SMU announces two new gifts for endowed faculty positions

Two new gifts to SMU totaling $3.5 million will create two new endowed faculty positions in two schools.

A gift of $2.5 million, made through the Texas Methodist Foundation, will establish the Susanna Wesley Centennial Chair in Practical Theology in Perkins School of Theology. A gift of $1 million from two SMU alumni will establish the Janet and Craig Duchossois Endowed Professorship in Management and Organizations in Cox School of Business.

The new gifts were announced Friday, Nov. 14. 2014 at a campus event honoring donors of endowed faculty positions.

“Increasing the number of endowed faculty positions at SMU is a major goal of our Second Century Campaign,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “These two new gifts for faculty positions in the theology and business schools move us closer to our goal of achieving 110 endowed faculty positions by the end of the campaign in December 2015. We are grateful to all of the donors who have helped us add to the strength of the SMU faculty by supporting this goal.”

Perkins Chapel at Southern Methodist UniversityThe Susanna Wesley Centennial Chair in Practical Theology honors the woman referred to as “the mother of Methodism.” Her sons, John and Charles Wesley, led a revival within the 18th-century Anglican Church that sparked the emergence of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the American colonies. Historians point to her “practical theology” as a source of inspiration for her sons.

The Texas Methodist Foundation, which conveyed the gift, provides grant and stewardship services that advance The United Methodist Church and Christian ministries.

The chair’s “Centennial” designation represents a gift that includes operational funds to provide immediate impact while the endowment matures. The Wesley Chair commitment includes endowment funding of $2 million and annual operating support of $100,000 for the first five years. These operating funds will make it possible to fill the chair in the next academic year.

“The discipline of practical theology helps students reflect on and formulate conclusions about the various fields of theological inquiry as they relate to one’s practice of ministry,” said Perkins School Dean William Lawrence. “Perkins School of Theology graduates are facing an ever-changing world of ministry opportunities. Helping students think theologically in ministry settings is essential for successful pastors and Christian workers.”

SMU Cox School of BusinessThe Janet and Craig Duchossois Endowed Professorship in Management and Organizations is designed to strengthen the Cox School of Business in an area of increasing importance to corporations and other types of institutions.

“The Department of Management and Organizations in the Cox School offers students tools to succeed in a globally competitive environment,” said Cox Dean Al Niemi. “The increased faculty strength provided by this new professorship will enable more students to develop skills that help prepare them for future leadership in the business world.”

Janet and Craig Duchossois earned B.B.A. degrees from SMU’s business school in 1966 and 1967, respectively. Craig also earned an M.B.A. degree from SMU in 1968. he is CEO of The Duchossois Group, Inc., which deals in commercial and residential access control. Mr. Duchossois was honored in 2002 with the Cox School’s Distinguished Alumni Award. Janet previously owned an interior design and home furnishings business..

The Wesley Centennial Chair and the Duchossois Endowed Professorship bring the total to 40 endowed faculty positions established during SMU’s Second Century Campaign. SMU now has 102 fully endowed faculty positions toward its goal of 110, which includes positions previously endowed throughout the University’s history.

> Read the full story from SMU News

Calendar Highlights: Nov. 19, 2014

Lee Cullum, Moderator & Senior Fellow of Tower Center Forum
Lee Cullum, Moderator & Senior Fellow of Tower Center Forum

Tower Center Forum Event: As part of the Tower Center Forum, SMU Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences presents Ambassadors Unplugged: Antonio Garza and Mark Langdale. Moderated by Tower Center Senior Fellow Lee Cullum, the forum discussion will take place Wednesday, Nov. 19, 5:30 p.m., in the Jones Great Hall. SMU students, faculty and staff are encouraged to RSVP via email to the Tower Center.

The Dialogue: Film Screening and Panel Discussion: As part of International Education Week, SMU’s International Student and Scholar Services hosts a free film screening of The Dialogue, a movie about U.S. and Chinese students traveling to China. Following the screening, Chinese international students and American students who have studied abroad will come together to discuss their experiences around intercultural communication. The event will take place Thursday, Nov. 20, 4:30-6:30 p.m., in the Hughes-Trigg Theater. For more information, contact SMU International Student and Scholar Services via email or on Facebook.

Dos Prados: SMU Meadows School of the Arts presents “Dos Prados: Larry Palmer’s Favorite Music for the Pascoal Caetano Oldovini Organ.” The concert features SMU Professor of Harpsichord and Organ Larry Palmer performing his favorite Iberian Baroque music surrounded by the masterworks in the Meadows Museum’s permanent collection. This performance will take place Thursday, Nov. 20, 5:30 p.m., in the Virginia Meadows Galleries. For more information, call 214-768-4677.

Meadows Jazz Orchestra Fall Concert: Directed by Dylan Smith, the Meadows Jazz Orchestra launches its 2014-15 season with the Meadows Jazz Orchestra Fall Concert. Featuring an evening of traditional big band music, the concert will take place on Thursday, Nov. 20, 8 p.m., in the Bob Hope Theatre. For more information, call 214-768-2787 (214-SMU-ARTS).

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SMU Men’s Basketball team & head coach Larry Brown

SMU Men’s Basketball: Marking the beginning of seven consecutive home games, SMU Men’s Basketball will return to Moody Coliseum to play Eastern Washington on Saturday, Nov. 22, at 6 p.m.

Faculty Artist and Distinguished Alumni Recital Series: As part of the Faculty Artist and Distinguished Alumni Recital Series, Meadows School of the Arts presents Stefan Engels as he performs classic French works. After serving as professor of organ at the prestigious University of Music and Theatre “Felix Mendelssohn Bartholody” in Germany, Engels joined SMU in fall 2014 as the new Leah Young Fullinwider Endowed Centennial Chair in Music Performance. Engels debut recital will take Saturday, Nov. 22, at 8 p.m., in the Caruth Auditorium. Tickets are $7 for students, faculty and staff, and can be purchased online. For more information, call 214-768-2787 (214-SMU-ARTS).

SMU celebrates Year of the Faculty during 2014 Homecoming Nov. 13-16

Brian Baumgartner
Well-known for his character “Kevin” on the Emmy-winning television series “The Office,” actor Brian Baumgartner ’95 is making the trip back to SMU for Homecoming weekend.

SMU celebrates the Year of the Faculty during 2014 Homecoming Nov. 13-16, honoring the contributions of the University’s esteemed faculty members as teachers and researchers. The Homecoming parade theme, “Dynamic Duos: Better Together,” salutes powerful partnerships, including SMU’s relationship with Dallas and the pairing of SMU students and faculty.

Saturday’s events begin with actor and alumnus Brian Baumgartner ’95 leading the traditional Homecoming parade, with tailgating on The Boulevard followed by the traditional football game at Ford Stadium.

> Learn more about Brian Baumgartner from SMU News

Other Homecoming highlights include season openers for the SMU men’s and women’s basketball teams on Friday, Nov. 14. The 8:30 p.m. men’s game vs. Lamar is sold out, but tickets are still available for the 6 p.m. women’s game vs. Northern Colorado. For tickets visit smumustangs.com.

Events at a glance:

Distinguished Alumni Awards Celebration, 7 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 13, Main Quad: honoring Mary Brinegar ’69, Frank M. Dunlevy ’71, John F. Harper ’68, and Emerging Leader recipient Alexandra Dillard Lucie ’05.

Pigskin Revue8:15 p.m., Friday, Nov. 14 McFarlin Auditorium: the 81st edition of the annual variety show featuring SMU students in music, dance and comedy acts, with the Mustang Band playing new music as well as old favorites from past revues. Admission is free with an SMU ID or $15 without an SMU ID.

• Tailgating on the Boulevard, 4 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 15, Bishop Boulevard: The Mustang Club Tent, with catering provided by Mi Cocina, will be located at the southeast corner of Bishop and Binkley on Mustang Alley. Adult admission is $10 per person in advance and $15 cash at the tent on game day. Children 8 and under are admitted for free.

• Homecoming Parade, 4:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 15, beginning at SMU Boulevard and Bush Avenue: The 2014 parade will feature iconic duos such as Batman and Robin; Mickey and Minnie; and Clark Kent and Lois Lane. Baumgartner, known for his iconic role as Kevin Malone in the TV series “The Office,” will serve as grand marshal. The new route featuring student floats, bands and entertainment will begin at SMU Boulevard and Bush Avenue. (Parade Map)

SMU Homecoming• Homecoming Football Game, 7 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 15, Gerald J. Ford
Stadium: Cheerleaders and the Mustang Band will lead fans from The Boulevard into Ford Stadium. Halftime will include a performance by the Mustang Band, a check presentation from the SMU reunion classes and crowning of the Homecoming King and Queen. Visit smumustangs.com for tickets.

• All-University Worship, 11 a.m., Sunday, Nov. 16, Perkins Chapel: Join the SMU community at this inspirational service in Perkins Chapel and remember classmates who are no longer with us.

• Centennial Lighting, throughout the weekend:  This year’s Homecoming features a new tradition of ceremonial lighting that will extend across campus each evening throughout the weekend. Homecoming 2014 will also mark the debut of the illuminated SMU Mustang featured on SMU’s East Campus Expressway Tower.

• SMU Museum Open Houses, throughout the weekend: Explore world-class art, presidential artifacts, interactive exhibits and library treasures at SMU’s Bridwell Library, Centennial Hall, DeGolyer Library, George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, Heritage Hall and the Meadows Museum. All visits are complimentary during Homecoming except for the Bush Presidential Library and Museum. For tickets to the Bush Library and Museum, visit georgewbushlibrary.smu.edu.

• Reunion Gatherings, throughout the weekend: Reunion events are planned for the classes of ‘69 ’74, ’79, ’84, ’89, ’94, ‘99 ’04 and ’09. The Reunion Weekend kickoff celebration will begin on Friday, Nov. 14. Visit smu.edu/reunions for more information.

SMU Homecoming includes more events for all ages. For the full schedule, visit smu.edu/homecoming.

Written by Ariel Monticure ’15.

> Read the full story from SMU News

Dinesh Rajan named Cecil and Ida Green Endowed Professor of Engineering in SMU’s Lyle School

Dinesh Rajan, Cecil and Ida Green Endowed Professor of Engineering, SMU
Dinesh Rajan, Department of Electrical Engineering, has been named the Cecil and Ida Green Endowed Professor of Engineering in SMU’s Lyle School.

Dinesh Rajan has been named the Cecil and Ida Green Endowed Professor of Engineering in SMU’s Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering. He is the first faculty member to be named to the recently established professorship, made possible by the growth of an endowment provided by Cecil and Ida Green in 1979.

Rajan came to SMU in 2002 with experience in both academia and industry, having held positions at both Rice University and Nokia. Since arriving at the University, he has served as professor and chair of the Electrical Engineering Department, providing leadership to the faculty while pursuing greater departmental productivity in research.

“Dinesh is an award-winning teacher and innovative researcher. He has made definitive contributions to his research field and continues to build upon that reputation,” said Lyle Dean Marc Christensen. “Outside the classroom, Dinesh utilizes his intellect and energy to motivate young engineers through undergraduate research and senior design. He is consistently striving to stretch his boundaries, and I look forward to what he will achieve in the future.”

Rajan has published more than 100 peer-reviewed technical articles in leading journals and at conferences. He also has co-edited two books. He has been awarded research grants totaling more than $7 million supported by federal agencies such as the National Science Foundation, Office of Naval Research, U.S. Army Research Laboratory, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and companies including Toyota and Nokia. He was technical program chair for the IEEE Vehicular Technology Conference in 2009 and has served on other conference executive and technical committees.

Rajan’s broad research interests are focused on the sensing/extraction, transmission and dissemination of information. His work is interdisciplinary in nature and spans the traditional areas of information theory, wireless communications, signal processing and operations research. Most recently, he has focused on improving wireless data rates and reducing battery consumption. Another ongoing project develops cognitive methods to overcome challenge of scarce wireless spectrum and improve wireless connectivity and data rates.

His honors for teaching and research include the NSF CAREER Award in 2006 for his work on applying information theory to the design of mobile networks, a Ford Research Fellowship in 2012, SMU’s Golden Mustang Award in 2008, IEEE Outstanding Young Engineer in 2009, and multiple outstanding EE faculty teaching awards.

Rajan earned his B.Tech degree in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras. He also was awarded M.S and Ph.D degrees from Rice University in Houston, both in the areas of electrical and computer engineering.

Cecil and Ida Green provided endowments for two faculty chairs in what is now the Lyle School of Engineering, both of which multiplied over time to provide funds for an additional professorship. Their gift of approximately $1.5 million in 1979 established the Cecil and Ida Green Chair currently held by Milton Gosney, and has grown over time to provide funding for the professorship held by Rajan. Their gift of $891,558 in 1969 endowed the Cecil H. Green Chair of Engineering held by Stephen Szygenda and now also supports Sila Cetinkaya as the Cecil H. Green Professor of Engineering. The couple’s gift of approximately $500,000 in 1979 also endowed the Cecil and Ida Green Fund for Excellence in Engineering and Applied Science Education to strengthen and enrich programs in the school.

Ida Green ’46 was a member of the SMU Board of Trustees, and was honored by the University in 1977 as a distinguished alumna. She died in 1986. Cecil Green, a British-born, naturalized American geophysicist and alumnus of MIT, was one of the four co-founders of Texas Instruments. He was made an honorary alumnus of SMU in 1962 and received an honorary doctor of science degree from the University in 1967. Cecil Green died in 2003 at the age of 102.

Sam Holland named Meadows dean on Nov. 12, 2014

Sam Holland, dean, Meadows School of the Arts at SMUSam Holland, professor and director in the Meadows School of the ArtsDivision of Music, was named the School’s new dean on Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2014.

He has served as interim dean since July 1, 2014, following the departure of former dean José Antonio Bowen.

An internationally renowned music educator and arts administrator, Holland will also hold the school’s Algur H. Meadows Chair.

Holland has been director of the Meadows School’s Division of Music since 2010. Under his leadership, the Music Division was named the #1 music program in the United States in the 2014 College Factual rankings, as reported in USA Today. He has also provided leadership in fundraising: He worked with the Meadows development team to obtain more than $10 million in new giving for piano inventory and programs; renovation of practice facilities; and support for endowed scholarships, new endowed professorships and the ensemble-in-residence program.

“We are delighted to have a distinguished leader who is already a highly respected member of the SMU family and the Dallas arts community to assume this important position,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Sam Holland brings experience and success not only in teaching and performing, but also in fundraising, external outreach and impact on his profession.”

Holland joined the Meadows music faculty in 1991, initially serving as head of piano pedagogy and director of the Piano Preparatory Department. He has served as head of the Department of Keyboard Studies and Pedagogy, associate chair and chair ad interim of the Division of Music and Meadows associate director for academic affairs. His teaching at SMU has included piano pedagogy, studio piano, computers and keyboards, jazz piano and piano master classes.

“Sam Holland brings a great understanding of the Meadows School and its culture and great personal charm and accomplishment to the position of dean,” said Paul Ludden, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “It is rare for a candidate to receive such enthusiastic support from every sector of the University and the community. SMU is fortunate to have Sam leading the Meadows School as the University advances in national prominence.”

Holland has extended the Meadows School’s reach beyond the campus. He developed closer associations with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and organized SMU student performances for civic events, such as the grand opening of the Winspear Opera House and groundbreaking for the George W. Bush Presidential Center. He developed and shepherded partnerships with community groups including Dallas Chamber Music, Voices of Change, Dallas Bach Society and the Allegro Guitar Society.

“I am deeply honored and tremendously excited by the opportunity to lead the Meadows School at this time in its history,” Holland said. “After years of growth in the quality and reputation of its programs, Meadows is emerging as a national model for arts education in the 21st century. Considering the people at SMU and Meadows, an extraordinary executive board and the dynamism of Dallas, I can’t help but be irrepressibly optimistic about the future. Great cultural centers have great schools nearby. Lincoln Center has Juilliard. Chicago has Northwestern. The Dallas Arts District has Meadows. In my view, the powerhouse schools of the next 25 years will be those in which fine and performing arts are working alongside cutting-edge communication arts – precisely the ingredients we celebrate at Meadows. At Meadows, we will create, communicate, curate, innovate and engage with this great city we call home. I’m looking forward to the journey.”

Aside from his responsibilities in the Meadows School, Holland is co-founder and executive director of the Frances Clark Center for Keyboard Pedagogy, Inc., a nonprofit educational institution in New Jersey. He is executive director of the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy and Clavier Companion magazine. He chairs the Committee on Ethics of the Texas Association of Music Schools.

Holland earned his Bachelor of Music in applied music cum laude from The University of Texas at Austin, followed by a Master of Music in applied music with highest honors at the University of Houston and a Ph.D. in music education with an emphasis in piano pedagogy at the University of Oklahoma.

He is the author or co-author of more than 70 critically acclaimed method and repertoire collections with major publishers. In addition, he is internationally active as a performer and lecturer at music conferences and festivals and has served as founder and executive of national professional conferences and journals.

At the international level, Holland has provided leadership for music workshops and lecture/demonstrations in countries including England, Spain, Australia, Hungary, Norway and Canada. He has represented the Meadows Division of Music on visits to the U.K., Japan, Australia, Shanghai, Spain and the Peoples’ Republic of China.

Holland has been honored with the Texas Music Teacher Association Outstanding Collegiate Teaching Award and the Dean’s Prize of Meadows School of the Arts.

> Read the full story from SMU News

World premieres and a Bob Fosse tribute are highlights of SMU’s 2014 Meadows Fall Dance Concert Nov. 5-9

Two world premieres are among the four innovative contemporary works to be featured at the 2014 Fall Dance Concert, running through Sunday, Nov. 9. The dancers of SMU’s Meadows of the Arts will take the audience through a journey of versatile repertoire featuring modern, contemporary ballet, and classical Fosse jazz.

The program opens with the world premiere of Handle created by dance faculty member Christopher Dolder. The Bob Hope Theatre has yet to host a performance like Handle, which displays a collaboration of movement and media. The piece explores how people perceive identity, dimensions and matter by creating illusions. Dolder distorts reality through the use of video projections, motion sensing, permeable walls, and costumes. A former Martha Graham Dance Company soloist, Dolder is an expert in dance kinesiology and is currently researching new forms of physical data capture in collaboration with the Meadows School’s Center of Creative Computation.

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The second section of the show is composed of two restaged works by Visiting Artist-in-Residence Adam Hougland. Originally premiered by the Cincinnati Ballet, To the Fore playfully explores the human struggle to “shed light on things” with the use of lights on long extension cords that become a choreographic element themselves. Cigarettes showcases one female and three male dancers in a look at humans’ attempts to survive the repetition of past mistakes. Hougland is the principal choreographer for the Louisville Ballet and resident choreographer for the Cincinnati Ballet.

The program concludes with the premiere of Dancin’ Man, an homage to Bob Fosse created by New York-based choreographer and dancer Alex Sanchez. Sanchez uses a cast of 22 dancers to amplify the magic and celebration of being a dancer. A former member of Ballet Chicago and a veteran of numerous Broadway productions, including Wonderful Town and Carousel, Sanchez has choreographed productions for companies nationwide.

“I’m looking forward to pushing the limits of what I can do as an individual dancer, what we can do as a committed group of artists, and what the audience will do in response,” says senior Abby Marchesseault.

Performances take place at 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday in the Bob Hope Theatre, Owen Arts Center. Tickets are $7 each for SMU faculty, staff and students. Buy Fall Dance Concert tickets online at Vendini, or contact the Meadows Ticket Office, 214-768-2787 (214-SMU-ARTS).

Ariel Monticure is a senior SMU dance performance major and will perform in the 2014 Fall Dance Concert Nov. 5-9.

Find more information at the Meadows website

U.S. ‘pivot to China’ takes the spotlight at SMU’s 2014 Tower Center National Security Conference Nov. 5-6

Map of China courtesy of the CIA World Factbook.
Map of China courtesy of the CIA World Factbook.

SMU’s Tower Center for Political Studies will examine the rise of China, and the U.S. response, during its 7th annual National Security Conference Nov. 5-6, 2014.

“How does China factor into U.S. strategy? No question matters as much for the future of U.S. national security,” says Joshua Rovner, the Tower Center’s director of studies. “During this year’s conference, we are bringing together a stellar lineup of speakers from the policy world, the U.S. Department of Defense, the intelligence community and the military as well as some of the nation’s smartest and most provocative scholars specializing in China, East Asia and U.S. foreign policy.”

> Rovner in The Dallas Morning News: Never mind ISIS and Putin – Asia matters more to U.S. strategy

The conference opens Wednesday, Nov. 5, with a keynote dinner address by Thomas Fingar, former chairman of the U.S. National Intelligence Council and Oksenberg-Rohlen Distinguished Fellow in the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University. He is the author of Reducing Uncertainty: Intelligence Analysis and National Security (Stanford University Press 2011). Fingar’s address, “China, Intelligence and U.S. Grand Strategy,” will delve into what the U.S. “pivot to Asia” means in terms of intelligence and foreign policy.

> More information on the Tower Center National Security Conference opening dinner

The second day of the conference, Thursday, Nov. 6, will feature three panel discussions. Panel one will examine grand strategy and the rise of China. Experts on Asian politics will assess how China and the United States view each other, as well as how regional states view the “pivot.” The second panel will explore the military dimensions of a conflict with China, including the possibility of nuclear escalation. The final panel will close with a discussion of defense industry implications.

> Find a complete list of 2014 Tower Center National Security Conference speakers and topics

“The United States has already declared that it wants to ‘pivot’ its attention from the Middle East to Asia, and it has increasingly focused on overcoming Chinese military innovations in the event of a crisis or war,” Rovner says. “But what the pivot means, and what it requires from the military are still unanswered questions. The armed services are struggling to determine whether to prepare for confrontation with a traditional power like China, or continue investing their time and energy in counterterrorism, counterinsurgency, and small wars.

“The defense industry needs to determine what kinds of technologies to invest in and what kinds of weapons to build. Finally, the White House needs to answer basic questions about what to buy, where to send it, and how to support local allies without encouraging them to needlessly provoke China.”

The conference is free and open to the public. For more information, visit the SMU Tower Center blog.

> Visit SMU’s Tower Center for Political Studies online at smu.edu/towercenter

SMU’s Caruth Institute for Engineering Education names Leanne Ketterlin-Geller director of K-12 STEM Initiatives

Leanne Ketterlin-GellerSMU’s Caruth Institute for Engineering Education has named Associate Professor Leanne Ketterlin-Geller as its new director of K-12 STEM Initiatives.

A faculty member in education policy and leadership and director of research in mathematics education in the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development, Ketterlin-Geller will bring a cross-disciplinary focus to her new role with the Institute, housed in the University’s Lyle School of Engineering.

Ketterlin-Geller is an expert in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education, and her research focuses on mathematics education through instructional leadership principles and practices. Her new position will include working with the Caruth Institute’s Infinity Project, developing partnerships with area schools, working with Lyle engineering programs geared toward middle and high school students, and working with departments and faculty members to match their engineering expertise to K-12 outreach opportunities.

Ketterlin-Geller will work closely with Delores Etter, executive director of the Caruth Institute and TI Distinguished Chair in Engineering Education, as well as other faculty members from both schools to advance the K-12 STEM initiatives of the Institute.

“Professor Ketterlin-Geller’s extensive experience as a leader in STEM and K-12 education will bring much needed expertise in addressing the critical mission of the Caruth Institute,” Etter said. “Her role within the Simmons School of Education and Human Development will strengthen the necessary collaboration between our two schools.”

“The work that Dr. Ketterlin-Geller will direct is essential to our goal to increase the number and diversity of students with both the enthusiasm and knowledge to pursue the engineering careers that are necessary for the U.S. to compete in a global economy,” said Lyle Dean Marc Christensen. “This appointment demonstrates our commitment to the emerging collaborations between the Simmons School of Education and the Lyle School of Engineering. We look forward to what we can achieve together.”

“Through these Caruth Institute initiatives students will see the power of math in daily life – and engineering is where we really see this at work,” said Ketterlin-Geller. “We hope to develop engaging and interesting programs for both teachers and students that will help all students develop both confidence and competence in STEM fields. This collaboration presents an exciting opportunity to work across disciplines to help foster innovation in K-12 STEM education.”

A former high school science teacher, Ketterlin-Geller has served as principal investigator for federal, state, and locally funded research grants emphasizing the development of instructional materials and formative assessment procedures in mathematics. Much of her research is focused on supporting algebra readiness in elementary and middle school mathematics. She works closely with teachers and administrators to understand the application of measurement and assessment principles for making decisions in school settings. She publishes and delivers presentations on mathematics education, measurement and assessment as well as special education.

Ketterlin-Geller and Simmons School Dean David Chard are part of the national research team working on the George W. Bush Institute’s education initiative, Middle School Matters.

> Read the full story from SMU News

Research: Learning algebra from Instagram

Stock photo of a student working a math problem on a blackboardCan students learn algebra from Instagram and video games?

SMU teaching researcher Candace Walkington thinks so. And her new study, funded by the National Academy of Education, will test the idea.

“In previous work, I found that students draw upon rich algebraic ways of reasoning when pursuing their out-of-school interests in areas like sports, social networking and video games,” says Walkington, an assistant professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning in the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development. “Making connections to these topics in algebra class can improve long-term understanding of algebraic ideas.”

The new study asks pre-algebra middle school students in the Dallas Independent School District to author their own algebra stories based on their personal interests. They will describe how linear relationships approximate what they encounter in their everyday lives, such as how they accumulate followers on Instagram or score points in a video game over time, says Walkington, whose research focus is evidence-based effective teaching. About 200 pre-algebra students in eight classrooms at DISD schools are participating in the study.

Based on results from earlier research, Walkington hypothesizes that authoring the stories will elicit students’ interest in the content to be learned by drawing on their knowledge about home and community.

Algebra is a gatekeeper to many careers and to higher-level mathematics, making it critical for students to master, Walkington says – but students struggle to understand the abstract representations.

“Students often can’t see the connection between their world and algebra,” she says. “Exploring ways to connect math to their lives, experiences and knowledge is critical for making it accessible and captivating. That’s especially true when considering students from diverse backgrounds.”

A pilot version of the study begins in spring 2015. The full study starts in fall 2015.

Walkington was awarded the grant as part of the Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship Program of the National Academy of Education. The $55,000 grant supports early career scholars working in critical areas of education research.

Written by Margaret Allen

> Read the full story at the SMU Research blog

Faculty in the News: Oct. 7-20, 2014

George Holden, SMU Professor of Psychology
George Holden, SMU professor of psychology

George Holden, Psychology, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, was featured in The Christian Science Monitor in an article examining corporal punishment. The article appeared on Oct. 20, 2014.

Bernard Weinstein, Maguire Energy Institute, Cox School of Business, published a news article regarding Canada’s recent increase in oil exports to the Star-Telegram. The article appeared Oct. 16, 2014.

Benjamin Phrampus, Roy M. Huffington Department of Earth Sciences, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, discussed the possible relation of gas explosions and the Bermuda Triangle with LifeScience. The article appeared on Oct. 14, 2014.

Cal Jillson, Political Science, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, provided commentary for The New York Times in an article entitled “An Ad With a Wheelchair Shakes Up the Texas Governor’s Race.” The article appeared Oct. 13, 2014.

Bruce Bullock, Director of the Maguire Energy Institute, SMU
Bruce Bullock, director of SMU’s Maguire Energy Institute

Will Power, Theatre Artist-in-Residence, Meadows School of the Arts, received 11 AUDELCO nominations for his production Fetch Clay, Make Man. As part of the New York Theatre Workshop, Power’s production tells the story of Cassius Clay as the heavyweight boxing champion forms an unlikely friendship during the days leading up to one his most anticipated fights. News of Power’s nominations were features on Backstage Pass with Lia Chang on Oct. 12, 2014.

Bruce Bullock, Maguire Energy Institute, Cox School of Business, was featured in an article in The New York Times discussing the technology of liquid gas. The article was published on Oct. 7, 2014.