Simmons mourns passing of West Dallas Community partner

The SMU Simmons School of Education is mourning the death of West Dallas community leader Raul Reyes, Jr. Reyes, 50, was born and raised in the Los Altos neighborhood of Dallas and was forever devoted to serving his West Dallas community.  Reyes was passionate about the issues that impacted the people who lived there including education, housing rights, gentrification, and drug abuse prevention to name a few.

Reyes, serving as a community leader and partner with SMU Simmons and Toyota USA Foundation, was instrumental  in the establishment of the West Dallas STEM School  on the campus of the former Pinkston High School. Simmons Dean Stephanie Knight calls Reyes a tremendous partner and representative of the West Dallas community.  “Raul offered astute insight into the needs of the community he loved so well. His input and support were so valuable in the creation and operation of the West Dallas STEM school and feeder pattern.  I feel like I have personally lost a friend.  We at SMU Simmons School of Education and Human Development send our sincere condolences to Raul’s family and friends.”

Dr. Toni Harrison-Kelly, Executive Director of Simmons’ The Budd Center:  Involving Communities in Education,  worked closely with Reyes on several community projects. “Raul was a true leader and advocate for West Dallas, and his impact will be deeply missed. We are committed to continuing to support and empower the West Dallas community, building on the foundation that Raul helped to create. Together, we will honor his legacy by working towards making West Dallas more equitable for all its residents.”

 

Simmons’ reflections on MLK, Jr.

The impact of the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the country and the world is truly immeasurable.  On this Martin Luther King, Jr. Day , Dr. Toni-Harrison-Kelly, Dr. Magdalena Pando, and Dr. Greta Davis offer personal reflections on Dr. King and his contributions.

Dr. Toni Harrison-Kelly, Executive Director, The Budd Center: Involving Communities in Education

Dr. Toni Harrison KellyGrowing up, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was the first Black person that I learned about that held the title “doctor.” His representation of educational excellence was a beacon to me, allowing me to see myself attaining the same status in a country that for centuries denied that right to people who look like me. I stand on the shoulders of Black academics throughout history who, in Dr. King’s case, died because of their thought leadership. I can dream bigger because of his legacy. My prayer is that his achievements and life of sacrificial service are seen as blueprints for many more generations to come.

Dr. Magdalena Pando, Associate Professor Bilingual Education, Dept. of Teaching & Learning

Dr. Magdalena PandoDr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s impact on education and people of color is most evident in his activism and instrumental role in the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Dr. King believed in breaking down racial barriers by stressing that access to quality education was crucial for African Americans and other people of color. His extensive efforts in advocating for racial justice not only inspired change in educational policies but also serve as a catalyst for educators to create inclusive and equitable learning environments for Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC). In education, we honor his legacy through an unwavering commitment to social justice, by creating opportunities for a quality education for all students, and by taking equitable approaches that align with his dream of racial justice.

Dr. Greta Davis, Chair, Dept. of Counseling

Dr. Greta DavisDr. Martin Luther King bravely called out injustice and inspired change through peaceful process. He continues to inspire generations after him to advocate and fight for social justice and peace for all peoples. One of my favorite quotes from Dr. King is “The ultimate measure of a person is not where they stand in moments of comfort and convenience, but where they stand at times of challenge and controversy,” which is a call to action to all of us to face times of adversity with bravery and integrity.

 

 

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: https://www.sportbusiness.com/postgraduate-rankings-2023/

Simmons Reinforces Commitment to Cutting-Edge Technology Enhanced Immersive Learning

SMU has greatly strengthened its investment in Technology Enhanced Immersive Learning (TEIL) by adding three new professors to the existing group of TEIL researchers at the Simmons School of Education and Human Development. While Drs. Corey Brady, Prajakt Pande and Kelsey Schenck are all new faces at Simmons, they are already hard at work in their respective areas of research

Dr. Brady is an Associate Professor who specializes in Mathematics Education and the Learning Sciences. He studies mathematical and computational modeling to better understand and support the collective and embodied learning of classroom groups in innovative, immersive learning environments. He has been PI or co-PI on ten NSF projects totaling over $15 million, and he is a participant in the NSF AI Institute for Engaged Learning. He and collaborators received the Outstanding Paper Award at the International Conference of Learning Sciences in both 2020 and 2023.

Dr. Pande is an Assistant Professor who specializes in the convergence of embodied cognition, technology-enhanced learning, and STEM education. His research focuses on developing and evaluating innovative technology interfaces such as immersive virtual reality (iVR), to facilitate embodied learning of scientific concepts and phenomena. He examines cognition and action such as bodily interaction with scientific models and representations using qualitative interviewing, interaction analysis, and eye-tracking techniques.

Dr. Schenck  is an Assistant Professor whose research deals with embodied cognition, spatial reasoning, and STEM education. She is interested in using a grounded and embodied frame to understand the influence of the cognitive and affective aspects of spatial reasoning on students’ STEM learning and in the design of interventions with immersive technologies such as virtual and augmented reality. She also investigates the role of spatial ability and spatial anxiety in embodied mathematics, including geometry and proportional reasoning.

 

 

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.

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.

Department of Counseling welcomes new faculty members

Dr. LaKaavia Taylor is joining the SMU full-time faculty as Clinical Associate Professor effective Fall 2023. Dr. Taylor earned her Ph.D. in counseling with a specialty in play therapy and psychoeducational assessment at the University of North Texas. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor, National Certified Counselor, Registered Play Therapist, Certified Child-Centered Play Therapy Supervisor, and Certified Child-Parent Relationship Therapy Supervisor.

For over a decade, Dr. Taylor has provided counseling services to children, adolescents, adults, and families in various settings including community agencies, public schools, private practice, and university clinics. Her specialty is multicultural counseling and trauma-informed practices.

Dr. Taylor’s lifelong commitment is to reduce mental health barriers for individuals and families from marginalized and underserved populations. She has delivered numerous presentations at professional conferences, published chapters and research on play therapy, and engaged in social justice advocacy in her leadership positions in national counseling organizations. She is a former 2020 American Counseling Association (ACA) anti-racist task force member. On the task force, she worked with social justice counseling leaders in the field to develop an anti-racist action plan for dissemination to ACA’s membership. Dr. Taylor is a Counselor Educator Trustee for the Association for Child and Adolescent Counseling (ACAC). She is the 2022 recipient of the Rho Kappa Chapter of Chi Sigma Iota Outstanding Research Award. She also received the College of Education Outstanding Lecturer Award in 2022 for her teaching excellence.

Dr. Denise M. Walker is joining the SMU full-time faculty as Clinical Assistant Professor effective Fall 2023. Dr. Walker is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Texas and Louisiana, and also a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Louisiana. Dr. Walker earned her B.S. and M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Louisiana at Monroe. Dr. Walker completed her Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision at Texas A&M University-Commerce with a specialization in Student Affairs.

Dr. Walker has clinical experience working with adolescents, adults, couples, and families with varying levels of psychological and relational concerns in numerous settings including higher education, community-based counseling centers, home-based services, juvenile detention centers, and private practice. Dr. Walker is also trained in EMDR (Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) and Level 1 – Gottman Method Couples Therapy.

Dr. Walker has published research on the delivery of clinical mental health services in home based settings and has provided professional presentations on numerous topics including narrative family counseling, stress management, domestic violence, and supporting Black students at predominately White institutions.

 

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 https://tinyurl.com/2vcktpda

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