Policies

Like colleges and universities nationwide, SMU is reviewing its procedures for handling allegations of sexual misconduct in light of new guidelines issued by the federal government. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 requires institutions to investigate and have procedures for adjudicating such allegations, along with efforts to prevent them. Institutions are reviewing their procedures after receiving a “Dear Colleague” letter from the federal government. To aid SMU’s review process, SMU President R. Gerald Turner has established the Task Force on Sexual Misconduct Policies and Procedures to examine SMU’s programs in comparison with benchmark practices and determine if changes are needed, taking into account state and federal laws. Students reporting sexual misconduct can pursue SMU’s grievance procedure through its Code of Conduct, as well as the external criminal process at the same time or at a later date. Sexual assault remains one of the most underreported crimes in all settings. By updating its procedures, SMU aims to provide an environment in which students feel comfortable coming forward to report violations. A key goal is to ensure that all students are treated with care and fairness. SMU’s standards of behavior and current grievance procedures are outlined at Specifically, the task force is reviewing: Sexual assault reporting procedures and coordination among campus offices, the SMU Police Department and the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office. The structure and make-up of the conduct review (grievance) process; [...]

2012-12-21T11:22:59+00:00 December 21, 2012|

SMU Appoints New Trustees

Trustee ChairCaren H. Prothro Business, academic, civic and religious leaders are serving on the SMU Board of Trustees through 2016. Members were elected in July by the South Central Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church and began their terms with the Board meeting in September. The 42-member board sets policies governing the operation of SMU. In addition, Caren H. Prothro was re-elected as chair, Robert H. Dedman, Jr. ’80, ’84 is serving as vice chair and David B. Miller ’72, ’73 as secretary. Michael M. Boone ’63, ’67 has been named chair-elect, to become chair in June 2014. “Working with Dr. Turner and his administration, the Board is leading SMU to an unprecedented level of progress – in academic quality, research, resource development and community impact. We fully expect to continue this momentum,” Prothro says. Eleven new trustees were elected and 27 trustees were re-elected to four-year terms. Two new ex officio members were elected to represent students and faculty and two ex-officio members were re-elected. New trustees are William D. Armstrong ’82, Richie L. Butler ’93, Jeanne Tower Cox ’78, Katherine Raymond Crow ’94, Antoine L.V. Dijkstra, Bishop James E. Dorff ’72, Larry R. Faulkner ’66, Bishop Michael McKee ’78, Scott J. McLean ’78, Connie Blass O’Neill ’77 and Richard Ware ’68. Re-elected trustees are Ruth Collins Sharp Altshuler ’48, Bradley W. Brookshire ’76, Laura Welch Bush ’68, Kelly Hoglund Compton [...]

2012-12-21T11:14:04+00:00 December 21, 2012|

2013: From Celebrating To Making History

President R. Gerald Turner In 2013 we will celebrate the third year of our Second Century Celebration. We started the commemoration in 2011, the centennial of our founding, and will culminate the festivities in 2015, the 100th anniversary of our opening. Every commemorative year has been filled with progress that would make our founders proud. This fall we paid tribute to the architectural vision of founding President Robert S. Hyer by commemorating the birthday of Dallas Hall, whose cornerstone was laid in November 1912, and by celebrating the centennial of the first master plan. We also published the book, SMU at 100, showcasing SMU architecture and our enduring commitment to that plan. We also celebrated groundbreakings for new and renovated facilities: Moody Coliseum and Band Hall renovations; construction of the five-hall Residential Commons, the Dr. Bob Smith Memorial Health Center renovation; construction of indoor and outdoor tennis facilities and a new Data Center on former site of Mrs. Baird’s bakery. While the number of construction cranes on campus might suggest a building boom, there are other signs of tangible progress inside our classrooms and laboratories: ever-more talented students with the highest SAT average of an incoming class, 1274; SMU’s ranking at 58 among national universities in U.S. News & World Report; an increase in endowed faculty positions, and the addition of more than 200 scholarships since the Second Century Campaign began in 2008. Our fall campaign total [...]

2017-04-04T10:25:30+00:00 December 21, 2012|

Prelude To A Presidential Center: Bush Institute Sponsors Symposia

Former President George W. Bush answers questions during an interview on campus with C-SPAN founder Brian Lamb. SMU honors students and campus leaders served as the audience and asked questions during the nationally televised program. The seven Texas institutions that competed to house the George W. Bush Presidential Center sought the historical resource in part because of the scholars and dignitaries it would attract for research, programs and interaction. But perhaps few expected that Bush Center activities would begin as early as 2010, three years before the facility would be completed in spring 2013. The quick start was provided by the George W. Bush Institute, the independent, action-oriented think tank housed in the Bush Center and reporting to the Bush Foundation. The Center also includes the Library and Museum to be operated by the National Archives and Records Administration. The Library will contain the documents, artifacts and electronic records of the Bush administration, while the Museum will feature permanent and traveling exhibits. The Institute’s programs took full advantage of the assets that SMU promoted in competing for the center – the University’s convenient Dallas location and experience hosting national and world leaders. Using the Collins Executive Education Center at the Cox School of Business, the Institute has sponsored 12 symposia attracting more than 2,500 participants and panelists, including SMU faculty, staff and students. In March 2010 SMU’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education [...]

2014-03-04T11:45:44+00:00 December 20, 2012|

Redefining The Academic Experience

The new University Curriculum (UC) provides the foundation and structure for undergraduate education. Flexibility in the new UC allows students to put their own stamp on their education and makes it easier for them to pursue multiple majors and minors, while still graduating on time with 122 credit hours (more in some majors).

2017-04-04T10:27:59+00:00 December 20, 2012|
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SMU Magazine

SMU Magazine is updated monthly on this website and the print edition is published each spring and fall.

Browse the Archives