Reporters may contact: Janet Ragland
SMU News and Information
(214) 768-7650

Nov. 7, 2000


DALLAS (SMU) -- Southern Methodist University is merging its Center for Teacher Preparation with the Division of Extended and Continuing Studies to create a new academic unit -- the Division of Education and Lifelong Learning.

"This new academic unit will strengthen SMU's teacher certification programs, address the professional needs of practicing teachers in the metroplex and continue to provide lifelong learning programs that enhance the personal well-being of the Dallas community," SMU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Ross Murfin said.

Robert A. Patterson, formerly dean of Extended and Continuing Studies, will now serve as dean of the Division of Education and Lifelong Learning. Dean Patterson has a doctorate of education from Penn State's College of Education. Kathy Hargrove, who directs the university's Gifted Students Institute, has been named Director of Teacher Education. Hargrove holds a Ph.D. from Texas Woman's University.

"Both Dr. Hargrove and I are committed to strengthening and expanding our undergraduate and post-baccalaureate certification programs," said Dean Patterson. "At the graduate level we are eager to design a professional master's degree that will address the needs of practicing teachers in the metroplex. This fall two new faculty members were added in early childhood and elementary education."

Currently, SMU offers certification in elementary, secondary and all-level music education. At the graduate level, the university offers endorsements in gifted education, bilingual education and learning therapy. In community continuing education, the division's paramount programs are the part-time Bachelor of Humanities/Social Sciences, Master of Liberal Arts, Dispute Resolution Certificate and Informal Courses for Adults program.

According to Hargrove, "The challenge in teacher education is to provide to both preservice and professional educators learning experiences that address the academic disciplines, the needs of diverse learners and the social psychological environment in which students live. As we set out on this new course, we are going to do a lot of listening -- listening to the Texas Education Agency, our metropolitan school districts, our family communities and, most of all, our practicing teachers."

In addition, the university has received new funding for teacher education scholarships. Margaret Wheeler of San Antonio has donated $600,000 to establish the Arthur Walker and Ruth Walker Endowed Scholarship Fund in memory of her brother and sister, who were both teachers.

"With this generous gift, and with innovations in teacher education and lifelong learning, SMU will play an even greater role in meeting the education needs of our community and nation," said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. "We are grateful to Mrs. Wheeler for her support of teachers."

Patterson, who has headed the university's evening and summer liberal arts continuing education activities for the past 16 years, says he will address the new challenges of the lifelong learning programs.

"Like teacher education, the lifelong learning program is in a transitional state at SMU," Patterson said. "For instance, the university will continue to address the life enhancement needs of the community while taking advantage of advances in technology to create new ways to provide access to these programs."

The new Division of Education and Lifelong Learning will be assisted by two boards -- an internal, all-university committee of faculty from the various academic units and an external board of advisors with national, state and local representation.

For additional information about the new Division or the new Walker Scholarships, send an e-mail to or call (214) 768-5465.