Students and holiday stress: How to cope, how to help

Provost’s Office

Students and holiday stress: How to cope, how to help

Dallas Hall Rotunda with studentsAs SMU enters both the holiday and exam seasons, the Office of the Provost is asking that all University community members look out for signs of stress in themselves and in co-workers and students.

The stretch from Thanksgiving to the end of finals is “a time of significant stress for many members of our community,” wrote Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Steven Currall in an e-mail message dated Nov. 21, 2016. “We ask each of you to be aware of signs of stress in yourself and those around you. In particular, I ask that you be aware of signs of stress among students, especially first-year students as they are experiencing their first round of final exams.”

In addition, Currall urged students “who feel the stress of the season and finals” to visit the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center and make use of several resources available to them. Learn more under the jump.

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November 29, 2016|News|

Willard Spiegelman receives Scholar/Teacher of the Year Award at 2016 Fall General Faculty Meeting

Willard Spiegelman, Hughes Professor of English in Dedman College, was honored as the 2015-16 United Methodist Church University Scholar/Teacher of the Year at SMU’s 2016 Fall General Faculty Meeting Wednesday, Aug. 24.

The first meeting of the entire faculty for the 2016-17 academic year featured the Spring 2016 Faculty Senate report, the presentation of regalia to newly tenured faculty, and President R. Gerald Turner’s updates on initiatives ranging from cultural intelligence to continuing education.

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August 31, 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|

Ebonii Nelson named Interim Assistant Provost of Strategic Initiatives and Director of Student Retention

Ebonii Nelson, SMU Interim Assistant ProvostSMU Provost Steve Currall has named Ebonii Nelson as Interim Assistant Provost of Strategic Initiatives and Director of Student Retention effective July 1, 2016. Nelson previously served as Assistant Director of Student Success at SMU.

In her duties as interim assistant provost, Nelson will further propel SMU’s initiatives focused on student success, retention and outreach to at-risk students.

“Ebonii Nelson’s skills and experience are ideally suited to continue advancing SMU’s commitment to students’ academic success,” said Dr. Currall, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “As an SMU alumna, and former Assistant Director of Student Success at SMU, Ebonii has deep knowledge of the innovative programs that the University has developed to ensure that our students flourish in the classroom and make timely progress toward completion of their degrees. I have every confidence that Ebonii will be an outstanding steward of SMU’s commitment to academic achievement of our students.”

The Assistant Provost of Strategic Initiatives and Director of Student Retention oversees one of SMU’s signature programs to support and retain students, the Rotunda Academic Scholars Program. The office provides targeted academic advising, weekly review sessions in key gateway courses, peer counseling and mentoring, collaborative learning workshops and extracurricular learning enhancement experiences involving service and civic engagement to enhance Scholars’ overall marketability for “world-changing” careers.

“As SMU continues to prioritize student retention and overall success, I am enthusiastic and privileged to join Provost Currall and his team to further strengthen this important work,” said Nelson. “I believe my knowledge of SMU culture as an alumna, and previous experience as a professional in both student affairs and academic affairs, will equip me to maintain and enhance the campus relationships, policies and practices that support our amazing students.”

Nelson previously served as an academic adviser with the University Advising Center, where she developed the Peer Academic Leader Program and supported the men’s and women’s basketball and swimming and diving teams. She has held previous positions at the University of Texas at Arlington, the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, Gainesville State College, Texas Woman’s University and the University of Georgia.

Nelson graduated from SMU with a bachelor’s degree in psychology with minors in Spanish, sociology and women’s studies. She earned a master’s degree in college student affairs administration from the University of Georgia and is currently earning a master’s in counseling at SMU.

July 11, 2016|For the Record, News|

Douglas A. Reinelt named SMU Associate Provost effective Aug. 1, 2016

SMU, Faculty, Dedman School of Humanities, Mathematics, Reinelt, Douglas, PhDSMU Provost Steve Currall has named Professor of Mathematics and Faculty Senate Past-President Douglas A. Reinelt as Associate Provost effective Aug. 1, 2016.

In his duties as associate provost, Professor Reinelt will manage faculty recruitment and hiring, assist the Provost in administering faculty tenure and promotion, organize general faculty events, and coordinate faculty honors programs such as the University Scholar-Teacher Award and the Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Awards. In addition, he will oversee department reviews and lead the annual Department Chair Review.

Reinelt will also chair the Educational Programs Committee, which advises the Provost on matters involving curricular change, new program initiation, and program discontinuance.

“Professor Doug Reinelt is ideally equipped to serve as SMU’s new Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs,” said Dr. Currall, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “He has a deep commitment to the University stemming from having served as a faculty member at SMU for more than 30 years. His leadership will also be informed by his experience as a two-time chair of the Department of Mathematics in Dedman College of Humanities and Science. Doug has held a variety of other leadership positions on campus including, most recently, President of the Faculty Senate and a member of the SMU Board of Trustees. I look forward to partnering with Doug to further develop faculty excellence at SMU.”

Reinelt, an expert in mathematical modeling of fluid problems, joined the Dedman College mathematics faculty in 1983. He served as department chair from 1999 to 2005 and from 2009 to 2015. His research focuses on scientific computation and perturbation analysis of free surface fluid problems including fluid dynamics of bubbles and thin films, coating flows, and foam rheology.

Reinelt has published dozens of articles that have appeared in journals such as Physical Review Letters, SIAM Journal on Applied Mathematics, Journal of Fluid Mechanics, Physics of Fluids, and the Journal of Colloid and Interface Science and has contributed chapters in Foams and Emulsions and other special volumes. His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation and Sandia National Laboratories.

In addition to serving as mathematics department chair, Reinelt has served as Undergraduate Director in the Department of Mathematics as well as on the Faculty Council, Advisory Committee for Promotion and Tenure in Dedman College Division III, and the Undergraduate Council. He has also served on the Operational Excellence for the Second Century (OE2C) Executive Committee and many other department, college and university committees.  In 2007, he received the Mathematics Department’s Betty McKnight Speairs Endowed Teaching Excellence Award.

As a Habitat for Humanity (HfH) volunteer for 25 years, Reinelt has helped build hundreds of houses as a construction volunteer and house leader primarily in South and West Dallas. He also serves as faculty adviser to SMU’s HfH Student Chapter and has been the adult leader for SMU student HfH trips to Paraguay, El Salvador and Costa Rica to build homes.  He received the SMU Faculty Volunteer of the Year Award in 2007 for his work with HfH and the Dallas Chapter’s highest honor, the Mary Brock Award, in 2011 for his commitment to the mission of eradicating substandard housing in the Dallas Area.

“I have seen the great progress that SMU has made during my many years as a faculty member and know that the university has the potential to become an even greater institution. I am enthusiastic about joining Provost Currall and his team as we strive to improve the overall academic excellence of SMU,” Reinelt said. “I believe that my experience as a faculty member, department chair, and President of the Faculty Senate will be helpful as we work together to create an even better environment where faculty members can realize their full potential and outstanding new faculty are excited about joining SMU.”

Reinelt earned his B.S. degree in physics and mathematics from the University of the Pacific in 1978 and his Ph.D. in applied mathematics from the California Institute of Technology in 1983. He has been a visiting scholar or visiting faculty member at Stanford University, Sandia National Laboratories and Université Louis Pasteur in Strasbourg, France.

June 14, 2016|Faculty in the News, For the Record, News|
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