Honoring donors of SMU endowed faculty positions

As part of the Year of the Faculty commemoration, SMU salutes the century-long contributions of the faculty to the development of the university, the advancement of their disciplines, the success of SMU graduates and the betterment of society.

A significant contributor to faculty accomplishment has been the creation of endowed faculty positions—professorships and chairs—made possible by farsighted and generous donors. At a luncheon on November 14, 2014, SMU honors those who have supported the SMU faculty and those who hold the prestigious appointments.

See the endowed faculty donor event program, which includes more information about the importance of endowed positions and a commemorative list of named positions at SMU.

Read more about the luncheon honoring donors to endowed faculty positions.

Watch the video about the ways donors and endowed faculty strengthen academic excellence at SMU:

[youtube width=”853″ height=”480″]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RDv_wznavjg[/youtube]

Honored as medieval master and mentor

Television producers and academicians have one person in common when they need an expert on medieval romance (especially Arthurian) and Chaucer.

They turn to Dr. Bonnie Wheeler in SMU’s English Department. And many a student, trying to fill a requirement, has found himself or herself enthralled by Wheeler’s dynamic teaching style.

In addition to Arthurian romance and Chaucer, Dr. Wheeler’s major interests include gender studies and pedagogy. A frequent historical and literary consultant for A&E, the History Channel and the BBC, she was also selected as a “Great Teacher” for the distinguished Teaching Company.

Dr. Wheeler is highly esteemed for her academic expertise. But she has gained some of her greatest admirers in her role as teacher and role model – especially among the students and colleagues she has mentored and supported. An international committee of professional colleagues and friends founded the Bonnie Wheeler Fund (http://bonniewheelerfund.org/), which serves to support women faculty, in her honor in 2010. A festschrift in her honor – Magistra Doctissima: Essays in Honor of Bonnie Wheeler – was published in 2013.

Dr. Wheeler has received SMU’s Outstanding Teacher Award six times, and she is a recipient of the Phi Beta Kappa Perrine Prize for excellence in scholarship and teaching. She was appointed by the Medieval Academy of America to found TEAMS (Committee on Teaching Medieval Studies) and has been elected to many professional leadership positions throughout her academic career.

Links

http://bonniewheelerfund.org/content/honoring-generous-life

SMU Forum article on the festschrift (March 3, 2014)
‘Magistra doctissima’ Bonnie Wheeler honored with festschrift of essays in medieval studies

Faculty examine complex border issues

Media outlets including Bloomberg, FOX News Latino, The Christian Science Monitor, The Hill, ABC DFW and the Star-Telegram have turned to the Hilltop to better understand the history, causes and political ramifications.

Link

http://www.smu.edu/news/newsissues/immigration

Links to media

Bloomberg
Cal Jillson, Dedman, Perry’s guard surge follows buildup along border
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-07-22/perry-s-guard-surge-follows-record-buildup-along-border.html

ABC DFW
Faith Nibbs, Dedman, immigrant children a border or refugee crisis?
http://www.wfaa.com/video/featured-videos/bfont-color000000VIDEOfontb-Border-Crisis-immigrants-or-refugees-Why-it-matters-266810121.html

Rick Halperin, Embrey Human Rights, border crisis raises questions of morality
http://www.wfaa.com/news/texas-news/Beyond-politics-border-crisis-raises-questions-of-morality-266615791.html

Zannie and Glenn Voss lead groundbreaking arts project

Dr. Zannie Voss, chair and professor of arts management and arts entrepreneurship in the Meadows and Cox schools, who serves as NCAR’s director and Dr. Glenn Voss, the Marilyn R. and Leo F. Corrigan, Jr. Endowed Professor of Marketing at Cox, who serves as research director are the experts behind a groundbreaking new report designed to help arts organizations.

The Meadows School of the Arts and Cox School of Business have collaborated with the Cultural Data Project (CDP) and numerous other partners to create a National Center for Arts Research (NCAR) at SMU. The Center issued its inaugural report in December, 2013. The online report is free to arts organizations.

(Excerpted from an article by Victoria Winkleman, Meadows School of the Arts)

“To create the initial report, NCAR researchers integrated and analyzed data from the CDP and other national and government sources such as the Theatre Communications Group, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Census Bureau, and the National Center for Charitable Statistics. In doing so they created a spatial model of the arts and culture ecosystem of the United States.  The report measures performance on 8 different indices: contributed revenue, earned revenue, expenses, marketing impact, bottom line, balance sheet, community engagement, and program activity.”

“NCAR draws on the academic expertise of Meadows and Cox faculty in the fields of arts management, marketing, and statistics.

“In this first report we took a deep dive into eight of the areas of performance identified, and by studying these averages, tried to answer the question ‘all else being equal, what makes one arts organization more successful than another?’ Some of the findings were as one would expect, but we did find some surprises,” said Zannie Voss. “Perhaps more than any other industry, arts organizations are driven by managerial and artistic expertise. Being able to estimate the value of this expertise in an organization’s performance is the single most valuable result of our first study.”

“In Fall 2014, NCAR will launch an interactive dashboard, created in partnership with IBM, which will be accessible to arts organizations nationwide. Arts leaders will be able to enter information about their organizations and see how they compare to the highest performance standards in each of the eight indices for similar organizations. The website will also foster public discussion of best practices and solutions and offer a dedicated YouTube channel for video responses, as well as an online resource library with helpful tools and templates.”

Links

(Meadows’ magazine article)

http://www.smu.edu/Meadows/NewsAndEvents/MPrint/Winter2013/NCAR

 

(First NCAR Report and video – released in Dec. 2013)

http://mcs.smu.edu/artsresearch/questiondocsadditional/introduction-report

 

Zannie Voss bio:

http://www.smu.edu/Meadows/AreasOfStudy/ArtsManagement/Faculty/VossZannie

 

Glenn Voss bio:

http://gvoss.cox.smu.edu

SMU Adventures is a showcase for SMU “World Changers”

One of the University’s most popular sites, SMU Adventures, is also an important component of the new “World Changers Shaped Here” campaign, which launched in 2013 as part of SMU’s centennial celebration.

The site provides an online forum for students and faculty to communicate their impact on the North Texas and global community through the University’s education abroad, service, leadership, engagement, internship and research programs. Many bloggers are top students – scholarship recipients, honors students and campus leaders. Increasingly, faculty members are asking students to participate in SMU Adventures as part of their coursework, which has added to the variety of voices and engaging entries.

Since its founding in 2005, the site has grown from a small handful of contributors to 44 individual and group blogs in 2013. Posts are frequently spotlighted on SMU Twitter and Facebook. During 2013, there were more than 28,000 visits to the Adventures site – more than 2,300 each month.

SMU Adventures highlights in 2013-14:

  • Various blogs have been featured in local and national media outlets and have contributed to media placements. Student blogs from a special course that examined the life, times and legend of JFK – taught by political science professor Dennis Simon and senior English lecturer Tom Stone in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences – were part of SMU’s extensive media coverage during the assassination anniversary in Fall 2013.
    http://www.smu.edu/News/2013/jfk-assassination-class-20sept2013/
  • Students in the SMU-in-London: Arts wrote about their five weeks exploring the city, while studying London theatre history from Associate Theatre Professor Gretchen Smith in the Meadows School of the Arts and discovered the performance art of the metropolis with Dance Professor Shelley Berg.
    http://blog.smu.edu/studentadventures/category/smu-in-london-arts-2014/
  • Students taking Dr. David Doyle’s Honors history class, “The Founding Fathers and Slavery,” traveled to Virginia during spring break and posted about their visits to Alexandria, Colonial Williamsburg, Washington and Charlottesville, as well as presidents’ homes Mount Vernon, Monticello and Montpelier.
    http://blog.smu.edu/studentadventures/category/sara-in-colonial-virginia/
  • Eight students blogged from the SMU Hilltop on the Hill program in Washington, D.C., where they visited media and government sites, and meet with political communicators, journalists and SMU alumni. The trip is led by Rita Kirk, professor of communication studies in Meadows School of the Arts and director of the Maguire Center for Ethics & Public Responsibility.
    http://blog.smu.edu/studentadventures/category/hilltop-on-the-hill-2013/
  • In 2014, SMU observed the 10th Anniversary of its Civil Rights Pilgrimage. Students who took the eight-day bus journey visited the American South’s civil rights landmarks and leaders in the movement. They blogged from such iconic sites as Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas; the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama; Montgomery’s Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, where Dr. Martin Luther King served as pastor; the campus of Ole Miss in Oxford; and the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, where Dr. King was assassinated.
    http://blog.smu.edu/studentadventures/category/civil-rights-pilgrimage-2014/

Examining the political glass ceiling

Dr. Dennis Simon

Associate Professor, Department of Political Science
Founding member, The John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies
Dedman College of Humanities and Science
SMU’s Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor of Political Science 2013 Distinguished University Citizen Award

Dr. Dennis Simon is an expert on the American presidency, presidential-congressional relations, public opinion, electoral behavior and research methodology. With more than 20 years of combined research experience, Professor Simon and co-author Barbara Palmer explored the reasons behind the continuing underrepresentation of women in Congress in their book, Women & Congressional Elections: A Century of Change.

He is also a faculty leader for the SMU Civil Rights Pilgrimage, which marked its 10th anniversary in 2014. The eight-day bus journey takes students, faculty and staff to visit the American South’s civil rights landmarks and leaders in the movement. The group’s stops include Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas; the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama; Montgomery’s Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, where Dr. Martin Luther King served as pastor; the campus of Ole Miss in Oxford; and the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, where Dr. King was assassinated.

Links

Featured panelist on KERA:
http://blog.smu.edu/forum/2014/06/16/smu-experts-join-kera-for-freedom-summer-50th-anniversary-film-preview-panel-discussion-tuesday-june-17-2014/

Video: Civil Rights Lecture:
http://www.smu.edu/Provost/Ethics/Resources/Video/Simon

Tower Center bio:
http://www.smu.edu/TowerCenter/People/SeniorFellows/Dennis%20Simon

Raising achievement in every school district

Dr. Lee Alvoid

Clinical Associate Professor and Department Chair
Department of Education Policy and Leadership
Simmons School of Education and Human Development

Training principals for new roles is key to new U.S. Department of Education school reforms, according to a new report by SMU education researchers Dr. Lee Alvoid and Dr. Wall Lesley Black, Jr. They examined school districts in the forefront of supporting and training effective principals in their recent report, “The Changing Role of the Principal: How High-Achieving Districts are Recalibrating School Leadership,” published by the Center for American Progress.

Dr. Alvoid brings a unique background to her research as a former school principal, classroom teacher and education consultant. She was named Chair of Simmons’ Department of Education Policy and Leadership in 2010. She helped develop new programs in Educational Leadership: a principal certification and three additional degrees including a M.Ed. with a specialization in urban school leadership, a specialization in higher education leadership and a Ph.D. specialization in Policy and Leadership.

Links

SMU Research blog
http://blog.smu.edu/research/2014/07/16/help-wanted-principals-who-embrace-change/

Report
http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/education/report/2014/07/01/93015/the-changing-role-of-the-principal/

Simmons Faculty Bio
http://www.smu.edu/Simmons/AboutUs/Directory/EdLeadership/Alvoid

SMU’s Common Reading Program brings faculty and first-years together

SMU’s Common Reading program was launched in 2004, upon recommendation by a First-Year Experience Task Force. Each year, a thought-provoking work of fiction or non-fiction is selected for small group discussions and is incorporated into the fall semester curriculum.

Senior Lecturer in English Diana Grumbles serves as the program’s director. The program is an initiative of the Provost’s Office and is also supported by the McGuire Center for Ethics & Public Responsibility.

The 2014 selection is We Need New Names, by novelist NoViolet Bulawayo, who earned a Master’s Degree from SMU. In an SMU Magazine interview, Bulawayo credited faculty members David Haynes, head of SMU’s creative writing program, and Beth Newman, director of the Women’s and Gender Studies program, with giving her the courage to pursue her goals.

Link: http://www.smu.edu/Provost/Ethics/CommonReading/2014

Pioneering thinking about digital security

Tyler Moore
Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Engineering in Lyle School of Engineering

Director, Security Economics Lab in HACNet (High Assurance Computing and Networking Labs) at SMU

Director, Economics and Social Sciences program at the Darwin Deason Institute for Cyber Security in Lyle School of Engineering

Professor Moore’s work with digital forensics and security economics could fit right into the plot of a television drama. His expertise spans fields including the economics of information security, electronic crime and the development of policy for strengthening security. Dr. Moore has recently received international media attention for his expertise on digital currencies like Bitcoin, also known as cyber money.

Read more:

Media stories (posted on SMU Research blog):
http://blog.smu.edu/research/tag/tyler-w-moore/

Professor Moore’s bio:
http://lyle.smu.edu/~tylerm/

Seeking insights into climate change

Bonnie Jacobs
Professor of Paleobotany in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences

Bonnie Jacobs, a noted expert in paleobotany, connects prehistoric climate and paleoecology to today’s changing climate conditions. Her research centers on the study of fossil plants, ranging in size from microscopic cells to macroscopic leaves, fruits, seeds and wood. Within paleobotany, she is researching past climate and paleoecology. Her projects have included fieldwork in Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and in the U. S., Texas, and New Mexico.

Professor Jacobs is currently working with SMU students to study the early history of the Great Trinity Forest in Dallas.

Read more:

The Dallas Observer on Professor Jacobs’ work with SMU students studying the Great Trinity Forest:
http://blogs.dallasobserver.com/unfairpark/2014/06/dallas_people_bonnie_jacobs.php

Professor Jacobs shares what inspired her to pursue the study of prehistoric plants for the Perot Museum of Nature & Science’s Career Inspiration Stories:
http://vimeo.com/55644875

Professor Jacobs blogs for the “Scientists at Work, Notes From the Field” series in The New York Times:
http://scientistatwork.blogs.nytimes.com/?s=bonnie+jacobs

Professor Jacobs profiled as one of Dallas’ Big Thinkers by D Magazine:
https://www.smu.edu/News/2011/bonnie-jacobs-dmagazine-26sept2011

Bonnie Jacobs’ bio:
http://www.smu.edu/News/Experts/Bonnie-Jacobs

An enriching weekend in Taos

SMU-in-Taos brings faculty to Northern New Mexico to teach academic courses for credit and the Taos Cultural Institute offers enrichment programs for alumni, friends and the Taos community.

SMU-in-Taos provides opportunities for adventurous study and research in a unique setting in Northern New Mexico. The property includes pre-Civil War Fort Burgwin and remains of a 13th-century Native American pueblo. SMU began acquiring the property in l964 and reconstructed the fort to serve as an archaeology research center. The University added facilities to accommodate students and began offering summer classes in 1973.

Each July, the Taos Cultural Institute offers a summer weekend of in-depth, hands-on exploration of topics, taught by SMU faculty members and guest teachers, which reflect the unique cultural richness, scientific contributions and recreational opportunities of Northern New Mexico.

This year’s course offerings showcase the range of faculty expertise taught in Taos.

Teaching the tactics of negotiation

Robin Pinkley, Professor of Management and Organizations, Cox School of Business

Master negotiator and expert in conflict resolution, Robin Pinkley guides students and corporate executives alike toward powerful negotiation skills.

Pinkley, professor of management and organizations, has consulted with numerous corporate and government organizations including General Electric, Yahoo! And Lockheed Martin. She has been interviewed on CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, NPR and quoted in newspapers such as The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Washington Post and numerous magazines including Money, Fortune and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.

Professor Pinkley’s book, “Get Paid What You’re Worth: The Expert Negotiators’ Guide to Salary and Compensation.”
http://us.macmillan.com/getpaidwhatyoureworth/RobinPinkley

Video
http://www.cox.smu.edu/web/executive-education/master-negotiation-a-few-words-from-robin-pinkley

Woman’s Day magazine article
http://www.womansday.com/life/saving-money/make-more-money?src=rss

Researching technology’s impact on law

Meghan Ryan, Associate Professor of Law, Dedman School of Law

Professor Ryan brings together science, technology and criminal law and procedure. Her current research focuses on the impact of evolving science, technology and cultural values on criminal convictions and punishment, as well as on civil remedies.

She received her undergraduate degree in Chemistry and has conducted scientific research at the Mayo Clinic. Ryan’s course on Law and Science helps students to understand the two disciplines in both civil and criminal contexts. The course examines the roles of law and science in areas such as the science of causation, scientific error rates, and breakthroughs in neuroscience.

Recently, Professor Ryan provided commentary on public radio regarding the April 29, 2014, botched lethal injection execution of a death row inmate in McAlester, Oklahoma.
http://www.smu.edu/News/2014/experts-botched-execution-01may2014

Bio
http://www.law.smu.edu/Faculty/Full-Time-Faculty/Ryan.aspx

Ryan’s article on Quick Teaching Tips
http://blog.smu.edu/cte/2014/04/25/some-quick-teaching-tips-from-smu-award-winning-professors/

TIME
Meghan Ryan, Dedman Law, drug challenges failing to halt executions
http://time.com/#2894689/lethal-injection-marcus-wellons-executed-as-legal-challenges-fail/

Combining Musicianship and Scholarship

C. Michael Hawn not only serves as director of the Master of Sacred Music Program at Perkins School of Theology, he reaches the wider community through his innovative music leadership and his writing on the powerful impact of hymn composing and singing.

Professor Hawn led a summer 2013 immersion course in Taize, France where students visited sacred sites such as the Taize community, Notre Dame, Cluny and Chartres to understand the sites’ rich contributions to Christian worship and music.

In 2010, Hawn updated the traditional SMU Christmas Worship Service to offer, in his words, “a tapestry of song and prayer on the theme ‘and on earth peace…’ with selections from around the world.” Guest instrumentalists including a marimba ensemble, percussion, and trumpets joined the singers in presenting music by Bernstein, Britten, Hogan and Bach as well as composers from Argentina, Taiwan, Israel, Palestine and Zimbabwe.

To learn more, please visit:

Christmas Worship
http://blog.smu.edu/forum/2010/11/30/2010-christmas-worship-service-offers-a-fresh-approach-to-an-smu-tradition/

Taize, France Immersion blog
http://blog.smu.edu/studentadventures/category/theology-in-france/

Perspectives magazine article on hymn singing by C. Michael Hawn
http://www.smu.edu/~/media/Site/Perkins/PDF/PublicAffairs/CurrentPerspective/Perspective%20Spring%202010.ashx

Faculty bio
https://www.smu.edu/Perkins/FacultyAcademics/DirectoryList/Hawn

Prize Winning Art History

Pamela Patton, professor and chair of art history at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts, won the 2014 Eleanor Tufts Book Award from the American Society for Hispanic Art Historical Studies for her recent book, Art of Estrangement: Redefining Jews in Reconquest Spain.

The national Tufts Award honors a distinguished book, written in English, on the history of art or architecture in Iberia. Professor Patton writes and teaches about the art and architecture of medieval Iberia; art of the medieval courts; and ethnicity, religion, and identity in medieval Europe.

In December 2013, Patton provided expertise for an NPR discussion on the topic of “The Brown Faces in Medieval Art” which examined how skin color was depicted in works of that time.

To learn more, please visit:

Tufts Award
http://www.smu.edu/News/2014/pamela-patton-19feb2014

NPR
http://www.smu.edu/News/2013/pamela-patton-npr-18dec2013

Faculty bio
http://www.smu.edu/Meadows/AreasOfStudy/ArtHistory/Faculty/PattonPamela

Creating worldwide health initiatives

Eric G. Bing, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A.

Dr. Bing is a professor of global health in the Department of Applied Physiology and Wellness in the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development and in the Department of Anthropology in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences at SMU. He has a concurrent appointment with the George W. Bush Institute as senior fellow and director of global health.

Dr. Bing has developed and managed global health programs in Africa, Central America and the Caribbean, including HIV prevention, care and treatment programs in Rwanda, Angola, Nigeria, Namibia, Belize and Jamaica. For his efforts he was awarded the Alfred Haynes International Health Leadership Award in 2002, named in 2006 a Paul G. Rogers International Health Research Ambassador from Research! America and named 2010 Professor of the Year at Charles Drew University.

During summer 2012, SMU students joined Bing in renovating a clinic for the screening and treatment of cervical cancer in Zambia.

Dr. Bing gave the Convocation Address at the 2014 Honors Convocation, calling on students to “find your North Star . . . and let it shine.”

Dr. Bing will read from his book Pharmacy on a Bicycle: Innovative Solutions for Global Health and Poverty on July 24, 1:30 pm, at the Lochwood Branch Library in Dallas as part of the SMU Summer Author Series.

See Professor Bing’s Convocation Speech:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1AuWMSnDQQ

Learn more about Professor Bing’s new book.
http://pharmacyonabicycle.com/

Outstanding Teachers Honored

Three of SMU’s best teachers have been named 2014-16 Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professors, as announced by the University’s Center for Teaching Excellence at the quarterly Board of Trustees meeting Thursday, May 8, 2014.

This year’s honorees include Jaime Clark-Soles, New Testament, Perkins School of Theology; Michael Lattman, Chemistry, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences; and Paige Ware, Teaching and Learning, Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development.

The new members of SMU’s Academy of Distinguished Teachers will join returning members Thomas Carr, Mathematics, Dedman College; Robert Krout, Music Therapy, Meadows School of the Arts; Sheri Kunovich, Sociology, Dedman College; and Luis Maldonado-Peña, World Languages and Literatures (Spanish), Dedman College.

Each year since 2001, the Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor Awards recognize SMU faculty members for their commitment to and achievements in fostering student learning. “These are faculty whose concerns for higher education go beyond classroom boundaries and often the boundaries of their own discipline,” according to the CTE website. “They represent the highest achievement in reaching the goals of higher education.” The professorships are named for SMU Trustee Ruth Altshuler.

Each recipient receives a $10,000 award and membership in SMU’s Academy of Distinguished Teachers for the two years of their appointment as Altshuler Professors. Members participate actively with other members of the Academy to address issues in classroom teaching.

About this year’s honored professors:

Jaime Clark-Soles has been a member of the faculty of SMU’s Perkins School of Theology since 2001. She received her Master of Divinity and Ph.D. degrees from Yale. Her teaching and scholarship focus on the New Testament, and she is an internationally recognized interpreter of the gospel of John. She shares ideas about good teaching practices nationally and internationally through projects such as “Teaching Biblical Exegesis in Theological Schools,” a collaborative project involving participants from North American seminaries and divinity schools. Her past honors include a 2010 Ford Research Fellowship. “Wherever she goes and whatever she does, Dr. Jaime Clark-Soles is a compelling teacher,” wrote Perkins Dean William Lawrence in his nomination letter.

Michael Lattman received his Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from the City College of New York and has been a member of SMU’s Department of Chemistry since 1979. He has earned praise from his peers for preparing students at every level to succeed – teaching upper-level undergraduate courses as well as more than 100 students every year in General Chemistry, and advising and mentoring students in the Department of Chemistry’s Ph.D. program. He is the recipient of multiple Honoring Our Professors’ Excellence (HOPE) Awards, presented by student staff members in Residence Life and Student Housing to professors who “have made a significant impact to our academic education both inside and outside of the classroom.”

Paige Ware received her Ph.D. in education, language, literacy and culture from the University of California-Berkeley. She is the incoming chair of the Department of Teaching and Learning in the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development and has been instrumental in designing programs for preparing teachers to work with learners of English as a second language. She also mentors faculty colleagues and makes presentations at programs sponsored by the Center for Teaching Excellence. In 2013-14, she co-chaired an SMU committee studying online course options for University undergraduates. In 2013, she received the Distinguished University Citizen Award, given by the Provost’s Office for service and activities that benefit students and the University’s academic mission.

Researching educational innovations

Study offers hope for all struggling readers after large sample of special education students and students with low IQ significantly improved their reading ability over several academic years

The findings of a pioneering four-year educational study offer hope for thousands of children identified with intellectual disability or low IQ who have very little, if any, reading ability.

The study by researchers at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, is the first large-scale longitudinal study of its kind to demonstrate the reading potential of students with intellectual disability or low IQ, said lead author Jill H. Allor, principal investigator of the study, which was funded by the U.S. Department of Education.

The researchers found that students with intellectual disability who participated in four years of persistent, specialized instruction successfully learned to read at a first-grade level or higher.

“This study proves that we should never give up on anyone. It raises expectations for all children,” Allor said. “Traditionally the focus of instruction for students with intellectual disability has been functional skills, such as how to manage their personal hygiene, do basic chores around the house or simple work skills. This study raises academic expectations as well.”

The study demonstrates there’s hope for every struggling reader, said Allor, a reading researcher whose expertise is reading acquisition. The study’s implications can be life-changing for non-readers and struggling readers.

“If these children, and any other struggling readers, can learn to read, that means they can go grocery shopping with a shopping list, read the labels on boxes and cans, and read basic instructions,” Allor said. “Even minimal reading skills can lead to a more independent life and improved job opportunities.”

The findings indicate a critical need for more research to determine ways to streamline and intensify instruction for these students, said Allor, whose research focuses on preventing reading failure among struggling readers.

“This study demonstrates the potential of students with intellectual disability or low IQ to achieve meaningful literacy goals,” said Allor. “And it also clearly demonstrates the persistence and intensity needed to help children with low IQs learn to read.”

Students identified with intellectual disability account for nearly one in every 100 public school students, according to the study, which cites the U.S. Department of Education. Of those identified with intellectual disability who do graduate, most don’t receive a diploma, only a certificate of completion, said the study’s authors, all from Southern Methodist University’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development.

“This article is a call for boldness and the redoubling of our efforts to truly teach all children to read,” said the authors.

The researchers report the findings, “Is scientifically based reading instruction effective for students with below-average IQs?” in the journal Exceptional Children, published by the Council of Exceptional Children.

The study was funded with a $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences. Allor, professor in the department of teaching and learning in the SMU Simmons School, was principal investigator.

Successful instruction relied on proven, scientific-based teaching method

For the study, a group of 141 children was divided into two groups. One group of 76 children received the reading intervention. A group of 65 children was taught in a business-as-usual instructional environment, which included various amounts of reading instruction and methods.

The children in the intervention group were taught reading 40 to 50 minutes a day in intensive small group settings of one to four students per teacher. Teachers used “Early Interventions in Reading,” a proven curriculum designed by SMU reading specialist and study co-author Patricia G. Mathes and Allor.

Most of the students entered the study around the age of 7 and variously were identified with disabilities including Down syndrome, autism spectrum disorder, Williams syndrome or a physical disability. All of the students had the ability to speak.

IQs of the students in the study ranged from 40 to 80. IQ scores in the range of 85 to 115 are considered to be average.

Instruction was provided by six teachers certified in special education and four part-time teachers certified in general education. Teaching experience ranged from five years to 35 years.

After four years of the specialized teaching the researchers found that students with mild or moderate intellectual disability could independently read at the first-grade level, and some even higher.

Students receiving the specialized instruction significantly outperformed the comparison group on a variety of key reading tests.

Scientifically based reading program put to the test

The current study also demonstrates the effectiveness of a teaching method that’s scientifically based for use with children identified with intellectual disability or low IQ, said Allor.

Mathes and Allor, former special education teachers, developed the study’s reading program after research into how children with special needs learn.

Teachers providing the intervention received extensive support and training, the authors said. That included multi-day professional development training on curriculum implementation, monthly meetings with the research team to address instructional and behavioral issues, and instructional support from reading coaches who previously taught the intervention.

The program, previously validated with struggling readers without intellectual disability or low IQ, included a series of brief activities that increased in difficulty that were geared toward phonological awareness, letter knowledge and sounds, sounding out and sight words.

Fluency was developed from repeated reading in unison to paired reading and independent timed reading, the authors said. Comprehension activities included strategies for both listening and reading comprehension.

Students used provided materials that included word cards, small readers and activity pages to play reading games or to read aloud with someone else.

IQ is generally considered a predictor of learning ability, but in this study with students who are intellectually disabled or low IQ, the results showed that IQ didn’t always predict academic achievement. Although generally students with higher IQs improved more quickly, there were many individual cases where a student with a lower IQ outperformed a student with a higher IQ, Allor said.

Coauthors were Patricia Mathes, TI Endowed Chair in Evidence-Based Education and a professor in the Simmons School; J. Kyle Roberts; Jennifer P. Cheatham, research associate; and Stephanie Al Otaiba, professor.

The research will continue under a new $1.5 million U.S. Department of Education grant, led by Allor, principal investigator on the grant. Stephanie Al Otaiba and Paul Yovanoff, both professors in SMU’s new special education program, are co-investigators on the new grant.

New Insights in Southwest History

The new book by Southwest historian Andrew R. Graybill tells the story of a Montana family of mixed native-white ancestry and the changing notions of racial identity in the West between 1850-1950.

Outstanding Researchers Recognized

Four distinguished SMU scholars were named 2014 Ford Research Fellows at the meeting of the University’s Board of Trustees Thursday, May 8. This year’s recipients are Anthony Colangelo, Dedman School of Law; Dieter Cremer, Chemistry, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences; Alexis McCrossen, History, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences; and Alyce McKenzie, Preaching and Worship, Perkins School of Theology.

Established in 2002 through a $1 million pledge from SMU Trustee Gerald J. Ford, the fellowships help the University retain and reward outstanding scholars. Each recipient receives a cash prize for research support during the year.

Anthony Colangelo, associate professor in Dedman School of Law, is an internationally renowned scholar in public and private international law and U.S. foreign relations law. He is a pioneer on issues of extraterritorial jurisdiction – assertions of legal power outside territorial borders. Numerous federal appellate and U.S. district courts have relied on his scholarship or adopted his theories in addressing international issues that include: extraterritorial application of U.S. law implementing the U.N. Torture Convention to the case of Chuckie Taylor, son of former Liberian dictator Charles Taylor; the exercise of U.S. jurisdiction over claims by South African plaintiffs against corporations alleged to have been complicit in apartheid-era abuses by the South African government; challenges to U.S. Military Commission jurisdiction by Salim Hamdan (Osama bin Laden’s driver); claims against international financial institutions for financing terrorism in the Middle East; piracy off the coast of Somalia; U.S. jurisdiction over drug trafficking on the high seas; and choice of law regarding U.S. military contractors in Iraq. His articles have appeared in top law journals and both U.S. and foreign books on international law.

Dieter Cremer, professor of chemistry in Dedman College and director of SMU’s Computational and Theoretical Chemistry Group (CATCO), is an internationally recognized leader in the field of computational chemistry. His research ranges from the development of state-of-the-art computational methods and computer programs to their application to societal problems. His recent work focuses on computer design of new catalysts to use the greenhouse gas CO2 as chemical feedstock, as well as of cleaner molecules that can pick up toxic heavy metals such as mercury or lead from industrial waste-waters. He has published more than 350 peer-reviewed articles in high-ranking journals, more than 50 of which he published since he joined SMU four years ago. He has presented his research at nearly 200 international conferences, and 18 of the 60 graduate and postgraduate students he has supervised to date have become professors at universities around the world.

Alexis McCrossen, professor of history in the William P. Clements Department of History, is a distinguished cultural historian of 19th-century America and a specialist in temporal markers, consumer culture, and cultural institutions. She has written dozens of articles on these topics, and her most significant publications have focused on the American celebration of Sunday in Holy Day, Holiday: The American Sunday (2001, Cornell University Press), and on the development of time-consciousness in American life in Marking Modern Times: A History of Clocks, Watches, and Other Timekeepers in American Life (2013, University of Chicago Press), supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities. A volume she edited, Land of Necessity: Consumer Culture in the United States-Mexico Borderlands (2009, Duke University Press), is a collection of papers produced by a Clements Center for Southwest Studies symposium she organized and to which she contributed important chapters. Her new research project explores how Americans have celebrated New Year’s Eve. McCrossen’s expertise has been recognized most recently with her selection by the Organization of American Historians as an OAH Distinguished Lecturer.

Alyce McKenzie, LeVan Professor of Preaching and Worship in Perkins School of Theology, is renowned as a scholar not only in the theory and practice of preaching but also in the wisdom literature of the Bible. Her scholarship has contributed to reshaping the intellectual interpretations of “words to the wise” and to defining the way that homiletics can be taught. Her published works are used as standard texts in graduate preaching courses and have functioned as continuing education resources for professionals in the field. In addition, McKenzie has been elected by her peers as president of the Academy of Homiletics. In the 2013-14 academic year, she was selected for a Lilly Endowment grant that will establish a Center for Preaching Excellence at Perkins School of Theology, which will explore new ways to teach preaching effectively. In addition, McKenzie has been recruited to lead innovative continuing education programs across the country.

Awards Recognize Faculty Excellence

SMU faculty members were recognized with teaching awards, service honors and the University’s highest commendation, the “M” Award, at the 2014 Awards Extravaganza Monday, April 21.

Two faculty members received the University’s most prestigious honor, the “M” Award. Marilyn “Birdie” Barr, senior lecturer and associate director of wellness in the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development, and Tony Pederson, Professor and The Belo Foundation Endowed Distinguished Chair in Journalism in Meadows School of the Arts, were honored for contributions to the University “above and beyond the call of duty.”

During the 2013-14 academic year, for the first time, two SMU community members were presented with honorary “M” Awards. The late Dennis Cordell, professor of history and associate dean for the University Curriculum, and the late Robert Van Kemper, professor of anthropology, were both previous nominees for the honor. Members of their departments presented their “M” Award certificates and pins in Fall 2013. Both professors were honored in memory during the Extravaganza.

The SMU Students’ Association’s Willis M. Tate Award recognizes an outstanding faculty member who has been involved in student life. This year’s honor was presented to Brad Carter, associate professor of political science in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.

Recipients of the Outstanding Professor Awards presented by the Rotunda yearbook were:

  • David Croson, clinical professor of strategy, entrepreneurship and business economics, Cox School of Business
  • Pamela Harris-Hackett, visiting lecturer in journalism, Meadows School of the Arts
  • Daniel Millimet, professor of economics, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences
  • Ross Murfin, E.A. Lilly Distinguished Professor of English Literature, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences

Receiving the Extra Mile Awards, presented by Students for New Learning for graciousness and sensitivity to students with learning differences:

  • Victoria Lockwood, associate professor and director of graduate studies in anthropology, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences
  • Steve Robertson, senior lecturer in statistical science, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences

The Office of Community Engagement and Leadership’s Outstanding Faculty/Staff Volunteer Award was presented to Owen Lynch, associate professor and director of the Honors Program and SMU London Internships in Communication Studies, Meadows School of the Arts. The award honors exemplary community service outside the University.

A writer who teaches writing

In his new book, A Star in the Face of the Sky, SMU Creative Writing Director and Associate English Professor David Haynes goes “beyond the margins” to show how four lives cope with the violence that has shaped their intersecting worlds.

The novel, Haynes’ seventh, depicts the close friendship of two strong women — one African American, the other Jewish — and a complex relationship that develops between their grandsons. The thoroughly modern tale, published by New Rivers Press, “explores the legacy of history, evils of spite, power of secretive romance and ultimately, the triumph of love,” Haynes says.

“This constellation, four people leaning on each other, toward each other is necessary because they are all survivors of monstrous family history,” says novelist Debra Monroe, author of The Source of Trouble and On the Outskirts of Normal). Its touching conclusion will “keep book clubs talking for a long time,” notes St. Paul Pioneer Press reviewer Mary Ann Grossman.

That’s by design, Haynes says. “I wanted this book to generate long, passionate conversations among people who enjoy a good story.”

Haynes’ teaching interests, including gender, class, race and generational differences, are all themes addressed in A Star in the Face of the Sky. For example, the book takes a more modern approach to the boys’ homosexuality, “which for a change isn’t presented as a problem,” Haynes says. “The normalcy and acceptance of their sexuality, and unconditional love, is actually the story’s real appeal.”

Before joining SMU in 1998, Haynes worked for 15 years as a teacher in urban schools, most of those years in middle school in St. Paul, Minn. He served as a teacher in residence at the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. He also served on the leadership team at the experimental Saturn School of Tomorrow.

Haynes is the author of six other critically acclaimed novels: The Full Matilda, Right by My Side, Somebody Else’s Mama, Heathens, Live at Five and All American Dream Dolls. He also has written books for children, including Retold African American Folktales as well as The West 7th Wildcats series, including Business as Usual, Gumma Wars, Who’s Responsible? and The Kevin Show — two of which have been National Public Radio “Selected Shorts.”

The St. Louis native teaches regularly for the low-residency Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers and also taught in the MFA programs at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, Hamline University, the Writer’s Center in Bethesda, Md., and at the Writers’ Garret in Dallas.

For more details about A Star in the Face of the Sky, as well as Haynes’ other writings, visit www.faceofthesky.com.

Providing Leadership

Ever since the first classes convened in Dallas Hall in 1915, the SMU faculty has provided leadership in the social, fiscal, professional and intellectual life of the University. Today, both the power and the duty of that leadership are vested in the Faculty Senate.

Faculty representatives called their first “general faculty meeting” in President Robert Stewart Hyer’s office on Sept. 7, 1915, with Hyer himself presiding. One of the group’s first acts was to elect Professor John H. Reedy as secretary pro tem, a position that became permanent a few weeks later on Oct. 20. These early meetings were scheduled every Tuesday, but the faculty met almost daily during the first weeks on the new campus – considering topics ranging from the nomenclature of courses to the formation of a University athletic council, from alleged misconduct in a men’s dormitory to requirements for degrees and advanced standing.

Today, the Senate meets once per month during the academic year and operates independently from SMU administration. The University president, provost and a retired faculty member serving as president or designee of the Retired Faculty Association hold seats as non-voting ex officio members.

Many current standing committees still reflect the priorities of that first body: academics, athletics, libraries, student policies, the all-important University calendar. The Committee on Boarding Houses may have gone the way of the Model T, but new committees on research, honorary degrees, and the economic status of the faculty reflect the 21st-century concerns of the modern Senate.

All full-time faculty members who do not also serve in administrative roles are eligible for election to a three-year term in the Senate, with the exception of those who have already served two consecutive terms. (These faculty members may run again after one year has elapsed since the end of their service.)

The Faculty Senate constitution prescribes the seating of senators by electoral unit. Each electoral unit is entitled to elect at least one senator for every 20 full-time faculty members and remaining fractions of 11 or more, and no fewer than three senators in areas with 21 or more full-time faculty. Electoral units include each school except Dedman College, in which each division counts as a separate unit.

The faculty of a division that is not affiliated with a school also counts as an electoral unit if that division has at least 11 faculty members. In addition, the general faculty elects 12 at-large senators.

Senate bylaws state that meetings must be run according to Robert’s Rules of Order. Members of the SMU community are invited to observe as guests, but may not hold the floor unless acknowledged by the Senate chair or by a majority vote. The Senate also reserves the right to conduct an executive session limited to its membership.

The Faculty Senate elects all members of its executive committees at its first meeting of the academic year. Its current committees and subcommittees include:

  • Executive Committee, which includes the Senate president, immediate past president, and president-elect and represents the Faculty Senate to the University administration
  • Committee on Committees, which provides nominees for Senate offices and standing committees to the Senate, as well as candidates for Chief Marshal and the All-University Judiciary to SMU administration.
  • Academic Policies Committee, which represents the general faculty in all academic matters, and its three subcommittees: Libraries, Admissions and Financial Aid, and the Academic Calendar of the University. In the 2013-14 academic year, the Academic Policies Committee took on the charge of examining the role of online education at SMU.
  • All-University Finance Committee, which represents the general faculty in all matters concerning the financial status of the University, and its two subcommittees: Faculty Benefits and Economic Status of the Faculty.
  • Athletic Policies Committee, which represents the general faculty in all matters concerning intercollegiate athletics, including budget, eligibility, athletics personnel and scheduling of games. Members of this committee are also the Senate’s nominees to the University Athletics Council, and the committee chair normally serves as Council chair.
  • Committee on Research, which examines available University resources and access to external funding for faculty research, creative and professional activities. The committee undertook a comprehensive review of the level of support for SMU doctoral programs during the 2013-14 academic year.
  • Faculty Ethics and Tenure Committee, which represents the general faculty in ethics and tenure matters, investigates questions of due process in individual tenure and promotion cases, and investigates alleged breaches in professional ethics.
  • Honorary Degrees Committee, which evaluates and recommends honorary degree nominees to the Faculty Senate. The committee’s membership and deliberations are confidential.
  • Student Policies Committee, which reviews and recommends SMU policies to achieve and maintain a high quality of intellectual life at the University, including policies and programs of Residence Life and Student Housing and International Student and Scholar Services. Their considerations include the role of the Greek system, diversity of the student body, and participation for international students, ethnically diverse students, and students with disabilities.

Jeremy duQuesnay Adams

History Professor, William P. Clements Department of History
Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor Medieval Europe

Two SMU alums have honored their favorite professor with a Centennial Professorship, which supports the Second Century Campaign goal to increase the number of endowed chairs.  The $1.25 million gift from Stephen L. and Kathryn Hedges Arata of Dallas created the Jeremy duQuesnay Adams Centennial Professorship in Western European Medieval History in honor of the longtime SMU history professor.

Read more.

Serving as travel leaders

During spring break 2014, many SMU faculty members are using their time off to lead trips that emphasize service to communities around the United States, teach students and others about issues such as civil rights and human rights, and help groups experience the great outdoors. Trips during the March 8-16 break include:

SMU Civil Rights Pilgrimage

This year marks the 10th Anniversary of the SMU Civil Rights Pilgrimage.  The eight-day bus journey takes students, faculty and staff to visit the American South’s civil rights landmarks and leaders in the movement. The group’s stops include Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas; the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama; Montgomery’s Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, where Dr. Martin Luther King served as pastor; the campus of Ole Miss in Oxford; and the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, where Dr. King was assassinated.

“In the course of our journey, we meet numerous ‘keepers of history,’ including the former leaders of the bus boycott and voting rights marches,” says political science Associate Professor Dennis Simon, who with Ray Jordan, leads the pilgrimage which is sponsored by SMU’s Chaplain’s Office. “These are people whose lives and stories give life – in the here and now – to what we read and see in our study of the civil rights movement. Their character, faith and willingness to share their experiences help us understand the inner strength required to kill Jim Crow.”

University Honors Program in Virginia

Students in the Honors history class “The Founding Fathers and Slavery” will be immersed in colonial Virginia during spring break. Highlights of the trip include visits to Alexandria, Colonial Williamsburg, Washington, Charlottesville and the plantations of George Washington (Mount Vernon), Thomas Jefferson (Monticello), and James Madison (Montpelier).

University Honors Program director David Doyle, who is leading the course with program associate director Sally Spaniolo, says the students have been investigating the greatest puzzle in American history: the contrast between the Declaration of Independence, with the subsequent Constitution, and the vibrant institution of slavery in the era of the American Revolution. “The trip allows the students to get closer to the experience of the Revolutionary generation — to become absorbed in their atmosphere, in their world. Building on the strength of SMU’s close faculty and student interaction, this class and its trip will add a greater depth the semester of reading, writing, and discussions that we have all engaged in,” Doyle says.

Embrey Human Rights Program in France

Eighteen students, faculty and staff from SMU and Dallas are traveling to France to study the role that country played in the Holocaust, when Nazi-occupied France deported 76,000 Jews to be murdered in or en route to extermination camps. The group will visit the site of the Vélodrome d’Hiver in Paris, where on July 16, 1942, several thousand men, women and children were rounded up and transported east to the Auschwitz extermination camp in Poland. Among other places, the group also will see the Drancy transit camp, Oradour-Sur-Glane (a burned-out village where 642 of its inhabitants, including women and children, were massacred by a German Waffen-SS company) and the Natzwiller/Struthof concentration camp near Strasbourg.

“We will look at what happened in France during those dark years (1940-1944), and study what France has done since the war to come to grips with its role as a collaborator in the annihilation of its Jews,” says Rick Halperin, director of SMU’s Embrey Human Rights Program, which is sponsoring the trip.

STEMPREP Project at SMU in Puerto Rico

Thirty-five SMU science and engineering students are spending spring break in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where they are attending the Minority Trainee Research Forum. Students will present 15-minute research presentations at the scientific meeting. Participants are members of the STEMPREP Project at SMU, a mentorship and internship program for minority students interested in S.T.E.M, medicine and biomedical research careers. The trip is led by Charles Knibb and Moses Williams, research professors of teaching and learning at the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development.

Perkins School of Theology in El Salvador

Dr. Harold J. Recinos, Professor of Church and Society at Perkins School of Theology, is leading his class of 14 students to the Central American country of El Salvador. The group will examine Christian mission in cultural context as part of Perkins’ Global Theological Education program. This immersion experience will enable students to engage in a sustained theological and ethical reflection upon the meaning of mission and education in Salvadoran society. The course includes meetings in various location in the country with leaders of popular political organizations, schools, women’s organizations, ecumenical associations, the base Christian communities, and political leaders.

Perkins student  Lael C Melville, PsyD, a 2016 M.Div. candidate and president of the Perkins Black Seminarian Association, will post regular installments on her “Following the Passion of the Cross to El Salvador” blog, as well as on the SMU Adventures blog.

Perkins School of Theology Faculty Immersion in Cuba

Dr. Carlos F. Cardoza-Orlandi, Professor of Global Christianities and Mission Studies at Perkins School of Theology, is leading the Spring 2014 faculty immersion trip to Cuba. Nine participants will examine the history of Cuba, its religious and cultural sources, and will visit Christian communities including the Seminario Evangélico de Teología de Matanzas.

Alternative Breaks

SMU has participated in Alternative Spring Break for 27 years, with students serving community organizations while learning about issues such as the environment, poverty, public health and education. In partnership with the Community Engagement & Leadership Center, students, faculty and staff this year are traveling to:

  • New York City, to prepare and serve food to people with serious illnesses such as HIV/AIDS and cancer in partnership with God’s Love We Deliver;
  • Indianapolis, to work with a community farm in a low-income neighborhood called Global Peace Initiatives;
  • Taos, New Mexico, where one group will work with children at Roots and Wings Community School, and another group will work at Stray Hearts Animal Shelter;
  • New Orleans, in collaboration with the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, to build homes for people affected by Hurricane Katrina;
  • Kimberton, Pennsylvania, to work on a farm and assist with indoor workshops for adults with special needs;
  • Selma, Alabama, to focus on civil rights and youth development with Freedom Foundation;
  • Memphis, Tennessee, to partner with Living Lands and Waters in removing debris from the Mississippi River;
  • St. Louis, to volunteer at shelters that provide temporary care for young children to help prevent abuse and neglect;
  • Springfield, Missouri, to partner with the Watershed Committee of the Ozarks in improving water resources;
  • San Francisco, to work at Quesada Gardens, a local community garden that focuses on sustainability.

Outdoor Adventures

As part of the Outdoor Adventures program at Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports, students and staff will spend a week canoeing Arkansas’ Buffalo National River and hiking in the Ozarks. Their goal is to unwind, get rejuvenated and experience the beauty of Arkansas.

Follow Outdoor Adventures on their blog.

Divinity and theology

William Abraham is Albert Cook Outler Professor of Wesley Studies in Perkins School of Theology and an internationally renowned expert on John Wesley, as well as in the broader field of theological epistemology. His research interests include Cardinal Newman, Eastern Orthodox theology, and theological renewal movements in Christianity. He is the author or editor of books including Crossing the Threshold of Divine Revelation (Eerdmans, 2007), Canon and Criterion in Christian Theology (Clarendon Press, 1998), and The Rationality of Religious Belief, edited with Steven W. Holtzer (Clarendon Press, 1987). Currently, he is planning a four-volume work on divine action and divine agency for his publisher, Oxford University Press.

Enlivening religious sermons

Alyce McKenzie, who has been at SMU since 1999, was appointed in 2011 to the George W. and Nell Ayers LeVan Chair of Preaching and Worship in Perkins School of Theology. The appointment signaled that “the University values as scholarship the fields of homiletics and liturgics, which are crucial to faith communities and bridge the distance between the academy and church. The chair will allow me to pursue my own passions in preaching and worship and to help re-energize the preaching and worship ministries of others,” she says.

(McKenzie also wryly notes that the chair was not just a title – she was actually given a chair. “It’s a beautiful captain’s chair with my name and the LeVan family’s name carved in the back. I sit in it every day.”)

Beyond the University, McKenzie is widely known in her field of homiletics, having written numerous books on preaching that focus on the wisdom literature of the Bible and, more recently, the role of creativity in preaching. She writes the blog Knack for Noticing that highlights “insights from everyday life that might spark ideas for sermons,” and the weekly column Edgy Exegesis, a reflection on the New Testament that attracts nearly 5,000 readers worldwide.

Originally appeared in the Fall 2013 issue of SMU Magazine.

Protecting privacy in the tech era

Joining a team already conducting research on cyber security in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering is Frederick R. Chang, the new Bobby B. Lyle Endowed Centennial Distinguished Chair in Cyber Security. Chang, whose career credentials include leadership positions in academia, business and government, will develop a multidisciplinary program aimed at tackling today’s most pressing cyber challenges.

Chang says he enjoys working toward something bigger than himself – a philosophy that carries over from his service at the National Security Agency and that he shares with SMU students. “There are some very difficult problems that the nation faces in cyber security,” he says. “I am confident that SMU, working with different partners, can make a difference at the national level.”

Chang will add to the research that Computer Science and Engineering faculty members Suku Nair, Mitch Thornton and Tyler Moore are conducting in network security. “What is required today is cyber security research that incorporates innovative thinking with consideration of people, processes and technology,” he says.

Chang’s Centennial Distinguished Chair is made possible by a financial commitment from SMU trustee and longtime benefactor Bobby B. Lyle ’67, for whom SMU’s engineering school is named. “Research will be significant under Dr. Chang’s leadership, but he also intends to teach courses that make information about cyber science and security accessible to students of all disciplines,” Lyle says. “That’s a tremendous gift, as understanding the rules in cyberspace becomes more important in our daily lives.”

Reflecting a trend toward greater interdisciplinary collaboration, Fred Chang is also a senior fellow in the John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies.

Originally appeared in the Fall 2013 issue of SMU Magazine.