For the Record: May 3, 2013

Anthony Cortese, Sociology, Dedman College, participated in an invited panel discussion, Outside the Silo: The Interdisciplinary Teacher-Scholar, at the annual meetings of the Southern Sociological Society, held March 23-27, 2013 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Atlanta. He also presented a paper, The Tucson and Norway Massacres: Deconstructing Competing Narratives, in a session on Types of Crime and Victims.

Ron Wetherington, Anthropology, Dedman College, has been selected as a panelist for the Texas Education Agency in the review of proposed new science textbooks for the state. He will assess high school biology texts for 2014 adoption by the state Board of Education. The review runs from May to July 2013.

Shannon Woodruff, a Ph.D. candidate in the research lab of Nicolay Tsarevsky, Chemistry, Dedman College, was one of four national recipients of the Ciba Travel Award in Green Chemistry awarded annually by the American Chemical Society (ACS). The annual award sponsors the participation of high school, undergraduate and graduate students in an ACS technical meeting, conference or training program to expand the students’ education in green chemistry. Woodruff used his award in April to attend the 245th National Meeting of the ACS in New Orleans, where he presented his research on “Well-defined functional epoxide-containing polymers by low-catalyst concentration atom transfer radical polymerization.” Tsarevsky’s lab focuses on the synthesis of polymers with controlled molecular weight and architecture, and precise placement of specific functionalities including biomedical applications such as controlled delivery and imaging.

Dedman Law’s Beth Thornburg named next CTE director

Elizabeth Thornburg, SMU professor of lawElizabeth Thornburg, professor in SMU’s Dedman School of Law, will serve as director of the University’s Center for Teaching Excellence effective June 1, 2012. During Spring Term 2012, she will begin work with current CTE Director Ron Wetherington to become familiar with the Center’s activities, according to an e-mail announcement from Provost Paul Ludden dated Nov. 17, 2011.

Wetherington, professor of anthropology in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, will return to full-time teaching.

“Professor Thornburg takes over a Center that for years has been ably managed by Professor Wetherington, and we thank him for his many years of service and leadership in promoting teaching excellence at SMU,” Ludden wrote. “Professor Wetherington has earned our thanks and applause, especially from those who have begun their teaching careers at SMU.”

Thornburg teaches and writes in the area of civil procedure and alternative dispute resolution. Her scholarship focuses on the procedural fairness of the litigation process, especially at the pleadings, discovery and jury charge stages. She has taught in the Law School since 1988 and served as its associate dean for academic affairs from 1996-98. She has received the Law School’s Don M. Smart Teaching Award and has served on the Provost’s Commission on Teaching & Learning. She also participated in a Common Law Countries Project on Teaching Civil Procedure.

For the Record: May 19, 2011

Ron WetheringtonRon Wetherington (top right), Anthropology, Dedman College, has been appointed to the State Textbook Review Panel for Supplemental Science. Wetherington, who also serves as director of the University’s Center for Teaching Excellence, will serve on the review panel for Supplemental Science Biology, which will meet in Austin during the week of June 13-17, 2011.

The review panel will help determine instructional materials to be used by school districts and open-enrollment charter schools for the next several years. Panel members’ responsibilities include reviewing and evaluating instructional materials submitted for the adoption by the State Board of Education; determining the extent to which instructional materials cover the required Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS); and identifying factual errors in the materials.

Anthony Cortese, Sociology, Dedman College, participated in the Pacific Sociological Association meetings in Seattle, Washington. He critiqued Behind the Backlash: Muslims After 9/11 by Lori Peek in an “Author Meets the Critics” session and organized and moderated two sessions on immigration: “Immigrants and Immigration Policy” and “Latino Immigrants: Human Rights and Economic Issues.” He also presented a paper, “The Blurring of Goffman’s Concepts of Private and Public Pictures on Social Networks,” at the Southern Sociological Society meetings in Jacksonville, Florida.

Jodi Cooley, Physics, Dedman College, has received a 2011 Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award, sponsored by the Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU). The award provides $10,000 to support her research. Cooley is one of 30 awardees selected nationally this year.

Chef Elias Acosta, SMU Dining Services, by Michael Danser, The Daily CampusElias Acosta (middle right), SMU Dining Services, earned a Gold Medal in the Southwest Regional ARAMARK Culinary Excellence (ACE) Challenge 2011. He won the award for his menu of Pan-Seared Pistachio Crusted Sea Bass with glazed baby carrots and risotto, and a dessert of Handmade Crêpes with Grand Marnier Goat Cheese garnished with figs and fresh mandarin segments. Acosta will be one of three chefs to represent the Southwest Region in the ACE National Competition in July. (Photo by Michael Danser, The Daily Campus.)

Amy Buono, Art History, Meadows School of the Arts, has received post-doctoral fellowships from both the Getty Research Institute and the American Association of University Women. She will be in residence during 2011-12 at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles, California, completing work on her book manuscript Feather Techné: Tupinambá Interculture in Early Modern Brazil and Europe.

Buono also is completing work on an edited translation of the 1766 illustrated Jesuit medicinal Collecção de varias receitas de segredos particulares des principaes boticas da nossa companhia de Portugal, da India, de Macao e do Brasil, with E. J. Brill Publishers. In Summer 2010 Buono received a residential New World Comparative Studies Summer Fellowship at the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University.

Emily George Grubbs, Central University Libraries, will present a gallery talk, “Adventures in the Archives: Discovering the Gigaku Masks,” at the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) May 25, 2011. Grubbs, curatorial assistant for the Hamon Arts Library’s Bywaters Special Collections, will discuss her discovery of two rare Japanese masks dating from the 8th to 10th centuries among the artifacts in the Library’s McCord/Renshaw Collection. Her co-presenter is Anne Bromberg, the DMA’s Cecil and Ida Green Curator of Ancient and Asian Art.

Ramsey Kweik and Maria Richards, SMU Geothermal LaboratoryRoberto Tejada, Art History, Meadows School of the Arts, will serve as a juror for the National Book Award in 2011-12.

Ramsey Kweik, a geological sciences major and 2011 graduating senior in Dedman College, was named SMU’s 2011 Student Employee of the Year in April. Kweik worked as an assistant in the SMU Geothermal Laboratory for nearly four years. His responsibilities include assisting with research projects from federal and state agencies and private companies, giving presentations as part of the geothermal outreach program, and assisting with coordination of the international Geothermal Energy Utilization Associated with Oil and Gas Development conference hosted by SMU.

In her nomination letter, Geothermal Laboratory Program Coordinator Maria Richards wrote, “I have seen Ramsey demonstrate reliability, quality of work, initiative, a positive attitude and professionalism in all that he contributes to the SMU Geothermal Laboratory. Although he is a student employee, he has become a friend and colleague over the past four years.” (Bottom right, Ramsey Kweik and Maria Richards.)

Common Reading 2011: The price of immortality

Book cover of 'The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks'Henrietta Lacks was a poor tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors. She died of cervical cancer in 1951, at age 31. Yet her cells – taken without her knowledge, from the tumor that killed her – are still alive today.

Bought and sold by the billions, HeLa cells have played a crucial role in developing the polio vaccine, uncovering the secrets of cancer, and revealing the effects of the atomic bomb, among other medical milestones. Yet Henrietta herself remains virtually unknown and for decades was buried in an unmarked grave. And even though her immortal cells launched a multimillion-dollar industry, her family never saw any of the profits.

SMU has named The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot as the class of 2015’s Common Reading Experience – the book all incoming first-year students will read and discuss together.

Skloot, a science journalist writing her first book, “tells a rich, resonant tale of modern science, the wonders it can perform and how easily it can exploit society’s most vulnerable people,” according to a starred review from Publishers Weekly. National Public Radio called the book “one of the best conversation starters of 2010.”

The Common Reading Selection and Implementation Committee hails Skloot’s work for raising “thought-provoking questions in areas as disparate as medical ethics and the tension between a writer’s compassion for her subject matter and her insistence on telling the truth,” said Associate Provost Harold Stanley in a Feb. 7 e-mail announcing the selection.

In anticipation of the student discussions next fall, SMU’s Center for Teaching Excellence and moderator Ron Wetherington will host a series of reading circles during Spring 2011.

The reading circle discussions are scheduled as follows:

  • Monday, March 21 (section 1)
  • Monday, March 28 (section 2)
  • Monday, April 4 (section 3)

All CTE discussions will be held noon-1 p.m. in the Texana Room, DeGolyer Library. Register online at the CTE homepage to participate.

All faculty and staff members who agree to host a Common Reading student discussion in August will receive a free copy of the book. To volunteer, contact Diana Grumbles, senior lecturer in English and director of first-year writing.

> Watch for more information at the Central University Libraries’ Common Reading page

Tune In: The Texas textbook controversy

In May 2010, the Texas State Board of Education approved a controversial new curriculum that will emphasize politically conservative interpretations of American history and other subjects. David Chard, dean of SMU’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development, and Dedman College Anthropology Professor Ron Wetherington, who served on a committee of experts that advised the board on science standards, were critical of the decision – adopted 9-5 in a vote along party lines.

Chard discussed the Texas textbook controversy during “The Ed Show” on MSNBC May 21, 2010. Wetherington spoke on the same topic on the same day with CBS 11 News.

Click the YouTube screens below to view their commentary.

Faculty in the News: May 4, 2009

Rita Kirk, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs, Meadows School of the Arts, discussed President Obama’s performance in communicating information about the swine flu outbreak with The Dallas Morning News April 30, 2009.

Cal Jillson, Political Science, Dedman College, talked about President Obama’s governing tactics during his first 100 days in office with The Christian Science Monitor April 26, 2009.

Ron Wetherington, Anthropology, Dedman College, provided expertise for an article on controversial Texas State Board of Education Chair Don McLeroy in the San Antonio Express-News April 22, 2009.

Ron Wetherington named a ‘Grassroots Hero’ by Texas Freedom Network

SMU Anthropology Professor Ron WetheringtonRon Wetherington, professor of anthropology in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences and director of the University’s Center for Teaching Excellence, has received the 2009 Grassroots Hero Award from the Texas Freedom Network (TFN). Wetherington will accept the award April 16 at a ceremony in Dallas.

TFN presents the award each year to “a dedicated individual who exemplifies our work to stand up for science.”

An expert in evolutionary theory, Wetherington’s research interests include population genetics, human paleontology, science pedagogy and the historical archaeology of the U.S. Southwest. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in human evolution and forensic anthropology, as well as a noncredit required course for departmental graduate students, “Learning to Teach – Teaching to Learn.” He is the author of Understanding Human Evolution (West Publishing, 1992) and 4 other books on anthropology and archaeology.

The TFN award citation points to Wetherington’s service during 2008-09 as an expert reviewer appointed by the Texas State Board of Education to evaluate new science curriculum standards.

“Whether working behind the scenes to patiently educate board members or in front of the cameras making a vocal case for science standards free from creationist ideology, Dr. Wetherington has worked tirelessly to ensure Texas students have a rigorous science curriculum that will prepare them for the 21st century,” TFN states.

For the Record: Oct. 17, 2008

Ron Wetherington, Anthropology, has been named as one of six members of an expert panel that will review proposed new science curriculum standards for Texas public schools for the Texas Education Agency (TEA).

Kevin Dilliard, Campus Planning and Plant Operations, will receive a Green Star Award for SMU in the Urban Universities category from the Professional Grounds Management Society at the Green Industry Expo Oct. 22-25, 2008, in Louisville, Kentucky. The award recognizes “professional accomplishment and excellence in grounds management” and is the third such award SMU has won during the past 7 years.