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President's Scholars Program


Faculty and Staff


Julie Forrester

Julie Patterson Forrester is an Associate Provost and Professor of Law at SMU. She joined the faculty of the SMU Dedman School of Law in 1990 after practicing real estate law with the Dallas law firm of Thompson & Knight. In the law school, Professor Forrester taught in the areas of Property, Real Estate Transactions, and Land Use. She writes and speaks on real estate finance, the residential mortgage market, predatory lending, and real property law. She was one of the first legal scholars to write about the problem of predatory lending in the subprime mortgage market, and was awarded the John Minor Wisdom Award for Academic Excellence in 1995 for her first predatory lending article. She is co-author of a property law casebook.

Professor Forrester spent the 2014-15 academic year as faculty coordinator of the OE2C project. She served as Dean ad interim of the law school from June 1, 2013, through June 30, 2014, and as associate dean for academic affairs from 1995-1996. She is a member of the American Law Institute, the American College of Real Estate Lawyers, and the American College of Mortgage Attorneys, and she is currently serving as chair of the American Association of Law Schools Real Estate Transactions Section. She is a member of the Texas State Bar Real Estate, Probate, and Trust Law Section Council, and she served on the section’s committee that drafted the Texas Assignment of Rents Act, which became law in 2011.


Rachel Ball-Phillips

Dr. Ball-Phillips joined the President’s Scholars Program as the Senior Program Specialist in 2017. She also oversees National Fellowships for undergraduate students, and teaches South Asian History in Dedman College’s History Department. Dr. Ball-Phillips completed her undergraduate degree in History at SMU in 2006 before she went on to get her Ph.D. in history from Boston College. During her time at Boston College, she was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and American Institute of Indian Studies Language Fellowships to conduct research and language study. Dr. Ball-Phillips is excited to be back in Dallas and back at SMU to work with President’s Scholars. As the National Fellowships Advisor, Dr. Ball-Phillips works with many President’s Scholars to apply to nationally-competitive fellowships.

Kathleen Hugley-Cook

Dr. Hugley-Cook is Director of SMU’s Office of National Fellowships and Awards, and also teaches French language and literature in Dedman College’s Department of World Languages and Literatures. Before joining the Office of the Provost in 2007 she was Associate Dean for Student Affairs in Dedman College. At SMU she has inaugurated a number of programs and has received the “M” Award, SMU’s highest recognition awarded by students and colleagues. Dr. Hugley-Cook is also an alumna of SMU, having received her undergraduate degree here before earning her Ph.D. at the Johns Hopkins University and executive management training at the Wharton School of Business.

“It is an immense pleasure being with the President’s Scholars and their families,” she says. “Walking with them for their four years here, and staying connected with them afterward, adds richness and depth to life. The President’s Scholars share a lot of laughs, and many meaningful experiences, in their lives together.”

Jeverley R. Cook

Dr. J. Cook is Executive Director of the W.W. Caruth, Jr. Foundation at Communities Foundation of Texas, where he has led initiatives for major grants in medical research, education, and public safety. He is a former Fulbright Scholar and a DAAD German Academic Exchange Fellow. J. earned his B.A. in German and studied at the Universities of Vienna, Munich, and Mainz before earning his Ph.D. in German language and literature from the Johns Hopkins University.

Dr. Cook has served SMU as a member of the Advisory Board of the Meadows School of the Arts and on the Provost’s BigiDeas grant review panel. As President's Scholars advisors, Drs. Cook and Hugley-Cook enjoy welcoming the new President’s Scholars to their home for dinner each fall, and the graduating seniors each spring.

Joseph Kobylka

Involved with the President’s Scholars program for many years, Joe Kobylka became its faculty sponsor coordinator in 2008. He is an inaugural member of the Academy of Distinguished Teachers, an Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor, and an Associate Professor of Political Science, has teaching and research interests in the areas of constitutional law, judicial politics, and American political thought. He has published three books in these areas, and his fourth – The Judicial Odyssey of Justice Harry A. Blackmun — is under contract with the University of Virginia Press. The Teaching Company published his lecture series “Cycles of American Political Thought” in 2007, and he was a featured interview on PBS’s “The Supreme Court” (2007). His teaching and service to the university have been recognized by a number of honors and awards: the “M” Award, the Willis M. Tate Award (twice), Rotunda Outstanding Professor (five times), Distinguished University Citizen Award, H.O.P.E. Distinguished Professor, SMU Student Senate Faculty Member of the Year Award, Bridge Committee Award, and the Deshner Award. Kobylka teaches a seminar that, every other year, takes 12 students to Washington, D.C., to do original research in the papers of the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court housed in the Library of Congress.

He also owns and manages a competitive fantasy baseball team, Publius.

Scott Norris

Dr. Scott Norris is a former President's Scholar, graduating with a degree in Mathematics from SMU in 2001, before earning a Ph.D. from Northwestern University in 2006. After a three-year postdoctoral position at Harvard University, Dr. Norris returned to join the faculty of the Mathematics department in 2011, and became a PS faculty sponsor in 2016.

"I owe so much of my personal and professional development to my time at SMU in the Mathematics department and President's Scholars community. It is an honor and a privilege to serve those communities as a faculty member so many years later."