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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School of education formally announced

On Feb. 25, the SMU Board of Trustees voted to create the university’s seventh degree-granting school or college.

The new School of Education and Human Development will combine existing programs and implement new ones to “allow SMU to expand its nationally recognized education programs and related research,” stated a recent press release.

“A school devoted to the education professions will serve the needs of our community and society,” President R. Gerald Turner said.

In the next decade, America’s schools will need 2.2 million more teachers, according to the National Commission on Mathematics and Science Teaching for the 21st Century. More non-English speaking children in U.S. classrooms also require more bilingual and special education teachers.

Factors such as these have increased demand for SMU’s education programs, which will help teachers and other professionals in the region improve their skills and advance their careers through mostly graduate-level degree programs.

Programs will also focus on the applied social and behavioral sciences, emphasizing personal development that “will serve our community and bring more opportunities for research,” Provost Ross Murfin said.

“We are renewing our commitment to research-based instruction and training teachers to become masters of their subject areas as we have since the early years of SMU,” Murfin said.

To James K. Hopkins, professor and chair of history, the new school symbolizes an enhanced relationship between SMU and the region in which it resides. Though he was critical of the process through which the school was created, he described the school as “an immensely important and wholly progressive development.”

“Over the years, I have watched with distress and sorrow a continuing and persistent effort on the part of the university to cut its ties with the greater Dallas community,” Hopkins said. He cited the discontinuation of the evening law school program in the 1970s and, in later years, the urban studies program, the sociology department and the department of education.

“Now, in often vital new forms, they have been reclaimed,” he said, “causing Dallas to look us at us as a real partner in its future.”

The press release highlighted two areas of the new school – the Department of Literacy and Language Acquisition and the Institute for Reading Research. The former includes LEAP (Language Enrichment Activities Program), a curriculum which is taught in eight states to 19,000 children and includes elements of the No Child Left Behind Act. The latter was founded in 2003 with an endowment from the Texas Instruments Foundation and has attracted $6 million in research grants.

The academic reputation of SMU is a leading attraction to the new school, said Robert Patterson, dean of the Division of Education and Lifelong Education.

“Theory and application will come together to produce outstanding professionals and leaders no matter where they teach or work,” he said.

For more information about SMU’s School of Education and Human Development, visit

For more information on the school see the sidebar on page 6.

The new education school will offer classes at the main and Plano campuses. It will be divided into three departments, one institute and one division:

* The Department of Teaching and Learning  Educational Psychology and Early Childhood Education  Elementary and Secondary Certification  Center for Gifted Education

* Department of Literacy and Language Acquisition  Preschool Reading  School-level Literacy  Bilingual Education  Learning Therapy  Diagnostic Center for Dyslexia and Related Reading Disorders

*Department of Human Development  Dispute Resolution  School and Family Counseling  Center for Dispute Resolution and Conflict Management

* Institute for Reading Research

* Division of Lifelong Learning  Continuing Education for Youths and Adults  Continuing Education for Professionals

More to Discover