QEP

Super students and Big iDeas take the spotlight during SMU’s 2015 Engaged Learning Week, Jan. 26-30

SMU Engaged Learning Symposium program - photo by Clayton T. SmithSMU’s Engaged Learning Week puts student achievement front and center with an expanded schedule for 2015 – including a business plan competition among the winners in the Fall 2014 Big iDeas Pitch Competition.

Other activities include open houses, exhibitions, performances and presentations from the University’s 2014-15 Engaged Learning Fellows.

This year’s event takes place Jan. 26-30 and is designed to help students learn more about expanding their education outside the classroom, from undergraduate research and community service to professional internships and creative projects.

The week will begin with the Lucky Cup, a free party taking place 4:30-6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 26 in Café 100, Hughes-Trigg Student Center. Hosted by Engaged Learning students and staff, the festivities will include exhibitions and live performances by Engaged Learning seniors – as well as free hot drinks, contests, prizes, photos with Peruna, and celebrity baristas.

SMU Engaged Learning logoThe week’s centerpiece events take place Tuesday-Thursday, Jan. 27-29, as graduating Engaged Learning Fellows present their projects. The Engaged Learning Symposium is scheduled for 9 a.m.-2 p.m. each day in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Forum.

This year, for the first time, student presentations will be grouped by type, with creative projects leading off on Tuesday, and research and service highlighted on Wednesday and Thursday. The new grouping is designed to make it easier for all undergraduates to schedule their attendance and to support and network with classmates who share similar interests.

Symposium attendees are invited to drop in for any and all of the presentations. Each will be followed by a Q&A, in which the student presenters have the opportunity to talk informally with the audience.

On Friday, Jan. 30, SMU Engaged Learning hosts Big iDeas Demo Day noon-5 p.m. in The CUBE, 600 Expressway Tower, East Campus. The schedule includes a free buffet lunch and the Big iDeas Pitch Competition Winners Fair from noon to 1:30 p.m. in the Expressway Tower lobby. Later, the Pitch Competition winners will vie to receive up to $5,000 in project funding in the Business Plan Competition, 2-5 p.m. in The CUBE. Their proposals will be judged by a panel of experts from Executives in Action.

Find a full schedule at the SMU Engaged Learning Week homepage
Check the 2015 schedule of Engaged Learning students and presentations

Students shine in 2014 Engaged Learning Week Feb. 5-7

Originally published Friday, Jan. 17, 2014 – updated.

SMU Engaged Learning logoSMU’s 2014 Engaged Learning Week puts student achievement front and center with open houses, exhibitions, performances and presentations from the University’s 2013-14 Engaged Learning Fellows.

This year’s event takes place Feb. 5-7 and is designed to help students learn more about expanding their education outside the classroom, from undergraduate research and community service to professional internships and creative projects.

The week will begin with the Lucky Cup, a free party taking place 4:30-6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 5 in Café 100, Hughes-Trigg Student Center. Hosted by Engaged Learning students and staff, the festivities will include exhibitions and live performances by Engaged Learning seniors – as well as free hot drinks and Girl Scout cookies, contests, prizes, photos with Peruna, and celebrity baristas. One lucky student will win a LYFEBox package, the Big iDeas brainchild of SMU students and brothers Myles and Kaleb Lee. Other prizes include two tickets to the 2014 Empty Bowls event benefiting the North Texas Food Bank, each of which includes a souvenir dish handcrafted by a Texas artist and food from 18 of North Texas’ finest restaurants.

Participants in SMU's 2013 Engaged Learning Week

Participants in SMU’s 2013 Engaged Learning Week gather on the Main Quad. The 2014 event takes place Feb. 5-7.

The week’s centerpiece event takes place Thursday, Feb. 6, as 40 graduating Engaged Learning Fellows present their projects. The Engaged Learning Symposium is scheduled for 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Forum. The participants will share their work in the areas of research, service, internships and creative activities.

Symposium attendees are invited to drop in for any and all of the presentations. Each will be followed by a Q&A, in which the student presenters have the opportunity to talk informally with the audience.

On Friday, Feb. 7, SMU Engaged Learning hosts an open house 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m. in G13 Clements Hall.

Scheduled events include:

  • 11 a.m.: Provost’s Office presentation on how Engaged Learning fits into an SMU education
  • Noon: Free buffet provided by Buca di Beppo
  • 1 p.m.: Faculty members Gretchen Smith, Theatre, and Thomas Osang, Economics, on “The Joy of Mentoring”
  • 2 p.m.: Engaged Learning Director Susan Kress on how to create a successful Engaged Learning Fellowship proposal

Find a full schedule at the SMU Engaged Learning Week homepage
Check the schedule of Engaged Learning students and presentations (coming soon)

SMU observes Engaged Learning Week 2013 Jan. 23-25

Engaged Learning T-Shirt

SMU’s Office of Engaged Learning hosts Engaged Learning Week 2013 Jan. 23-25 – a series of events to help students learn more about how they can expand their education outside the classroom, from undergraduate research to community service.

Carl Dorvil (’05, ’08), CEO of Group Excellence, will help kick off the week with an opening speech at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 23 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Forum. Dorvil started Group Excellence in 2004 out of his SMU dorm room, hiring bright and highly motivated college students and young professionals to tutor and mentor students in public schools. Today, the company is a 500-person operation.

Immediately following Dorvil’s speech is a kickoff rally at 5 p.m. at the flagpole on the Main Quad. Refreshments and T-shirts will be provided as students are invited to share their ideas for making their mark with an Engaged Learning project.

Another highlight of the week will be students’ presentations of their 2012-13 Engaged Learning projects, 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 24, in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Forum. The participants will share their work in the areas of research, service, internships and creative activities.

On Friday, Jan. 25, SMU faculty and staff members will present workshops and roundtable discussions on topics ranging from how to write a successful Engaged Learning proposal to best mentoring practices for professors. All workshops take place in the lower level of Clements Hall.

> Find a full schedule at the SMU Engaged Learning Week homepage
Read the full list of Engaged Learning students and presentations

Tune In: SMU celebrates 2012 Engaged Learning Day Feb. 13

SMU celebrates Engaged Learning Day 2012 on Monday, February 13, with a series of events aimed at encouraging students to take their learning experience beyond the classroom by tackling real-world problems.

Activities will include an open house at the Office of Engaged Learning in the lower level of Clements Hall, as well as workshops and presentations by students who are currently completing projects.

“We want students to ask themselves ‘What do you care about?’ and ‘What are you going to do about it?’” says Susan Kress, director of Engaged Learning. “Answering these questions will hopefully inspire them to imagine and make a project happen, a project that links to their SMU education.”

Learn more now with the University’s updated Engaged Learning video for 2012 by Eva Parks of SMU News. Click the YouTube screen to start watching, or click here to open SMU’s Engaged Learning 2012 promotional video in a new windowvideo

> Find a complete schedule at SMU News
> Visit the Office of Engaged Learning online at smu.edu/engagedlearning

SACS reaffirms SMU’s accreditation at 2011 meeting

SMU received full reaffirmation of its accreditation at the annual meeting of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) Dec. 5, 2011, in Orlando. Provost Paul Ludden made the announcement to faculty and staff members in an e-mail message dated Dec. 9:


This past Monday at the Annual SACS Meeting in Orlando, SMU received full reaffirmation of its accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools SACS.  Many of you were involved, either directly or indirectly, in developing the materials for that review process, and I thank you for your effort as well as your continued support of SMU.

A list of those who served on the SACS Steering Committee and those who served on the Committee to develop SMU’s Quality Enhancement Program (QEP), “Unbridled Learning: Engaged Learning Beyond the Classroom” is attached.  When you see these individuals, please congratulate them and thank them for their efforts.

Best wishes for a wonderful Holiday Season.


> Visit SMU’s SACS Reaffirmation of Accreditation page
> See a list of SMU’s SACS Committee members (PDF format)

Susan Kress becomes SMU Director of Engaged Learning Oct. 1, 2011

Susan Kress, SMU Director of Engaged LearningSusan Kress of the SMU International Center will become the University’s new Director of Engaged Learning effective Oct. 1, 2011. Her office is in the General Education suite in the lower level of Clements Hall, adjacent to the Scholars’ Den honors community commons. She reports to James Quick, Associate Vice President for Research.

Kress has been with SMU since 2008 in her role as Director of Education Abroad. She received her B.F.A. degree from Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, and her M.F.A. degree from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. Prior to accepting her position at SMU, she was assistant director of The International Center and coordinator of study abroad and national student exchange at Winthrop University.

Her new position was created to provide institutional support for the University’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), created as part of SMU’s reaccreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). “Unbridled Learning: Engaged Learning Beyond the Classroom” will allow all SMU undergraduate students to participate in at least one extensive experiential learning activity prior to graduation, according to the plan set forth by SMU’s QEP Committee in January 2011.

The oversight infrastructure will include the Engaged Learning Advisory Committee, as well as community partners and mentors, and a new website to keep track of experiential learning opportunities for students.

> Learn more about the University’s Quality Enhancement Plan

Kress will start by working with Quick to assemble an advisory committee of SMU campus community members, she says. By spring 2012, they hope to have an external advisory committee of community and national leaders and friends of SMU, she adds.

The committees’ advice will help establish priorities for the program, Kress says. “We will focus on bringing together different constituencies and talking to students to find out what they want.”

Kress sees the Office of Engaged Learning as serving as “an umbrella that will bring together the people behind the myriad experiential learning activities already happening on campus, making it easy for students to know where to go to practice the knowledge and skills they are learning in the classroom in a real-world context,” she says. “Students, based on their needs and interests, are already asking for it. A big part of my job is to establish the business practices needed for a coordinated and exciting program that underscores the value of active learning as a distinctive component of a SMU education.

“The University is looking at the next 100 years. As we go forward, this engaged learning will be part and parcel of the academic experience, not something separate.”

> Visit SMU’s “Unbridled Learning” homepage

Tune In: Getting connected with ‘Unbridled Learning’

SMU is answering students’ calls for learning opportunities outside the classroom with a new program that will provide both structure and funding for their endeavors.

The University’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) – “Unbridled Learning: Engaged Learning Beyond the Classroom” – will allow all SMU undergraduate students to participate in at least one extensive experiential learning activity prior to graduation. The program will allow undergraduates to build on their formal education through participation in structured experiential learning beyond the classroom.

Click the YouTube screen to learn more, or watch the Unbridled Learning video in a new window. video

> Visit SMU’s Unbridled Learning homepage

SMU unveils new plan for ‘Unbridled Learning’

Outdoor class at Dallas HallSMU is answering students’ calls for learning opportunities outside the classroom with a new program that will provide both structure and funding for their endeavors.

The University’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) – “Unbridled Learning: Engaged Learning Beyond the Classroom” – will allow all SMU undergraduate students to participate in at least one extensive experiential learning activity prior to graduation, according to the plan released by SMU’s QEP Committee. It also meets requirements for the University’s upcoming reaccreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

The program will allow undergraduates to “build on their formal classroom education through participation in structured experiential learning beyond the classroom, which will help them to develop a significant and sophisticated understanding of the ways in which the context of the world community intersects with disciplinary knowledge,” according to the QEP Committee’s executive summary.

The committee’s discussions have centered on experiential learning since its formation in summer 2009, says chair Maggie Dunham, professor of computer science and engineering in the Lyle School of Engineering.

“The QEP part of our reaccreditation process is pretty much wide open for schools to determine. The committee’s main job was to come up with an implementation plan,” Dunham says. “Experiential learning is the area where we think students will gain the most from their University experience. They value this kind of activity and have told us as much.”

Indeed, a survey of SMU students conducted by the Temerlin Advertising Institute, led by Professor Brice Campbell, in Meadows School of the Arts found that more than 80 percent of them “find that it is important to experience life outside the classroom.”

The QEP will provide opportunities – and University support, including funding – for undergraduate students to choose an out-of-classroom experiential learning activity in the community focus area of their choice:

  • Research
  • Creative
  • Civic
  • Professional

QEP experiences will also have specific requirements that may not be satisfied by existing SMU experiential learning activities, according to the committee. A key feature is that each student will be in charge of identifying, defining, completing and reporting on his or her work.

All experiences will be approved by an advisory committee and overseen by SMU faculty with other qualified internal and external mentors. A QEP experience can be undertaken anywhere, but must include extensive involvement with a learning community.

All QEP participants will be required to write a reflective article about their experiences, to be published in a new SMU online journal. In addition, new Undergraduate Engaged Learning Conferences will be held annually to showcase student QEP experiences.

The committee found that many SMU students already pursue experiential activities beyond the classroom, but many more are confused about how to go about doing it, Dunham says. The recommendations for the QEP grant program and other support mechanisms should address that problem, she adds.

SMU institutional support for the QEP will include:

  • Monetary support
  • A new position for a Director of Engaged Learning
  • A new Director of Undergraduate Research

The oversight infrastructure will include the Engaged Learning Advisory Committee, as well as community partners and mentors, and a new website to keep track of experiential learning opportunities for students.

In addition, QEP projects will build on and augment important elements of the new University Curriculum (UC), to be offered beginning in 2012. The program will allow students to pursue the community and global requirements of the UC in more depth.

Finally, the QEP will increase faculty awareness of the importance of and participation in undergraduate experiential learning outside the classroom.

“It’s important that these experiences become part of our University culture,” Dunham says. “Our plan will help facilitate that.”

> Read more about the University Curriculum
> Learn more from SMU’s Quality Enhancement Plan information site
> Visit the SACS Reaffirmation of Accreditation for SMU homepage

Four professors honored at Spring 2011 General Faculty Meeting

SMU Provost Paul Ludden opened the 2011 Spring Faculty Meeting by presenting awards to four outstanding faculty members.

Assistant Professor of Art History Amy Buono and Assistant Professor of Sociology Sheri Kunovich received 2009-10 Golden Mustang Faculty Awards. The Golden Mustang honors junior faculty members who sustain high achievement as both teachers and scholars.

The 2009-10 President’s Associates Outstanding Faculty Awards were presented to Associate Professor of Philosophy Robert Howell and Associate Professor of Art History Pamela Patton. The awards honor tenured faculty who have sustained high achievement as both teachers and scholars in their professions.

Ludden announced SMU’s latest Carnegie Foundation research classification and unveiled the University’s new Quality Enhancement Plan at the Jan. 19 meeting. He also provided updates on the 10-year accreditation review by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), next year’s budget standings and a proposed new structure for undergraduate admissions.

Read more under the link below.

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