Faculty and Staff

Rachel Ball-Phillips

Dr. Ball-Phillips joined the President’s Scholars Program as the director 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 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 Johns Hopkins University and then receiving 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.”

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. His teaching and research interests include 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 had 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), the Rotunda Outstanding Professor Award (five times), Distinguished University Citizen Award, H.O.P.E. Distinguished Professor Award, 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 and graduated 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."