Year 2005 | Volume 12    Southern Methodist University


Election Experts Central

During the presidential campaign last year, national media were interested in what SMU faculty had to say about issues surrounding Election 2004. They served as resources for members of the media seeking comments and insights up to and after election night November 2.

Their comments, featured in more than 100 media outlets, covered a wide range of issues, including political spin, voting behavior, ballot security, the Electoral College, exit polling, congressional races, voting rights, and past presidential elections. Because SMU’s Election 2004 Web site received so many hits for information, it was named Google’s number one site for experts on congressional races.

Professors who answered the media’s calls included Cal Jillson, Political Science; Rita Kirk, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs; Thomas J. Knock, History; Robin Lovin, Theology; Marco Marchetti and Suku Nair, Computer Science; Ruth Morgan, Political Science; Tony Pederson, Journalism; Dennis Simon, Political Science; Harold Stanley, Geurin-Pettus Distinguished Chair in American Politics and Political Economy; Hal Williams, History; and Matthew Wilson, Political Science.

Friend Of Education

As a U.S. Senator, Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) looks for ways to strengthen education to keep the United States competitive in the global marketplace. During the past several years, she has been instrumental in securing federal grants to help fund research projects at SMU.

“Senator Hutchison has shown herself to be a true friend of education, especially in helping to secure resources for important research and academic programs,” says SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “She knows that the strength of the United States will depend in many ways on the strength of our educational system.”

SMU received $800,000 to launch the national Institute for Engineering Education, which develops innovative programs to encourage more U.S. students to pursue studies in engineering.

In addition, Hutchison helped secure a $1 million grant from NASA’s Office of Biological and Physical Research for SMU’s Department of Biological Sciences. The grant is providing support for new faculty members, laboratories for molecular biology research, and specialized equipment.

With Hutchison’s support, SMU also received a $500,000 training grant for a program to prepare low-income preschoolers to learn to read and write in kindergarten. The grant from the U.S. Department of Education provides training for Dallas early childhood teachers in using the Language Enrichment Activities Program (LEAP) developed by SMU.

She also helped SMU’s Dedman School of Law acquire the Rule of Law Forum, a partnership with the U.S. Department of State. Funded with three federal grants totaling $2.49 million, the Forum fosters international exchange among judicial, government, and business leaders from around the world and their U.S. counterparts.

Finally, Hutchison is assisting SMU’s Archives of Women of the Southwest as honorary chair of the “Remember the Ladies” fund-raising campaign. Donors can honor women with special plaques in DeGolyer Library. The Archives supports research by chronicling women’s roles in the Southwest.

Outstanding Scholarship

Five SMU faculty members, representing outstanding scholarship in diverse fields, received 2004 Gerald J. Ford Research Fellowships. The recipients were Michael A. Adler, associate professor of anthropology; Thomas M. Chen, associate professor of electrical engineering; Peter Beasecker, associate professor of art; Zhangxin John Chen, professor of mathematics; and Sherry L. Smith, professor of history. Each received $15,000 in research support.

In addition, Ford Early Career Research Fellowships are offered to help recruit faculty to campus. The first was granted in 2004 to Sheri Kunovich, assistant professor of sociology, one of 35 new tenure-track faculty who joined SMU last year.

The Ford Research Fellowships were established in 2002 through a $1 million pledge from Gerald Ford, chair of SMU’s Board of Trustees, to help retain and reward outstanding scholars.