The Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development comprises research institutes, undergraduate and graduate programs, and community enrichment and service centers that focus on teacher training, school leadership, higher education, dispute resolution, counseling, applied physiology and health management, sport management, sport performance leadership, and graduate liberal studies. The mission of the school is to integrate the theory, research and practice of education and human development; to promote academic rigor and interdisciplinary study; to prepare students for initial certification and professional practice; to advance knowledge through research; and to nurture collaboration across the academic community.
Undergraduate programs include a major and four minors in applied physiology and sport management and a major and a minor in educational studies. The school offers three doctoral degrees, eleven master’s degrees and a number of graduate professional-preparation programs. Its academic departments include Teaching and Learning, Applied Physiology and Wellness, Education Policy and Leadership, Dispute Resolution and Counseling, and Graduate Liberal Studies.
The school is housed in Annette C. Simmons Hall and Harold C. Simmons Hall, which are two of several LEED-certified buildings on the SMU campus. Key features include the Locomotor Performance Laboratory; an integrated physiology laboratory; an applied physiology laboratory equipped with a data acquisition system, an environmental research chamber, and teaching pods; a cerebrovascular research lab; and the Center for Virtual Reality Learning Innovation that supports both research and teaching through the design and use of virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality simulations and resources, including virtual avatars.
In an annual awards ceremony, the Simmons School recognizes its students, faculty and staff members who are regarded as leaders among their peers. Awards are given to students who have excelled academically, demonstrated uncommon leadership or engaged in community service in unique and meaningful ways. Faculty and staff members who have distinguished themselves through research pursuits, teaching activities, or professional accomplishments are honored. Additionally, University alumni who have made significant contributions of their time and resources to the school during the year are recognized.
The Department of Teaching and Learning represents SMU’s commitment to the professional development of educators through innovative, research-based undergraduate and graduate programs that are grounded behaviorist, cognitive, social-constructivist and sociocultural perspectives and approaches to scholarship. All Teaching and Learning programs prepare educators who are scholars and leaders, experts in high-quality differentiated instruction, and able to translate research into practice. The department’s undergraduate and post-baccalaureate curricula prepare students for initial teacher certification. Master’s programs provide a solid foundation in research and theory and encompass areas such as STEM, early and late literacy, special education, learning therapy, giftedness, Montessori education, bilingual education, ESL, urban education, and mathematics. A variety of enrichment opportunities serve the continuing education needs of practicing educators, and certification preparation programs are available in the areas of reading specialization and learning therapy. Department faculty engage in high-quality research that combines quantitative and qualitative methodologies, contributes to scholarship, and influences pedagogical practices in early childhood through grade-12 schools. The Teacher Development Studio trains students to become effective teachers through the use of computer avatars that simulate K-12 classroom environments.
The Department of Applied Physiology and Wellness offers undergraduate and graduate degrees. The undergraduate B.S. in applied physiology and sport management offers concentration/specializations in applied physiology and health management, sport management, and sport performance leadership. Graduate programs include an M.S. in sport management and an M.S. in health promotion management, both of which are offered in collaboration with SMU’s Cox School of Business, and a Ph.D. in education with an emphasis in applied physiology. The department also offers sports and fitness activity courses that are available as electives. The undergraduate and graduate programs have access to the department’s four laboratories. The Applied Physiology Laboratory is a teaching laboratory that utilizes experiential learning and comprises three complete and functional exercise physiology laboratories (teaching pods), a biochemistry lab, in-ground force plates, and a temperature- and humidity-controlled environmental chamber. The Cerebrovascular Research Laboratory examines the relationship between brain flow regulation and functional outcomes in healthy and diseased or injured individuals. The Integrative Physiology Laboratory engages in research that measures cardiovascular, neural and thermoregulatory function in human health and disease. The Locomotor Performance Laboratory specializes in terrestrial locomotion through research and study of the relationship between muscle function and metabolic energy expenditure and performance.
The Department of Education Policy and Leadership is dedicated to the preparation and continued development of education policy and administrative leaders; the promotion of research, development and analysis; and the translation of research into policy and practice at the local, state, national and international levels. Coursework and systematic applications of knowledge ensure that the education leaders of tomorrow are able to develop and support effective teachers and other education service providers, to select and implement effective curriculum and instructional programs, and to implement and sustain effective organizational practices that support high levels of learning and achievement. In service to this mission, the department offers an M.Ed. in higher education leadership, an M.Ed. in accelerated school leadership, an M.Ed. in urban school leadership, an Ed.D. in higher education, and an Ed.D. in pre-K through grade 12 educational leadership.
The Department of Dispute Resolution and Counseling offers two degrees. The M.S. in counseling includes specialties in Clinical Mental Health Counseling; Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling; and School Counseling—all of which prepare students for professional licensure and certification; concentrations are available in addiction counseling, child and adolescent counseling, expressive arts therapies, and LGBTQ+ affirmative therapy. Additionally, the counseling program operates the SMU Center for Family Counseling, which serves as a hands-on training clinic for graduate students and provides low-cost counseling services to the surrounding communities. The department also offers an M.A. and a graduate certificate in dispute resolution, whose curricula are rooted in the social and behavioral science theories that underpin the resolution of interpersonal and organizational conflicts.
The Department of Graduate Liberal Studies offers the Doctor of Liberal Studies, the Master of Liberal Studies and a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study, all of which broaden students’ perspectives, insights, and understandings of the world. At the heart of the graduate liberal studies programs is the belief that people can continue to grow intellectually, personally and professionally throughout their lives with the opportunity to make greater contributions to society.
Admission and Degree Requirements
Admission and degree requirements differ among the Simmons School’s various graduate degree programs. Students should refer to the individual program sections in this catalog for details.
Ordinarily, students are not allowed to transfer more than six credit hours from other SMU schools or from other institutions. Only courses with grades of A or B may be transferred, and all are subject to the approval of the academic department. An official record of such work must be on file in the student’s department office by the end of the first term of study. All transferred work must be completed within six years prior to entering a graduate program. Any exceptions to these requirements and policies must have the approval of the dean of the Simmons School of Education and Human Development.
Center on Research and Evaluation
Annie Wright, Executive Director
CORE’s mission is to improve the well-being of children, adults and families through the creation and dissemination of knowledge and evaluations of programs designed to enhance positive outcomes for individuals and communities. This interaction between knowledge creation and the work of organizations and individuals is essential to the efforts of organizations to improve lives and communities. CORE adheres to principles of science to understand how best to improve education and human development and believes that evidence exists to substantially increase the number of individuals who are equipped to make a positive contribution to society. The center supports Simmons’ faculty in its research efforts and conducts third-party evaluations for clients such as nonprofits and schools and for internal SMU entities. CORE provides undergraduate and graduate students with real-world opportunities to participate in research and evaluation.
Research in Mathematics Education
Leanne Ketterlin Geller, Director
RME conducts and disseminates high quality, evidence-based research to improve students’ mathematics and STEM performance in Texas and across the country. Formed in 2011 under the direction of Dr. Leanne Ketterlin Geller, RME is committed to engaging in research and outreach that will make a significant and lasting difference at the student, classroom, school, district, state and national levels. RME’s mission is to cultivate positive change by educating and empowering teachers and administrators through the provision of evidence-based practices and systems to support mathematics and, more broadly, STEM achievement through academic growth and development of all students. Key focal areas include
- Creating systems of formative assessment to inform teacher decision-making.
- Designing evidence-based interventions for students struggling in mathematics.
- Designing and delivering professional development to support teachers’ and administrators’ implementation of best practices.
- Offering a dynamic community where researchers and educators can collaborate and share ideas and resources.
RME’s externally funded research and development budget has grown beyond $15 million. Efforts by RME researchers have directly impacted nearly a million students across Texas and the nation. Through participation in research activities and conferences, engagement with professional development courses, dissemination of materials through the RME website, and collaborations with other organizations and publications, RME has reached tens of thousands of educators since 2011.
RME’s faculty affiliates are members of the Simmons School’s Department of Education Policy and Leadership and Department of Teaching and Learning and disseminate their research findings locally, nationally and globally.
The Budd Center: Involving Communities in Education
Regina Nippert, Executive Director
The mission of The Budd Center is to equip schools and nonprofits with the tools and information necessary to work collaboratively on projects that address the extraordinary social, emotional and educational needs of children living in poverty. The Budd Center uses the following strategies to accomplish its mission:
- Develops processes to drive collaboration between school systems, nonprofits and SMU.
- Works with nonprofits in Professional Learning Communities to create curricula and targeted intervention plans based on individualized student information.
- Connects SMU faculty and students to enriching teaching and learning experiences.
Center for Family Counseling
Terra Wagner, Clinic Director
The Center for Family Counseling offers a variety of mental health counseling services to members of the community, including adults, adolescents, children, groups, couples, and families struggling with personal, social or career-related issues, while providing SMU graduate counseling students with meaningful training experience via supervised therapeutic interactions.
Dr. David Deggs, Executive Director
Since 1966, SMU College Access has assisted low-income students, potential first-generation college students, and underrepresented students prepare for college success. College Access programs include Upward Bound, Upward Bound Math Science, Talent Search, McNair Scholars, and the College Knowledge.
Institute for Leadership Impact
Dr. Eric Bing, Executive Director
The Institute for Leadership Impact helps emerging and established leaders in education, health, and social enterprise develop the skill necessary to lead organizations and solve real-world problems. The Institute was founded in 2016 with the mission of increasing access to practical leadership-development opportunities specifically designed for leaders who seek to create social impact in education, public health, social services, and related systems. The Institute focuses on helping individuals, teams, and organizations maximize their leadership abilities through a variety of in-person, online, and hybrid learning formats.
The Center for VR Learning Innovation
Anthony Cuevas, Director
The Center for Virtual Reality (VR) Learning Innovation is dedicated to the advancement of interdisciplinary research and innovation in augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and game-based learning (GBL) for education, health, and human development applications. The Center focuses on educational interactions in immersive augmented and virtual reality environments using commercially available technologies and supports digital learning for Simmons research and online/hybrid courses.