Dean of the Moody School of Graduate and Advanced Studies and Associate Provost for Graduate Education
Dr. Robin Poston is Dean of the Moody Graduate School of Graduate and Advanced Studies and Associate Provost for Graduate Education at SMU, which is home to over 5,700 graduate students studying in more than 45 graduate programs. She is a member of the Cox Business School faculty in the Information Technology and Operations Management Department. Prior to joining SMU, from 2014-2022 she served as the Chair of the Business Information and Technology Department then Dean of the Graduate School at the University of Memphis, where she received the Memphis Alumni Association Distinguished Teaching Award. Dr. Poston is also the prior Director and currently a Research Fellow with the System Testing Excellence Program at the FedEx Institute of Technology at The University of Memphis. She routinely speaks about advances and innovations in software testing at events attended by hundreds of academic and industry professionals, including IEEE’s International Symposium on Software Reliability Engineering and meetings supported by the International Test and Evaluation Association.
She has served as an Associate Editor for two highly ranked journals, the European Journal of Information Systems and Decision Sciences Journal, both of which provide critical views on technology, development, implementation, strategy, management, and policy for information systems to a global audience. Dr. Poston’s current research focuses on understanding the alignment within the IT unit among developers and testers, client managers’ responsibilities, and agile development and testing. She has published articles in publications such as Management Information Systems Quarterly, Journal of Management Information Systems, Decision Sciences Journal, Communications of the ACM, IEEE Computer, IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, Information Systems Management, and in major international conference proceedings.
Dr. Poston has over 20 years of experience in the information systems field working for KPMG Consulting, Educational Computer Corporation, Meta Group Research, and Convergys, and consulting with several Fortune 500 companies and government agencies. Today, she works with organizations such as the Department of Homeland Security and Air Force Institute of Technology and has conducted projects and educational programs for the Defense Information Systems Agency of the Department of Defense, FedEx Corporation, First Tennessee Bank, St. Jude/ALSAC, and others. Dr. Poston received her bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from The University of Pennsylvania (1987), master’s degree in Accounting from The University of Central Florida (1992), and Ph.D. in Management Information Systems from Michigan State University (2003).
Senior Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs and Chief of Staff, Moody School of Graduate and Advanced Studies, and Adjunct Lecturer in World Languages and Literatures
Dr. Itkin oversees administrative, admissions, recruitment, professional development, student life, fellowship, and other functions of the Moody School of Graduate and Advanced Studies under the direction of Dean Poston.
Dr. Itkin holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of Michigan, an M.A. in Humanities and Social Thought from New York University, and a B.A. in Mathematics from the University of California Berkeley. Prior to joining SMU, he served as Assistant Dean for Graduate Education and Research in the College of Arts and Science at Vanderbilt University. He also maintains an active research profile as a scholar of modern German culture and Holocaust literature. His academic monograph, Underworlds of Memory: W. G. Sebald’s Epic Journeys through the Past, was published by Northwestern University Press in 2017, and he has held the titles of Senior Lecturer in German at Vanderbilt University and Visiting Assistant Professor of Literary Cultures at New York University.
Dr. Itkin teaches as adjunct lecturer in the Department of World Languages and Literatures.
Associate Director and Diversity Officer, Moody School of Graduate and Advanced Studies
Kerri Bennett works with Ph.D. and Dedman College Master's students to provide administrative support for student progression, maintaining academic records, and processing students for graduation. Kerri is the main point of contact for dissertation format checks, Graduate Student Travel Grants, and similar resources offered by the Moody School Dean's Office. She also handles general admissions questions for Ph.D. and Dedman College Master's applicants and potential applicants. Kerri has over 10 years of experience in Higher Ed from Recruiting, Admissions, to Student Finance. She joined SMU in Fall of 2016. While helping motivate others to further their education, she also obtained an MBA with a concentration in Marketing.
Director of Recruitment and Admissions, Moody School of Graduate and Advanced Studies
Stevie Otto works closely with graduate departments across the institution to help promote their doctoral programs to prospective students. She is also a valuable resource for interested students who want to learn more about the graduate student experience at SMU and who need help starting the application process.
A native of Houston, Stevie is a graduate of Southwestern University and the University of Iowa. She has worked in higher education for several years, starting as an academic advisor and transitioning into admissions and recruitment. Before coming to SMU, she most recently served as the Assistant Director of Admissions and Outreach for the College of Visual and Performing Arts at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. She has worked in Academic Affairs and Graduate Studies throughout her entire professional career and enjoys being able to help students take that next step in their own professional development.
Program Specialist, Moody School of Graduate and Advanced Studies
Jean Nixon provides administrative support to the Moody School Office. She handles Academic and Enrollment Registrar forms in addition to other backend processes for the daily operations of the school and graduate students. Jean answers general questions regarding admissions (Dedman College), travel grant reimbursement documents, etc. She is also the main point of contact during office visits, phone calls, and emails plus collaborates on the Moody School social media presence. Before taking this position, Jean began her SMU career with the SMU|Perkins School of Theology over 4 years ago, in the Perkins Office of Enrollment Management. A short trip Up the Hill and Jean joins our team in Spring ’21.
Director of Graduate Fellowships and Awards, Moody School of Graduate and Advanced Studies
Dr. Ball-Phillips helps graduate students learn about, select, and successfully apply for external fellowships and awards. Prior to joining the Moody School of Graduate and Advanced Studies, Dr. Ball-Phillips directed National Student Fellowships and the President’s Scholars at SMU.
Dr. Ball-Phillips holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in South Asian History from Boston College, and a B.A. in History from SMU. During her time as a graduate student, she conducted language study and research through multiple American Institute of Indian Studies language grants, a Fulbright-Nehru Fellowship, and a Clough Center for the Study of Constitutional Democracy Fellowship. She has taught in the William P. Clements Department of History since 2014, and maintains an active research profile as a scholar of South Asian History. She is currently completing work on her manuscript Film in the Archives: Tracing Regionalism in Indian Cinema, and has started preliminary work on an oral history project titled Hare Krishnas in Longhorn Country: An Oral History of Devotees in Dallas.
Dr. Ball-Phillips also serves as the President of the Fulbright Association Dallas Chapter.
Director of Graduate Career Development and Postdoctoral Affairs, Moody School of Graduate and Advanced Studies
Dr. Rob Pearson provides support for graduate students and postdocs as they leverage their academic training to prepare for the range of diverse career paths available to them.
Dr. Pearson holds a Ph.D. and M.F.A. in musicology from Brandeis University and a B.A. in music from UC Davis. Prior to joining Southern Methodist University, Dr. Pearson built new graduate career development programs at Emory University and UT Dallas. Dr. Pearson’s career advice for doctoral students and postdoctoral trainees has been featured numerous times in InsideHigherEd. He has also served in faculty positions at the University of North Texas and the New England Conservatory of Music. His scholarly work addresses how listeners make meaning from 18th- and 19th-century music and his work has been featured in 19th-Century Music, the A-R Music Anthology, and the Oxford Handbook of Public Music Theory.
Dr. Pearson serves as President-Elect of the Graduate Career Consortium and is involved in professional development initiatives of the American Musicological Society. He is also a member of the National Postdoctoral Association.