Matthew Desmond’s Pulitzer Prize-winner Evicted will be SMU’s 2017 Common Reading

 

'Evicted' cover, Matthew DesmondIn 2017, most poor renting families are spending more than half of their income on housing. Eviction, once a rare, last-resort scenario, has become an ordinary occurrence, especially for single mothers.

Harvard sociologist and MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipient Matthew Desmond went into the poorest neighborhoods of Milwaukee to learn the stories of families struggling to keep even meager shelter. The Pulitzer Prize-winning book that resulted – Evicted: Poverty and Profit In the American City – is SMU’s 2017 Common Reading.

Significantly, one of the families Desmond profiles includes a landlord and her husband, writes Peter K. Moore, SMU associate provost for curricular innovation and policy. “Discussing the great difficulties the poor face just to keep a roof over their heads, it would have been easy to demonize the landlords, but Desmond shows their struggles as well — providing real nuance and a window into the issue’s complexities.

“Ideally, this work will reveal to our students how much some people struggle to stay afloat financially — introducing them to the fact that those living near the poverty line typically spend up to 50 percent and in some cases 90 percent of their income on a decent and safe place to live,” Moore added.

> Follow Matthew Desmond on Twitter: @just_shelter

In a Washington Post review, Carlos Lozada wrote, “In this astonishing feat of ethnography, Desmond immerses himself in the lives of Milwaukee families caught in the cycle of chronic eviction. In spare and penetrating prose, [he] chronicles the economic and psychological toll of living in substandard housing, and the eviscerating impact of constantly moving between homes and shelters. With Evicted, Desmond has made it impossible to consider poverty without grappling with the role of housing.”

“Written with the vividness of a novel, [Evicted] offers a dark mirror of middle-class America’s obsession with real estate, laying bare the workings of the low end of the market, where evictions have become just another part of an often lucrative business model,” wrote Jennifer Schuessler in The New York Times.

The annual book discussion with faculty, staff members and new SMU students will take place on Sunday, Aug. 20, before Opening Convocation.

In addition, Desmond will visit the University Thursday, August 24, for a 6 p.m. lecture in McFarlin Auditorium, with a Q&A session and book-signing afterward.

> Learn more at the SMU Reads website: smu.edu/smureads

 

Peter Moore appointed to campuswide curricular and policy role

Dedman Faculty Peter Moore PortraitPeter K. Moore, SMU associate dean for general education and a longtime advocate for liberal studies and scholarship, has been appointed associate provost for curricular innovation and policy effective Oct. 3, 2016.

Moore’s new role is part of a reorganization of the University’s Office of General Education, which will move from Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences to the Office of the Provost. The move was announced jointly by Steven Currall, provost and vice president for academic affairs, and Thomas DiPiero, dean of Dedman College, after extensive consultation with the SMU Faculty Senate.

Moore will also continue as co-chair of the Provost’s General Education Review Task Force.

Locating the Office of General Education in the Office of the Provost is expected to provide several benefits for both the University at large and to Dedman College, say Currall and DiPiero:

  • The new arrangement will allow SMU to be more strategically responsive to trends in higher education and in the marketplace.
  • The new structure will enhance flexibility to ensure the University Curriculum works for every undergraduate college and school.
  • The new associate provost will provide coordination across the curriculum.
  • The associate provost will also work to promote innovations in curricular structure and content.
  • University advising, the University Honors Program and the Hilltop Scholars Program will remain in Dedman College.

Moore brings to his new position a wealth of familiarity with SMU’s core curriculum. As head of the Office of General Education, since 2014 he has worked with the University Curriculum Committee and the Faculty Senate’s Academic Policies Committee, as well as faculty across the University, to develop the revised curriculum known as UC 2016 based on data and experience gained from the University Curriculum of 2010.

> Learn more about UC 2016 at the SMU General Education homepage

A professor of mathematics, Moore has also served as senior associate dean and associate dean of academic affairs in Dedman College since July 2010. Dean DiPiero will appoint a new full-time associate dean; plans for that process will be announced at a later date.

“During recent years, Professor Moore’s work has evolved to be more focused on campuswide general education and liberal arts,” said Currall. “This move will create an opportunity for Peter to use his considerable talents in the Provost’s Office and for Dedman College to have a fully dedicated associate dean.”

“Peter Moore is passionate about undergraduate education, and he knows more about how different institutions approach it than anyone I know,” said DiPiero. “I look forward to continuing a close and collaborative working relationship with him as we design new programs and continue to fine-tune our University Curriculum.”

Moore joined the Department of Mathematics in Dedman College in August 2000, after serving 11 years as a faculty member at Tulane University in New Orleans. His teaching interests include calculus, differential equations, numerical analysis and modeling.

He served as department chair from August 2005 to May 2009, and twice as dean ad interim of the College: from June 2009 to July 2010 and from June to August 2014. His SMU service also includes membership on the Provost’s Committee on Tenure and Promotion and the Steering Committee for Project SMU: Operational Excellence for the Second Century (OE2C), now the Office of Operational Excellence.

As a researcher, Moore is an expert in the computational solution of reaction-diffusion equations that occur in a variety of scientific and engineering applications. His projects have been funded by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy, among others.

Moore’s work has been published in several major peer-reviewed journals, including the Journal of Numerical Mathematics, Applied Numerical Mathematics, Mathematics of Computation, Chemical Physics Letters, the Journal of Computational Physics, the Journal of Physical Chemistry, Physica D: Nonlinear Phenomena, and Chaos: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Nonlinear Science.

Moore received the “M” Award, SMU’s highest honor for service to the University, in 2012. In 2010, during his first appointment as Dedman College acting dean, he became the first administrator to be elected to membership in Phi Beta Kappa by the SMU (Gamma of Texas) chapter. His professional service includes an appointment to the editorial board of Applied Numerical Mathematics from January 2004 to December 2009.

Moore received his B.S. degree in mathematics from Michigan Technological University in 1981. He earned his master’s and Ph.D. degrees in mathematics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1983 and 1988.