SMU Simmons Sport Management Graduate Program Ranked #1 in Texas and #14 in the Nation

Dallas Area Sports Market along with SMU Program offers students exceptional opportunities

 The SMU Simmons Masters in Sport Management program earned a major seal of approval when it was ranked #1 in Texas, #3 private university in the USA,  14th in the country and #18 in the world. The rankings were conducted by the London-based intelligence service SportBusiness, a provider of data and analytics to the sports industry. The SportBusiness Post Graduate Ranking or SportBusiness PGR, is the equivalent of the U.S. News & World Report for higher education institutions. There are over 200 post graduate sport management programs throughout the world.

The outstanding rankings are the result of a first-time entry by SMU Simmons Masters in Sport Management program. The SportBusiness PGR is the most prestigious ranking of graduate sports management programs around the world. The rankings are based on a formula that assigns values to the quality of the faculty and teaching,  ability to connect with alumni and industry executives, support in finding a job in the industry, value for money provided by the master’s program, and employment in the sports industry sector.

In addition to the global recognition, the graduate surveys ranked SMU as the #5 sport management postgraduate program in North America for average salary three years after graduation with an average salary of $82,500, illustrating its success in producing graduates capable of advancing quickly in the ultracompetitive sports industry.

According to the Sports Business Journal, Dallas is the #1 city for sports business in the USA. The MS in Sport Management students participate extensively in experiential opportunities such as internships with over 175 North Texas-based sports and allied-sport enterprises as well as with SMU’s Athletics department. The opportunities range across the entire sports ecosystem and include teams, leagues, agencies, conferences, research, E-sports, media, facilities, and live events at all levels.

SMU Sport Management Program Director and Clinical Assistant Professor Peter Carton says,”SMU draws extensively on the fact that North Texas is home to some of the biggest names in the sports industry, ranging from professional sports teams to marketing and sponsorship agencies.” That, along with faculty members’ longstanding relationships with local and national sports industry leaders, offers students the real-world skills they need to become leaders and executives.  Carton adds,“One of the advantages of our approach is that we are one of the few programs with relationships that provide students with direct access to internships and jobs in their area of interest.”

Founded in 2012, the MS in Sport Management degree in the Department of Applied Physiology and Sport Management is an interdisciplinary degree between the Simmons School of Education & Human Development and the Cox Business School at SMU. The relatively new sports management degree, compared to other well-established programs founded in the 1960’s, prepares students for multiple roles in the sports industry. Students complete a part-time, one-year academic program that is combined with a capstone internship experience.

Simmons Dean Stephanie Knight applauds the program and its Director, Professor Peter Carton. “I know they have worked tirelessly and innovatively to establish this exceptional graduate program at Simmons and with our partners in the Cox School of Business. This is certainly a proud moment for SMU, Simmons, the Applied Physiology and Sport Management department, and Cox.”  

Scott Davis, Ph.D. and Department Chair, ad interim, of the Department of Applied Physiology & Sport Management regarding the ranking states “In just over 10 years, the ascent of our graduate program in Sport Management in the Department of Applied Physiology and Sport Management is nothing short of remarkable. With the outstanding reputation of SMU, our advantageous location in Dallas and our outstanding faculty and students, it is no surprise that our graduate sport management program has been recognized as one of the top 20 in the world. I look forward to our continued ascent in the rankings as we add additional resources to this outstanding program.”

Carton appreciates the recognition of the many factors that have resulted in the premier program. He says the recognition is a testament to the outstanding full-time and adjunct faculty, SMU administration, vast industry partners, and students. “We will use this ranking to further propel our vision, initiatives, and resources as we aspire to be one of the leading programs in the world.”

For more information about the 2023 SportBusiness Postgraduate Course Ranking, visit:

Support from the Dean

Dean Stephanie Knight appreciates and supports SMU President Gerald Turner’s letter regarding the terrible violence in Israel and Gaza. Dean Knight joins in expressing concern for all those affected.

October 10, 2023
Dear SMU Community,

Although the war in Israel and Gaza is thousands of miles away from North Texas, for many of our students, faculty and staff, the pain of this conflict is personal. SMU abhors the ongoing violence, which is causing sorrow, anger, and anxiety for many who are worried about their family and the future. We all grieve for the innocent, for those who have experienced terror, for the families of the victims and for those – both Israeli and Palestinian – who can find no safe haven from the violence. On behalf of SMU’s leadership, I want to express our deep concern and support for those affected by this war and our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all members of our campus community.

In these trying times, it is more important than ever to come together and be compassionate and understanding. We recognize that some of our community members have families in Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank, and we want to assure you that we are here to assist you. Our Student Affairs team has been reaching out directly to those who may have been impacted on campus.

• Counseling resources are available for students by calling 214-768-2277. Faculty and staff can contact the Employee Assistance Programthrough Magellan Health Services at 877-704-5696.

• Pastoral support can be found by contacting the Office of the Chaplain.

• Confidential reports of anyone who may need assistance can be made through SMU’s Caring Community Connections Program.

• Students struggling to keep up with academic responsibilities due to this situation should reach out to their professors and academic advisors. Similarly, for faculty and staff, please engage your supervisors.

Report bias incidents to the Bias Education Response Team.

The atrocities of war can overwhelm some with emotion. Our response should be to seek and offer support in ways that live out the core values of our University. As we mourn the lives lost and share our thoughts in class, with friends, or on social media, I am grateful that SMU is a welcoming and inclusive campus. Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia have no place in our community or in debate with one another. It is important to accept and embrace our differences, approaching difficult dialogue in a respectful and thoughtful manner.
In times that seek to divide us, let us instead come together and find solace within our community.

R. Gerald Turner
SMU President


Dean’s Road to R1 Excellence Awards

Five Simmons researchers received the Dean’s Road to R1 Excellence Awards. Dean Stephanie Knight presented the awards during the Simmons Fall Faculty and Staff meeting on August 30.

For bringing in over $1,000,000 in external research funds:

Dr. Annie Wright-Executive Director of SMU Simmons Center on Research and Evaluation
Wright and her CORE team are working with Temple University in conducting a “Learning through Play” national study. The LEGO Foundation has awarded a $19.98 million grant to fund the longitudinal study. SMU Simmons’ CORE will be the Dallas site lead for the national study and will receive $2.8 million over 5 years to conduct the work locally. The research will follow Pre-K through 4th graders and will study how creating active, engaged, socially interactive classrooms can bring about deeper learning and joyful teaching.

For being awarded $500,000 in external research dollars:

Dr. Jill Allor – University Distinguished Professor, Department of Teaching & Learning. A former special education teacher, her research is school-based and focuses on literacy acquisition for students with and without disabilities. She has received numerous awards for both research and practice, published and presented widely in leading outlets, and received nearly $10 million of external research funds.

Dr. Tony Cuevas – Assistant Dean for Technology and Innovation and Clinical Professor
He designed the curriculum for the SMU Guildhall Master of Interactive Technology degree program and served as Academic Director for several years before transferring to Simmons School. He heads up the Center for VR Learning Innovation and co-chairs the TEIL search committee. He was part of the SMU Adult Literacy XPrize team that developed an award-winning app to help adults learn to read.

Dr. Leanne Ketterlin Geller – Professor, Department of Education Policy & Leadership, Texas Instruments Endowed Chair in Education, Director of Research in Mathematics Education and Faculty Fellow for K-12 STEM Initiatives in the Caruth Institute for Engineering Education. Her research focuses on the development of formative assessment procedures in mathematics and valid decision-making systems for students with diverse needs. She has received over $20 million in external funding and recently received the largest single grant in SMU history for $8m.

Dr. Akihito Kamata – Professor and Director of the Ph.D. Program and Mary Elizabeth Holdsworth Endowed Professor in the Department of Education Policy & Leadership. Dr. Kamata’s primary research interest is psychometrics and educational and psychological measurement. Currently, Aki’s primary focus is on psychometric model development for oral reading fluency (ORF) assessment data, through three grant projects funded by IES. He has numerous journal articles and book chapters in leading publications and handbooks in the field.

Walkington Awarded Chair

Congratulations to Dr. Candace Walkington who was awarded the Annette and Harold Simmons Centennial Chair during the Simmons Fall Faculty & Staff meeting.

Prior to receiving the Centennial Chair, Dr. Walkington was promoted to a full professor. Dr Walkington is a Gerald J. Ford Research Fellow in the Department of Teaching and Learning at SMU Simmons.

In presenting the endowed chair, Dean Stephanie Knight noted that while at SMU, Dr. Walkington has received over $11 million worth of grants as PI or co-PI, from the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, and the U.S. Department of Defense.

Her research examines mathematics instruction personalized to STEM as well as connecting mathematical practices with physical motions using AR, VR, and motion capture technologies. She has published papers in numerous national and international journals and has co-authored an upcoming book set for publication in the near future. For details visit

Dr. Corey Brady to Speak at International Conference

Dr. Corey Brady, Simmons Assistant Professor and one of the newest members of SMU’s Technology Enhanced Immersive Learning (TEIL) research cluster, will speak at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM)’s Institute of Applied Sciences and Technology, in their speaker series, Experiences from the Classroom of the Future.

Dr. Brady, who is fluent in Spanish, will deliver his talk, A vision of STEAM: Constructing powerful ideas through participatory activities, in Spanish.

The UNAM is the largest public university in Latin America, and a center for STEM and STEM Education research.  The prestigious invitation to speak at the Experiences in the Classroom of the Future 2023 seminar came from the Continuing Education Network of the UNAM and the Network of Classrooms of the Future.

Brady will present in a live webinar on August 25 at 11 a.m. CST which will be transmitted on the Aula del Futura channel on YouTube.

SMU SIMMONS College Access Camp offers an experience that helps students see college as a realistic option

Students from high schools throughout the Dallas area are on the SMU campus for the Upward Bound Math and Science camp. The students arrived June 19 and will attend the camp through July 11. They are part of the SMU Simmons College Access Program which assists low-income, first generation, and underrepresented students prepare for college success.

The goal is to help the students have fun learning how math and science are utilized in a variety of areas including entrepreneurship and drone technology, with hands-on activities such as building robots and working with drones.

Students are also experiencing campus life by staying on campus in dorms during the 4-week-long residential camp. According to SMU Simmons College Access Director, LaChelle Cunningham, “The Upward Bound program and this camp can truly be life-changing experiences for these students. It helps them understand that they can dream big and that a college education can be part of their future.”

The Upward Bound program and summer camp assists students in setting achievement goals that will help those dreams become reality. Participants are empowered to become successful college graduates working in businesses, government, medicine, law, education, research, finance, politics, computer science, technology, engineering, and other areas.

Started in 1966 when SMU was awarded its first Upward Bound grant from the U.S. Department of Education, TRIO Programs, the SMU College Access program has assisted thousands of local young people in changing their lives.

Toyota, SMU Simmons, and Dallas ISD partnership named a finalist in D CEO’s Nonprofit and Corporate Citizenship Awards for 2023

Toyota Motor North America (TMNA) and partners SMU Simmons and Dallas Independent School District are nominated in the Corporate Citizenship Category for  developing a Pre-K – 8th grade  West Dallas STEM School in the 75212 zip code.

As part of the partnership, Simmons has designed a STEM curriculum, offers professional development for faculty, coordination of community-based services, and comprehensive research and evaluation.

Toyota USA Foundation and TMNA provide ongoing contributions of volunteer time and industry partner collaboration on project components including sizeable grants to the Simmons school in support of the project. Dallas ISD supplies operational needs including the building, renovations and staffing at the school which is located in the former Pinkston High School.

The ultimate goal of the partnership is that West Dallas STEM School will prepare students for college and the workforce while establishing a model that can be replicated in other schools and communities both locally and around the country.

Simmons Dean Stephanie Knight responded to the nomination. “We are honored to be nominated for this recognition along with our incredible partners, Toyota Motor North America, and Dallas ISD. We are humbled to be one of the five nominees in the Collaboration of the Year category and hope we can be an example of what is possible when community organizations work together for positive change.”

The full story and complete list of categories and nominees are found at

The winners in each category will be announced in July. The D CEO’s sixth annual Nonprofit and Corporate Citizenship Awards are presented in partnership with Communities Foundation of Texas and sponsored by Capital One.

Simmons Graduation Ceremony celebrates students’ academic milestones

2023 May Simmons School Graduate and Family

Congratulations to the more than 300 graduates who received degrees from Simmons School of Education & Human Development at two ceremonies on May 12, 2023.  The joyous event held in McFarlin Auditorium was attended by thousands of proud family members and friends who  witnessed and cheered the culmination of their graduates’ hard work and commitment.

The following degrees were conferred at the morning ceremony: Doctor of Philosophy, Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership, Doctor of Education in Higher Education, Master of Education in Educational Leadership, Master of Education in Higher Education, Master of Bilingual Education, Master of Education, Bachelor of Science in Educational Studies.

The following degrees were conferred at the afternoon ceremony: Doctor of Liberal Studies, Master of Science in Counseling, Master of Arts in Dispute Resolution, Master of Liberal Studies, Master of Science in Health Promotion Management, Master of Science in Sport Management, Bachelor of Science in Applied Physiology and Sport Management.

2023 May Simmons School Graduates2023 May Simmons School Graduates















Outstanding 2023 Grads of Simmons School of Education & Human Development chosen as graduation ceremony speakers

Hannah Lawrence and Elizabeth Parrot
Hannah Lawrence and Teresa Valerio Parrot

Teresa Valerio Parrot is graduating with her EdD in higher education. Her dissertation title is “Presidential and Board Governance of Division I Intercollegiate Athletics: How the Players, the Rules, and the Game are Influenced by Temples, Prestige, and Positioning.

With over two decades of work in higher education, Parrot’s career has focused on making higher education relatable and understandable. She is the founder and owner of TVP Communications and serves as founding co-editor and contributor to the Inside Higher Ed blog, Call to Action, which focuses on marketing and communications topics in higher education.

Parrot’s expertise has been featured in numerous publications including The Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Ed, U.S. News & World Report, The Chicago Tribune, and Huffington Post.

Hannah Lawrence is receiving her Master of Education with Teacher Preparation degree. She joined the Simmons Teaching and Learning graduate program in 2021. Faculty and staff describe her as “absolutely exceptional, a thoughtful student who produces excellent work.” Department leaders say she is one of the strongest new teachers they have ever seen in the field.

Lawrence is a STEM teacher at Donald Elementary School in the Lewisville Independent School District in Lewisville, Texas. She says she is thrilled to be able to inspire the next generation of learners through hands-on, project-based lessons, while building children up in their unique passions. She also looks forward to continuing to learn from her students.

Courtney Harbour and Elizabeth Klevana
Courtney Harbour and Elizabeth Klevana

Courtney Harbour  known to many as “CC,” began her Doctor of Liberal Studies journey in the fall of 2018. Her DLS studies led to a career change last year. Harbour moved from an Executive Dean role at Dallas College’s Eastfield Campus, overseeing fine arts and humanities to Broadway Dallas (formerly known as Dallas Summer Musicals).

In that new role she leads interdisciplinary educational programming for K-12 performing arts students and teachers in the DFW area. One of her signature programs includes hosting 3, 400 theater and dance students and teachers for a dedicated Broadway performance followed by a S.T.E.A.M. project inspired by the show to bring STEM to life through the arts.

Her DLS dissertation is titled: Remixing a Revolution: Embodied Politics, Identities, and the Transfiguration of Hip Hop Culture.

Elizabeth Klevana is receiving a B.S. in Applied Physiology & Sport Management with a concentration in Sport Performance Leadership.

Klevana is a faculty-appointed Simmons Ambassador, an indication that she has excelled at SMU as a student and a leader among her peers. Faculty and staff in the Department of  Applied Physiology and Sport Management say that Klevana’s optimism, drive, and humility set her apart, providing her classmates and faculty with a selfless commitment to ensuring everyone’s success. They believe she embodies the values of a world changer and a top scholar, which is why she has the prestigious honor of being one of the Simmons commencement speakers.