Nominate a student worker for Student Employee of the Year

Do you have a student worker who goes above and beyond the call of duty? Honor him or her with a nomination for 2010 SMU Student Employee of the Year. The deadline is Feb. 15.

All nominees will be rated by panel of SMU judges, and the winner will be announced at a finalists’ luncheon during 2010 National Student Employment Week April 11-17. The University’s Student Employee of the Year will go on to compete for the regional title, and potentially at the national level.

Nominated students must have been employed for a minimum of 3 months full-time or 6 months part-time between July 1, 2009 and June 30, 2010 (anticipated) – the equivalent of 240 working hours during the year period. All undergraduate student workers are eligible; graduate students who are performing student employee jobs (not resident advisers, graduate assistants or teaching assistants) are eligible.

Submit the nomination form (PDF format) along with a nomination letter to Student Employment Coordinator Meredith Dawson, SMU Box 181, fax number 214-768-3878. For additional information, contact Meredith at 214-768-3490.

SMU reports death of student; no foul play suspected

An SMU student was found dead in his room in a campus housing facility at approximately 12:30 p.m. Jan. 22, 2010. The University has released the following statement:


We are saddened to report the death of an SMU student, who today was found deceased in his room at around 12:30 p.m. at a campus housing facility.

Preliminary indications are that no foul play was involved, but an investigation is being conducted by SMU Police with assistance from the Dallas County Medical Examiner and the Texas Rangers.

The mother of the student has been notified, but the student’s identity is being withheld pending notification of other family members. SMU will update information as it becomes available.

Counseling is being provided to other students in the residence and will continue to be available through the campus Health Center and the Office of the Chaplain.

Our prayers and thoughts are with the family and other loved ones at this time.


The statement at the SMU News website

Planning is key to success for students with learning differences

Frustration - Exam questions with broken pencilOne in nine college students have a learning difference such as attention-deficit disorder or dyslexia, according to a recent article in The Washington Post. At SMU about 350 students with learning disabilities are registered with the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities.

Members of the SMU President’s Advisory Committee on the Needs of Persons with Disabilities agree that planning ahead is key to success. SMU students with learning differences, the faculty who teach them, and the staff who support them share best practices for navigating the most challenging time of the semester. Look below the link for answers to the question: How do you prepare for finals?

Continue reading “Planning is key to success for students with learning differences”

Students choose top professors in 2009 HOPE Awards

Wayne Shaw, 2009 HOPE Professor of the YearStudent staff members in SMU’s Department of Residence Life and Student Housing honored 55 University educators at the 2009 HOPE Awards Banquet in November. HOPE (Honoring Our Professors’ Excellence) Award recipients are named through student staff member nominations as professors who “have made a significant impact to our academic education both inside and outside of the classroom.”

Wayne Shaw, Helmut Sohmen Distinguished Professor of Corporate Governance in the Cox School of Business, was honored as 2009 Professor of the Year. Three Dedman College professors – Mark Chancey, Religious Studies; Michael Lusztig, Political Science; and Tom Stone, English – were honored as Distinguished Professors, denoting that they have been recognized as HOPE Professors during at least 5 of the 12 years in which the honor has existed.

Read the complete list of honorees under the link below. Above, Professor of the Year Wayne Shaw (right in photo) with HOPE Committee member Ty Krueger, Fine Arts Community hall director.

Continue reading “Students choose top professors in 2009 HOPE Awards”

New mustangs’ roles at SMU football games defined

SMU mustangsSMU’s two new mustangs, given to the University earlier this fall by the National Wild Horse Foundation with the support of Madeleine and T. Boone Pickens, will participate in their first official University duties at this weekend’s SMU football game against Rice.

In a decision reached this week by members of the Student Senate, staff representatives and members of the Mustangs football team, the new horses will lead the team from the Mustangs statue at the north end of Mustang Plaza, passing through Doak Walker Plaza, and proceeding to Gerald J. Ford Stadium before each of SMU’s three remaining home games.

Peruna, the Mustangs’ official mascot, will then fulfill his generations-long tradition of leading the team from the locker room and onto the field. He also will continue to run across the field after SMU scores and will always be positioned at the end of the field to which the SMU offense is headed.

While Peruna handles his normal responsibilities, the mustangs will remain at Ford Stadium near the field’s southwest corner.

The University wishes to thank Student Senator Matthew Neman, Student Body Vice President Allison Reyes, Student Senator and Peruna Handler Jake Torres, football Captain Chase Kennemer and teammate Pete Fleps for their leadership and unifying efforts to incorporate gracefully our new horses into the color and pageantry of SMU Mustangs football.

(Above, Madeleine Pickens and SMU Athletic Director Steve Orsini stand between SMU’s two new mustangs at the “Salute to the Mustangs” halftime event during the SMU-Navy game Oct. 17.)

Commission on Substance Abuse releases 2008-09 report

The University Commission on Substance Abuse Education and Prevention has released its 2008-09 report, which is posted on the Live Responsibly site.

The ongoing commission – composed of students, faculty, and staff – is continuing the work of the President’s Task Force on Substance Abuse Prevention. In their new report, the commission members assess the University’s implementation of the more than 30 recommendations made by the task force.

The new initiatives include the Good Samaritan and Medical Amnesty Programs that encourage students to call for emergency help for themselves or friends due to substance abuse. In 2008-09, 34 students applied for and received amnesty.

Read more about the report on the Live Responsibly site

Installation ceremony for Chaplain Rankin takes place Sept. 14

SMU Chaplain Stephen RankinThe installation of new University Chaplain Stephen Rankin takes place at 4 p.m. Sept. 14 in Perkins Chapel. A reception will follow the ceremony in Jones Hall, Meadows Museum.

Rankin joined SMU in July 2009 as chaplain, minister to the University and adjunct professor of church history and ministry in Perkins School of Theology. Previously, he was campus minister and Kirk Chair Professor of Religious Studies at Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas.

Read more about Chaplain Rankin
Visit the SMU Chaplain’s Office online

SMU’s statement regarding the trial of James McDaniel

A Dallas federal jury has convicted James McDaniel of causing the May 2007 overdose death of SMU student Meaghan Bosch.

The University released the following statement on June 5, 2009, the day the verdict was announced:

Our thoughts have been with the family of Meaghan Bosch during this trial, and we hope that its completion gives a measure of closure to the family.

SMU representatives have attended the trial so that we can continue to learn as much as possible about the issue of substance abuse among young people, about how best to extend our efforts to educate students and prevent such future tragedies, and to help students who already have substance abuse issues. Our many education and prevention programs will continue, we will remain vigilant to needed changes, and we will persist in raising awareness among students and parents of the dangers and consequences of substance abuse.

What we have heard at the trial will allow us to examine whether we need to make additional changes to our programs aimed at preventing substance abuse.

Dallas Morning News: Accused drug dealer guilty in SMU student’s overdose death
Learn more about the University’s permanent Commission on Substance Abuse Prevention

SMU joins partnership for West Dallas redevelopment

Community engagementSMU has announced that it will work in partnership with community organizations in helping to rebuild the urban area of West Dallas. Under plans currently being developed, SMU will partner with Dallas Faith Communities Coalition and the West Dallas Education Task Force to explore the area’s needs and goals for access to high-quality K-12 schools.

“This effort is part of SMU’s commitment to apply the University’s resources of intellect and involvement to make a positive impact on our city, in cooperation with community groups,” said Paul Ludden, SMU provost and vice president for academic affairs.

Discussions with community leaders have involved several SMU deans and other top officials, as well as faculty with expertise in issues related to urban redevelopment.

University-wide involvement will be possible through SMU’s seven schools: Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences; Cox School of Business; Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering; Meadows School of the Arts; Perkins School of Theology, Dedman School of Law; and the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development.

The Simmons School is particularly well suited to draw upon its expertise, research and training programs in areas ranging from reading to mathematics. “Our multidisciplinary approach at the University will allow us to study and deliberate on how to make the best contribution to the community,” said David Chard, the school’s Leon Simmons Dean. “We have great tools at hand, such as assessment and research, strong academic programs and a dedication to student placements and internships.”

SMU, at the recommendation of its Community Engagement Council, will undertake further deliberations, studies and dialogue to determine how best to make an impact. Possibilities include involvement of faculty, staff and students in community and school activities; collecting and offering best practices for urban redevelopment; providing learning opportunities in a number of disciplines, both for students and for teacher training; mentoring and tutoring.

“These activities will also provide outstanding learning experiences for our students,” said Vice President for Student Affairs Lori White, who chairs SMU’s Community Engagement Council with Provost Ludden.

SMU officials took part in a breakfast and discussion May 18 at Dallas City Hall sponsored by Mayor Tom Leppert, the West Dallas Education Task Force and the Dallas Faith Communities Coalition.

“We don’t yet know exactly what form our involvement will take in West Dallas,” said Associate Provost Ellen Pryor, a member of SMU’s Community Engagement Council. “But we are very excited about the possibilities that will strengthen both the campus and the West Dallas community in meaningful ways.”

SMU’s involvement in West Dallas will be in addition to its existing community engagement projects with other areas of Dallas, such as Dedman College’s Academic-Community Experience program and house in East Dallas, activities in Vickery Meadows, college readiness programs available to many DISD schools, and pro bono legal services in South Dallas and East Dallas, among other programs.

Above, participants in Dedman College’s Academic-Community Experience (ACE) Program outside its house in East Dallas.

The Dallas Morning News: Investing brainpower and energy in W. Dallas
SMU in the Community website

Stephen Rankin to become SMU’s new chaplain

Rev. Dr. Stephen Rankin, SMU chaplainRev. Dr. Stephen Rankin will become SMU’s new chaplain and minister to the University effective July 1, 2009. He also has been appointed adjunct professor of church history and ministry in SMU’s Perkins School of Theology.

His predecessor, Rev. Will Finnin, retired from SMU December 31, 2008, after 28 years as chaplain.

Rankin comes to SMU from Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas, where he is the campus minister and Kirk Chair Professor of Religious Studies. He received his bachelor’s degree from Kansas State University, a Master of Divinity from Saint Paul School of Theology, a Master of Theology from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and a Ph.D. in religious studies from Northwestern University and Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.

He holds Elders Orders and full membership in the Kansas West Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.

Rankin’s prior experience includes faculty and instructor appointments at Saint Paul School of Theology and Bethany College. He has held pastoral appointments in Rome and Florence, Italy; Chicago; and Winfield, Kansas. In 1997, the United Methodist Church’s General Board of Higher Education and Ministry honored Dr. Rankin with an Exemplary Teacher Award. Earlier in his career, he earned a John Wesley Fellowship.

In addition, Rankin spent 6 years of his boyhood in Texas, including summer visits to SMU while his minister father studied at the Perkins School. He is married to Joni Leeper; they have four children and one grandson.

As Chaplain and Minster to the University, Rankin has responsibilities for:

  • pastoral care and counseling;
  • university worship;
  • religious life advising and programming;
  • close interaction with the dean of Perkins School of Theology and other religious leaders in the community; and
  • working with faculty, students, administrators and staff “to create a campus environment that supports the University’s commitment to spiritual growth, ethical behavior, intellectual and academic exploration of religion and spirituality, and the rich diversity of religious faiths and traditions,” as stated by the Office of Student Affairs.

Visit the Chaplain’s Office online