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Hilltop Scholars Program

HSP Faculty

Hilltop Scholars also have the advantage of smaller class sections and increased interaction with faculty. The Hilltop faculty choose to teach in this environment because they believe in its ability to enhance the first-year experience, not only academically but socially. Students who know each other, and their instructors, on an informal basis will ask questions and contribute to class discussions more frequently.

A high comfort level in class helps facilitate success outside of class. The Hilltop Scholars Program provides several opportunities each semester for faculty-student interaction outside of class, such as movie nights, receptions with faculty and staff, and an end of the year banquet.

Hilltop Scholar Program Faculty: Dr. Marta Krogh, HSP Director and Discernment and Discourse Professor

Dr. Marta Krogh

Director, Hilltop Scholars Program
Discernment and Discourse Professor

Marta Krogh has been involved with the Hilltop Scholars Program, in one way or another, since she started working at SMU 2007.  She loves working with the HSP students because they are often the most motivated and driven students at SMU.  She encourages her students to become close readers and writers and hopes that they leave her class being more confident writers and critical thinkers.  Marta has a PhD in English, with a focus on American Literature. 

Hilltop Scholar Program Faculty: Dr. Caitlin Anderson, Personal Wellness and Responsibility Professor

Dr. Caitlin Anderson

Assistant Director, Hilltop Scholars Program
Personal Wellness and Responsibility Professor

Caitlin Anderson is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Applied Physiology and Wellness at SMU.  Caitlin has worked at SMU since 2008 and has taught PRW-I for the Hilltop Scholars Program since 2013.  When not at work, she enjoys spending time with her husband, J.J., their children, Wesley and James, and their two rescue dogs.



Hilltop Scholar Program Faculty: Albert Mitugo, pictured in the mountains at Taos, New Mexico; SMU Outdoor Adventures, Leadership Coach for Lead@SMU

Albert Mitugo

Leadership Coach for Lead@SMU

Albert Mitugo loves to see the transformational power of Experiential Education work on students’ leadership growth. He runs the Outdoor Adventure Program at SMU and is involved with the Hilltop Scholars as a Leadership Coach for Lead@SMU.





Hilltop Scholars Program Faculty: Dr. Stephanie Amsel, HSP Director and Discernment and Discourse Professor

Dr. Stephanie Amsel

Discernment and Discourse Professor

Stephanie Amsel has been teaching at SMU since 2009, and she has been a director, along with Marta Krogh, of the Hilltop Scholars Program since 2014. She enjoys teaching and working with the students and mentors in the program because there is always something new to learn.  Before moving to Dallas, she taught in public and private schools in New York, Italy, and Texas. She received her MA and PhD from the University of Texas at San Antonio and specializes in Italian and English medieval literature. Stephanie is the Chaucer bibliographer for the New Chaucer Society. 


Dr. Pauline Newton

Dr. Pauline Newton

Discernment and Discourse Professor

At SMU, Pauline Newton has served on SMUReads, the President's Commission for the Needs of People with Disabilities, and the President's Commission on the Status of Women.  Her secret loves are the Hilltop Scholars program and informal meetings with students. They have lunch and talk about their lives and dreams— and the meaning of happiness. In her free time, she works with a local non-profit, The Dallas Hearing Foundation, to get hearing aids and cochlear implants and related services to individuals in need of those services. She does crazy runs with her friends, including Obstacle Warrior and Viking Runs. She also loves traveling with her six-year-old twins and husband to Mexico City and other places around the country and world. 

Hilltop Scholars Program Faculty: Dr. Susan Norman, Discernment and Discourse Professor

Dr. Susan Norman

Discernment and Discourse Professor

Susan White Norman has been teaching first-year writing at SMU since 2015, in the Hilltop program in since 2016. She has a Ph.D. from The University of Texas at Dallas where her primary areas of focus were Narrative Theory and American Literature. In addition to teaching, Susan is a fiction and essay writer. She loves to read and write speculative fiction. She also loves teaching 1312 in Hilltop because Hilltop students have the best discussions! 

Hilltop Scholars Program Faculty: Dr. Kristen Polster, Discernment and Discourse Professor

Dr. Kristen Polster

Discernment and Discourse Professor

Kristen has been teaching at SMU since 2001, and a part of the SMU community since transferring here as an undergraduate in 1992. She has taught first year writing courses, acted as founding director of the Hilltop Scholars Program, and assisted with the World of Shakespeare course.  She is dedicated to helping students write better and more confidently, and has worked in the Writing Center at the Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center since 2007.  Her dissertation examines the use of ink as a tool of humoral balance and imbalance in the English sonnet tradition and in the dramas of the English Renaissance.  She has presented papers on aspects of this topic at meetings of the Shakespeare Association of America and the South Central MLA.  She also enjoys writing short fiction, and has been recognized by the Dallas Museum of Art’s Arts and Letters Live for one of her short stories, “The Implosion.”