Electric scooter use prohibited in University Park

The City of University Park is reminding residents that electric scooters are prohibited on all public streets, alleys and sidewalks.

The University Park ordinance prohibiting motor-assisted scooters was developed in 2009 to safeguard against serious accidents and injuries. SMU community members should please be aware that violators of the University Park policy may be ticketed by University Park Police and are subject to a $136 municipal fine.

University Park is asking residents to call 214-363-1644 or dial 311 if they see rental electric scooters on street corners and sidewalks and want them removed. You can read about this ordinance and other University Park news online.

SMU Guildhall, eGency Global team up for OP Live Dallas Sept. 22-23, 2018

A Fortnite Bounty Royale Brawl and a pro-am battle featuring North Texas’ own Overwatch League team are marquee highlights of OP Live Dallas Powered By Team Envy and Dallas Fuel. The esports extravaganza kicks off Sept. 22-23, 2018, on the 50,000-sq.-ft. main floor of Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas.

SMU Guildhall, the top ranked graduate school for video game design in the world, and eGency Global, one of North America’s most experienced esports production, marketing and talent management firms, have collaborated to create the new esports event. OP Live Dallas will feature high-level professional competition, a 16-team collegiate tournament, a hackathon for high-schoolers, and a showcase for the work of Guildhall master’s degree candidates in interactive technology.

In addition, Guildhall students have designed OP Live Odyssey – a series of quests within the OP Live event app that turns the weekend itself into a game for all attendees.

“We are excited to be part of this collaborative effort with eGency Global,” said Mark Nausha, Deputy Director of GameLab at SMU Guildhall. “OP Live will be interactive, immersive, and unique from typical esports events. We look forward to bringing this awesome fan experience to the Dallas area.”

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Register now: CIQ@SMU offering ‘Hidden Scripts’ seminars this fall

The Cultural Intelligence Initiative at SMU (CIQ@SMU) is offering faculty, staff and students opportunities this fall to examine how our tribal identities shape our everyday interactions.

CIQ@SMU will present “Hidden Scripts,” a seminar that explores how geographical, age, gender, political, economic, racial and sexual identities affect how individuals collaborate with others and make decisions. The next seminars will be from 2 to 4:30 p.m. September 19, October 10 and November 2 in Umphrey Lee Center.

Campus community members may register online for the seminars here.

“Faculty, staff and students have provided input and inspiration that have shaped ‘Hidden Scripts’ since we piloted the seminar earlier this spring,” says Maria Dixon Hall, senior advisor to the Provost for cultural intelligence and associate professor of corporate communication and public affairs in Meadows School of the Arts. “Participants in ‘Hidden Scripts’ will discuss concepts including cultural identities and affinities, and how these narratives can support or hinder our abilities to work and learn with one another.”

> Watch a video with Professor Maria Dixon Hall about CIQ@SMU by clicking here or on the screen below.

> Learn more about CIQ@SMU: smu.edu/ciq

Decision 2018: Texas U.S. Senate Debate live on NBC 5 at SMU

SMU, NBC 5 / KXAS and The Dallas Morning News are co-hosting Texas’ first U.S. Senatorial  debate between Republican U.S. Senator Ted Cruz and Democratic U.S. Representative Beto O’Rourke at 6 p.m. Friday, September 21.

The debate will be broadcast live from the SMU campus from 6 to 7 p.m. Friday on NBC 5 / KXAS, nbcdfw.com and dallasnews.com.

The audience for the debate will be small, and the campaigns alone will distribute a limited number of tickets.

Watch parties on campus include one scheduled for the Fondren Library Cafe.

$5 million gift from Rich and Mary Templeton boosts engineering research

Rich and Mary Templeton, longtime supporters of SMU, have committed $5 million for research at SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering. Their generous gift provides a major boost to the University’s externally sponsored research, which is critical to the University’s global academic prestige.

This gift, which includes $4 million for an endowment and $1 million for operations, creates the Templeton Endowed Research Excellence Fund. The fund is flexible, allowing for support of the most pressing and important research needs in the Lyle School at any given time. It covers a range of project essentials, including postdoctoral researchers, doctoral and graduate student stipends, equipment and supplies.

Working in collaboration with SMU’s Office of Research and Graduate Studies, the Lyle School will select projects that benefit the University’s research portfolio, along with faculty who have strong track records for significant external research funding and success in recruiting elite graduate students. Metrics of success will be defined by the school and the research teams.

“This investment in research is critical to strengthening SMU’s academic quality and attracting top graduate students who will seek solutions to some of the world’s most stubborn problems,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Rich and Mary have a long history of supporting successful initiatives to advance technological innovation. They understand what is required to be a premier research university, and their generous gift will play an important role in moving our University closer to the global reputation we desire.”

“Research is essential to SMU’s ability to make an impact through technology. We’re delighted to help make that happen,” said Mr. Templeton, who is chairman, president and CEO of Texas Instruments and also serves on SMU’s Board of Trustees.

“Our family has deep connections to SMU,” said Mrs. Templeton, renowned community philanthropist and volunteer. “The University’s goals and strategies to bolster research are aligned with our vision for higher education and technology.”

Brad E. Cheves, SMU’s Vice President for Development and External Affairs, said the University is honored to count the Templetons as supporters. “We are grateful that Mary and Rich are advocates for SMU and our educational and research aspirations. They have accomplished much in their lives, and their generosity is rooted in a desire to help others make a difference in the world.”

SMU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Steven C. Currall said the gift addresses important University goals. “A robust and productive portfolio of externally sponsored research is key to reaching our collective vision of SMU’s future.”

Lyle Engineering Dean Marc P. Christensen said, “This gift can mean the difference between advancing research or watching a good idea die on the vine. It allows us to recruit the most talented students and faculty, and enables them to lead the way in emerging areas of research.”

SMU continues to raise its academic quality and standing through deliberate efforts to enhance scholarly research, including more postdoctoral researchers in targeted areas and increased support.

“These practices will attract stronger applicants and help doctoral students complete their programs more quickly,” said James E. Quick, dean of Research and Graduate Studies at SMU.

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Marcia McNutt, first woman to lead National Academy of Sciences, to speak Oct. 1

Leaving a trail of shattered glass ceilings behind her, the first woman to lead the National Academy of Sciences – the United States’ most prestigious scientific organization – will speak at SMU Monday, Oct 1.

Geophysicist Marcia McNutt will be interviewed by Krys Boyd, host of KERA’s mid-day program, “Think,” at 7 p.m in SMU’s McFarlin Auditorium, 6405 Boaz Lane. The event is free and open to the public. McNutt’s visit, sponsored by SMU Reads, complements the 2018 SMU Reads common reading selection, Lab Girl, by paleobiologist Hope Jahren.

McNutt will speak about her myriad experiences – serving as lead scientist on deep-sea diving explorations, leading the team of scientists charged with containing the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and, as the first woman editor of Science, becoming an outspoken voice in support of evidence-based decision-making.

McNutt’s career includes researching volcano hot spots beneath French Polynesia as a graduate student at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and mentoring young scientists as a faculty member at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

She was the first female president and CEO of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in Moss Landing, California, and the first woman to lead the United States Geologic Survey (2009-2013), where she confronted what she called her “Omaha Beach,” leading the team that capped 60,000 gallons of oil leaking daily into the ocean after the explosion of Deepwater Horizon.

From 2013 to 2016, she put her stamp on Science Magazine as its first female editor, writing more than 60 editorials. In 2016, McNutt accepted the position as head of the National Academy of Sciences, the government’s premier science advisory organization, perhaps her most influential position yet. Established in 1863, the academy, a private, nonprofit society of scholars, provides independent advice to the nation on matters related to science and technology.

“It’s not the role of the academy to say what the policies should be, but it is the role of science to project the consequences,” McNutt says. “Advice from the academy could be transformational to help the nation—and the world—do the right thing.”

SMU ranked 59 in 2019 U.S. News and World Report’s Best Colleges

SMU is ranked 59 among the nation’s universities in the 2019 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges, released online September 10. The ranking represents an increase from the 2017 ranking of 61.

The new ranking again places SMU in the first tier of the guide’s 312 “best national universities.” Among Texas universities, only Rice University and the University of Texas at Austin rank higher. SMU tied with the University of Washington, Pennsylvania State University, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

SMU saw key improvements in the peer assessment score, which is the rating of academic reputation by college admission deans, provosts and presidents, and in the high school counselor assessment score. In addition, SMU ranked 31 for best national universities for veterans, tied with the University of Washington.

“SMU’s national ranking is a reflection of a dedicated effort to provide our students with the opportunity to become society’s innovators and leaders,” says SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “It also reflects the contributions of high-impact research and inspired teaching by our faculty members. We are grateful for the recognition and inspired to continue SMU’s positive momentum.

“As students and parents evaluate universities, it’s important to note, however, that rankings are just one of the factors to consider in this important decision. We encourage parents and anyone considering a college education to visit institutions for firsthand evaluation of academic offerings and campus experience.”

For the rankings, U.S. News & World Report considers measures of academic quality, including faculty resources, student selectivity, graduation rate performance, financial resources and alumni giving in addition to peer assessment scores and ratings by high school counselors.

The rankings of 1,374 institutions, including national universities, liberal arts colleges, regional colleges and regional universities, are available now online. Find Best Colleges 2019 in stores Oct. 16.

SMU to commemorate 17th anniversary of 9/11 terror attacks

The SMU Police Department and first responders from the surrounding community will commemorate the 17th anniversary of 9/11 with a solemn ceremony honoring the police officers and firefighters who lost their lives in the line of duty during the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

SMU Police officers, along with members of the Highland Park Department of Public Safety and University Park Police and Fire Departments, will participate in a combined honor guard and bell ceremony for the fallen.

The ceremonies begin at 9 a.m. Tuesday, September 11, 2018, at the flagpole on SMU’s historic Main Quad, at the north end of Bishop Boulevard. The event is free and open to the public.

“We invite the community to join us in honoring the first responders of 9/11,” said SMU Police Chief Richard Shafer. “They made the ultimate sacrifice while protecting and serving our country.”

The remembrance will feature remarks from Chief Shafer, SMU President R. Gerald Turner and Colonel Matthew F. Amidon, USMCR, director of the Military Service Initiative at the George W. Bush Institute.

To symbolize the first responders’ devotion to duty, the bell ceremony includes a special signal of three rings, three times each, representing the end of duty and a return to quarters. The signals ring out that “those who have selflessly given their lives for the good of their fellow man, their tasks completed, their duties well done … are going home.”

Also on Tuesday, SMU Young Americans for Freedom will host a memorial service for the victims of the September 11 terror attacks from 5:30 to 6 p.m. in front of Dallas Hall. Speakers include Chief Shafer and SMU Debate and Speech director Ben Voth.

Young Americans for Freedom also will commemorate the anniversary through it annual 9/11 Project, which consists of 2,977 American flags displayed on the Dallas Hall lawn from dawn until dusk.

The U.S. Military Veterans of SMU (SMU Milvets) are participating in the annual Dallas 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb at 8 a.m. September 8 at Reunion Tower and in the annual 9/11 Heroes Run 5K on September 9 in Dallas.

SMU partners with Toyota and DISD to develop STEM-focused school

Dallas Independent School District (Dallas ISD), Toyota USA Foundation and SMU have joined together to collaborate on the creation of a new and innovative STEM-focused school in West Dallas.

The aim is to inspire and prepare students for the next generation of STEM jobs through curricula that is project-based and business-aligned.

“This is an exciting opportunity for our students and families of West Dallas as this unique public private partnership comes together,” said Dallas ISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa. “STEM jobs are the wave of the future, and Toyota and SMU’s contribution is a major investment in shaping the next generation. This is a significant shift in education, and we’re grateful to these incredible partners.”

Toyota USA Foundation is granting $2 million to SMU’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development, which will develop curricula, advise on state-of-the-art educational practices, provide professional development for teachers, coordinate nonprofits operating in the area, and monitor and evaluate the program. The future school will be operated and staffed by the Dallas ISD. The Office of Transformation and Innovation will co-facilitate the design of the school in collaboration with School Leadership.

The collaboration will also bring together nonprofits, including groups already working with Dallas ISD through the SMU Simmons School program, The School Zone, as well as Toyota Motor North America and Toyota Financial Services’ partners to address community issues like literacy, nutrition, transportation and after–school care – each vital to creating successful outcomes for the community.

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Important reminder from HR regarding overtime pay

As the new academic year begins, SMU Human Resources reminds faculty and staff members about federal regulations regarding overtime pay for non-exempt (hourly) employees.

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), non-exempt employees must receive overtime pay for hours worked in excess of 40 hours a workweek. The overtime rate is one and one-half times the regular rate of pay. This overtime requirement may not be waived.

Non-exempt employees and their managers should be aware of this requirement and accurately record and submit any overtime hours or fractional hours. Employees and managers are urged to discuss in advance the need for overtime work and to adjust workloads to maintain a regular workweek, if possible. If an employee works overtime, it must be recorded and properly compensated.

For more information

If you have questions about the overtime requirement, please contact Human Resources at smuhr@smu.edu.

Learn more about University policies regarding wages and overtime, Policy 3.64 and Policy 9.18, in the University Policy Manual.

The U.S. Department of Labor has information about the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) at https://www.dol.gov/whd/overtime_pay.htm, including frequently asked questions about overtime pay, https://www.dol.gov/whd/flsa/faq.htm.