Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences Dedman College Research Faculty News History

Religion News Service Publishes Opinion Piece by SMU History Professor, Kathleen Wellman

Religion News Service
Originally Posted: October 27, 2021

Kathleen Wellman, Dedman Family Distinguished Professor of History SMU Dallas, for a commentary critical of efforts by right-leaning Christian groups to inordinately influence curriculum to match a faith-based world view. Published in Religion News Service under the heading The right’s attacks on critical race theory are an attempt to hijack history in schools — again:

Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences Religious Studies

New Specializations Announced in the Religious Studies Major

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Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences Dedman College Research Economics Faculty News

Dallas-Fort Worth is becoming the capitol of America’s heartland

Dallas Morning News
Originally Posted: September 19, 2021

By: Joel Kotkin and Cullum Clark, director of the Bush Institute-SMU Economic Growth Initiative and an economics professor at Southern Methodist University. This column is an adaptation of an article in City Journal.

Located on the Southern Plains, far from America’s coasts and great river systems, the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area epitomizes the new trends in American urbanism.

Over the past decade, North Texas has grown by some 1.3 million people to reach a population of just under 7.7 million, making it the nation’s fourth-largest metro area, based on new figures from the 2020 census.

Dallas-Fort Worth is now home to 24 Fortune 500 company headquarters, trailing only New York and Chicago. Among America’s top 20 metros, D-FW boasts the fourth-highest rate of net inbound migration, and demographers project North Texas will reach 10 million people sometime in the 2030s, surpassing Chicago to become America’s third-largest metro area.

Rather than building on natural advantages, North Texas owes its tremendous growth to railroads, interstate highways and airports, plus an unusual degree of economic freedom and affordability.

In the second half of the 20th century, business leaders built a first-tier transportation network, centered on DFW International Airport but also including a premier national hub for ground logistics and a toll-road system that could support rapid outward growth. Thanks to DFW Airport, the world’s 12th-largest in passenger numbers, travelers can reach every major city in the United States within four hours, plus 66 nonstop destinations outside the U.S.

Today, Dallas is pulling away economically from the nation’s long-established urban centers because of a distinctive policy orientation: growth-friendly, with lighter-touch business regulation and lower taxes than longtime urban centers in the Northeast, the Midwest or California.

Only four of the 53 U.S. metros with more than 1 million people outperform D-FW on an SMU Bridwell Institute for Economic Freedom index. The index measures tax levels, government spending and labor rules. Likewise, only five of these metros have more growth-friendly land-use rules than D-FW, based on a data set compiled by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

D-FW’s location and cost advantages have become powerful magnets for businesses. Already home to the headquarters of well-established companies like Texas Instruments, American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Kimberly-Clark and D.R. Horton, North Texas in recent years has rapidly acquired headquarters for such elite companies as California-based Jacobs Engineering, Fluor, Toyota Motor North America, McKesson, Tenet Healthcare, CBRE and Charles Schwab.

Bob Pragada, chief operating officer of Jacobs, which moved to Dallas in 2017, said high living costs, particularly for housing, made the Los Angeles area increasingly prohibitive for his 55,000-employee firm. READ MORE

Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences Dedman College Research History

Congrats to Jill Kelly!

Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences Dedman College Research Earth Sciences Faculty News

Dinosaurs once roamed the Arctic. What can they tell us about adapting to a changing climate?

Alaska Public Radio

Originally Posted: October 8, 2021

Scientists are learning more about how dinosaurs adapted to the climate in Alaska. Studying what these prehistoric giants left behind may reveal clues to help better adapt to warming temperatures brought on by climate change.

Lori Townsend discusses ongoing research with paleontologists Anthony Fiorillo and Patrick Druckenmiller. WATCH

Anthropology Biology Chemistry Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences Diversity and Inclusion Earth Sciences Economics English Events History Institute for the Study of Earth and Man Jewish Studies Program Mathematics Philosophy Physics Political Science Psychology Religious Studies Sociology Statistical Science SW Center Tower Center UHP World Languages and Literatures

RSVP TODAY! Dedman College Community Mixer: Friday, November 5th

Dedman College Community Mixer

Date: Nov. 5, 2021
Time: 3-5 p.m.
Location: Dallas Hall Rotunda and Dallas Hall Front Steps

All Dedman College faculty, staff and students welcome.

Please RSVP by October 29, 2021:

Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences Dedman College Research Earth Sciences Political Science Tower Center Undergraduate News

Advocating For Conservation in Marseille

Tower Center Blog

Originally Posted: October 10, 2021

This post was written by Isabelle Galko ’22, a Highland Capital Management Tower Scholar. She is majoring in Environmental Science with minors in Human Rights and Public Policy and International Affairs. She is also a President’s Scholar, a member of the University Honors Program and assistant editor of SMU’s Journal of Undergraduate Research.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is a global organization that works on nature conservation and sustainable use of natural resources. Every four years, IUCN convenes a World Conservation Congress—a global meeting that serves as an assembly of leaders and decision-makers from government, academia, society, indigenous cultures, and industry working towards conserving the environment at a global level. After completing a project on marine pollution and coral reefs, I proposed a session at the Congress in 2019 about understanding how individuals interpret and respond to environmental communication as a predictor of future sustainable action. By showcasing community-based conservation projects, the session would present a model of practices that could be used to establish action plans for other communities, catalyze action, and build momentum for activating young female leaders. My proposal was accepted and I was invited to present at the 2020 IUCN World Conservation Congress. Due to COVID-19, traveling to Marseille became impossible in 2020 and the conference was rescheduled twice. I was overjoyed when I was able to attend the conference in person in September 2021!

My presentation for the forum at IUCN was converted into a virtual poster titled, “Preparing Families to Act as Stewards to Combat Climate Change and Restore Ocean Health.” The poster showcases three projects (including my own) that offer suggestions for activities designed to increase individual stewardship and mitigate climate change risks in local communities. The presentation specifically focused on young, female leadership in conservation and I spoke about the importance of mentorship networks and using the featured projects as models for future female- and youth-led community-based initiatives. While attending the conference in person, I was also able to present my project and work with the IUCN’s Commission on Education and Communication over 10 days.

IUCN has six commissions: I am a member of the Commission on Education and Communication (CEC). The CEC has over 2,000 members, which include conservation organizations and educators across the globe. The Commission’s current focus is an initiative called #NatureForAll, which promotes equitable access to nature in order to cultivate love and appreciation for nature, with the goal to increase conservation of nature. The CEC has a specific focus on youth movements for nature and climate. When I arrived in Marseille, I immediately got to work setting up the CEC’s “Youth Oasis,” where I would be connecting with other young conservation leaders from around the world, helping put on interactive programs for the conference and sharing information about #NatureForAll.

The highlights of attending the IUCN conference were getting to attend sessions and even sit in on the Member’s Assembly. The first night, I got to see French President Macron and the actor Harrison Ford speak at the opening ceremony! All week, when I wasn’t at the Youth Oasis, I attended sessions on many different topics, including the blue economy, environmental law, sports and biodiversity, and amplifying indigenous voices in conservation. I had the opportunity to hear and learn from amazing experts, including the Prince of Monaco, environmental law professors, the United Nations Special Envoy for the Ocean, and National Geographic explorers. The conference ran from early morning to late at night. In the evenings, I talked and networked with CEC members, IUCN commissioners, and other university students about their work in conservation.

I learned so much in Marseille, but my biggest takeaway from IUCN is that future approaches to address environmental challenges must be transgenerational, intersectional, and inclusive. Ultimately, conservation must be recentered around people. That means putting local communities at the heart of nature and working towards greater collaboration with indigenous groups, the private sector, and young people. READ MORE

Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences Dedman College Research Events Mathematics

Event: October 28, Clements Scientific Computing Seminar

Time: 3:45pm, Thursday, October 28, 2021
Venue: Clements Hall 126
Title: Direct solvers for elliptic PDEs
Speaker: Gunnar Martinsson, Oden Institute, UT Austin

Abstract: That the linear systems arising upon the discretization of elliptic PDEs can be solved efficiently is well-known, and iterative solvers that often attain linear complexity (multigrid, Krylov methods, etc) have proven very successful. Interestingly, it has recently been demonstrated that it is often possible to directly compute an approximate inverse to the coefficient matrix in linear (or close to linear) time. The talk will describe some recent work in the field and will argue that direct solvers have several advantages, including improved stability and robustness, the ability to solve certain problems that have remained intractable to iterative methods, and dramatic improvements in speed in certain environments.

Biography: Gunnar Martinsson is a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Texas at Austin, where he also holds the W.A. “Tex” Moncrief, Jr. Chair in Simulation-Based Engineering and Sciences in the Oden Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences. Prior to joining UT Austin, Martinsson served as a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford, and he has previously held faculty positions at the University of Colorado at Boulder and at Yale University. He earned his Ph.D. in computational and applied mathematics in 2002 from UT Austin. He received a M.Sc. degree in Engineering Physics in 1996 and a “Licentiate” degree in Mathematics in 1998, both from the Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden. Martinsson was the recipient of the SIAM 2017 Germund Dahlquist Prize, and was named a Fellow of SIAM in 2021.

Martinsson’s research concerns the development of faster algorithms for ubiquitous computational tasks in scientific computing and data sciences. Recent work has focused on randomized methods in linear algebra, fast solvers for elliptic PDEs, O(N) complexity direct solvers, structured matrix computations, and high order accurate methods for scattering and fluid problems

Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences Dedman College Research English Graduate News

Pennsylvania Humanities Council Celebrates Playwright August Wilson In New Initiative

Pennsylvania Humanities Council

Originally Posted: October 8, 2021

Brittany Levingston is a 2014 graduate in the SMU Department of English

Pennsylvania Humanities Council (PHC) is pleased to announce its partnership with Dr. Brittany Levingston, one of the 41 newest Leading Edge Fellows, who will develop a series of statewide programs centered on the renowned works of Pennsylvania playwright August Wilson.

The Leading Edge Fellowship is an initiative of the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) that aims to demonstrate the potential of people with advanced degrees in the humanities and humanistic social sciences to solve problems outside the academy. It recently underwent a major expansion with the support of a $3.6 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The fellowship program features outstanding PhDs in the humanities that have been placed with nonprofits to support initiatives advancing social justice and equity in communities across the United States. Fellows receive an annual stipend, as well as health insurance and professional development support.

“As we look forward with hope to our emergence from the pandemic, we also feel a sense of urgency in helping humanistic scholars work with others to create a better, more inclusive future,” said ACLS President Joy Connolly. “This impressive group reflects our commitment to supporting early career scholars and recognizing the power humanistic knowledge and inquiry have to help shape the world beyond campus.”

Levingston’s work will focus on the ten plays of August Wilson’s Century Cycle, which chronicles the collective memory, history, and dreams of African American families across the twentieth century. She will collaborate with PHC on a slate of community engagement programs exploring themes from the plays in conjunction with the rich history of African American communities across the state.

“I am overjoyed to be working with PHC on this exciting project that will celebrate the work of August Wilson and the stories of African American communities in Pennsylvania,” said Levingston. “I look forward to collaborating with partners across the state to bring inspiring and engaging programming to local communities.”

Levingston recently received a PhD in English and African American Studies from Yale University. She began her work with the Pennsylvania Humanities Council as a Leading Edge Fellow in September, 2021. Public programs are expected to be announced in Summer 2022. READ MORE

Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences Diversity and Inclusion History

Event: October 8, Documentary Screening and Open Discussion of Asian Americans


Originally Posted: Sept. 30, 2021

RSVP by Oct. 6: