Meadows School of the Arts

Artist-in-Residence Will Power to present free workshop for emerging playwrights; applications due Friday, Oct. 14, 2016

Meadows Artist-in-Residence Will Power

Artist-in-Residence Will Power leads a free six-week workshop at SMU for emerging DFW-area playwrights.

Applications are now being accepted for the fourth annual Dallas Playwrights’ Workshop, a free, six-week program for emerging playwrights presented by SMU faculty member Will Power.

Power, artist-in-residence in SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts and playwright-in-residence and Mellon Foundation Fellow at Dallas Theater Center, will work closely with participants to sharpen their writing and help them develop professional relationships and learn from their peers in a rigorous and supportive environment.

> Learn more about Meadows Artist-in-Residence Will Power

Each participant will develop his or her own three-scene project, followed by a closed reading for workshop members with actors from SMU and the local community. SMU will host the program, which will meet once a week from Nov. 1-Dec. 5, 2016. Participants must be available on Nov. 1 and then on Monday evenings through Dec. 5.

The Dallas Playwrights’ Workshop is intended for emerging and mid-career professional playwrights who live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, have previously written at least one play and are able to demonstrate a unique and compelling voice.

Download a 2016 Dallas Playwrights’ Workshop application

Interested writers should apply by submitting a completed application, a 10-page excerpt from any play they’ve written, a full-length play (one or two acts), a résumé or biography, and a one-page summary explaining their writing goals, the ways in which they’d like to develop as an artist and why they would like to participate in the program.

Application forms are available online and should be submitted via e-mail to Will Power. The application deadline is Friday, Oct. 14 at 5 p.m. Central time.

In its first three years, the Dallas Playwrights’ Workshop has helped foster the work of a number of local theatre artists. Award-winning playwright and SMU staff member Jonathan Norton ’11, a participant in the inaugural class in 2013-14, said the workshop was “a game changer for me. It was great, and very necessary, to have a place to return to week after week to deep-dive into the craft of playwriting.

“Will creates a very supportive environment that is still incredibly demanding and rigorous. Through the workshop I was able to articulate my strengths and weaknesses as a writer, and develop strategies to get better.”

> Read the full story from SMU News

October 7, 2016|Calendar Highlights, For the Record, News, Save the Date|

National Night Out 2016 at SMU features active-shooter simulation at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 4

National Night Out 2016 posterThe SMU community can learn more about what to do in an active-shooter situation through a simulated event that is part of the University’s National Night Out 2016.

The annual event, which promotes partnership among police and communities, is scheduled for 4-7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 4 on the Main Quad.

The SMU and University Park Police Departments, along with student actors from Meadows School of the Arts, will be part of the active-shooter simulation, which will begin at 5:30 p.m. in front of McFarlin Auditorium.

National Night Out also features free food and refreshments, as well as safety information from police and the University Park Fire Department. This year’s event is the culmination of SMU’s National Preparedness Month activities, designed to educate faculty, staff and students about safety in the event of evacuation, severe weather or lockdown situations.

October 3, 2016|Calendar Highlights, News, Save the Date|

Research: Rare inscription names mysterious Etruscan goddess

Greg Warden with Etruscan steleArchaeologists translating a very rare inscription have discovered the name of a goddess in a sacred text that is possibly the longest such Etruscan inscription ever discovered on stone.

The discovery indicates that Uni – a divinity of fertility and possibly a mother goddess at this particular place – may have been the titular deity worshipped at the sanctuary of Poggio Colla, a key settlement in Italy for the ancient Etruscan civilization.

“We can at this point affirm that this discovery is one of the most important Etruscan discoveries of the last few decades,” said SMU professor emeritus Gregory Warden. The University is the main sponsor of the archaeological dig.

“It’s a discovery that will provide not only valuable information about the nature of sacred practices at Poggio Colla, but also fundamental data for understanding the concepts and rituals of the Etruscans, as well as their writing and perhaps their language.”

Scientists discovered the ancient stone slab embedded as part of a temple wall at the Poggio Colla dig, where many other Etruscan objects have been found, including a ceramic fragment with the earliest birth scene in European art. That object reinforces the interpretation of a fertility cult at Poggio Colla, Warden said.

Poggia Colla steleNow Etruscan language experts are studying the 500-pound stele to translate the text. It’s very rare to identify the god or goddess worshipped at an Etruscan sanctuary.

“The location of its discovery – a place where prestigious offerings were made – and the possible presence in the inscription of the name of Uni, as well as the care of the drafting of the text, which brings to mind the work of a stone carver who faithfully followed a model transmitted by a careful and educated scribe, suggest that the document had a dedicatory character,” said Adriano Maggiani, formerly professor at the University of Venice and one of the scholars working to decipher the inscription.

“It is also possible that it expresses the laws of the sanctuary — a series of prescriptions related to ceremonies that would have taken place there, perhaps in connection with an altar or some other sacred space,” said Warden, co-director and principal investigator of the Mugello Valley Archaeological Project that made the discovery.

Warden said it will be easier to speak with more certainty once the archaeologists are able to completely reconstruct the text, which consists of as many as 120 characters or more.

While archaeologists understand how Etruscan grammar works, and know some of its words and alphabet, they expect to discover new words never seen before – particularly since this discovery is not a funerary text. Permanent Etruscan inscriptions are rare, as Etruscans typically used linen cloth books or wax tablets. The texts that have been preserved are quite short and are from graves.

Besides being possibly the longest Etruscan inscription on stone, it is also one of the three longest sacred texts to date. The sandstone slab, which dates to the 6th century BCE and is nearly four feet tall by more than two feet wide, was discovered in the final stages of two decades of digging at Mugello Valley, which is northeast of Florence in north central Italy.

Other objects unearthed in the past 20 years have shed light on Etruscan worship, beliefs, gifts to divinities, and discoveries related to the daily lives of elites and non-elites, including workshops, kilns, pottery and homes. The material helps document ritual activity from the 7th century to the 2nd century BCE.

— Margaret Allen

> Read the full story and see more images at SMUResearch.com

September 12, 2016|News, Research|

Eighteen SMU faculty members receive tenure, promotions effective Sept. 1, 2016

Eighteen distinguished SMU faculty members are newly tenured as associate professors or have been promoted to full professorships to begin the 2016-17 academic year.

The following individuals received tenure or promotion effective Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016:

Cox School of Business

Recommended for tenure and promotion to Associate Professor:

  • Michael Braun, Marketing

Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences

Recommended for tenure and promotion to Associate Professor:

  • Heather DeShon, Earth Sciences
  • Scott Norris, Mathematics
  • Rubén Sánchez-Godoy, World Languages and Literatures (Spanish)
  • Hervé Tchumkam, World Languages and Literatures (French)
  • Nicolay Tsarevsky, Chemistry

Recommended for promotion to Full Professor:

  • Matthew Hornbach, Earth Sciences
  • Thomas Knock, History
  • Rajani Sudan, English

Dedman School of Law

Recommended for tenure and promotion to Associate Professor:

  • W. Keith Robinson, Law (patent law, intellectual property)
  • David O. Taylor, Law (patent law, patent litigation, federal civil procedure, appellate advocacy, contract law)

Lyle School of Engineering

Recommended for promotion to Full Professor:

  • Ping (Peggy) Gui, Electrical Engineering

Meadows School of the Arts

Recommended for tenure and promotion to Associate Professor:

  • Jake Batsell, Journalism
  • Hye Jin Yoon, Advertising

Recommended for promotion to Full Professor:

  • H. Clifton Forbis, Music (Voice)
  • Adam Herring, Art History
  • Lisa Pon, Art History

Perkins School of Theology

Recommended for promotion to Full Professor:

  • Jaime Clark-Soles, Theology (New Testament)
August 8, 2016|For the Record, News|

Provost names Maria Dixon Hall to lead new campus-wide initiative on cultural intelligence

Maria Dixon HallSMU Provost Steve Currall has named Associate Professor of Organizational Communication and Director of Corporate Communication and Public Affairs Maria Dixon Hall as Provost’s Senior Advisor for Campus Cultural Intelligence Initiatives effective Monday, Aug. 1, 2016.

Professor Dixon Hall will have strategic oversight of an emerging initiative “designed to ensure that we are cultivating a campus culture involving faculty, staff and students that ensures our students are ready to effectively engage the complex world into which they will graduate,” said Currall, provost and vice president for academic affairs.

“The question that guides me in this unique appointment is: Whether in Detroit or Dubai, South Wales or South Dallas, do our classrooms equip our students to effectively communicate and negotiate human difference?” Currall added. “I believe the faculty has an especially vital role in fostering contexts that teach our students how to successfully and respectfully work, collaborate and create solutions regardless of who their partners may be. Professor Dixon Hall is uniquely qualified to lead this exciting initiative.”

“Last year, I promised the SMU community that we would be bold in our efforts to ensure that our campus was welcoming, inclusive and thoughtful about matters of difference. Maria’s appointment allows us to tap into her internationally recognized expertise in cultural intelligence,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “In addition to being an outstanding faculty member in the classroom, she has earned a reputation, through her research and consulting, for moving organizations and institutions beyond the old frameworks of diversity training to intelligent, thoughtful ways of communicating effectively across cultural boundaries. Her work as an organizational scholar and theologian will help us formulate sustainable actions to position SMU as a strategic leader in inclusion and cultural intelligence in higher education by 2025.”

Recognized throughout her SMU career for her teaching and research, Dixon Hall has been honored with the 2005-06 Willis M. Tate award for service to the student body; the 2009 Golden Mustang Award for outstanding teaching and research by junior faculty; the 2010 Rotunda Award for Outstanding Teaching; and the 2011 “M” Award, SMU’s highest award for service to the University. In 2016, she was named an Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor by SMU’s Center for Teaching Excellence.

“I am deeply honored by this appointment,” Dixon Hall said. “The conversations I’ve had with my colleagues during the past year have demonstrated the commitment our faculty has to ensuring that we are shaping world changers in every sense of the term. The opportunity to lead those conversations in service of a University I love is deeply gratifying. Provost Currall’s innovative structuring of this appointment can only encourage others like myself, who love the classroom, to occasionally step out of it and engage in these types of transformative opportunities on behalf of the University.”

Dixon Hall will return to research and teaching once the initiative is complete, at which time the University leadership will unveil a long-term plan to sustain the cultural intelligence programs she will develop.

Professor Dixon Hall joined the SMU faculty in 2004. As Director of Corporate Communication and Public Affairs in the Meadows School of the Arts’ Division of Corporate Communication and Public Affairs, she oversees curriculum and assessment for the Bachelor of Arts in Corporate Communication program.

She also serves as the director of Mustang Consulting, an in-house firm staffed by top communication students, whose global client list includes Southwest Airlines (Dallas), The Dance Theatre of Harlem (New York), the Ugandan American Partnership Organization (Kampala/Dallas), The Lydia Patterson Institute (El Paso), and Lifeworks (Austin). The firm’s research has been featured in The New York Times, The Dallas Morning News, D Magazine, The Franchise Times, and Restaurant Nation.

Dixon Hall’s research and professional consulting is focused on the implications of identity, power and organizational culture on the strategic communication of religious and non-profit organizations. Dixon Hall serves on the editorial boards and as a reviewer for both her field’s national and international publication outlets, as well as their academic conferences. Her work appears in the discipline’s top journals, including Management Communication Quarterly, The Journal of Communication and Religion, Business Communication Quarterly and Southern Journal of Communication.

Dixon Hall maintains an active speaking schedule and is a frequent contributor to national media outlets such as TIME Magazine and CNN on issues of race and education. Her examination of the University of Oklahoma’s failures in dealing with race, “Transformation 101,” became one of 2015’s most viral blog posts. A probationary deacon in the North Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church, she is also a frequent contributor to the United Methodist Reporter and The Religious News Service.

A graduate of the Culverhouse School of Business at the University of Alabama, Dixon Hall earned a Master of Divinity and a Master of Theology from the Candler School of Theology of Emory University. She received her Ph.D. in organizational communication and religion from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2004.

July 22, 2016|For the Record, News|
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