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 areas of professional education, school leadership, dispute resolution, counseling, applied physiology and health management, sport management, sport performance leadership, personal responsibility and wellness, and 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; and to nurture collaboration across the academic community.
Undergraduate programs include a major and three minors in applied physiology and sport management and a major and a minor in educational studies. The school offers three doctoral degrees, nine 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 Lifelong Learning.
The school is housed in Annette C. Simmons Hall and Harold C. Simmons Hall, which are two of several LEED-certified buildings on 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; a curriculum design lab; and a teaching assessment center.
In an annual awards ceremony, the Simmons School recognizes those 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. The faculty and staff members who have distinguished themselves through their research activities, teaching or professional accomplishments are honored. Additionally, a select number of 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 under-graduate and graduate programs. The department’s teaching and research practices are grounded in multiple perspectives that encompass behaviorist, cognitive, social-constructivist and sociocultural approaches to scholarship. All Teaching and Learning programs prepare educators who are scholars and leaders in professionalism, experts in high-quality differentiated instruction, and able to translate research into practice. The department’s undergraduate curriculum prepares students for initial teacher certification. Graduate programs focus on research, literacy and language acquisition, teaching and learning, special education, giftedness, Montessori, bilingual education, ESL, STEM, and mathematics. A variety of enrichment opportunities serve the continuing education needs of practicing educators. The school promotes high-quality research that combines quantitative and qualitative methodologies, generates new hypotheses, and influences pedagogical practices in early childhood (or “EC”) through grade 12 schools.
The Department of Applied Physiology and Wellness offers undergraduate and graduate degrees. The undergraduate B.S. in applied physiology and sport management offers three concentrations within the APSM major: applied physiology and health management, sport management, and sport performance leadership. Graduate programs include an M.S. in sport management , an M.S. in health promotion management, and a Ph.D. in education with an emphasis in applied physiology. The department also offers the personal responsibility and wellness courses that are required of all undergraduate students as part of the University Curriculum and a selection of 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 developed with experiential learning in mind 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 is focused on understanding the relationship between brain flow regulation and functional outcome in health and diseased/injured individuals. The Integrative Physiology Laboratory is dedicated to research that measures cardiovascular, neural and thermoregulatory function in human health and disease. The Locomotor Performance Laboratory specializes in terrestrial locomotion and in relating muscle function to metabolic energy expenditure and performance.
The Department of Education Policy and Leadership focuses on preparing educators for leadership roles in complex educational settings, including colleges and universities. Coursework and systematic applications of knowledge are designed to 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 curricula and instructional programs; and to identify, implement and sustain effective organizational practices that ensure high levels of student learning and achievement. In service to this mission, the department offers the following M.Ed. degrees: an M.Ed. in accelerated school leadership, an M.Ed. in educational leadership with a specialization in higher education and an M.Ed. in educational leadership with a specialization in urban school leadership. Two doctoral programs are also offered: an Ed.D. in higher education and an Ed.D. in pre-K through grade 12 educational leadership. The department is also dedicated to the preparation and continued education of education policy leaders; to the promotion of research, development and analysis; and to the translation of research into policy and practice at the local, state, national and international levels.
The Department of Dispute Resolution and Counseling offers an M.S. in counseling, an M.A. in dispute resolution and a graduate certificate in dispute resolution, all of which draw on social and behavioral science theories to teach the communication skills necessary for the resolution of personal and interpersonal conflicts. Additionally, the department operates four community resource centers: the SMU Mediation Center, the Center for Family Counseling, the Resource Center and the Frisco ISD Center.
The Department of Lifelong Learning offers the Doctor of Liberal Studies, the Master of Liberal Studies and a noncredit creative writing program, all of which broaden students’ perspectives, insights and understandings of the world. At the heart of the two graduate liberal studies degrees is the belief that people can continue to grow intellectually, personally and professionally throughout their lives.
Center on Research and Evaluation
Akihito Kamata, Executive Director
CORE’s mission is to improve the well-being of children, adults and families through knowledge creation and dissemination and through 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 for these organizations to improve lives and communities. CORE adheres to principles of science to understand how best to improve education and human development and believes the 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, as well as 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 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 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 $11 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 thousands of educators since 2011.
RME’s director actively collaborates with the Bush Institute’s Middle School Matters Initiative and the Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk at the University of Texas in Austin and was named director of K-12 STEM initiatives for SMU’s Caruth Institute for Engineering Education in 2014.
RME faculty members teach in the Simmons School’s Department of Education Policy and Leadership as well as the Department of Teaching and Learning. Additionally, faculty members 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 tools and information so they can work together to meet 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.
- Trains teachers and nonprofits to use individualized student information to create curricula and targeted intervention plans.
- Connects SMU faculty and students to meaningful teaching and learning experiences.
Center for Family Counseling
The Center for Family Counseling offers a variety of 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.
SMU Mediation and Conflict Resolution Services
Mediation, arbitration, facilitation and conflict coaching services are available to parties involved in civil, family and community disputes. Alumni, current students of the Dispute Resolution Program who have completed at least 200 training hours, and other conflict resolution professionals serve as volunteer mediators and arbitrators.
Suzanne Frank, Director
The Writer’s Path is a creative writing program that guides individuals in the process of writing for fiction or nonfiction publication. Progressive noncredit courses take students from the development of writing ideas, through the preparation of a draft, to the revisions and then the polish. Qualified students are eligible to participate in a trip to New York where they meet professionals in the publishing industry.
Institute for Leadership Impact
Eric Bing, Executive Director
A growing demand for skilled leaders that create social impact and empower organizations and communities to grow, learn and prosper spurred the development of the Institute for Leadership Impact. The Institute provides educational opportunities that equip emerging and established leaders with the essential skills needed to be more effective in leading organizations and solving real-world problems. Institute offerings focus on training leaders in school districts, independent schools, hospitals, clinics and health-related organizations.