Rita KirkDr. Rita Kirk
William F. May Endowed Director

Dr. Rita Kirk is a Professor of Corporate Communication and Public Affairs at Southern Methodist University.  Concurrently, she holds the William F May Endowed Chair as the Director of the Maguire Center for Ethics & Public Responsibility.  Her passions for aligning resources with innovation, empowering ideas, and building coalitions to successfully implement strategic initiatives is a hallmark of her work. A frequent news commentator and featured speaker, she excels as a communication strategist who specializes in the analysis of public arguments and the successful (and ethical) implementation of communication campaigns.  Kirk served as an analyst for CNN and other news outlets during presidential elections and major political events for 16 years.  She continues to consult with national and multinational corporations on public policy and leadership.  The author of five books and numerous articles, Kirk’s current research focuses on election integrity and the politics of trust.  In 2023-2024, she is a Visiting Fellow at Harvard University’s Edmond & Lily Safra Center for Ethics researching System Trust, that part of the social contract where organizations are given custody of the public’s trust as an element of governance.  Despite the amount of data showing that voting irregularities are rare and nearly nonexistent, the public distrust of our institutions has steadily increased over the last two decades.  Kirk contends that we must account for the human interaction with information, our hopes and fears for the future, and our sense-making of the world that reflect our values.  In this way, she seeks to better understand how public opinion becomes inconsistent with factual evidence, and what can be done to halt the steady decline of public trust. Kirk Has been recognized as an Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor and a Meadows Distinguished Professor by her peers and the prestigious “M” Award and the Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award by the SMU student body.


Matt Nadler
Associate Director

Matt Nadler serves as the Associate Director for the Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility. Through this position he is excited to work with students, faculty, staff, and the greater DFW community to encourage Ethics education and research. Prior to starting in the Ethics Center Matt has worked for the division of Student Affairs at SMU in the Hegi Family Career Development Center and Residence Life and student Housing. During that time Matt received the Courageous Change Leader award for his work and embodiment of the division.


Matt received a B.A. in Political Science and a minor in Philosophy from Niagara University, followed by a master’s degree in Higher Education Administration from The Pennsylvania State University. Recently, Matt has conducted research and published journal articles examining college students’ sense of belonging and the impact of the co-curricular experience on employability.   



Rylee Bailey
Program Coordinator

Rylee Bailey is the program coordinator of the Maguire Center. Rylee co-manages daily operations of the Center including the Maguire Public Service Fellowship program and Center student staffers. In addition, she co-manages the Center’s annual fundraising and academic events and prepares correspondence and reports, including the Center's annual report. Rylee also manages the creation of internal and external marketing and design and is the producer of the Ethics Center’s podcast “SoundEthics.”  

Rylee graduated from SMU in May 2022 with a Bachelor of Arts in Corporate Communications and Public Affairs. During her time as an undergraduate at SMU, Rylee was no stranger to the Ethics Center. She served as a student staffer in the Center for three years and was recognized by the National Ethics Project for her contributions to the Center's blog. She was also recognized as the 2022 Outstanding CCPA Student in Political Communication at SMU.

In her free time, Rylee is a freelance journalist for various publications and enjoys time with her partner and dog in Dallas.