Tracking history through algorithms – using an iconic childhood toy to demonstrate physics – trading traditional diversity training for real communication skills – storytelling. SMU professors bring innovative tools and techniques to wherever the students are. And it only starts in the classroom.
“Higher education has long emphasized the importance of teaching critical thinking. It also is important to teach students the skill of critical searching.”
JO GULDI, associate professor of history, teaches students to apply big data search tools to giant topics like inequality, capitalism and climate change.
“Cultural Intelligence doesn't mean we agree. It doesn't advocate that all ideas are equal in the marketplace of discourse. But it does mean that you have the right to be heard, to make the argument, and then to have it tested with respect.”
MARIA DIXON HALL, associate professor of communication studies, leads SMU’s cultural intelligence initiative, CIQ, created in 2017 to bridge the gap between traditional diversity training and the real communication skills students, faculty and staff need to work in a diverse world.
“The type of question that excites me is, how can we foster innovative and creative problem-solving skills and behaviors in undergraduates that they can use in industry?”
MARK FONTENOT, clinical professor of computer science and engineering, is determined to teach students life skills and confidence to solve problems in the real world – in addition to technical proficiency.
“Successfully navigating algebra is key to preparation for STEM jobs. By connecting algebra to careers, students understand why they need to learn algebra.”
CANDACE WALKINGTON, associate professor of teaching and learning, shares her research on best algebra-teaching practices with SMU education students.
“Teach a man or woman to build a fishing business and he or she will feed their community for a lifetime. This is my teaching philosophy.”
SIMON MAK is professor of practice in entrepreneurship and associate director of the Caruth Institute for Entrepreneurship. After more than a decade as an entrepreneur, he felt called to teach entrepreneurship at SMU. An engineer by training, he teaches and mentors students interested in starting their own businesses.
"Revolutionary ideas in science require a solid foundation of the general principles and creative thinking. The future is defined by people who have curiosity and the audacity to figure out what they do not know.”
JODI COOLEY is an associate professor of experimental particle physics who opens her research lab to undergraduates. She’ll also organize a campus rock hunt on Dark Matter Day, analyze an action film or bring out a Slinky to help make physics real for her students.
“Preaching continues to be the first thing that church personnel committees say they value in a new hire. They want someone who can preach the word, and they often say things like, `Can you connect scripture with contemporary life?’ Story is a beautiful way to do that.”
ALYCE MCKENZIE is Le Van Professor of Preaching and Worship at SMU’s Perkins School of Theology and directs the Perkins Center for Preaching Excellence at SMU. A popular teacher, author and preacher, she is an expert on the power of storytelling.