Notes from the Fall 2009 General Faculty Meeting

C. Michael Hawn, professor of church music and director of the Master of Sacred Music Program in Perkins School of Theology, was honored as the 2008-09 United Methodist Church University Scholar/Teacher of the Year at SMU’s Fall 2009 General Faculty Meeting Aug. 26.

New University Chaplain Stephen Rankin gave the invocation, and President R. Gerald Turner updated the faculty on enrollment, the Second Century Campaign and other issues surrounding campus life. Provost Paul Ludden presented newly tenured faculty members with their regalia.

The Dallas-Fort Worth area is the 4th largest metroplex in the country, and the largest metroplex without a top-tier private university, said incoming Faculty Senate President Fred Olness. “Our goal is to change that,” he added, pointing out that the first goal of the SMU strategic plan is “to enhance the academic quality and reputation of the University.”

“The Senate fully intends to address this issue seriously, consistently, and wholeheartedly as we attend to business throughout the coming academic year,” said Olness, a professor of physics in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. That business includes SMU’s General Education Curriculum review, the renewal of its accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and The Second Century Campaign, whose faculty-staff component officially kicks off Sept. 3.

“As we deal with these issues, the Senate will strive to keep our focus on academic enhancement and ensure that our actions align with our objectives, so that each of the small decisions we make adds coherently to produce a big change,” he said.

Turner announced that the incoming class of 2013 has 1,336 members – within the University’s usual first-year class size despite “as chaotic an enrollment cycle as I’ve seen in my 21 years as a university president,” he said. SMU faced challenges both from first-choice universities that went to their waiting lists early and from second-choice institutions that offered enhanced scholarships to SMU candidates, he said. Turner credited Dean of Undergraduate Admission Ron Moss and the Office of Undergraduate Admission with keeping the University on track with its goals.

The class’ average SAT score should improve one or two points over last year’s average of 1241, which represents a nearly 100-point increase over the past 10 years, Turner added. The Strategic Plan sets an average-SAT goal between 1275 and 1300 by the centennial year of 2015. Minority students make up 24 percent of the class, a significant increase over last year’s total of 20 percent.

New faculty members also added to SMU’s diversity, Turner said. Of the 31 who joined the University for the 2009-10 academic year, 14 are women and 10 are minorities, he added.

In addition, Turner announced that Randall Griffin, Art History, and John Kalb, Institutional Research, are leading the University’s activities regarding the SACS reaffirmation. Maggie Dunham, Computer Science and Engineering, will lead the creation of SMU’s Quality Enhancement Plan, a new SACS accreditation requirement.

Turner, Ludden and the school deans presented academic regalia to faculty members who received tenure in 2009:

Cox School of Business

  • Mel Fugate, Management and Organizations

Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences

  • Francisco Morán, Foreign Languages and Literatures
  • Elizabeth Russ, Foreign Languages and Literatures
  • Jasper Smits, Psychology
  • Brent Sumerlin, Chemistry
  • Neil Tabor, Huffington Department of Earth Sciences
  • Brad Thompson, Philosophy
  • Xinlei Wang, Statistical Science
  • Jingbo Ye, Physics

Meadows School of the Arts

  • Craig Flournoy, Journalism
  • Camille Kraeplin, Journalism
  • Carolyn Macartney, Cinema-TV
  • Lisa Pon, Art History
  • Noah Simblist, Art