Susan Kress

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 students have Jan. 17 deadline to apply for CGI U 2014

SMU students at the 2013 Clinton Global Initiative University meeting in St. Louis

SMU students (L to R) Chibundu Nnake, Ashley Wali, William (Timm) Wooten, Joshua Bakarich, Rahfin Faruk and Daisuke (Dennis) Takeda at the 2013 Clinton Global Initiative University meeting in St. Louis. Applications are now being accepted for CGI U 2014 in Phoenix; the deadline is Friday, Jan. 17.

SMU has renewed its membership in the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) Network, and students have until Friday, Jan. 17, 2014 to submit plans of action for potential funding.

The CGI University Network includes almost 40 colleges and universities that support, mentor and provide seed funding to student leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs who are developing solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. The University provides $10,000 in funding to be divided among SMU students who are selected to pursue their Commitments to Action at CGI U 2014, to be held March 21-23 at Arizona State University.

Commitments to Action, a unique feature of the CGI U model, are specific and measurable initiatives that address global challenges across CGI U’s five focus areas: Education, Environment and Climate Change, Peace and Human Rights, Poverty Alleviation, and Public Health. Director of Engaged Learning Susan Kress mentors student commitment-makers.

“Six of the 1,200 students from 80 countries who attended the CGI U 2013 meeting were SMU students. They were able to network with their global peers and hear from thought leaders, politicians, academics and other experts in the fields of their projects. Today their projects continue on campus, in Dallas and in Bangladesh,” says Kress.

Since its inaugural meeting in 2008, CGI U has brought together more than 5,500 student leaders from 135 countries and more than 800 schools. Past speakers include Madeleine Albright, Jack Dorsey, Muhammad Yunus, Hawa Abdi Diblawe, and Jon Stewart.

Students can apply online at and learn more about the University’s involvement at the SMU Engaged Learning homepage.

In addition, SMU’s CGI U representatives, Josh Bakarich and Lauren Castle, will conduct two information sessions for fellow students: noon-1 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 4 in G11 Clements Hall; and an informal drop-in session Tuesday, Dec. 10 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Commons.

For more information, contact Meleah Chriss, 214-768-3223.

Students show their work in Fall 2013 Engaged Learning Symposium

Engaged Learning Week 2013, Michael Tran, photo by Clayton T. Smith

Michael Tran ’13, now an SMU master’s degree candidate in mathematics, presented his project during Engaged Learning Week in January. Students in programs from across campus will participate in the Engaged Learning Symposium during Family Weekend 2013. Photo by Clayton T. Smith.

Twenty-two students in research, service and internship programs from across campus will show their work during Family Weekend at SMU’s Fall 2013 Engaged Learning Symposium. The event takes place 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Forum.

Student presenters include Maguire and Irby Family Public Service Interns, Summer Research Fellows and University Honors Richter Research Fellows, as well as students taking part in Engaged Learning projects (now known as Engaged Learning Fellows).

Their investigations range from biometric applications for cloud computing, to second-language learning to improve self-esteem, to how Russia recycles.

Engaged Learning Fellows participating in the fall symposium are on track to graduate in December.

For its second fall symposium, the Office of Engaged Learning wanted to include student engagement that happens across campus programs, says Director Susan Kress. “We are delighted that our colleagues in the Maguire, Honors and Undergraduate Research programs have accepted our invitation to host their students’ summer work.”

Kress believes the symposium’s audiences, ranging from SMU faculty members to parents of undergraduates, “will appreciate the variety of presentations packed into one event,” she says. “And how lucky are we that it falls on Family Weekend?”

> Find a full schedule at the Engaged Learning website

SMU’s 2013 Engaged Learning Expo takes place Sept. 5

SMU Engaged Learning studentsSMU students who want to learn outside the classroom, tackle real world issues and explore potential careers as part of their university experience will find representatives from DFW-area organizations and agencies who want their help at the 2013 Engaged Learning Expo from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 5, in the Mack Ballroom, Umphrey Lee Center.

The event also will be of interest to faculty who want to develop courses with community components and staff who want to expand opportunities for their programs.

> Find lists of campus programs and community partners scheduled for the Expo

The expo will celebrate 70 SMU undergraduates who worked on significant projects this summer, and provide opportunities to mix and match interested students with different campus programs as well as DFW-area community partners.

“A student who engages in a learning activity beyond the classroom has the opportunity to transfer the knowledge and skills of the classroom to a real-life situation, learn from the experience, reflect on it and use it as a basis for further learning,” said Susan Kress, director of Engaged Learning at SMU. “This is a taste of what it means to be a lifelong learner, and, for some, the first step in living a life of meaning and success in a complex world.”

Read about 2013-14 Engaged Learning student projects from SMU News
> Visit SMU’s Office of Engaged Learning online

51 students to take on Engaged Learning projects in 2013-14

Engaged Learning students for 2013-14SMU’s Office of Engaged Learning has selected 51 undergraduates from throughout the University to take on self-designed projects in research, civic engagement, creative work and internships in 2013-14.

The students will participate through the SMU Engaged Learning initiative and will work with 39 different faculty and staff mentors in 12 countries to complete their projects.

The University community will have the opportunity to meet the 2013-14 Engaged Learners for pizza and discussion of their projects at the 2013 Engaged Learning Meet-Up, scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 30 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballroom.

Learn more about the meet-up at SMU’s Engaged Learning homepage

The new Engaged Learning cohort represents another significant increase in the total number of participating students. Thirty-seven undergraduates undertook Unbridled Projects during 2012-13; three conducted projects during the program’s first year in 2011-12.

The Office of Engaged Learning provides institutional support for SMU’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), created as part of the University’s reaccreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). “Engaged Learning Beyond the Classroom” allows all SMU undergraduate students to participate in at least one extensive experiential learning activity prior to graduation.

A full list of students pursuing 2013-14 Unbridled Projects appears below the link.


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