Creative Writing alumna, soon to be published, will speak May 28

Shilpi Somaya Gowda at SMU's 2007 New York Seminar for writersIn a publishing industry hit hard by the economic downturn, Shilpi Somaya Gowda has beaten the odds. Gowda (at right in photo), a 2007 alumna of the Creative Writing Program in SMU Continuing and Professional Education (CAPE), has signed a contract with HarperCollins for her upcoming debut novel, The Secret Daughter. The publisher has given Gowda’s book a release date of winter 2010.

Gowda will share her experiences selling her first novel in an SMU Writer’s Salon at 7 p.m. May 28 at Legacy Books, 7300 Dallas Parkway in Plano.

Even in a slumping and increasingly cautious publishing market, Gowda’s achievement “is proof that excellence sells,” says Amy Heitzman, CAPE executive director in SMU’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development.

The novel tells the stories of three women – an Indian who places a daughter for adoption; an American who adopts the girl; and Aisha, the daughter, who travels to India to discover her roots.

Gowda wrote the book while studying in the SMU CAPE Creative Writing Program novel track. She also attended the program’s New York Seminar, where eligible writers meet with editors and agents who have read the beginnings of their books.

“Shilpi is talented. Most of our students are,” says Suzanne Frank, director of the Creative Writing Program and New York Seminar. “But she also had the determination, the drive to write and rewrite until she made her work the best she could. The willingness to work and to learn is probably her – or any writer’s – greatest strength.”

Gowda’s talk will be free and open to the public. RSVP online to the SMU CAPE Creative Writing Program.

Visit SMU Continuing and Professional Education online
Learn more about the SMU CAPE Creative Writing Program

Above, Shilpi Gowda (at right in photo) with fellow participants in the 2007 New York Seminar of the SMU CAPE Creative Writing Program.

Next ‘Spanish for the Workplace’ class begins Mar. 16

(Originally published Jan. 30, 2009.)

Spanish for the Workplace photoAbout 31 million U.S. residents age 5 and older speak Spanish at home, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. SMU community members can reap the benefits of speaking and understanding the language through the University’s award-winning Spanish for the Workplace program, offered by Continuing and Professional Education (CAPE).

The class is designed as a refresher for those who have studied Spanish or for beginners who have never had any Spanish-language training, says Amy Heitzman, CAPE executive director in SMU’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development. It also includes components on Latin American and Hispanic cultural norms, business customs and etiquette.

The 10-session course teaches not only grammar and vocabulary but a conversational approach, Heitzman says. Instructors focus on oral proficiency by getting students to speak Spanish in the classroom early and often.

“Students are often held back in learning a foreign language by their fear of making mistakes,” Heitzman says. “Speaking it is the best way to help them overcome that fear.”

Additionally, course materials including audio CDs and Internet tutorials allow for self-study at home or the office.

In creating the course, CAPE was responding to feedback as well as filling a need. “We have heard again and again that a class like this should be mandatory for everyone on campus,” Heitzman says.

“Spanish classes in general are some of our highest enrollments, and our students were looking for more and different class experiences,” she adds. “We want to make others welcome, and we want to be able to speak to each other as well as prospective students in their own language.”

The class has also become an effective resource for business and nonprofit organizations throughout the Metroplex. A Spanish for the Workplace onsite program created in partnership with international law firm Thompson & Knight, LLP, won a 2007 “Your Honor Award” from the Legal Marketing Association. The honor recognizes “creativity, execution, achievement and overall excellence in legal marketing” and is the only award of its kind in the industry.

The next Spanish for the Workplace session begins Mar. 16, 2009 on SMU’s main campus. All materials are included in the $215 course fee. Register online or contact Continuing and Professional Education at 214-768-2273 (214-SMU-CAPE).

Continuing Studies has new name, expanded mission

SMU Continuing Studies is now known as SMU Continuing and Professional Education (CAPE). The name change took effect June 1. Continuing Studies Director Amy Heitzman leads the new division.

Under the new, expanded CAPE, the Meadows Community Education program merges with the SMU Informal Courses for Adults program. The department also will expand its liberal and fine arts offerings and be home to community outreach initiatives and noncredit professional development programs, including the certificate programs in financial planning, nonprofit leadership and Spanish for the workplace.

Continuing education efforts of the Center for Counseling and Mediation and the School of Engineering will be offered through CAPE beginning in fall 2008.

The new name recognizes new strides in continuing education at SMU, wrote Leon Simmons Dean David Chard in an e-mail to the SMU community. As part of the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development, “CAPE is well positioned to offer expanded noncredit continuing education in the liberal and fine arts to our campus and community in addition to its growing emphasis on professional development,” he added.

SMU Continuing and Professional Education (CAPE)