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


Board of Trustees approves English doctorate program

At the first SMU Board of Trustees meeting of the school year, praised the university’s involvement and efforts to reach out to students affected by Hurricane Katrina, members approved an English doctorate program and heard Director of Residence Life and Student Housing Doug Hallenbeck’s plans for renovating four campus residence halls.

SMU has admitted 207 visiting students to the university for the fall semester.

University President R. Gerald Turner said the school’s efforts to accommodate students affected by the Hurricane Katrina pleased the board. Turner, who helped execute the plans, said the campus community response was tremendous.

“Faculty was really good about making another desk available or trying to,” he said, “but there were only so many spots available,”

The university admitted all visiting students free of charge. At orientation last Wednesday, Turner said he encouraged students to finalize fall tuition payments with their home school.

“If for some reason [their home schools] have trouble [collecting fall tuition], we’ll collect money for them, if they want us to,” he explained.”We’re not making any money off the students,” Turner continued. “I know what would happen if we had to close down and send everyone home. The crisis with your campus is bad enough, but then you get into financial crisis too. So that’s a way we can help our sister institution.”

Board members voted and approved the English doctorate program, a plan that took two years to develop by English chair Steven Weisenburger and Ezra Greenspan. The program is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2007.

It will be a small and concentrated program, Weisenburger said, adding that the program takes five years to complete.

“We hope and expect it to be one of the top Ph.D. programs of North Texas,” he said.

Dean Jasper Neel will finish his term as dean and then take his sabbatical, a leave of absence.

In the last campus campaign, SMU was able to have several chairs endowed, Turner said. By the time the program begins, the department will have a staff of three to four senior faculty as well as former provost Ross Murfin and the dean, who are former senior faculty.

“I think it will be a very strong program because we have very strong faculty,” Turner said.

Next year the school plans to begin the recruitment process. Weisenburger estimates the program will admit about five students in its opening class. The department will begin accepting applications mid-fall 2006.

Board members heard from RLSH Director Doug Hallenbeck, who presented his department’s plans to renovate residence halls Boaz, Shuttles, Peyton and Mary Hay, beginning in 2007.

“Everyone is in agreement that it needs to be done,” Hallenbeck said. “Now we just need to figure out how.”

Dr. Hallenbeck plans to meet with several architect firms to determine more specifics on what the renovation process will entail.

The university chose the four halls as priority because, as four of the larger halls on campus, they would each require more work. Another reason for the upcoming change, Hallenbeck said, is that the university has not renovated the main infrastructures of the four residence halls since they were built more than forty years ago.

The last renovation of comparable size that SMU commissioned to McElvaney Hall. The process took a spring semester and a summer to complete, according to Hallenbeck, who added that he expects each renovation to be completed in about the same amount of time.

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