Calendar Highlights: Back to school in brief, Fall 2016

Dallas Hall at SMU

Welcome to the 2016-17 academic year! Here are a few Fall 2016 dates to remember:

  • Opening Convocation and Common Reading discussion: Sunday, Aug. 21
  • First day of classes: Monday, Aug. 22
  • General Faculty Meeting: Wednesday, Aug. 24
  • Labor Day: Monday, Sept. 5 (University offices closed)
  • First Faculty Senate Meeting of 2016-17: Wednesday, Sept. 7
  • Family Weekend: Friday-Saturday, Sept. 23-24
  • Fall Break: Monday-Tuesday, Oct. 10-11
  • Homecoming Weekend: Friday-Saturday, Nov. 4-5
  • Thanksgiving: Thursday-Friday, Nov. 24-25 (University offices closed, no classes on Wednesday, Nov. 23)
  • Last day of classes: Monday, Dec. 5
  • Reading days: Tuesday-Wednesday, Dec. 6-7
  • Final exams: Thursday-Wednesday, Dec. 8-14 (no exams scheduled for Sunday)
  • December Commencement Convocation: Saturday, Dec. 17 (official close of term and date for conferral of degrees)
  • Christmas/Winter Break: Friday, Dec. 23, 2016-Monday, Jan. 2, 2017 (University offices closed)

Visit the SMU calendar to keep an eye on upcoming events. Learn how to submit your own events at this link.

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Save the date: 2016 Fall General Faculty Meeting takes place Wednesday, Aug. 24

SMU President R. Gerald Turner will address the University faculty at the Fall General Faculty Meeting Wednesday, Aug. 24 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center. The meeting will begin at 3:45 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Theater, following a reception beginning at 3 p.m. in Centennial Hall and the Theater foyer.

Newly tenured faculty will receive their regalia during the meeting. In addition, 2016-17 Faculty Senate President Jeanne Stevenson-Moessner will give the Senate’s report. Provost Steven Currall will make his first address to the General Faculty Meeting and announce the winner of the 2015-16 Scholar/Teacher of the Year Award from the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of The United Methodist Church.

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Your invitation to Opening Convocation: Take part Sunday, Aug. 21

Guarding the University seal in the Dallas Hall Rotunda, SMU Opening Convocation 2010, photo by Jake Dean

SMU alumni guard the University seal in Dallas Hall during the Rotunda Passage at SMU Opening Convocation. | Photo credit: Jake Dean

Take part in one of SMU’s oldest traditions at the University’s 102nd Opening Convocation at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 21 in McFarlin Auditorium. Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Steven Currall will give the address.

Participating faculty members must assemble in academic regalia no later than 5 p.m. in the Perkins Administration Building. Faculty marshals will greet you and lead the faculty procession.

The ceremony will be preceded by the Rotunda Passage, a processional march through Dallas Hall for the incoming Class of 2020.

The festivities will be broadcast live by streaming video at smu.edu/live. Streaming is scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m.

For more information, visit the Registrar’s site at smu.edu/convocation.

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Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson is topic of SMU’s 2016 Common Reading discussion Sunday, Aug. 21

Bryan Stevenson'Just Mercy' book cover was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of the criminal justice system.

One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a murder he insisted he didn’t commit. The case drew Stevenson into a tangle of conspiracy, political machinations, and legal brinksmanship — and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice.

“Presumptions of guilt, poverty, racial bias, and a host of other social, structural, and political dynamics have created a system that is defined by error, a system in which thousands of innocent people now suffer in prison,” Stevenson writes. His telling of the McMillian case is captured in Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, and his book will be discussed by faculty, staff members and new SMU students as the 2016 Common Reading on Sunday, Aug. 21, before Opening Convocation.

The story is “[e]very bit as moving as To Kill a Mockingbird, and in some ways more so … a searing indictment of American criminal justice and a stirring testament to the salvation that fighting for the vulnerable sometimes yields,” wrote David Cole of The New York Review of Books in his review.

And Stevenson is “doing God’s work fighting for the poor, the oppressed, the voiceless, the vulnerable, the outcast, and those with no hope,” wrote legal writer and novelist John Grisham, author of A Time to KillThe Client and The Innocent Man.

Stevenson will visit the Hilltop on Thursday, Oct. 13, for a free and open Common Reading Public Lecture at 4:30 p.m. in McFarlin Auditorium. On the same night, at 8 p.m., he will deliver the Jones Day Lecture in SMU’s 2016-17 Tate Distinguished Lecture Series. Watch for more information in a future SMU Forum post and at the Common Reading website.

> Learn more at SMU’s Common Reading website: smu.edu/commonreading

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Save the date: Engaged Learning Symposium, Big iDeas Pitch Contest scheduled for SMU Family Weekend, Sept. 23, 2016

SMU Big iDeas and Engaged Learning students in front of Dallas HallSave the date for SMU’s 2016 Family Weekend, and make an appointment to see outstanding students show their work and stump for their innovations during the Fall 2016 Engaged Learning Symposium and Big iDeas Pitch Contest.

The events take place 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Forum. SMU Engaged Learning will post a complete schedule in the coming weeks.

Find more information at the SMU Engaged Learning homepage

During the Engaged Learning Symposium, which runs from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., students in research, service, creative and internship programs from across campus will present their work and take questions from the audience. They will include SMU’s Maguire and Irby Family Foundation Public Service Fellows, Summer Research FellowsUniversity Honors Richter Research Fellows and McNair Scholars, as well as Engaged Learning Fellows.

From 2-5 p.m., find out what some of SMU’s most innovative students are up to during the Big iDeas Pitch Contest. After developing their ideas, undergraduate teams pitch their ideas to a panel of judges with backgrounds in innovation and entrepreneurship. Next, judges determine which ideas are most realistic and can be developed in the following three months. The winning teams are eligible to win up to $1,000 in seed money to prepare prototypes and pilot programs for the Demo Day Fair in early February 2017.

> Share the Big iDeas Pitch Contest rules and guidelines

Watch for more about the Symposium and Pitch Contest in a future SMU Forum post.

> Visit SMU’s Office of Engaged Learning online

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SMU’s 2016-17 Tate Lecture Series opens Tuesday, Sept. 20 with Doris Kearns Goodwin, Tom Brokaw and David Gergen

Tom Brokaw, Doris Kearns Goodwin, David Gergen Tate Lecture Series 2016-17

Presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin and veteran journalist Tom Brokaw return to SMU Tuesday, Sept. 20 to kick off the 35th season of SMU’s Willis M. Tate Distinguished Lecture Series.

Goodwin and Brokaw will offer their insights on the historic 2016 U.S. election, moderated by political analyst and Tate Series veteran David Gergen. The trio will deliver The Linda and Mitch Hart Lecture program at 8 p.m. in McFarlin Auditorium.

Doris Kearns Goodwin by Eric Levin

Doris Kearns Goodwin | Photo credit: Eric Levin

After earning a Ph.D. in government from Harvard University, Doris Kearns Goodwin began her career as an assistant to President Lyndon Johnson in his last year in the White House. She later assisted President Johnson in preparation of his memoirs.

As a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer of historical biographies, Goodwin has won praise for her meticulous, in-depth research and ability to chronicle both the public and private lives of her subjects. She has written six New York Times best-selling books.

Goodwin also worked with Steven Spielberg and DreamWorks Studio to create the film Lincoln, based in part on her award-winning Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. The film grossed $275 million at the box office and earned 12 Academy Award nominations.

> Follow Doris Kearns Goodwin on Twitter @DorisKGoodwin

Tom Brokaw

Tom Brokaw

Tom Brokaw is best known as the anchor and managing editor of “NBC Nightly News” from 1982 to 2004. He has covered the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Challenger space-shuttle disaster, the 1989 Lorna Prieta earthquake, Hurricane Andrew and the 9/11 terror attacks. He now serves as a special correspondent for NBC News and can be heard every weekday on his radio segment, An American Story, on iHeartRadio.

In addition, Brokaw is the best-selling author of The Greatest GenerationThe Time of Our Lives: A Conversation About America, and A Lucky Life Interrupted: A Memoir of Hope. His many awards and honors include several Emmys and Peabody Awards, the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award for excellence in broadcast journalism, the Al Neuharth Award for Excellence in Media, and the Four Freedoms Award.

Brokaw was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2005 and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2014. He received his B.A. degree in political science from the University of South Dakota.

> Follow Tom Brokaw on Twitter @TomBrokaw

David Gergen

David Gergen

David Gergen is a senior political analyst for CNN, as well as professor of public service and co-director of the Center for Public Leadership in Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

In 1971, Gergen joined the Nixon White House as a staff assistant to a speech writing team and went on to presidential advisor for four former presidents. In addition to his political work, he was an officer in the U.S. Navy, worked at U.S. News & World Report and appeared on the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour. Gergen graduated with honors from both Yale University and Harvard Law School.

> Follow David Gergen on Twitter @David_Gergen

All SMU students, faculty and staff are invited to the Turner Construction/Wells Fargo Student Forum at 4:30 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballroom. Doors open at 4 p.m., and seats may be reserved online.

The evening lecture is sold out. However, SMU students can go to the basement of McFarlin Auditorium at 7 p.m. with their SMU IDs for possible seating on a first-come, first-serve basis.

> Learn more about the 35th Tate Distinguished Lecture Series
> For additional information, e-mail the Tate Series

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Texas Instruments grant will fund SMU training for DISD middle-school STEM teachers

Texas Instruments logoSMU will receive $1.7 million to train as many as 216 Dallas Independent School District middle school science teachers. The program will begin in summer 2017 and run for four years.

Texas Instruments and the Texas Instruments Foundation have committed $5.4 million total to advance public school education in science, technology, engineering and math. Most of the funds will be distributed in North Texas, and the rest will be earmarked for programs in the San Francisco Bay Area and southern Maine, where the company operates design and manufacturing facilities.

Dubbed Power of STEM Education, the initiative supports primary and secondary school programs with a special emphasis on opportunities for girls and minorities, who are underrepresented in science and engineering professions.

“Our focus is on collaborative strategies to improve teaching effectiveness and student success in STEM education,” said Andy Smith, executive director of the TI Foundation and TI director of corporate philanthropy. “We seek out effective partners who share our goals, make strategic investments and develop long-term relationships with educators and their organizations to support proven, successful programs that can be scaled and replicated. Working together, we believe all students can move forward and experience greater success in STEM.”

> Read the full story from The Dallas Morning News

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Thirteen SMU faculty members receive tenure, promotions effective Sept. 1, 2016

Thirteen distinguished SMU faculty members are newly tenured as associate professors or have been promoted to full professorships to begin the 2016-17 academic year.

The following individuals received tenure or promotion effective Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016:

Cox School of Business

Recommended for tenure and promotion to Associate Professor:

  • Michael Braun, Marketing

Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences

Recommended for tenure and promotion to Associate Professor:

  • Heather DeShon, Earth Sciences
  • Scott Norris, Mathematics
  • Rubén Sánchez-Godoy, World Languages and Literatures (Spanish)
  • Hervé Tchumkam, World Languages and Literatures (French)
  • Nicolay Tsarevsky, Chemistry

Recommended for promotion to Full Professor:

  • Matthew Hornbach, Earth Sciences
  • Rajani Sudan, English

Dedman School of Law

Recommended for tenure and promotion to Associate Professor:

  • W. Keith Robinson, Law (patent law, intellectual property)
  • David O. Taylor, Law (patent law, patent litigation, federal civil procedure, appellate advocacy, contract law)

Meadows School of the Arts

Recommended for tenure and promotion to Associate Professor:

  • Jake Batsell, Journalism
  • Hye Jin Yoon, Advertising

Recommended for promotion to Full Professor:

  • H. Clifton Forbis, Music (Voice)
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SMU’s new Dr. Bob Smith Health Center open for student care

Dr. Bob Smith Health Center at SMU, artist rendering

SMU’s new Dr. Bob Smith Health Center will be formally dedicated at 11:45 a.m. Friday, Sept. 16, followed by an open house. The new facility began serving students on Aug. 8.

Constructed on the site of the University’s former Memorial Health Center, the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center is located at 6211 Bishop Boulevard. Its physicians, registered nurses, pharmacists, psychologists, counselors, psychiatrists and other staff members provide comprehensive outpatient care, including:

  • Medical Services, including X-rays and lab, 214-768-2141
  • Counseling Services, 214-768-2277 (an emergency contact number is provided 24/7)
  • SMU Pharmacy, 214-768-2149
  • Health Education, 214-768-2393
  • Student Health Insurance, 214-768-3408
  • Academic and Professional Testing, 214-768-2269

The new health center is open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. To make an appointment, students may call 214-768-2141 or visit studenthealth.smu.edu. Same-day appointments for medical services are available.

For after-hours care, students should visit the Health Center website for area clinics, hospitals and emergency resources. In case of an emergency, call 911 or SMU Police at 214-768-3333.

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SMU CUL Dean Gillian McCombs announces her retirement, effective summer 2017

Gillian M. McCombs, Dean and Director, SMU Central University LibrariesGillian McCombs, dean and director of SMU’s Central University Libraries, has announced her retirement from that position effective in summer 2017.

SMU Provost Steven Currall will announce the timeframe for the search for a new permanent dean and director this fall.

McCombs joined SMU in 1998 and guided the University’s central library system through a transformation of resources, facilities and services in response to changing student and faculty needs. One of the most visible examples of her leadership is the Fondren Library Center renovation. The Fondren Foundation Centennial Reading Room and new Hillcrest Foundation Exhibit Hall opened April 15, marking the completion of the first phase. The final phase includes a Starbucks Café and Collaborative Commons, which will open with a student-centered celebration in September 2016.

> SMU News: SMU celebrates Fondren Library transformation

“Great libraries are the heart of the University, and at the heart of Dean McCombs’ leadership of SMU Central University Libraries has been an unwavering focus on our library users’ evolving needs, particularly those of our students,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “A prime example is the CUL Student Advisory Council she created to provide the student perspective as library staff shapes programs, services and spaces that enhance the user experience and support academic achievement. Gillian has been a passionate advocate for CUL, and we are grateful for her many contributions to the University.”

McCombs oversees three libraries on the main campus – Fondren Library Center, including the Norwick Center for Digital Services; DeGolyer Library, SMU’s principal repository for special collections in the humanities, the history of business, and the history of science and technology; and the Hamon Arts Library in Meadows School of the Arts – as well as the Fort Burgwin Library at SMU-in-Taos and the SMU-in-Plano Library Resource Room.

“Dean McCombs has had a longstanding and distinguished career leading Central University Libraries at SMU. In addition to being an insightful voice about advancing libraries at SMU, Gillian is a globally recognized intellectual leader about the future of libraries, digitization of documents, and the creative use of library buildings to foster innovation and interdisciplinary collaboration,” said SMU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Steven Currall. “One of the crowning achievements of her career was the recent renovation of SMU’s Fondren Library to ensure that it meets the current and future needs of SMU faculty and students. Gillian has been an inspiring leader of the CUL staff, a true academic partner with SMU’s other deans, and an invaluable colleague in advancing SMU.”

Among her SMU career highlights:

  • McCombs led CUL’s observance of the University’s Year of the Library in 2013, joining SMU President R. Gerald Turner in welcoming the acquisition of American explorer John Maley’s travel journal (1808-1812) that represented the libraries’ four-millionth volume. The gift was made by the SMU Board of Trustees in honor of former President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush and the opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Center.
  • She launched a digital collections initiative, which now numbers 51 collections comprising 50,000 images, documents, videos and other materials from SMU’s special collections, all available to the public online. CUL also scaled up its delivery of e-resources and now provides access to over one million e-books and 75,000 e-journals.
  • As dean and director, she guided CUL’s participation in several major collaborative ventures including the Greater Western Library Alliance’s Occam’s Reader Project, a groundbreaking e-book pilot program; the Association of College and Research Libraries’ three-year research initiative studying the impact of academic libraries on student achievement; and a partnership with the George W. Bush Presidential Library and the Mount Vernon Ladies Association to bring George Washington’s personal copy of The Acts of Congress to campus.

Throughout her service to SMU, McCombs has published extensively in the areas of organizational culture, technology and digital services, leadership and management, fundraising and historical children’s literature. She has won numerous awards in the library profession and serves on the editorial board of portal: Libraries and the Academy, a research journal focused on the evolving role of academic libraries and librarians.

Her professional affiliations include membership on the Greater Western Library Alliance Board of Directors. She has represented the United States on the International Federation of Libraries Association, Academic Libraries standing committee and has served on numerous committees and advisory boards of the American Library Association. In North Texas she has served on the Dallas Museum of Art’s Libraries, Archives and Imaging Services Committee, the University of North Texas School of Library and Information Sciences Board of Advisors and the Texas Woman’s University School of Library and Information Studies External Constituent Board.

McCombs began her professional career in England as the music librarian at Huddersfield Public Library in her native Yorkshire. Her career in the United States started in Washington, D.C., where she worked at the Landscape Architecture and Garden Library at Dumbarton Oaks, as well as such federal libraries as the National Library of Medicine, the Federal Reserve, and the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Prior to joining SMU, she served as assistant director of technical services and systems for 16 years at the University at Albany, State University of New York (SUNY), where she earned a master’s degree in public administration.

McCombs received a bachelor’s degree in French and European literature (honors) from the University of Warwick and a master’s degree from the Leeds School of Librarianship in England.

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