Willard Spiegelman receives Scholar/Teacher of the Year Award at 2016 Fall General Faculty Meeting

Willard Spiegelman, Hughes Professor of English in Dedman College, was honored as the 2015-16 United Methodist Church University Scholar/Teacher of the Year at SMU’s 2016 Fall General Faculty Meeting Wednesday, Aug. 24.

The first meeting of the entire faculty for the 2016-17 academic year featured the Spring 2016 Faculty Senate report, the presentation of regalia to newly tenured faculty, and President R. Gerald Turner’s updates on initiatives ranging from cultural intelligence to continuing education.

Faculty Senate President Jeanne Stevenson-Moessner gave the Senate’s Spring 2016 report. She encouraged faculty members to become familiar with the University’s Office of Operational Excellence (OPEX) and with how savings from Operational Excellence for the Second Century actions have been reallocated to academic initiatives.

New SMU Provost Steven Currall presented new regalia to professors who received tenure at the end of the 2015-16 academic year. The following individuals received tenure or promotion effective Thursday, Sept. 1:

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)

President Turner opened his speech by introducing Craig Hill as the new dean of Perkins School of Theology and Paige Ware as interim dean of Simmons School of Education and Human Development. He also recognized Gillian McCombs, who has announced her summer 2017 retirement as dean of Central University Libraries, and Al Niemi, who will step down as dean of Cox School of Business and return to the faculty as the William J. O’Neil Chair in Global Markets and Freedom.

On the loss of SMU Police Officer Mark McCullers in a flash flood, President Turner expressed his pride in Chief Rick Shafer and the SMU Police Department “for their work through this most difficult time” and their “remarkable” memorial service for Officer McCullers in McFarlin Auditorium on July 28.

He also reflected on Dallas’ “day of tragedy”: the July 7 ambush of city and Dallas Area Rapid Transit police officers as they protected a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest. (Several University students participated in the protest; none were injured). President and Mrs. Turner invited six student leaders to join them at the July 12 memorial service for the five officers killed in the attack; Presidents Obama and Bush participated in the service at the invitation of Mayor Mike Rawlings.

“In many ways, this fall will challenge all of us to protect the opportunities for civil discourse without the intolerance and personal rancor that have often defined the national scene,” Turner said. Speaking on the presidential election specifically, he remarked upon the importance of fostering an environment that respects differences. “Whatever your opinions are on the candidates or issues, we need to assure civil discourse on our campus and in our classrooms from both sides of the political continuum.”

Members of the University spent the summer helping to develop “a framework for increasing the knowledge and experiences that all of us need to have in a pluralistic society,” Turner said. The Task Force on Wellness and Diversity report, issued in early June, contained a number of recommendations that are now in “the early stages of implementation,” Turner said – including a pilot one-credit course to be offered in the spring term. In her new duties as senior adviser to the provost, Professor Maria Dixon Hall will have strategic oversight of a new, faculty-led cultural intelligence initiative “designed to foster an SMU campus community culture that is even more welcoming, inclusive, diverse and thoughtful about matters of difference,” Turner said.

Finally, the University will put “major focus” on “a properly concerted, coordinated and executed effort in continuing education,” President Turner said, based on the recommendations of a task force chaired by Vice President Harold Stanley and including representatives from each school and college. “SMU can and should do more continuing education in a targeted, strategic way,” especially in for-credit and degree programs for working adults, Turner said.