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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: smu.edu/CommunityMixer.

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Boulevard with Dedman College for SMU Homecoming

Join Dedman College on the Boulevard!

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Connect with Dedman College alumni, students, faculty, family and friends for tailgating on the Boulevard for Homecoming Weekend.

Tent opens two hours before kickoff (time to be announced)

The Dedman College tent location is behind the Dedman College sign on the main quad.

We are looking forward to seeing you at the Dedman College tent!

Food and drinks provided but you must register before Wednesday, September 29.

Register

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2020 and 2021 Faculty Career Achievement Award Celebration

SMU News

Originally Posted: September 12, 2021

This week, President Turner and Provost Loboa welcomed community members and distinguished guests to a ceremony honoring Dr. Caroline Brettell, University Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, and Dr. Tom Fomby, Professor of Economics as the 2020 and 2021 recipients of SMU’s Faculty Career Achievement Award.

 The Faculty Career Achievement Award was established in 2015, and during our Second Century Campaign, to recognize remarkable contributions across the scope of a career by a current tenured SMU faculty member to the teaching, scholarship and service missions of the University.

In extraordinary ways, spanning nearly four decades, Doctors Brettell and Fomby exemplify SMU’s scholarly and creative aspirations. They are precisely the type of faculty members who have – and will continue to – lead us in our pursuit of even greater academic quality.

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Dedman College D&I Newsletter, Fall 2021

Read the latest Dedman College D&I Newsletter

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Welcome Back!

Originally Posted: Aug 23, 2021

Welcome back, Mustangs! Can’t wait to see you in class!

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Temporary mask requirement effective Aug 12

SMU News

Effective August 12, SMU is temporarily requiring masks (two or more layers covering the nose and mouth) in indoor spaces on campus, including classrooms, event and meeting spaces, and common areas in all buildings and residential halls regardless of vaccination status. Masks are not required in private spaces such as residence hall rooms for students with roommates.

All events, such as Convocation and orientation, should continue as planned with masks being used indoors. This requirement is a temporary precaution during the Delta variant surge to supplement our other pandemic protocols. We will continue to monitor and review industry-specific guidance and recommendations from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state public health authorities in order to make the best decisions for our community.

Check the Mustang Strong website for the latest updates and answers to questions about our campus response to COVID-19. Also, watch for upcoming Mustang Strong newsletters for quick reminders. READ MORE

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Karsten Warholm is proof that Texas should adopt Norway’s approach to youth athletics

Dallas Morning News

Originally Posted: August 4, 2021

Kelly McKowen is an assistant professor of anthropology at Southern Methodist University. He wrote this column for The Dallas Morning News.

Any parent who has visited a park in Dallas on the weekend has likely seen something like this: a dad, dressed more or less like a coach, has his child or children running between cones, catching passes, kicking goals, hurling fastballs. It might be 9 a.m. on a Saturday, but for these kids it is the final minutes of the Super Bowl, the bottom of the ninth in Game 7, or penalty kicks at the World Cup final. The theory here is simple: Intensity from a young age builds champions.

But not everyone agrees. This week in Tokyo, Norway’s Karsten Warholm shattered the world record for the 400 meter hurdles. The race is already being hailed as one of the best in Olympic history. Warholm used his global platform to praise, of all things, his home country’s approach to youth athletics.

“I like the Norwegian sports model,” he said, according to the Financial Times. “I think a lot of people can learn from it. I never felt any pressure. My parents never pushed me, but that also created something inside me that I had my own drive, I had my own flame.” READ MORE

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Stoking the fires of change

SMU News

Originally Posted: July 12, 2021

An unusually hot, dry spell bakes the landscape. Ready to say goodbye to summer, friends gather for Labor Day barbecues in neighborhoods surrounded by forest. Winds whip up and embers fly. In the blink of an eye, 1,500 structures are set aflame.

That hypothetical scenario cooked up by environmental archaeologist Chris Roos and a friend about a fictional New Hampshire hamlet now plays out too often in places where wildfires were once unknown. “Climate change makes it real for a lot of people,” says Roos, an SMU anthropology professor who has studied wildfires in the Southwest for more than a decade.

A blaze was too close for comfort in an iconic photo showing a barefoot man clad in a T-shirt and boxers, fleeing for his life in Thousand Oaks, California. Time magazine named it one of the top 10 photos of 2018. That terror-filled moment was caught by SMU alum Stuart Palley ’11, a professional photographer whose stunning images accompany this story. READ MORE

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COVID-19 reminders for July term

SMU NEWS

As SMU moves into Summer Session II (July term), it’s important to maintain a healthy campus by diligently following SMU’s current COVID-19 protocols.

Here are some reminders.

  • Masks may be required by faculty in their classrooms. Instructors will notify students prior to the start of class in their course syllabus. A decision about mask requirements for fall will be made within the next few weeks.
  • For more information, please check the Mustang Strong website or scan the QR Code on signs posted at the entrances of campus buildings.

READ MORE

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Ten years of ancient genome analysis has taught scientists ‘what it means to be human’

SMU News

Originally Posted: June 17, 2021

A ball of 4,000-year-old hair frozen in time tangled around a whalebone comb led to the first ever reconstruction of an ancient human genome just over a decade ago.

The hair, which was preserved in arctic permafrost in Greenland, was collected in the 1980s and stored at a museum in Denmark. It wasn’t until 2010 that evolutionary biologist Professor Eske Willerslev was able to use pioneering shotgun DNA sequencing to reconstruct the genetic history of the hair.

He found it came from a man from the earliest known people to settle in Greenland known as the Saqqaq culture. It was the first time scientists had recovered an entire ancient human genome.

Now a review of the first decade of ancient genomics of the Americas published in Nature written by Professor Willerslev a Fellow of St John’s College, University of Cambridge, and director of The Lundbeck Foundation GeoGenetics Centre, University of Copenhagen, with one of his longstanding collaborators Professor David Meltzer, an archaeologist based at SMU (Southern Methodist University) in Dallas, shows how the world’s first analysis of an ancient genome sparked an incredible ‘decade of discovery’.

Professor Willerslev said: “The last ten years has been full of surprises in the understanding of the peopling of the Americas — I often feel like a child at Christmas waiting to see what exciting DNA present I am about to unwrap! What has really blown my mind is how resilient and capable the early humans we have sequenced DNA from were — they occupied extremely different environments and often populated them in a short space of time.

“We were taught in school that people would stay put until the population grew to a level where the resources were exhausted. But we found people were spreading around the world just to explore, to discover, to have adventures.

“The last 10 years have shown us a lot about our history and what it means to be human. We won’t ever see that depth of human experience on this planet again — people entered new areas with absolutely no idea of what was in front of them. It tells us a lot about human adaptability and how humans behave.”

For decades, scientists relied on archaeological findings to reconstruct the past and theories weren’t always accurate. It was previously thought, that there were early non-Native American people in the Americas but the ancient DNA analysis so far has shown that all of the ancient remains found are more closely related to contemporary Native Americans than to any other population anywhere else in the world.

Professor Meltzer, who worked on the review with Professor Willerslev while the former was at St John’s College as a Beaufort Visiting Scholar added: “Genomic evidence has shown connections that we didn’t know existed between different cultures and populations and the absence of connections that we thought did exist. Human population history been far more complex than previously thought.

“A lot of what has been discovered about the peopling of the Americas could not have been predicted. We have seen how rapidly people were moving around the world when they have a continent to themselves, there was nothing to hold them back. There was a selective advantage to seeing what was over the next hill.”

In 2013, scientists mapped the genome of a four-year-old boy who died in south-central Siberia 24,000 years ago. The burial of an Upper Palaeolithic Siberian child was discovered in the 1920s by Russian archaeologists near the village of Mal’ta, along the Belaya river. Sequencing of the Mal’ta genome was key as it showed the existence of a previously unsampled population that contributed to the ancestry of Siberian and Native American populations.

Two years later, Professor Willerslev and his team published the first ancient Native American genome, sequenced from the remains of a baby boy ceremonially buried more than 12,000 years ago in Anzick, Montana.

In 2015, their ancient genomic analysis was able to solve the mystery of Kennewick Man, one of the oldest and most complete skeletons ever found in the Americas, and one of the most controversial.

The 9,000-year-old remains had been surrounded by a storm of controversy when legal jurisdiction over the skeleton became the focus of a decade of lawsuits between five Native American tribes, who claimed ownership of the man they called Ancient One, and the United States Army Corps of Engineers.

Professor Willerslev, who has rightly learnt to be mindful of cultural sensitivities when searching for ancient DNA, has spent much of the past decade talking to tribal community members to explain his work in detail and seek their support.

This meant he was able to agree with members of the Colville Tribe, based in Washington State where the remains were found, that they would donate some of their DNA to allow Professor Willerslev and his team to establish if there was a genetic link between them and Kennewick Man.

Jackie Cook, a descendant of the Colville Tribe and the repatriation specialist for the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, said: “We had spent nearly 20 years trying to have the Ancient One repatriated to us. There has been a long history of distrust between scientists and our Native American tribes but when Eske presented to us about his DNA work on the Anzick child, the hair on my arms stood up.

“We knew we shouldn’t have to agree to DNA testing, and there were concerns that we would have to do it every time to prove cultural affiliation, but our Council members discussed it with the elders and it was agreed that any tribal member who wanted to provide DNA for the study could.”

The Kennewick Man genome, like the Anzick baby, revealed the man was a direct ancestor of living Native Americans. The Ancient One was duly returned to the tribes and reburied.

Cook added: “We took a risk but it worked out. It was remarkable to work with Eske and we felt honored, relieved and humbled to be able to resolve such an important case. We had oral stories that have passed down through the generations for thousands of years that we call coyote stories — teaching stories. These stories were from our ancestors about living alongside woolly mammoths and witnessing a series of floods and volcanoes erupting. As a tribe, we have always embraced science but not all history is discovered through science.”

Work led by Professor Willerslev was also able to identify the origins of the world’s oldest natural mummy called Spirit Cave. Scientists discovered the ancient human skeleton back in 1940 but it wasn’t until 2018 that a striking discovery was made that unlocked the secrets of the Ice Age tribe in the Americas.

The revelation came as part of a study that genetically analyzed the DNA of a series of famous and controversial ancient remains across North and South America including Spirit Cave, the Lovelock skeletons, the Lagoa Santa remains, an Inca mummy, and the oldest remains in Chilean Patagonia.

Scientists sequenced 15 ancient genomes spanning from Alaska to Patagonia and were able to track the movements of the first humans as they spread across the Americas at ‘astonishing’ speed during the Ice Age and also how they interacted with each other in the following millennia.

The team of academics not only discovered that the Spirit Cave remains was a Native American but they were able to dismiss a longstanding theory that a group called Paleoamericans existed in North America before Native Americans. Spirit Cave was returned to The Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Tribe, a group of Native Americans based in Nevada, for burial.

Professor Willerslev added: “Over the past decade human history has been fundamentally changed thanks to ancient genomic analysis — and the incredible findings have only just begun.” READ MORE

You can view this video to learn more about the research. — St John’s College, University of Cambridge