July 9, 2012
New Engineering/Computer Science dean named

Dr. Dennis O'Neal has been named the new dean of Baylor's School of Engineering and Computer Science, effective Aug. 6, 2012.

O'Neal previously served as associate dean of research in the Dwight Look College of Engineering and deputy director for the Texas Engineering Experiment Station at Texas A&M. Prior to that, he served as head of the Mechanical Engineering Department at Texas A&M.

"Dr. O'Neal is a proven leader," said Dr. Elizabeth Davis, BBA '84, executive vice president and provost at Baylor. "For seven years, he led one of the largest mechanical engineering programs in the country with more than 60 faculty members, 1,100 undergraduates and 400 graduate students. He was awarded an endowed professorship for his work with undergraduates and has advised many graduate students. In addition, the quality of his scholarship has been recognized by a wide variety of public and private funding agencies."

A fellow in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers, O'Neal has been awarded research funding from the U.S. Army, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Siemens, LG Electronics, the Trane Company and the Texas Governor's Energy Office. To date, he has published more than 80 journal articles and two book chapters.

O'Neal obtained his doctoral degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue, a master of science degree in mechanical engineering from Oklahoma State, and a bachelor of science degree in nuclear engineering from Texas A&M.

He succeeds Dr. Ben Kelley, who has served as dean of the school since 1999 and will return to teaching in the school's mechanical engineering department.

Law teams sweep top honors at national competition

Teams from Baylor Law School captured both first and second place at the National Trial Competition (NTC) finals held March 24 in Austin. In the final round, the Baylor Law team of Mark Walraven, JD '12, and Steven Lopez, JD '12, defeated Joel Towner, JD '12, and Chaille Graft Walraven, BA '07, JD '12. Walraven also was named Best Advocate. The teams were coached by adjunct professor Dr. Robert Little, BA '02, JD '05, PhD '05.

In addition to the four team members, Holly Raines, JD '12, served as evidence coach, while Whitney Keltch and Paul Green, JD '12, were members of the practice squad.

The NTC is the largest and oldest of the mock trial competitions. Approximately 300 teams from across the United States competed at the regional and national level.

The win at the NTC highlights what was a banner year for Baylor Law advocacy teams. In 2012, Baylor Law teams won:

  • regional competitions at the ABA Moot Court competition, AAJ mock trial competition, the NTC and the Transactional Law Meet;
  • the Elliott Cup and the National Security Moot Court Competition at George Washington University's School of Law; and
  • were semifinalists at the NYU Immigration Law Moot Court Competition, the Wisconsin Constitutional Law Moot Court Competition and the Child Welfare and Adoption Law Moot Court Competition.
Students again best at passing Texas Bar

For the 15th time since 2001, Baylor Law School students claimed the top pass rate on the Texas State Bar Exam with a 92.59 percent success rate, the highest pass rate for students from the nine Texas law schools. Of the 54 Baylor students who took the three-day exam in February, 50 passed.

The overall state pass rate was 76.57 percent, with 281 candidates out of 367 passing. SMU was second behind Baylor with a 90.63 percent pass rate, while Texas Tech was third with an 80.95 percent pass rate.

Nurses named DFW "Greats"

Three faculty members from Baylor University's Louise Herrington School of Nursing (LHSON) have been named as part of the 2012 DFW Great 100 Nurses.

Barbara S. Devitt, MSN, RN, lecturer; Dr. Catherine Rosser, director of the undergraduate program; and Cheryl A. Tucker, BSN '80, MSN, RN, CNE, lecturer and undergraduate theory coordinator, participated in an awards ceremony April 11.

"These three faculty exemplify the LHSON faculty commitment to our guiding statement of 'Learn. Lead. Serve,'" said Dr. Shelley Conroy, dean and professor of the Louise Herrington School of Nursing. "They exemplify the ways that Baylor nurses integrate faith with service to influence the quality of care provided to the clients they serve, the students they teach, and the profession of nursing."

The DFW Great 100 Nurses are chosen from the more than 15,000 practicing nurses in the Dallas and Fort Worth areas.

Society of Behavioral Medicine honors Elkins

Dr. Gary Elkins, a professor of psychology and neuroscience in Baylor's College of Arts and Sciences, received the 2012 Complementary and Integrative Medicine Investigator Research Award from the Society of Behavioral Medicine. The award was given in recognition of Elkins' research into an innovative use of hypnosis for reducing hot flashes among post-menopausal women.

Elkins is the director of the Mind-Body Medicine Research Laboratory at Baylor University. He noted that he and his co-investigators are now pursuing developing a refined treatment manual as well as a plan to determine if the intervention can be provided through guided self-hypnosis as a critical next step.

The trial was funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health's National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

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