The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Looking on to the Second Century: President Turner speaks to Faculty Club


On Feb. 3 in the EY Gallery of the Cox School of Business’s Fincher Building, SMU’s Faculty Club hosted a luncheon entitled “On to the Second Century,” inviting President R. Gerald Turner to speak about both the successes of the past 100 years and the plans for the next 100 years of SMU.

“The second century will be a great one too,” Turner said, in comparison to SMU’s first 100 years. “We are looking forward rather than backwards.”

Turner began his presentation with an overview of the successes and great moments of the first centennial. Such victories included meeting goals like 25 percent yearly alumni participation in the capital campaign, reaching the school’s $1 billion capital campaign goal by the end of 2015, a raise in major capital campaign projects, and a raise in both endowed faculty positions and endowed scholarships for students.

Many capital projects, according to Turner, are either underway or have been finished. Such projects include the new health center, the Crum Lacrosse Center and the new Simmons building, rounding out the centennial celebration as essential additions to SMU.

Turner praised SMU’s academic improvements and its students, saying that 25 percent of SMU’s student body like to come to SMU because “they can do two things [majors] whereas at large universities, you can’t.” He said at SMU outstanding students are attracted and wanted.

After overviewing the successes of the past 100 years, President Turner outlined the strategic plan that will last from 2016-2025, which includes the following six goals:

1. Enhance Academic Quality and Structure

2. Improve Teaching and Learning

3. Strengthen Scholarly Research, Creative Achievement, and Innovation

4. Sustain Student Development and Supportive Campus Experience

5. Broaden Global Perspectives

6. Increase Revenue and Stuart Our Resources Responsibly

Within these six goals, there are sub-goals that will be worked on during the next 10 years.

To enhance “Academic Quality and Structure,” SMU will work to strengthen recruitment and retention of faculty and undergraduate students, as well as invest in creative initiatives for students and improve the University Library System, etc.

In order to “Improve Teaching and Learning,” SMU will promote innovate curriculum and enhance technologies, as well as create more programs that will be reviewed critically to strengthen the learning processes and improve ethic development.

To improve “Student Development and Campus Experience,” the strategic plan will aim to enhance student life programs, especially the residential commons system, and enhance both student leadership and career services development. In addition, this initiative aims to increase the understanding of cultural, ethic, and racial diversity — something that has been a popular topic on the SMU campus this school year.

To increase “Global Perspectives,” the initiative aims to increase international representation of students and faculty as well as continues to develop international consortial agreements. “We wanted to move from 30 percent to 50 percent,” Turner said about the percentage of the student body studying abroad, “but we only got to 34 percent.”

Lastly, in order to help improve “Revenue and Stewardship,” programs to aid in operation efficiency and effectiveness, as well as an increase in private support and improve national profile and rankings to the public, are to be enacted.

After describing the six goals for SMU’s next 10 years, Turner spoke about the need of finances in order to keep the university successful.

According to him, SMU is a “tuition driven campus” with about 70 percent of its funds coming from tuition. However, because the Board of Trustees is trying to make tuition rise at a less rapid pace, there will be repercussion due to the lack of funds.

“We have to find some ways to generate income,” Turner said. “We are looking at ways to generate more [money] that doesn’t include raising tuition.”

Turner ended his talk by saying that there are a lot of great things to announce in the future and about SMU itself. Leaving those in attendance with this final thought, he thanked the faculty for their work, and told them to “keep an eye on this crazy world…particularly financially.”

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