Provost creates SMU faculty Task Force on Scholarly Research and Creative Impact

SMU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Steven C. Currall has appointed 17 University faculty members to serve on the Task Force on Scholarly Research and Creative Impact. The new task force, which began meeting in October, will examine and recommend ways for SMU to strengthen its scholarly research and creative activities to bolster the University’s position as the leading global research university in North Texas.

“SMU is in a unique position because of our geography, resources and faculty expertise to make significant strides in scholarly research,” Currall said. “For example, our high-performance computing capability, a university-wide focus on interdisciplinarity, and arts and cybersecurity research, along with our advantageous location near the heart of Dallas, have the University poised to expand its research footprint and become an even stronger catalyst for regional economic prosperity.”

Currall said the task force will provide “vital faculty-led guidance on how to strengthen our scholarly research and creative activities,” adding that “faculty leadership in this endeavor is crucial.”

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Provost issues statement on SMU Press’ future

SMU Provost Paul Ludden has announced the formation of a task force to review options for re-establishing the SMU Press. The group will have a tentative deadline of Dec. 1, 2010, to deliver its report.

Ludden outlined the task force’s mission, as well as criteria for any future version of the Press, in an e-mail dated May 19, 2010:

As recently announced, the current operations of the SMU Press will be suspended effective May 31, 2010. We will, however, be fulfilling all of our contractual obligations with authors as we go forward.

As a result of our initial decision to suspend operations, we have received many comments and offers of assistance to recreate the Press in a positive, forward-looking manner. After several meetings with the Editorial Advisory Board of the SMU Press, it has been decided that a Task Force will be created to review whether SMU should have a Press and if so, in what form a new SMU Press can move forward.

If SMU is to have a Press in the future it must meet the following criteria:

  • Its structure and operations must reflect the technological advances that are sweeping the publishing industry.
  • Its operation must be financially sustainable.
  • Any publishing decision must reflect the consideration of the marketplace response to the publication.
  • The Press must continue to reflect the academic principles and standards of the University.

I will work with this Task Force to review creative options that are emerging within the publishing industry. If the University is to have a Press going forward, it needs to be a model for academic presses of the future within this digital age. I will be announcing the members of the Task Force in the very near future. We hope to have a report from the Task Force by Dec. 1, 2010.

DMN praises SMU’s “36 steps forward”

The Dallas Morning News praised the “common-sense ideas” of SMU’s Task Force on Substance Abuse Prevention and President R. Gerald Turner‘s approval of new University policies and procedures to fight substance abuse in its “Hits and Misses” editorial column May 3, 2008.

“{SMU] should be a healthier place with the new measures, especially if parents get the message that the university can only do so much and that they have a major role to play, too,” wrote the newspaper’s editorial board. Read more from the DMN website.

Read more on President Turner’s decision.
Visit the Task Force on Substance Abuse Prevention website.

President Turner discusses Task Force decisions with SMU community

SMU President R. Gerald Turner announces Substance Abuse Task Force decisionsSMU President R. Gerald Turner (right) has accepted 36 of the 38 recommendations recently made by the University’s Task Force on Substance Abuse Prevention on programs, policies and issues related to alcohol and drug use. Turner gave an overview of his decision to SMU students, faculty and staff members at a briefing and discussion April 29.

“One of the greatest challenges facing American higher education is the extent of substance abuse among college-age students,” Turner said. While the Task Force report notes that “many of these students bring well-developed tendencies and habits regarding alcohol and drug use with them to college,” SMU must “promote … lifestyles that [support] their health and well-being during the short but important years they are on campus,” Turner said.

“Our goal is not only that [students] earn their degree, but that they receive life-long benefits from exposure to the best of human civilization, the lessons of history, and the knowledge, values and skills necessary for successfully navigating the 21st century.”

The report comes at a pivotal time in the progress of the University, Turner added. “There are few moments in the history of institutions that the entire community is galvanized around a salient, central mission.” SMU’s commitment to increasing academic quality, and the University’s significant strides toward that goal, motivated the Task Force to place its recommendations within that context, Turner said. Some recommendations have been accepted partially or with modifications, limitations or reservations; or will be considered with more study. Two recommendations have not been accepted.

Complete text of President Turner’s remarks
President Turner’s announcement
President Turner’s decision
Executive summary of the decision
The Task Force’s recommendations
• Video of President Turner’s briefing (Part 1 and Part 2) video

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Briefing scheduled on Substance Abuse Task Force recommendations

SMU students, faculty and staff members are invited to attend a briefing and discussion with President R. Gerald Turner, Provost Paul Ludden and Vice President for Student Affairs Lori White on decisions regarding the recommendations of the University’s Task Force on Substance Abuse Prevention. The meeting is scheduled for 2 p.m. April 29 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Theater.

Watch SMU Forum for highlights from the meeting.

Education Abroad offers new programs, destinations for 2008

Ben blogs from SMU-in-BeijingSMU’s Office of Education Abroad is expanding its offerings this year with new summer programs in Australia and Asia, India and South Africa; an internship program in London; and a new semester program in Cairo. The Office also will add a winter interterm program in the Western African nation of Mali and launched its new interterm program in Oaxaca, Mexico, in December.

“In today’s global society, SMU is committed to providing educational experiences that allow students to acquire knowledge and understanding of diverse cultures,” says Michael Clarke, executive director of the International Center, which oversees education abroad and supports international students and scholars at SMU, among other services. “Students, parents, business leaders and government officials increasingly recognize the value of developing international perspectives and skills.” (Right, SMU Student Adventurer Ben is blogging from China during his Spring 2008 semester with SMU-in-Beijing.) Read more.

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