May 3, 2006


Interim SMU Provost Tom Tunks
Interim Provost Tom Tunks

DALLAS (SMU) —Associate Provost Thomas Tunks has been named SMU’s interim provost and vice president for academic affairs effective June 1, 2006.

As associate provost for educational programs since 1998, Tunks has overseen curriculum policy and SMU scholarship programs, including the prestigious President’s Scholars and Dean’s Scholars Programs. He also supervises SMU’s Admissions, Financial Aid, Registrar and Bursar operations, as well as the SMU-in-Taos program at the university’s Northern New Mexico campus. As interim provost, he will serve as SMU’s chief academic officer, overseeing seven degree-granting schools and the libraries. He will serve until a search committee identifies a new permanent provost, replacing Robert Blocker, who resigned to focus on music administration and performance at Yale University, effective May 31.

“With his long-time service as associate provost, Tom Tunks has been instrumental in leading SMU’s progress in raising the academic quality of the student body and supervising the University’s highest merit scholarship programs. He has assisted the provost in overseeing all areas of academic affairs,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “As a member of the Council of Deans and as a former interim dean, he has a deep understanding of the University’s schools. We are indeed fortunate that he can step into this role to provide seamless leadership in the Office of the Provost.”

In addition to his administrative duties, Tunks is a professor of music in SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts, where he also served as associate dean for academic affairs from 1984-86 and from 1992-98, and as dean ad interim from 1993-94. His numerous awards include the Willis M. Tate Award for outstanding faculty member presented by the SMU Students’ Association and the Outstanding Faculty Volunteer Award from the university’s Office of Leadership and Community Involvement. In 2000 he received the “M” Award, SMU’s highest honor for service to the university.

A member of the Texas Music Educators Association and the Council for Research in Music Education, Tunks also has served on the board of the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra. He has been an editorial board member of The Quarterly Journal of Music Teaching and Learning and The Journal of Research in Music Education and was associate editor of Psychomusicology. In addition, he has held several offices with the Texas Council of the Arts in Education, including president in 2000.

A former member of the Peace Corps, Tunks earned his bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. degrees in music from Michigan State University.

Associate Provost for Faculty and Administrative Affairs Ellen Jackofsky will continue to serve in her role of overseeing faculty personnel issues including Promotion and Tenure and the development of faculty enhancement programs.  In addition, Jackofsky will continue to be in charge of Academic Program Review, work with the Central University Library system, Academic Computing, SMU Press, the Southwest Review, the Commission on Teaching Excellence, the University Committee on Information Technology and other administrative duties involving faculty.

A new associate provost for honors and international programs, Law Professor Ellen Pryor, joins the Provost’s Office on July 1. Among her administrative responsibilities in this newly created position is the coordination of all SMU honors programs and the University’s international programs and initiatives.