For the Record

First Impressions, lasting impact: Literary partnership completes an unfinished journey

David J. Weber

David J. Weber

When SMU historian David J. Weber died in 2010, he left behind an unfinished manuscript that would have represented a creative departure from his many academic works. One of the most distinguished and productive scholars of the American Southwest, Weber envisioned his next book, First Impressions: A Reader’s Journey to Iconic Places of the Southwest, as a new perspective on some of the Southwest’s most distinctive sites.

More than a typical travelogue, the book would bring the reader into the minds of explorers, missionaries, and travelers as they encountered and then wrote about memorable places both manmade and naturally formed, becoming the first non-natives to do so. From impressions of 15 sites in Arizona, New Mexico, southern Utah and southern Colorado, readers would gain present-day as well as historical perspectives.  The destinations would range from the gracefully sculpted rock formations of Canyon de Chelly, to the mesa fortress of Acoma Pueblo, to the conflict-ridden village of Santa Fe, described by an 18th century Franciscan as, “A rough stone set in fine metal,” referring to, “The very beautiful plain on which it sits.”

But first the journey of the unfinished manuscript would have to continue. David’s widow, Carol Weber, who had served consistently as the final reviewer of all of David’s manuscripts, knew that this project deserved a place in her husband’s legacy of eloquent and inspired scholarship. As she considered who might complete the manuscript, Carol turned to their friend, author William deBuys. Like David, Bill had received a shower of honors for his creative and scholarly works. In addition, Bill had earned the distinction of being a fellow of the Clements Center for Southwest Studies, founded in 1996 by David at SMU, where he taught for 34 years.

William deBuys

William deBuys

Over a number of these years, David and Bill grew in admiration of each other’s work. David had revolutionized contemporary understanding of borderlands history. Bill had earned a national reputation for his analyses of environmental issues threatening the Southwest. They also grew as friends sharing a deep affection for the region, its people and places. “For both of us, the Southwest has been a source of lifelong fascination, and through the vehicle of this book we hope to share it,” Bill writes in the preface of First Impressions, published by Yale University Press in August.

The production of First Impressions required some highly focused sleuthing and sifting through a bounty of materials in the three offices of David Weber – in SMU’s History Department and at the family’s homes in Dallas and in New Mexico’s Zuni Mountains, near the monumental El Morro, or Inscription Rock, so called because it bears the signatures of early explorers etched into its sandstone façade. Each of David’s offices was filled to capacity with books, research notes, correspondence, manuscripts, drafts, and computers holding the contents of David’s prolific research and writing. Carol found a hard copy of David’s table of contents and a number of chapters in different states of completion. She and Bill worked with Center for Southwest Studies staff, especially Ruth Ann Elmore, to download and decipher David’s computer files.

The Center had awarded Bill a second fellowship to work on the project.

“I chose Bill because I knew he was a sensitive and wonderful writer, and David felt the same way about him,” Carol said. “I couldn’t imagine any other historian finishing David’s work in a way that would have pleased David because it would be so beautifully written.”

'First Impressions' book coverIn the preface to First Impressions, Bill recalls cherished conversations with David about “the general business of making good sentences, paragraphs, and pages. David was a naturally gifted writer.”

Aside from representing his admiration for David, Bill said he took on the project because he “thought the concept of the book was brilliant and offered a truly exciting and informative way to explore the great places of the region. David, ever the professor, had a wonderful pedagogical purpose: He wanted to present primary sources — original historical documents and images — to people who otherwise might be unlikely to encounter them. In this I completely concurred. It is a form of stealth teaching — and wonderful fun at the same time.”

The result of their literary partnership is a book that seamlessly combines the poetry and precision of both writers. Bill’s numerous books include River of Traps: A New Mexico Mountain Life, a finalist for the nonfiction Pulitzer Prize in 1991; Enchantment and Exploitation: The Life and Hard Times of a New Mexico Mountain Range; A Great Aridness: Climate Change and the Future of the American Southwest; and The Last Unicorn: A Search for One of the Earth’s Rarest Creatures. In September 2017 he is receiving the New Mexico Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, for outstanding writing and literature.

David’s works include 27 books, many of them recognized as path-breaking in the field by such organizations as the American Historical Association. The Mexican Frontier, 1821-1846: The American Southwest Under Mexico itself won six awards. Two governments gave David the highest honor they can bestow on foreigners. King Juan Carlos of Spain named him to the Real Orden de Isabel la Católica, the Spanish equivalent of a knighthood. Mexico named him to the Orden Mexicana del Águila Azteca (the Order of the Aztec Eagle). He was one of a few U.S. historians elected to the Mexican Academy of History. Closer to home, in 2007 he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Upon release of First Impressions, Carol told Bill: “It was my love for David that prompted me to ask you if you would finish the book, and it was such an act of love for David, I think, that you willingly took so much time out of your life to finish it for David and our family.  Somehow David’s life now seems complete.”

Complete – but not finished. Now, First Impressions, with William deBuys, adds to the lasting legacy of David J. Weber and the rich literary resources of their beloved Southwest.

— Written by Patricia LaSalle-Hopkins

Student career-management leader Crystal Clayton named executive director of SMU’s Hegi Family Career Development Center

Crystal ClaytonCrystal Clayton, a career-management professional with more than 20 years of experience working with graduate and undergraduate students, has been named executive director of SMU’s Hegi Family Career Development Center. She will begin her new duties on Aug. 28, 2017.

Clayton was selected after a competitive national search coordinated by a campus committee chaired by Stephen Rankin, associate dean of students and chaplain.

“Crystal has built a stellar reputation as a student mentor and a leader in professional development,” said K.C. Mmeje, SMU vice president for student affairs. “In addition, her deep connections in the Texas and Oklahoma business communities are a built-in regional advantage for current and future SMU students, especially as they plan internships and post-college careers. We welcome her to the Hilltop and look forward to sharing her expertise with both undergraduate and graduate students at SMU.”

SMU trustee Fred Hegi ’66, who in 2001 joined with his wife, Jan ’66, along with their family in providing the lead gift for a $3 million endowment and expansion of SMU’s career center, said Clayton is well prepared to help students. “She is the person we were looking for,” he said. “Her experience, combined with her passion for helping students and graduates find their career paths, make her a tremendous asset for SMU. With her leadership, we will continue our path to be one of the nation’s top five career centers.”

As director of the JCPenney Leadership Center and an adjunct management instructor in the University of Oklahoma’s Price College of Business, Clayton works with students, staff and faculty to create and implement several successful career and professional development initiatives and events. She leads the Center’s work in alumni and corporate relations, recruitment and admissions, career counseling, professional development programs, program assessment, and partnership development, among many other areas.

In addition, Clayton leads the Center’s Alumni and Student Advisory Boards and Faculty Committee and serves on the OU Writing Center Advisory Board. She created, developed, and launched a Board Fellows Program for leadership associates, which allows students to serve as nonprofit board members. She founded, organized, and led the Center’s Peer Training Team, initiated an alumni career conference in Price College of Business, and helped reboot OU’s Women in Business Leadership Conference. She also designed and taught leadership courses and programs for Price College, including a minor in leadership.

Previously, Clayton served as director of student services and associate director for career management with the Full-Time MBA Program in Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business. In progressively more responsible roles, she counseled students on networking, résumé and cover-letter writing, successful interviewing, career selection, and job-search strategies, among other career-related topics. She advised student leadership for more than 30 Jones School organizations, as well as initiated and developed an MBA team mentoring program. In addition, she was sponsor of the Rice Chapter of the National Association of Women MBAs, served on the Jones School Corporate Advisory Board, and participated on the Jones School E-Learning Committee.

Clayton’s professional recognitions include a 2015 Students’ Choice Staff Appreciation Award and a 2013-14 Dean’s Excellence Award for Professional Staff from OU. Currently, she serves on the executive committee of the University of Missouri-Columbia’s Griffiths Leadership Society for Women. From 2009 to 2012, she served as a board member of the American College Personnel Association’s Commission for Career Development.

A native of St. Louis, Clayton received her B.A. degree in English from Truman State University. She earned an M.A. in educational leadership and policy analysis from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and an Ed.D. degree in educational leadership and higher education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

> Visit the Hegi Family Career Development Center online: smu.edu/career

SMU, LIFT team in semifinals for $7 million Barbara Bush Foundation Adult Literacy XPRIZE

 

An SMU and Literacy Instruction for Texas (LIFT) team has been named one of eight semifinalists advancing in the $7 million Barbara Bush Foundation Adult Literacy XPRIZE presented by Dollar General Literacy Foundation. The XPRIZE is a global competition that challenges teams to develop mobile applications designed to increase literacy skills in adult learners.

> Learn more about the semifinalists at the Adult Literacy XPRIZE website

SMU’s Simmons School of Education and Human Development and Guildhall graduate video game development program are working with LIFT to design an engaging, puzzle-solving smartphone game app to help adults develop literacy skills. The SMU and LIFT team, People ForWords, is one of 109 teams who entered the competition in 2016.

Drawing upon the education experts at SMU’s Simmons School, game developers at Guildhall and adult literacy experts at LIFT, the team developed Codex: The Lost Words of Atlantis. In the game, players become archaeologists hunting for relics from the imagined once-great civilization of Atlantis. By deciphering the forgotten language of Atlantis, players develop and strengthen their own reading skills. The game targets English- and Spanish-speaking adults.

> Learn more about the Codex: The Lost Words of Atlantis team at PeopleForWords.org

Students at LIFT, a North Texas nonprofit adult literacy provider, have tested and provided key insights for the game during its development. According to LIFT, one in five adults in North Texas cannot read, a key factor in poverty. Dallas has the fourth highest concentration of poverty in the nation, with a 41 percent increase from 2000 to 2014.

Testing of the eight semifinalists’ literacy software begins in mid-July with 12,000 adults who read English at a third grade level or lower. Selection of up to five finalists will depend on results of post-game testing to evaluate literacy gains among test subjects. Finalists will be named in May 2018, and the winner will be named in 2019.

> See the full story at SMU News

> Download the Codex: The Lost Words Of Atlantis app for Android at Google Play

Check out the Codex gameplay with this gallery of screen captures:

Eighteen SMU professors receive tenure, promotion for 2017-18

Eighteen outstanding SMU faculty members will begin the 2017-18 academic year with new tenure as associate professors or promotion to full professorships.

The following individuals have received tenure or promotion effective Friday, Sept. 1, 2017:

Cox School of Business

Recommended for promotion to Full Professor:

  • Stanimir Markov, Accounting

Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences

Recommended for tenure and promotion to Associate Professor:

  • Karisa Cloward, Political Science
  • Erin Hochman, History
  • Chrystyna Kouros, Psychology
  • Benno Rumpf, Mathematics
  • Jayson Sae-Saue, English
  • Brian Zoltowski, Chemistry

Recommended for tenure (associate professorship previously awarded):

  • Barry Lee, Mathematics

Dedman School of Law

Recommended for tenure and promotion to Associate Professor:

  • Chris Jenks, Law (autonomous weapons, military law, national security law, evidence, criminal law, international law, human rights)

Recommended for promotion to Full Professor:

  • Thomas Wm. Mayo, Law (bioethics, election law, health law, nonprofit/tax-exempt organizations)
  • Meghan J. Ryan, Law (law and science, torts, criminal law, criminal procedure, death penalty, actual innocence)
  • Joshua C. Tate, Law (legal history, trusts and estates, property)

Meadows School of the Arts

Recommended for tenure and promotion to Associate Professor:

  • Archie Cummings, Theatre
  • Amy Freund, Art History
  • Jon Hackler, Theatre
  • Peter Kupfer, Music (Musicology)
  • Brian Molanphy, Art

Recommended for promotion to Full Professor:

  • Carol Leone, Music (Piano)

Larenda Mielke named SMU Associate Provost for Continuing Education

Larenda Mielke, an international leader in professional, online, and executive education, has been named SMU’s first associate provost for continuing education. She will begin her new duties Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017.

University President R. Gerald Turner and Provost Steven C. Currall created the position to support one of the major objectives in SMU’s strategic plan, to engage the community for lifelong learning through professional training and continuing education, and in response to a report provided by the Task Force on Continuing Education.

SMU has offered continuing education to the community in different ways since the early 1920s. Currently, SMU’s Continuing and Professional Education (CAPE) and Master of Science in Data Science (MSDS) programs report directly to the Provost’s Office. CAPE includes noncredit courses, and SMU’s seven academic schools offer for-credit and degree programs as well. Existing continuing education programs in SMU’s academic units report through their respective dean to the provost.

SMU Forum: Provost appoints search committee for Associate Provost for Continuing Education

“The vision for SMU’s continuing education is to further strengthen our commitment to academic excellence by broadening accessibility to the outstanding instruction offered by SMU’s faculty members,” said Steven C. Currall, SMU provost and vice president for academic affairs. “Ms. Mielke’s background in domestic and international programs, as well as her breadth of experience in intercultural communication, research writing, English language programs in a medical school, and leadership, equips her to succeed in expanding SMU’s continuing education efforts. We expect that continuing education will generate financial surplus that will be reinvested in the University’s academic mission. Larenda is the ideal leader to propel the growth of SMU’s continuing education.”

Mielke stated, “It is with great excitement that I prepare to join SMU’s continuing and professional education team. Together we will build upon the ongoing vision of student-centered, external-facing educational offerings to enrich lives, foster innovation, and enhance productivity. Using the latest technological advances in teaching and learning, and harnessing the synergies of a University-wide effort, together we will join with the other exemplary initiatives of SMU to provide an unbridled residential student experience to include those attending SMU online and at a distance, doing our part to galvanize the University upward and outward while contributing to cutting-edge excellence and leadership among our peers.”

As senior director of Executive Education at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, Mielke is a member of the leadership team of an internationally recognized program ranked No. 2 in the United States by the Financial Times. She has developed and led continuing education programs in top academic, corporate, government, and medical organizations and has experience in expanding initiatives, course offerings and revenues.

From 2004-14, Mielke held steadily advancing roles at Washington University in St. Louis, serving ultimately as associate dean and managing director of an Executive M.B.A. program run jointly by the Olin Business School and Fudan University’s School of Management in Shanghai, China. In that role, she managed a multimillion-dollar international program and brought Olin’s Executive M.B.A. program ranking to No. 5 in the world, as assessed by the Financial Times.

Mielke received a Bachelor of Science degree cum laude in biology from Indiana State University. She holds an M.A. degree magna cum laude in cross-cultural education from Wheaton College Graduate School and an Executive M.B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis’ Olin Business School.

Reporting to the SMU provost, Mielke will provide University-wide leadership to prioritize, coordinate, support and grow continuing education. She will oversee CAPE and the MSDS programs, as well as help create an institution-wide strategy to build on notable efforts that some of SMU’s academic units have already developed in continuing education.

In addition, Mielke will work with the new Continuing Education Program Council (CEPC), comprised of the deans of academic units and chaired by the provost. CEPC will provide guidance to the associate provost regarding the overall strategy for SMU’s continuing education and coordinate new proposals as well as revisions to existing programs.

Associate Provost for Student Academic Services Julie P. Forrester chaired the search committee. “We considered a number of outstanding candidates. Larenda, with her combination of experience and enthusiasm for our goals, was clearly the most impressive,” Forrester said. “We’re looking forward to working with her.”

The higher education search firm of Greenwood/Asher & Associates, Inc. assisted the University in the national search.

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