Four staff members receive 2008-09 Presidential Awards

presidential-staff-awards-2009-300.jpgFour exceptional SMU staff members received 2008-09 Presidential Staff Recognition Awards at a May 21 ceremony in the Dallas Hall Rotunda. The honors recognize individuals who have shown outstanding performance, commitment, and ability.

This year’s recipients:

Gretchen Voight, assistant registrar for academic ceremonies, received the Presidential Award for New Employee Excellence, given to an individual who has been with SMU for one to three consecutive years.

Brook Benton Jimenez, assistant director of fitness in the Department of Recreational Sports, Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports, received the Presidential Award for Continuing Excellence, given to an individual who has been with the University for four or more consecutive years.

Joe Gargiulo, chief information officer for Information Technology, received the Presidential Award for Outstanding Leadership, given to a staff member who supervises one or more benefit-eligible employees and who “demonstrates exceptional leadership ability within his or her unit or across the University.”

Amber Kosik, director of SMU’s Hilltop Scholars Community in Perkins and Smith Halls, Residence Life and Student Housing, received the Presidential Award for Innovation, given to a staff member whose “creative, innovative ideas … significantly improve a work process or system or greatly increase the efficiency of an operation or unit.”

Read more about the winners at the Staff Association homepage.

Right, 2008-09 Presidential Award for Staff Excellence winners (left to right): Amber Kosik, Brook Benton Jimenez, Joe Gargiulo and Gretchen Voight.

For the Record: Nov. 13, 2008

Jim Hollifield, Political Science, Dedman College, spoke at the 2008 Dallas Institute Festival of Ideas Nov. 8. The lineup of speakers included Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert, presidential historian Michael Beschloss, and New York Times columnists David Brooks and Nicholas Kristof.

Larry Palmer, Music, Meadows School of the Arts, played a recital at Harvard University to celebrate the 50th anniversary of its Flentrop organ Nov. 2, 2008, in Busch Hall. The instrument, made famous through broadcasts and recordings by E. Power Biggs, is one of the most influential pipe organs in America. The following evening Palmer presented a program for the Boston Chapter, American Guild of Organists, in Harvard’s Memorial Church to mark the centenary of the birth of Hugo Distler, a German Lutheran composer who was the subject of Palmer’s first book. In October, Palmer played the dedicatory recital for the C.B. Fisk organ at First Presbyterian Church in Santa Fe, NM, for which he was the consultant.

SMU’s departments of Risk Management and Budgets and Information Technology Services have received a 2008 Honorable Mention Award from the International Association of Emergency Managers. ITS was honored in the Public Awareness: Division 2 category for its 2008 SMU Aware calendar. The calendar is part of the University’s Security Awareness Program.

For the Record: Nov. 7, 2008

Alexa Taylor, Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center, and four current and former SMU students presented a session at the International Dyslexia Association conference in Seattle Nov. 1, 2008. Estee Simpkins, Rachael Russell, Callan Harrison and Matt Tunnell (’07) shared their experiences in being college students with learning disabilities.

Four professors and administrators represented SMU at the 2008 Educause Conference in Orlando, Florida: Anthony Cortese and Dalia Abdel-Hady, Sociology; Paul Toprac, The Guildhall at SMU; and Brad Boeke, Information Technology Services. Educause is a nonprofit association whose mission is to advance higher education by promoting the intelligent use of information technology.

ITS offers information, training for Security Awareness Month

Originally published Oct. 21, 2008.

SMU ITS Information Security logoIn observance of Security Awareness Month, SMU Information Technology Services (ITS) is offering brown-bag information sessions and online training concerning security topics and new services.

The next lunchtime session is scheduled for 12:30-1:30 p.m. Oct. 29 in Room 108, Blanton Student Services Building. ITS personnel will discuss spam, phishing and e-mail security, as well as introduce 4 online services:

  •, a Web-based file storage system
  •, an editable Web content management tool
  •, a journaling system available for official, department and academic uses
  •, an online scheduling tool for resources such as conference, meeting and class rooms

In addition, ITS has created an online tutorial to help users learn more about protecting data and accounts from phishing, spam and other attacks.

Learn more about computer security and Security Awareness Month
Test your security IQ at the ITS Help site

ITS switches to new VPN server

SMU Information Technology Services has established a new Virtual Private Network (VPN) service called, now available for use. The service will be decommissioned on Sept. 29.

Virtual Private Networking (VPN) provides a secure connection to the SMU network through an established DSL or cable modem connection with an outside Internet Service Provider (ISP). The VPN connection provides access to secure SMU network resources such as departmental drives and applications hosted on the campus intranet.

There are two methods for establishing the VPN connection: browser based and client based. Users can link to through their web browsers and log in with their SMU user names and passwords. The traffic within that browser window only will be routed through the VPN connection.

To use the VPN client, download AnyConnect from (log in with your SMU user name and password and click “AnyConnect” in the left navigation). Once a session is established, all traffic will be routed through the secure VPN connection. This client replaces the Windows VPN client and offers the same functionality.

Contact the ITS Help Desk at 8-4357 with any questions on the new service.

Read the details on the VPN migration
Take a brief tutorial on the new VPN solution

Sound off on IT needs in 2008 Customer Satisfaction Survey

Information Technology Services wants to know if your technology needs are being met – and you can tell them what’s working (and what isn’t) through the department’s 2008 Customer Satisfaction Survey. The feedback ITS gathers now will inform its planning and project schedule for 2008-09.

Past ITS improvements that resulted from survey feedback included larger mailbox quotas and more network drive space, expansion of the University’s wireless capabilities, and implementation of new blogging software – which has made possible redesigns of SMU Forum and the University’s popular Student Adventures site, among others.

The survey takes about 10 minutes and will remain open until April 27. Participants can also register for a chance to win one of ten iTunes gift certificates. For more information, visit the survey site.