Klaus Desmet, Ruth and Kenneth Altshuler Centennial Interdisciplinary Professor in Economics, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, has been appointed Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) in the International Trade & Investment and Political Economy program. It is a major recognition honoring senior scholars who have made deep impact in their fields, says Economics Chair Santanu Roy: “The NBER is the most prestigious national think tank that brings together researchers in economic policy and empirical economic analysis.”
Bonnie Wheeler, Associate Professor of English and Director of Medieval Studies, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, won the 2018 Robert L. Kindrick-CARA Award for Outstanding Service to Medieval Studies, presented by the Medieval Academy of America. “Professor Wheeler has been a powerful shaping force in our discipline for the past thirty years,” reads her award citation. “Inspiring and cultivating young scholars, fostering their intellectual growth and mentoring their professional possibilities, she is an award-winning teacher and galvanizing mentor…. Her service has been boundless and has reshaped the field in countless and powerful ways.”
A low-budget field experiment to tackle the lack of women in the male-dominated field of economics has been surprisingly effective, says the study’s author, an assistant professor of economics in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.
Top female college students were inspired to pursue a major in economics when exposed very briefly to charismatic, successful women in the field, according to SMU economist Danila Serra. The results suggest that exposing young women to an inspiring female role model succeeds due to the mix of both information and pure inspiration, Serra said.
“The specific women who came and talked to the students were key to the success of the intervention,” she said. “It was a factor of how charismatic and enthusiastic they were about their careers and of how interesting their jobs looked to young women.”
Given the simplicity and low cost of the intervention, similar experiments could be easily conducted in other male-dominated or female-dominated ﬁelds of study to enhance gender diversity.
Serra’s results showed that among female students exposed to the enthusiastic mentors, there was a 12 percentage-point increase in the number of female students enrolling in the upper-level Intermediate Microeconomics course the following year — a 100% increase, or doubling, for that demographic.
Not surprisingly, given that the intervention was targeted to female students, Serra found that the role model visits had no impact on male students.
But astonishingly it had the greatest impact on high-achieving female students.
“If we restrict the analysis to the top female students, the students with a GPA of 3.7 or higher, the impact is remarkable — it is a 26 percentage points increase,” Serra said. “So this intervention was especially impactful on the top female students who perhaps were not thinking about majoring in economics.”
The results were surprising to Serra, who teaches the upper-level class Behavioral and Experimental Economics. Serra’s research relies on laboratory and field experiments, a relatively new methodology in the field of economics. She launched and is co-leader of the Laboratory for Research in Experimental Economics at SMU.
“I didn’t think such limited exposure would have such a large impact,” Serra said. “So this is telling me that one of the reasons we see so few women in certain fields is that these fields have been male-dominated for so long. This implies that it is very difficult for a young woman to come into contact with a woman in the field who has an interesting job in the eyes of young women and is enthusiastic about her major and her work. Young men, on the other hand, have these interactions all the time because there are so many male economics majors out there.”
The Train to Crystal City: FDR’s Secret Prisoner Exchange Program: Jan Jarboe Russell will recount the dramatic and never-before-told story of a secret FDR-approved American internment camp in Texas during World War II, where thousands of families — many of them U.S. citizens — were incarcerated. The event will take place from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015 in McCord Auditorium, 306 Dallas Hall. A light reception will precede the event beginning at 5:30 pm, with the lecture starting at 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. For more information and event registration click here.
Dine and Dance with SMU’s Brown Bag Series: Throughout the week of Oct. 5, 2015, the Meadows School of the Arts Division of Dance will present lunchtime performances of 10-15 original, student-choreographed ballet, modern and jazz works. The performances will be held in the Bob Hope Theatre Lobby in SMU’s Owen Arts Center and are free and open to the public. Click here for a list of daily performance times.
Set your Watch for Go Set a Watchman Discussion: Dedman College Dean Thomas DiPiero, a renowned To Kill a Mockingbird scholar, will discuss author Harper Lee’s controversial Go Set a Watchman on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015 in Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballroom, SMU Campus. The 6 p.m. lecture will be preceded by a reception at 5:30 p.m. The event is presented by the SMUSA Book Club and Friends of the SMU Libraries. RSVP by Oct. 5, 2015 here.
Charles Krauthammer to give Sammons Media Ethics Lecture: Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist and FOX News commentator Charles Krauthammer will give SMU’s 16th annual Rosine Smith Sammons Lecture in Media Ethics at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015 in Caruth Auditorium, Owen Arts Center. Admission is free, but tickets are required. RSVP here.
Learn how to negotiate anything: Join Kelly Trager, an adjunct professor and lawyer, in a three-part workshop that will change the way you negotiate in your daily life. Workshops will be held from 12:30 p.m. to 1:50 p.m Thursday Oct. 8, Thursday Oct. 15 and Thursday Oct. 22, 2015. The workshops will be located in the Embrey Engineering Building room 129, SMU and are free and open to the public. Reserve a seat here.
Demanding or Deferring? The Economic Value of Communication with Attitude: Daniel Houser, George Mason University, will present his recent research on the effects of natural language communication versus fixed-structure communication on individual behavior on Friday, Oct. 9, 2015 at 2 p.m in Umphrey Lee Center Room 303. This event is apart of the Economics Seminar Series and is presented by Dedman College.
Three distinguished Texas economists – two of whom received their Ph.D. degrees from SMU – have collaborated on a new collection of the writings of a prominent scholar of the moral and ethical dimensions of economic thought.
In a brief biography of her late husband that opens the book, Hersh-Cochran writes that “[Kendall] made significant contributions to his field of study – the revolutionary idea, at the time, that economics should be studied and applied in a moral and ethical context.”
“[Kendall] Cochran’s articles are significant at this time because he is able to argue persuasively that economists have a moral obligation to provide policy recommendations that are consistent with a social agenda of fairness and opportunity,” reads the publisher’s description of the new book. “While many agree with Adam Smith that individuals are motivated by self-interest, it does not follow that any action or policy that promotes an individual’s self-interest is therefore worthwhile or beneficial from society’s perspective…. Cochran makes an eloquent case that economists must identify instances in which government policy can and should be used to protect and promote society’s well-being.
“Cochran believed that economists moved too far in the direction of analysis free of words like ‘ought’ and ‘should’ and devoted his career to establishing that economics is a moral science.”
“As a person who has written extensively on the issue of financial institutions that are Too Big to Fail and the horrendous costs they have imposed on society, I wish that much of the guidance and precepts espoused by Professor Cochran had been put into practice years ago,” writes Harvey Rosenblum, executive vice president and director of research (retired) of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and adjunct professor of finance in SMU’s Cox School of Business. “Incentives truly matter, and [Cochran’s] writings offer special guidance and insights into getting economic incentives right by not ignoring the important moral precepts contained in Adam Smith’s original writings.”
Engaged Learning Symposium: SMU’s Fall 2014 Engaged Learning Symposium will feature the work of twenty-five students in research, service, creative and internship programs. The event takes place Friday, Oct. 24, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center.
Product Quality-Proliferation and Differentiation in Export Markets: Assistant Professor Maia Linask from the University of Richmond will present her recent work in the area of industrial organization and international trade. This event will take place Friday, Oct. 24, 2 p.m., in 303 Umphrey Lee Center. For more information, please visit the Department of Economics homepage.
Economics SeminarSeries: The Department of Economics presentsDenis Nekipelov from the Departments of Economics and Computer Science at the University of Virginia. Dr. Nekipelov will share his recent work on advertising Friday, Sept. 19, 2 p.m. in 303 Umphrey Lee. For more information about the seminar series, click here.
Friday Night Stampede: Celebrate the 100th season of SMU Athletics and the first home football game by joining SMU for a special Friday Night Stampede on Sept. 19. Put on your red spirit attire and head out for the dedication of the new Mustang Band Hall at7 p.m. Stick around for a block party starting at 7:30 p.m. on Mustang Mall. Then at 8:30 p.m. enjoy a Mustang Band concert and pep rally Doak Walker Plaza. For more information, visit the SMU Stampede homepage.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand Book Signing: Senator Kirsten Gillibrand presents Off the Sidelines: Raise Your Voice, Change the WorldSunday, Sept. 21 at 7 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Theater.Off the Sidelines is New York Senator Gillibrand’s call to action encouraging every woman and girl to make their voice heard on issues they care about. This event is free and open to the public. Books will be available for purchase.
World Peace Day: Celebrate World Peace Day with live music, poetry, food and special guest speakers from Human Rights Initiative, Dallas Peace Center, and other local organizations. The event will take place Sunday, Sept. 21,4-7 p.m. on the Quad in front of Dallas Hall. For more information, e-mail Amber Jackson.
SMU Provost Paul Ludden has announced the appointment of eight new Faculty in Residence (FiRs) selected in the Spring 2013 semester. The new FiRs join the three “founding FiRs” as the first full cohort to become part of the University’s new Residential Commons (RC).
Faculty in Residence are chosen in a competitive selection process. When the Commons program launches in Fall 2014, each FiR will live in a residence hall and work with student leaders and Student Affairs staff to shape the Residential Commons experience.
Four FiRs have moved into residence halls a year early as part of the Residential Commons transition process: Ann Batenburg, Teaching and Learning, Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development; Mark Fontenot, Computer Science and Engineering, Lyle School of Engineering; Robert Krout, Music Therapy, Meadows School of the Arts; and Charles Wuest, English, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.
The full list of faculty members who have been appointed for a 3-4 year term, and the halls where they will take up residence:
Ann Batenburg, Teaching and Learning – Virginia-Snider RC *
Martin Camp, School of Law – Residential Commons 4 (under construction)
Miroslava Detcheva, Spanish – McElvaney RC
Mark Fontenot, Computer Science and Engineering – Loyd RC (under construction) *†
Mark Kerins, Film and Media Arts – Morrison-McGinnis RC
Rita Kirk, Communication Studies – Armstrong RC (under construction)
Robert Krout, Music Therapy – Mary Hay/Peyton/Shuttles RC *†
Will Power, Theatre – Residential Commons 1 (under construction)
David Son, Chemistry – Boaz RC
Tom Tunks, Music – Residential Commons 3 (under construction) *†
Elizabeth Wheaton, Economics – Cockrell-McIntosh RC
* Living in residence during the 2013-14 academic year
† One of SMU’s three original Faculty in Residence, the “Founding FiRs”
Along with the 11 FiRs, 23 Faculty Affiliates were selected and have been working in every residence hall on campus since the beginning of the year. For more information on participating in the Faculty Affiliate program, contact Jeff Grim, Residence Life and Student Housing.
Jodi Cooley, Physics, Dedman College, was named by the American Physical Society’s Committee on the Status of Women Physicists as its December 2012 CSWP Woman Physicist of the Month. She was nominated by students as “a physicist who has had an impact on [their] life or career, both past and present.” The award is open to students, teachers or any woman doing physics-related work.
Louis Jacobs, Huffington Department of Earth Sciences, Dedman College, received the 2012 Skoog Cup from theScience Teachers Association of Texas for his “significant contributions to advancing quality science education.” The teacher association presents the Skoog Cup annually to a deserving faculty or staff member at a Texas college or university for a sustained record of leadership in science education, advocacy for quality K-12 science education for all students, contributions to science, and development of effective programs for pre-service and in-service teachers of science. Jacobs received the award at the Annual Conference for the Advancement of Science Teaching, which took place in Corpus Christi in November.
Michael McLendon, Higher Education Policy and Leadership, Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development, delivered a keynote address to the 2012 College of Education Dean’s Symposium at Florida State University in Tallahassee in October. The symposium’s theme, “Shared Dreams, Separate Interests: Higher Education Finance & Accountability,” focused on higher education performance, accountability and finance in an era of intense scrutiny of higher education in the United States and internationally.
Azfar Moin, History, Dedman College, presented a paper at the 2012 South Asia Research and Information Institute (SARII) conference at SMU in September. The SARII conference brings together leading historians of South Asia and specialists of Indo-Muslim cultures. Its 2012 theme of “Cities, Courts, and Saints” gathered new research on the way Islam spread across and became part of the Indian subcontinent.
Wes Abel and Jon Haghayeghi, Master’s degree candidates in the Department of Economics, Dedman College, were among three U.S. students chosen to participate in the ISEO Institute’s “Learn Economics from Nobel Prize Laureates” summer program June 23-30, 2012 in Iseo, Italy. Among the Summer 2012 participating Nobel laureates were Peter Diamond and Michael Spence.
SMU economics researchers will analyze the roles social networks and isolation play in fighting hunger in North Texas.
Recent studies have found that household economic resources are not the only factor contributing to food insecurity, according to SMU economist Tom Fomby. About 1 in 6 U.S. households are affected by food insecurity, meaning there’s not enough food at all times to sustain active, healthy lives for all family members, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“This study will analyze the role of other factors causing food insecurity, such as urban or rural settings, access to nutrition assistance programs, access to inexpensive groceries, family support and social stigma,” Fomby said.
Fomby, professor of economics and director of the Richard B. Johnson Center for Economic Studies, and Daniel Millimet, SMU professor of economics, are conducting the study. A $120,000 grant from the North Texas Food Bank is funding the research. The study will be complete in March 2014.
Although household income is the single most powerful predictor of food security, poverty and hunger are not synonymous. According to Feeding America, 28 percent of food insecure residents in Dallas County are ineligible for most nutrition assistance programs because they have incomes above 185 percent of the federal poverty level; and the U. S. Department of Agriculture reports that 58.9 percent of U.S. households with incomes below the poverty level are food secure. The reasons for this are not well understood.
“With this research, we expect to better understand the causes of food insecurity in North Texas and improve the assessment of at-risk households,” Fomby said.
The SMU study is one of two major research projects launching The Hunger Center of North Texas, a new collaborative research initiative created by the North Texas Food Bank. The University of North Texas is also collaborating on a study.
“We believe that this research will be groundbreaking,” said Richard Amory, director of research for the North Texas Food Bank. “Nutrition assistance programs tend to approach individuals and households in isolation. Understanding the role that communities play in food security may help us leverage social forces to develop more effective programs and, ultimately, reduce the need for food assistance.”
SMU and the North Texas Food Bank recently formed a partnership, “Stampede Against Hunger,” to build on the University community’s strong support for NTFB, connecting campus groups already working with the food bank, as well as encouraging new types of participation for the campus and alumni community.