Tom Tunks

Provost announces names of 11 SMU Faculty in Residence

SMU's southeast campus residential complex

Artist’s rendering of SMU’s southeast campus residential complex, which will help support the University’s Residential Commons experience.

SMU Provost Paul Ludden has announced the appointment of eight new Faculty in Residence (FiRs) selected in the Spring 2013 semester. The new FiRs join the three “founding FiRs” as the first full cohort to become part of the University’s new Residential Commons (RC).

Faculty in Residence are chosen in a competitive selection process. When the Commons program launches in Fall 2014, each FiR will live in a residence hall and work with student leaders and Student Affairs staff to shape the Residential Commons experience.

> SMU Forum: Three SMU professors named first Faculty in Residence

Four FiRs have moved into residence halls a year early as part of the Residential Commons transition process: Ann Batenburg, Teaching and Learning, Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development; Mark Fontenot, Computer Science and Engineering, Lyle School of Engineering; Robert Krout, Music Therapy, Meadows School of the Arts; and Charles Wuest, English, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.

The full list of faculty members who have been appointed for a 3-4 year term, and the halls where they will take up residence:

  • Ann Batenburg, Teaching and Learning – Virginia-Snider RC *
  • Martin Camp, School of Law – Residential Commons 4 (under construction)
  • Miroslava Detcheva, Spanish – McElvaney RC
  • Mark Fontenot, Computer Science and Engineering – Loyd RC (under construction) *†
  • Mark Kerins, Film and Media Arts – Morrison-McGinnis RC
  • Rita Kirk, Communication Studies – Armstrong RC (under construction)
  • Robert Krout, Music Therapy – Mary Hay/Peyton/Shuttles RC *†
  • Will Power, Theatre – Residential Commons 1 (under construction)
  • David Son, Chemistry – Boaz RC
  • Tom Tunks, Music – Residential Commons 3 (under construction) *†
  • Elizabeth Wheaton, Economics – Cockrell-McIntosh RC

* Living in residence during the 2013-14 academic year
† One of SMU’s three original Faculty in Residence, the “Founding FiRs

Along with the 11 FiRs, 23 Faculty Affiliates were selected and have been working in every residence hall on campus since the beginning of the year. For more information on participating in the Faculty Affiliate program, contact Jeff Grim, Residence Life and Student Housing.

> Learn more at the SMU Residential Commons website:

Common Reading 2010: New Orleans, after the flood

zeitoun-bookcover-200.jpgAbdulrahman Zeitoun was in New Orleans when the levees broke. The Syrian-born painting contractor had decided to stay behind and protect his property while his family fled Hurricane Katrina. After the flood, he spent days rescuing victims in a small canoe until he was arrested, on suspicion of being an Al Qaeda member.

The true story of Zeitoun focuses on one man’s experience of bureaucracy and good intentions gone wrong in the aftermath of an epochal catastrophe. Author Dave Eggers “has found in the Katrina mud … the full-fleshed story of a single family, and in telling that story he hits larger targets with more punch than those who have already attacked the thematic and historic giants of this disaster,” wrote Timothy Egan in a 2009 New York Times review.

SMU has chosen Zeitoun as the class of 2014’s first-year Common Reading Experience – the book every member of the Fall 2010 incoming class will read and discuss. The selection committee cites the book for its “explorations of culture and crisis” in the context of an event that has impacted an entire generation of students.

Committee members are now seeking leaders for the discussion event that has become one of the first shared experiences for new students during their first week on the Hilltop.

“It doesn’t matter what school you’re from or whether you normally work only with graduate or professional students. It doesn’t matter whether you are active or emeritus,” wrote Associate Provost Tom Tunks in an e-mail to faculty and staff. “We really want the new students to interact with faculty and staff in a substantive way from the very beginning of their stay with us.”

To volunteer as a discussion leader for Fall 2010, contact Diana Grumbles, senior lecturer in English and director of first-year writing.

> Watch for more at Central University Libraries’ Common Reading homepage

Top high school scholars converge on campus March 19

SMU students in front of Bishop Boulevard marker

SMU’s annual Scholarship Interview Day brings more than 100 of the nation’s best high school students to the Hilltop to show them what the University has to offer.

The 2010 event, which takes place March 19, is an opportunity for these top students to learn more about SMU and its two leading merit-based programs – the President’s Scholars program, directed by Associate Provost Tom Tunks, and the Hunt Leadership Scholarship program, directed by Associate Provost Ellen Pryor.

It will be a busy weekend for prospective students: The Office of Undergraduate Admission is also hosting more than 1,000 interested high school juniors and their parents. Later, on March 25-26 and April 9-10, accepted students and their parents will visit campus to learn more about SMU and make their final decisions.

For the University, Scholarship Interview Day helps determine its next class of top scholars – and as such, it may be the most important opportunity for the University to make its case to its most highly qualified applicants.

“We know that prospective students have many choices and offers of admission and that universities like SMU are in fierce competition for the best and brightest,” SMU President R. Gerald Turner wrote in an e-mail message to faculty and staff March 16. “Thankfully, we have a remarkable campus community that can attract, enroll and serve these promising students as they pursue their studies.”


SMU receives Hispanic College Fund’s Legacy Award

Hispanic College Fund logoSMU received the Hispanic College Fund‘s 2009 Legacy Award for leadership and investment in a diverse student population during the 16th Annual Portraits of Success gala Oct. 30 in Washington, D.C. This year marks the first time that an educational institution has received the honor, which is typically given to federal agencies.

SMU was chosen for its exceptional commitment to the recruitment of Hispanic students, the level of support provided to the Hispanic Youth Symposium, its community leadership and the ability to create a genuine community-led event.

This summer, SMU hosted Texas’ first Hispanic Youth Symposium, a program to promote higher education to at-risk Hispanic youth in partnership with the Dallas Independent School District, Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District and the Social Security Administration. In addition to the Legacy Award, the gala honors 477 scholarship recipients and corporate supporters of the organization.

SMU representatives accepting the award on behalf of the University included Associate Provost Tom Tunks, Meadows School of the Arts Dean José Bowen and Associate Director of Diversity and Community Outreach Raul Magdaleno.

SMU President R. Gerald Turner said the Legacy Award coincides with SMU’s goal to attract more Hispanic students.

“We are committed to broadening our outreach efforts to Hispanic students,” Turner said. “At SMU, they bring important perspectives and enrich the campus experience for all students. These are the men and women who will be leading our region and nation in all areas of achievement.”

Read more from SMU News.

Faculty, staff and students discuss proposed University curriculum changes

The SMU community got its first detailed overview of proposed changes to the General Education Curriculum at a town hall meeting April 22.

New emphases on “demonstrated competencies” and broader double-counting of courses mark the proposed changes, as well as a new second-language requirement for all students. The proposals also will make the curriculum friendlier to long and multiple majors and minors and to transfer students from outside and inside the University, said committee co-chairs Dennis Cordell, Dedman College, and Tom Tunks, Associate Provost.

The University Curriculum – so called as the only course of study to be completed by all SMU undergraduates – is the result of work conducted by the General Education Review Committee. The committee was charged with completing the curriculum review, formulating recommendations for needed changes, and presenting a proposal for a new general education curriculum to Provost Paul Ludden by April 25, 2009.

Presentation of the proposal leads into the review’s next stage, in which a broad cross-section of faculty and staff members will address details such as identifying courses to keep or modify and developing metrics and other details, Tunks said. The new curriculum is expected to be in place for the 2011-12 academic year.

The length of the review process allows the University to “get it right,” as well as ensure that funds are in place for implementation, Tunks said. It also accomplishes the important objective of getting the SMU community involved and invested, he added.

“Through broad participation in developing the curriculum, what we develop is ownership of the curriculum,” Tunks said. “We tend to be more enthusiastic about the things we own than about things that were pushed at us by someone else. We look at this as a chance to build community at the University.”

Find an outline of the proposed changes and more information at The General Education Review homepage.

Complete listing of SMU’s current General Education Curriculum
Initial curriculum review planning guidelines
Essential learning outcomes
GEC opinion survey
GEC Review blog, open to the SMU community

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