Research Clusters for AY 2021-22
This research cluster will promote an interdisciplinary examination of academic support programs and their relationship to college student retention. Our aim is to explore first and second-year academic initiatives and their retention-related outcomes on underrepresented student populations, with an emphasis on Black and Latinx students, Pell-eligible students, and first-generation college students. Goals of the cluster include four group meetings, a symposium, and the development of research to be used for publication or conference presentations. This research cluster welcomes faculty, staff, and graduate students interested in college student retention across all disciplines.
This research cluster proposes to bring together faculty, staff, and graduate
students with interests in Asian and Asian American studies. We intend to focus on two major
and overlapping areas of scholarship and teaching: (1) the intersection of Asian studies and
Asian American studies, and (2) the experiences and needs of Asian American and Pacific
Islander community members at SMU and the broader higher-education sector. Our goals are to
explore new research space and opportunities for collaboration, to advance creative teaching in
Asian Studies, and to foster a campus environment inclusive of diverse perspectives.
Ben Voth, Rhetoric and Debate email@example.com
Matthew Wilson, Political Science firstname.lastname@example.org
Denise DuPont, World Languages email@example.com
This cluster will promote and facilitate interdisciplinary exploration of the Christian tradition as inspiration and paradigm for research and teaching. It will bring together scholars from a variety of fields to examine the role and value of Christian epistemology in a largely secular academy.
To foster a more integrated and interactive research environment and culture amongst specialists in cognitive science and cognitive neuroscience at SMU and in the metroplex through the organization of public talks and research workshops, which will also help enrich and develop the new SMU minors in Cognitive Science and Neuroscience.
Michael Allred, World Languages and Literatures, Spanish firstname.lastname@example.org
Megan Heuer, Central University Libraries email@example.com
The purpose of this cluster is to articulate precise critical terms and research methodologies in order to understand the critical literacies needed to address rapidly proliferating genres and evolving contexts in which texts, information, and misinformation are produced, disseminated and received in the digital age. The cluster will focus on literacies most pertinent to education and public discourse, namely information, media, and cross-cultural literacies.
This cluster will cover topics including chosen families; human-nonhuman animal relationships; intergenerational caregiving; the intersection of race, gender and family law; family separation; and transgenerational trauma. The cluster will consider the impact of COVID-19 on family relationships and the reconfiguration of kinship by new communication technologies.
This cluster seeks to discuss, cultivate, and promote a culture of vigorously free and respectfully civil speech at SMU by way of discussion, intracampus partnerships and activities, and public events.
The research cluster brings together faculty, graduate students and staff (IT & Library) who
are interested in GIS (Geographic Information Systems, for mapping and spatial analysis). In
the last two years the interdisciplinary group GIS@SMU has made great strides in (i)
connecting SMU faculty, graduate and undergraduate students who may be working
independently in the area of spatial analysis; (ii) setting up a GIS lab in the Fondren library;
(iii) bringing in leading experts on GIS from top-universities such as Stanford to run
workshops; and (iv) organizing activities such as a Mapathon to promote the use of GIS to
undergraduates and the broader community at SMU. GIS@SMU is a true interdisciplinary
group, bringing together faculty and students from across campus.
The purpose of this cluster is to bring together faculty, staff, graduate students and the Dallas business community who are interested in different topics relating to Hispanic leadership, business, language and culture within the workplace. It will examine the complex and innovative ways in which American Corporate Culture is transforming as it integrates Hispanic language, culture and business practices. Moreover, it seeks to make points of contact, stimulate intellectual exchanges and research about the material culture of these two praxes and how they intersect and make a unique workforce.
This research cluster will bring together faculty and graduate students in the humanities and social
sciences working on the historical period 1300-1800. We will evaluate the state of the field at SMU
and beyond, identify key research clusters, and develop initiatives for future research, teaching, and
advising. We propose to use DCII funding to host a workshop with two outside speakers who have
successfully fostered interdisciplinary research in the field at their home institutions. Our goals are to
1) foster intellectual community; 2) strengthen on-campus networks benefitting faculty and student
research; and 3) identity outside funding sources for future large-scale collaborative projects.
The Human Rights Research Cluster examines the history of Dallas County since 1850 through the lens of human rights. The cluster's goal is to conduct research that will mark the sites with human rights significance on a digital map; this includes sites associated with upholding human rights as well as those where human rights were violated.
This cluster brings together scholars from a variety of disciplines to explore historic, contemporary, and future assessments of “excellence” in university settings. How have those metrics been established, and how do they reflect or inform differing roles universities have, do, and will play as important actors in civic society? How might we think about the role of public scholarship in the digital age where a blog, TED talk, or podcast may receive more, and more varied, attention than an article in a scholarly journal? How have, do, and will universities consider such public engagement as part of their larger mission?
Multilayer neural networks have been shown to be the most powerful models in machine learning. However, the fundamental reasons for this success remains not well understood and for that it will require mathematical tools and expertise. One of the most important mathematical tools that can be used to study neural networks is Control/Mean Field theory that deals with the behavior of dynamical systems with inputs, and how their behavior is modified by feedback. By this cluster, we would like to create a forum for faculties and researchers at regional universities and companies working on this important topic.
The “Medieval Matters” Research Cluster plans a year-long initiative to reinvigorate the strong, diverse, and engaged community of medievalists among the faculty and students at SMU and in the metroplex area. As a working group, we will examine fresh methodological approaches to the study of the Middle Ages with the goal of generating opportunities for new collaborative teaching and research across disciplinary boundaries. Among other possibilities, we envision a fully vetted book and digital project (with national and international contributors) that advances current understandings of the uses and limits of transdisciplinary teaching/research in the Middle Ages.
The “Narratives of COVID-19 in Dallas” interdisciplinary research cluster is a research collaboration among various faculty and graduate students across campus. It is dedicated to conducting first-person narrative interviews of experiences with the COVID-19 pandemic among health care and other essential workers and marginalized populations across Dallas. The narratives will be archived at SMU as a historical resource as well as constituting a database for publications and external grant funding efforts into the future.
Kacy Hollenback, Anthropology firstname.lastname@example.org
Steven Denson, Business email@example.com
Michael Adler, Anthropology firstname.lastname@example.org
Jennifer Nollkamper, Education email@example.com
This research cluster brings together faculty, staff, and graduate students with interests in indigenous studies. The focus will be on traditional and contemporary indigenous forms of culture, language, art, knowledge, economy, ecology, politics, and identity, as well as contemporary issues surrounding sovereignty, tradition, human rights, intellectual property rights, heritage, health, environmental justice, and development. Our year-long goals involve (1) creating and fostering a viable campus community at SMU, (2) identifying areas for collaborative research, and (3) defining existing and future teaching needs.
Bonnie Wheeler, English firstname.lastname@example.org
Crista DeLuzio, History email@example.com
Susanne Scholz, Theology firstname.lastname@example.org
Martha Satz, English email@example.com
Joci Caldwell-Ryan, Women's Studies firstname.lastname@example.org
Jeanne Stevenson-Moessner, Theology email@example.com
We’d like to think through this question, among others, in a cluster next year that would have six notable speakers and several small discussion sections. We would also engage the Women and Gender Studies Program in this project. Our goal is to produce an edited set of essays that poses questions about the place of feminist visibility in the academy. We want to develop the field of feminist thought further as we engage in both an embodiment of and conscious reflection upon feminist discourse. Can we see feminist theory in the service of social change?
In recent years, the study of political decision‐making has received increasing attention from
mathematicians. This interest is driven by several factors, including the availability of
computational resources that have enabled new algorithms for sampling high‐dimensional
probability spaces, as well as a broadly felt urgency to contribute to civic life among members
of a discipline that has historically viewed itself as apolitical. These factors align with SMU’s
strategic interests in high‐performance computing and interdisciplinary research. We propose
to organize a research cluster in Political Decision‐Making with three focus areas: the
mathematics of redistricting, social choice theory, and mathematical modeling of polarization.
Visit their project website here.
Stephen Arrowsmith, Earth Sciences firstname.lastname@example.org
Burke Jam, Creative Computation email@example.com
Sarah Nance, Art firstname.lastname@example.org
Matthew Siegler, Earth Sciences email@example.com
The Proposals for an Expanding Earth research cluster adopts the premise of a
conceptually and physically expanded Earth, evidenced by advancements in space
colonization and humans as a global geologic force. These rapid developments in human
reach and impact have prompted shifts in research across disciplines, raising the question:
What is the artist’s, geologist’s, etc. role in prefiguring new ways of being in this expanding
world? Cluster leaders will integrate their diverse interests in seismology, sonics, and the
ethics of space exploration. The cluster’s activities will include faculty panels, guest
lectures, creative publication, and course development; identifying future exhibition,
publication, and/or granting opportunities.
The DCII “Technology, Society and Value” Research Cluster provides a forum for interdisciplinary collaboration on ethical issues raised by emerging technologies. The past several years have made it painfully clear that new technologies—from social media to artificial intelligence—will change the way we interact as a society and will raise new ethical issues in the process. This research cluster will provide an opportunity for scholars and industry professionals across various domains to connect and learn from each other’s perspective on these issues, with a goal of determining some of the more promising avenues for future research.
The Future of Narrative: Virtual Reality and What it Means to be Human will bring together SMU faculty, staff and students, the public and industry professionals, as well as other area students and educators to examine how the emergent storytelling medium of virtual reality can help us learn more about what it means to be human. In a series of short public lectures, academics and industry professionals will discuss existing and potential virtual reality experiences that shed new light on old questions about human experience and identity. What is the difference between human consciousness and other animal minds? What was it like to be a human being in the distant past? What will our collective human future be like? Virtual reality provides us with new ways to answer these questions and offers us new ways to study ourselves, our past and our future. This conference will further develop SMU as a leader in the bourgeoning field of digital humanities and its interdisciplinary nature will advance the cause of the DCII.
As technology has developed, new data types for research have become available. Examples of these are location data from cellphones, light data from satellites, and social media data from everyone! Though these sources produce voluminous data, it requires expertise, and sometimes money, to retrieve and use it. One purpose of this research cluster is to build capacity among researchers here at SMU in how to retrieve and make use of these data. A second goal is to identify applications and teams that will use these data sources to pursue new research avenues not previously available.