This is the last issue of In Focus for the semester. Publication will resume in August. For the latest news about Southwestern over the summer, visit The In Focus staff wishes you a wonderful summer!

Top News


Kenny Sheppard, a music professor and popular local choir director, has received the 2010 William Carrington Finch Award from Southwestern University.

The award is given every other year to a full-time faculty member “for exemplary accomplishment in furthering the aims of Southwestern University.” Criteria for the award include excellence in teaching, contributions to university governance, and contributions outside the classroom. It is presented at Commencement and includes a $5,000 prize. The award is named for Southwestern’s 11th president.

Sheppard has been a member of the Southwestern faculty since 1974 and has served as chair of the Music Department two times in addition to conducting the SU Chorale. He also has served as the artistic director for Chorus Austin, has conducted the chorus for the Georgetown Festival of the Arts since it started in 2005, and has led a summer institute at Southwestern that gives choral conductors professional instruction in the great choral/orchestral works of classical music.

“Kenny has provided outstanding leadership for the music program over the years and   has guided the program to distinction and excellence,” said President Jake B. Schrum. “He embodies the student-centered approach to teaching that is the cornerstone of the   Southwestern experience, and his name has become synonymous with excellence in   choral music at Southwestern and throughout the nation.”

Read the rest of the story here. 


An international group of experts from diverse disciplines will gather at Southwestern University May 23-28 for the biannual meeting of the Academy of Transdisciplinary Learning and Advanced Studies (ATLAS).

The ATLAS was founded in 2000 to support education and research that falls outside the realm of traditional science and engineering disciplines. Its May 23-28 meeting will focus on transdisciplinary sustainable development.

Activities scheduled for the meeting include presentation of the Academy’s 2010 Gold Medal of Honor, which recognizes accomplishment in transdisciplinary education and research and public service. This year’s award is going to Southwestern alumnus Red McCombs, chairman and COO of McCombs Enterprises.

Read the rest of the story here.



Southwestern will host an Aldersgate Day celebration on Monday, May 24. The event observes the 272nd anniversary of John Wesley’s “heart-warming” experience at Aldersgate Street in London, which became the basis for the Methodist faith.

The program will begin at 9 a.m. in the Lois Perkins Chapel with a tour of the historic building and singing of Wesleyan hymns led by Southwestern alumnus Henry Holloway. This will be followed by a presentation on the topic “A Heart Strangely Warmed: A Closer Look at Charles Wesley (1707-1788)” by Michael Hawn, professor of church music and director of the Sacred Music Program in the Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University.

From 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m., a buffet lunch will be available for purchase in the Red & Charline McCombs Campus Center for $6.75 per person. After lunch, Hawn will continue his presentation about Charles Wesley.

The event is open to the public. To attend the event, visit, call 800-960-6363 or write


Members of three local choirs will perform Haydn’s “Mass in the Time of War” on Saturday, May 29, at 7 p.m. in the Alma Thomas Theater.  

The performance is a warm-up for an upcoming trip to China, in which the choirs will perform the piece at the Oriental Art Center in Shanghai June 14. The performance is also a prelude to the 2010 Festival of the Arts in Georgetown, which will be held June 3-6 (see below).  

“Since Aaron Copland did not write any large choral/orchestral works, we are performing this one so that we can continue the tradition of having a major choral work at the Festival of the Arts,” said Kenny Sheppard, conductor of the Festival of the Arts Chorus.  

The concert will be performed by representatives from the Southwestern University Chorale, the San Gabriel Chorale and Chorus Austin. Tickets are $25 and may be purchased in advance at the Williamson County Sun or the Sun City Community Association Office, or ordered online at The concert is free to Southwestern faculty, students and staff.  


Georgetown’s 2010 Festival of the Arts will be held June 3-6 and will feature the work of American composer Aaron Copland, whose original works incorporate familiar spiritual, folk and square dance tunes.   

The Festival will begin Thursday evening, June 3, with a performance of chamber music by musicians from Copland House in New York. On Saturday evening, June 7, there will be a free concert in San Gabriel Park by the Temple Symphony Orchestra. The orchestra will perform Copland’s “Appalachian Spring,” followed by a dramatic fireworks display.  

Other highlights of the festival include a concert of Copland’s choral music and a series of lectures that will help people understand and appreciate Copland’s music. A full schedule of events is available at All festival events on the Southwestern campus are free to faculty, students and staff.

Media Coverage

The Austin American-Statesman ran a story on the recipients of Southwestern’s 2010 Teaching Awards. Read the story here.

Inside Higher Ed printed the names of Southwestern’s newly tenured faculty members. See the story here.

The Williamson County Sun ran a story about Kenny Sheppard receiving the 2010 William Carrington Finch Award.


Psychology majors Meagan Anderson and Caitlyn Carnes are attending the annual meeting of the Association for Psychological Science in Boston May 27-30 to present a paper titled “Emotional Intelligence and Stress are Related to Trait Worry.” The paper was written with Paula Desmond, assistant professor of psychology.

Psychology students Kathryn Bollich, Whitney Laas, Lauren Margulieux and Stacy Mathis are presenting a paper titled “‘I’m Shy’: Improving Misperceptions of Shy Individuals through Acknowledgement” at the same meeting. The paper was written with Traci Giuliano, professor of psychology.

Abby Dings, assistant professor of Spanish, presented a paper titled “The Role of Alignment Activity in Interactional Competence” at the Texas Foreign Language Education Conference in Austin April 24th.  She and Ted Jobe, assistant professor of Spanish, also presented a paper titled “What’s on the Tele?:  The Use of Target-language Television Series for Teaching Reading, Listening Comprehension, and Cultural Literacy.”

Alison Kafer, assistant professor of feminist studies, is co-editor of a new book titled Deaf and Disability Studies: Interdisciplinary Perspectives published by Gallaudet Press.

English and American studies major Katie Mead is attending the Young Rhetoricians Conference in Monterrey, Calif., June 24-26. She will present a paper on the trickster figure in Allen Ginsberg’s work.

Ron Swain, senior advisor to the president, was inducted into the Role of Fame for District 5870 of Rotary International. This is the highest award given for service to Rotary at the local level. Swain was been involved with Rotary for many years, and is a past president of the Rotary Club of Georgetown.


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