Provost appoints search committee for new position of associate provost for Continuing Education

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SMU Provost Steve Currall has appointed the search committee for the newly created position of associate provost for Continuing Education. In support of one of the major objectives in SMU’s strategic plan, “Engage the community for lifelong learning through professional training and continuing education,” and in response to the report provided by the Task Force on Continuing Education, SMU President R. Gerald Turner and Provost Currall have created this position.

“Although SMU currently engages in wide-ranging efforts in continuing education, we see great potential for the new associate provost to help prioritize continuing education by providing leadership and coordination across the university,” said Currall. “He or she will ensure that continuing education advances SMU’s academic mission and is in close alignment with the University’s academic values and its visibility in the eyes of SMU stakeholders.”

Reporting to the provost, the inaugural associate provost for Continuing Education will provide University-wide leadership to prioritize, coordinate, support and grow continuing education. An institution-wide strategy will build on the notable efforts that some academic units have already developed in continuing education. The associate provost will oversee Continuing and Professional Education (CAPE) and the Master of Science in Data Science program. He or she also will work with the new Continuing Education Program Council (CEPC), comprised of the deans of academic units and chaired by the provost. CEPC will provide input to the associate provost regarding the overall strategy for SMU’s continuing education and review new proposals as well as revisions to existing programs.

“President Turner and I seek a candidate for this position who has a clear and compelling vision for the development and implementation of continuing education at SMU,” Currall added. “The ideal person will have a strong record of administrative leadership and management skills with a demonstrated record of success in a large and multifaceted organization. They need the transformational leadership capacity to shepherd continuing education at SMU during a time of significant pedagogical innovation in higher education.”

SMU has offered continuing education to the community in different ways since the early 1920s. Currently, continuing education programs in the academic units report through their respective dean to the provost. CAPE and the M.S. in Data Science program report directly to the Provost’s Office.

Continuing Education at SMU includes noncredit courses such as those offered by CAPE and by Executive Education in Cox. The seven academic schools offer for-credit and degree programs as well.

Associate Provost for Student Academic Services Julie P. Forrester will chair the search committee. Its members include:

  • Hal Barkley, professor and chair, Dispute Resolution and Counseling, Simmons School of Education and Human Development
  • Ernie Barry, associate vice president for Budget and Finance
  • Bill Dillon, senior associate dean of academic affairs, and the Herman W. Lay Professor of Marketing, Cox School of Business
  • Michael Harris, director, Center for Teaching Excellence and associate professor of education policy and leadership, Simmons School of Education and Human Development
  • Kevin Hofeditz, senior associate dean and professor of theatre, Meadows School of the Arts
  • Robert Howell, professor of philosophy, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences
  • Renee McDonald, associate dean for research and academic affairs, and professor of psychology, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences
  • Volkan Otugen, senior associate dean and professor of mechanical engineering, Lyle School of Engineering
  • Priscilla Pope-Levinson, associate dean for external programs and professor of ministerial studies, Perkins School of Theology
  • Harold W. Stanley, vice president for executive affairs, and the Geurin-Pettus Distinguished Chair in American Politics and Political Economy, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences
  • Beth Thornburg, senior associate dean and the Richard R. Lee Endowed Professor of Law, Dedman School of Law
  • Kimberly Rutigliano, director of Continuing and Professional Education
  • Valerie Parker, Human Resources business partner

Rutigliano and Parker will assist the committee in a non-voting, ex officio capacity. The committee welcomes input from the SMU community regarding possible candidates for the position. The higher education search firm of Greenwood/Asher & Associates, Inc. will assist the University in the national search.

Inquiries, nominations and applications should be sent in strict confidence to:

Jan Greenwood or Betty Turner Asher
Greenwood/Asher & Associates, Inc.
42 Business Centre Drive, Suite 206
Miramar Beach, Florida 32550
Phone: 850-650-2277 / Fax: 850-650-2272
Email: jangreenwood@greenwoodsearch.com
Email: bettyasher@greenwoodsearch.com

 

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Save the date: 2016 Fall General Faculty Meeting takes place Wednesday, Aug. 24

SMU President R. Gerald Turner will address the University faculty at the Fall General Faculty Meeting Wednesday, Aug. 24 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center. The meeting will begin at 3:45 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Theater, following a reception beginning at 3 p.m. in Centennial Hall and the Theater foyer.

Newly tenured faculty will receive their regalia during the meeting. In addition, 2016-17 Faculty Senate President Jeanne Stevenson-Moessner will give the Senate’s report. Provost Steven Currall will make his first address to the General Faculty Meeting and announce the winner of the 2015-16 Scholar/Teacher of the Year Award from the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of The United Methodist Church.

SMU CUL Dean Gillian McCombs announces her retirement, effective summer 2017

Gillian M. McCombs, Dean and Director, SMU Central University LibrariesGillian McCombs, dean and director of SMU’s Central University Libraries, has announced her retirement from that position effective in summer 2017.

SMU Provost Steven Currall will announce the timeframe for the search for a new permanent dean and director this fall.

McCombs joined SMU in 1998 and guided the University’s central library system through a transformation of resources, facilities and services in response to changing student and faculty needs. One of the most visible examples of her leadership is the Fondren Library Center renovation. The Fondren Foundation Centennial Reading Room and new Hillcrest Foundation Exhibit Hall opened April 15, marking the completion of the first phase. The final phase includes a Starbucks Café and Collaborative Commons, which will open with a student-centered celebration in September 2016.

> SMU News: SMU celebrates Fondren Library transformation

“Great libraries are the heart of the University, and at the heart of Dean McCombs’ leadership of SMU Central University Libraries has been an unwavering focus on our library users’ evolving needs, particularly those of our students,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “A prime example is the CUL Student Advisory Council she created to provide the student perspective as library staff shapes programs, services and spaces that enhance the user experience and support academic achievement. Gillian has been a passionate advocate for CUL, and we are grateful for her many contributions to the University.”

McCombs oversees three libraries on the main campus – Fondren Library Center, including the Norwick Center for Digital Services; DeGolyer Library, SMU’s principal repository for special collections in the humanities, the history of business, and the history of science and technology; and the Hamon Arts Library in Meadows School of the Arts – as well as the Fort Burgwin Library at SMU-in-Taos and the SMU-in-Plano Library Resource Room.

“Dean McCombs has had a longstanding and distinguished career leading Central University Libraries at SMU. In addition to being an insightful voice about advancing libraries at SMU, Gillian is a globally recognized intellectual leader about the future of libraries, digitization of documents, and the creative use of library buildings to foster innovation and interdisciplinary collaboration,” said SMU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Steven Currall. “One of the crowning achievements of her career was the recent renovation of SMU’s Fondren Library to ensure that it meets the current and future needs of SMU faculty and students. Gillian has been an inspiring leader of the CUL staff, a true academic partner with SMU’s other deans, and an invaluable colleague in advancing SMU.”

Among her SMU career highlights:

  • McCombs led CUL’s observance of the University’s Year of the Library in 2013, joining SMU President R. Gerald Turner in welcoming the acquisition of American explorer John Maley’s travel journal (1808-1812) that represented the libraries’ four-millionth volume. The gift was made by the SMU Board of Trustees in honor of former President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush and the opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Center.
  • She launched a digital collections initiative, which now numbers 51 collections comprising 50,000 images, documents, videos and other materials from SMU’s special collections, all available to the public online. CUL also scaled up its delivery of e-resources and now provides access to over one million e-books and 75,000 e-journals.
  • As dean and director, she guided CUL’s participation in several major collaborative ventures including the Greater Western Library Alliance’s Occam’s Reader Project, a groundbreaking e-book pilot program; the Association of College and Research Libraries’ three-year research initiative studying the impact of academic libraries on student achievement; and a partnership with the George W. Bush Presidential Library and the Mount Vernon Ladies Association to bring George Washington’s personal copy of The Acts of Congress to campus.

Throughout her service to SMU, McCombs has published extensively in the areas of organizational culture, technology and digital services, leadership and management, fundraising and historical children’s literature. She has won numerous awards in the library profession and serves on the editorial board of portal: Libraries and the Academy, a research journal focused on the evolving role of academic libraries and librarians.

Her professional affiliations include membership on the Greater Western Library Alliance Board of Directors. She has represented the United States on the International Federation of Libraries Association, Academic Libraries standing committee and has served on numerous committees and advisory boards of the American Library Association. In North Texas she has served on the Dallas Museum of Art’s Libraries, Archives and Imaging Services Committee, the University of North Texas School of Library and Information Sciences Board of Advisors and the Texas Woman’s University School of Library and Information Studies External Constituent Board.

McCombs began her professional career in England as the music librarian at Huddersfield Public Library in her native Yorkshire. Her career in the United States started in Washington, D.C., where she worked at the Landscape Architecture and Garden Library at Dumbarton Oaks, as well as such federal libraries as the National Library of Medicine, the Federal Reserve, and the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Prior to joining SMU, she served as assistant director of technical services and systems for 16 years at the University at Albany, State University of New York (SUNY), where she earned a master’s degree in public administration.

McCombs received a bachelor’s degree in French and European literature (honors) from the University of Warwick and a master’s degree from the Leeds School of Librarianship in England.

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.

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.