Office of Engaged Learning – Research President’s Scholars

Spotlight: ELSA winner Princess Igwe-Icho

Princess Igwe-Icho ’24 is a President’s Scholar and recent winner of the Engaged Learning Starter Award (ELSA). This is a small award for first-generation or underrepresented students who want to pursue a research or creative project. Princess’s project focuses on accommodations for the Deaf and hard-of-hearing. Watch this video by Ixchell Ibanez ’24 to learn more!

Office of General Education

Degree Progress Report changed to better align with Second Language Requirement

The Academic Records Committee made modifications to the Degree Progress Report (DPR) related to the Second Language Requirement (SLR) effective September 28, 2022.

No changes have been made to the Common Curriculum Second Language, the change relates to the manner the DPR reports a student has satisfied the requirement.

As a reminder, the SLR requires that a student complete a second language course in the second semester or higher. From Fall 2020 to Fall 2022, the DPR was set up such that students needed credit for both 1401 and 1402 for the SLR to show as complete. This setup caused many problems because most students at SMU do not take 1401. Rather, they start their language study in a course at the second semester or higher. Under this system, the Department of World Languages and Literatures had to manually award credit for 1401 to all of the students who began in 2nd semester or higher, in order to have the DPR show that the SLR was complete. As a result, many students who had satisfied the SLR had DPRs that showed the requirement as unsatisfied.

To correct this issue, we have reverted the DPR tracking of the SLR to the system that was in place from 2016-2020. Under this system, the DPR requires only the completion of a course in the 2nd semester or higher to show that the SLR is satisfied.  This will improve DPR tracking of the SLR for the overwhelming majority of SMU students.

If you have questions about how to account for the completion of 1401 for student-athletes or other populations, please contact Jay Orenduff, the Second Language Advisor at

Office of General Education

SMU to host community engagement symposium on October 3 and 4

Join Engage Dallas for the Place-based Community Engagement Symposium on October 3 and 4 on the SMU Dallas campus. The Office of General Education is a proud partner of Engage Dallas and the symposium.

Most universities recognize they lack the strategic focus and resources to maximize and sustain their impact on communities to engage their campuses in their surrounding community. Place-based community engagement (PBCE) is an innovative tool that connects campus and community to foster positive social transformation. SMU adopted the PBCE model to launch the Engage Dallas initiative as part of the university’s approach to introducing students to place-based community engagement opportunities.

Engage Dallas and its partners will host a kickoff of the Place-based Community Engagement Symposium on October 3 in Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballroom from 11:30-1:00 pm with a free keynote and luncheon. The keynote is headlined by Dr. Erica Yamamura and Kent Koth, authors of the book Place-Based Community Engagement in Higher Education: A Strategy to Transform Universities and Communities.

Erica K. Yamamura Ph.D. is the former Associate Professor and Program Liaison Coordinator of the Student Development Administration Program in the College of Education at Seattle University. As a faculty member, she utilized service-learning and community-based projects as part of her pedagogy at Carleton College, Texas State University, and Seattle University. Kent Koth is the founding director of the Seattle University Center for Community Engagement. In this role, Kent has overseen a rapid expansion of campus-community partnerships that have received national recognition including the 2012 President’s National Community Service Higher Education Award.

The two scholars distinguished place-based community engagement as more beneficial than traditional community engagement strategies like traditional service-learning pedagogy and anchor institutions. Learn more about PBCE and the Engage Dallas initiative at the keynote.

Additionally, a la carte sessions will also be offered at the symposium on October 4 as follow-up sessions. Sign up for additional community engagement sessions including:

  • Place-Based Community Engagement Symposium Post-Keynote Faculty Workshop: One of SMU’s strategic plans is to increase faculty and student engagement in co-curricular activities beyond traditional coursework in each Residential Commons, the university undergraduate housing system. Adaption of PBCE model for the Engage Dallas initiative has helped maintain the strategic plan in focus. This post-keynote workshop for faculty will be facilitated by the authors to: (1) reflect on key takeaways from the keynote, (2) discuss the benefits of PBCE to pursue racial equity, and (3) how to build faculty capacity for community engagement. Faculty will have the opportunity to reflect and ask questions about the PBCE model and the goal of the Engage Dallas initiative. RSVP Today; Space is Limited. Tuesday, October 4 from 9:30 – 11:45 am
  • Tagging Your Courses Workshop for the Community Engagement Proficiency: This workshop, facilitated by SMU’s Office of General Education, is designed for instructors and will cover in detail the process of tagging your courses with the Community Engagement Proficiency and Experience on the Common Curriculum. This course is ideal for instructors who have community engagement or plan to include place-based community engagement activities in their courses. RSVP Today; Space is Limited. Tuesday, October 4 from 2 – 3 pm

The university’s adoption of this strategy has seen success already as the budding initiative has led to widespread participation and enthusiasm from students, who help lead the initiative’s implementation and contribute to a Residential Commons-specific social cause in monthly service events.

Join us as we work to embed place-based community engagement into life on the Hilltop.

The event is co-sponsored by: Residence Life & Student Housing, Center for Teaching Excellence, Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute, and Office of General Education.

Office of General Education

Student records updated to satisfy Quantitative Applications with ECO 1311

The Office of General Education, enacting the vote of the Council of General Education, has updated 920 student records who have satisfied the Quantitative Applications Proficiency & Experience via completing ECO 1311 – Principles of Microeconomics.

Effective fall 2022, ECO 1311 now satisfies the Proficiency and Experience requirement. After auditing ECO 1311 syllabi from fall 2020 to fall 2022, no substantial differences in the course design and learning outcomes were found by the Office of General Education. Therefore, student records were bulk updated to satisfy this graduation requirement – rather than requesting petitions be completed by students.

Students received the good news with a celebratory email on Thursday, September 22.

If you have any questions about this update or suggest an audit, please contact the Office of General Education at or call (214) 768-6168.


Office of Engaged Learning Office of Engaged Learning - Entrepreneurship Uncategorized

Big iDeas $1000 Pitch Contest

Big iDeas Competition will be held this Friday! We encourage all to attend and support young entrepreneurs. If you’re competing, please register for pitch practice here!

Hilltop Scholars Rotunda Scholars Student Academic Engagement & Success

Now accepting applications for the Assistant Dean of Academic Transitions (HR Title: Associate Director 2)


David Doyle and I are excited to share that a new position, titled Assistant Dean of Academic Transitions, which is live on the SMU Staff Career Portal. Please consider, share with your offices, and post within your professional networks.

About the Position: The Assistant Dean of Academic Transitions (HR Title: Associate Director 2) is responsible for establishing the strategy for academic engagement and success of undergraduate students during their first year at SMU.  The position develops and executes unique programming for new students to prepare them for their academic transition to SMU. The person in this role will supervise the Directors of the Hilltop Scholars Program and the Rotunda Scholars Program.  In addition, this person will collaborate closely with faculty and other campus offices that support the transition to SMU; aligns programming and outreach with the stated goals of SMU in Four; plans and implements intentional programming with the university advising center, student academic success programs, office of general education, and the school records offices. The position facilitates university-wide initiatives such as strengthening faculty-to-student mentoring, shared reading experiences, and campus lectures. A key portion of the job is to work with other offices and academic departments to provide high-impact academic engagement and continuous monitoring, tracking, and support to improve academic outcomes at the end of the first year for new and transfer students.

Deadline to Apply: Priority consideration may be given to submissions received by September 30, 2022.  The position is open until filled.

A collaborative search committee comprised of SAES members, student affairs, and admissions, will be formed in the coming weeks to review applications, conduct virtual and in-person campus interviews, and make a recommendation for hire. We are targeting a December 1 start date.

Please let me know if you have any questions.


Sheri Kunovich

O: 214-768-1285


Office of Engaged Learning – Research

Congratulations, Summer Research Fellows!

The Office of Engaged Learning is pleased to award Joshua Ange ’25 and Brynn Price ’24 the Summer Research Fellow award. Students are nominated by their faculty mentor and chosen based on their commitment to research this summer.

During the summer, Brynn co-authored “STEM Project-Based Instruction: An Analysis of Teacher-Developed Integrated STEM PBI Curriculum Units” which was recently published in Education Sciences (find it here). Her faculty mentor is Dr. Jeanna Wieselmann (Teaching and Learning).

Joshua co-authored “Characterization of XIA UltraLo-1800 Response to Measuring Charged Samples,” which he plans to publish in the SMU Journal of Undergraduate Research. His faculty mentor is Dr. Robert Calkins (Physics).

Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center Student Academic Success Programs

SASP shares staff change

Student Academic Success Programs (SASP) will say good-bye to our tutor coordinator, Carlos Luis Garcia, at the end of September.  Carlos served our students for five years after his graduation and was a math tutor during his undergraduate career, earning the Ben Thomas Outstanding Tutor Award his senior year.  Carlos heads to Ernst and Young to apply his M.S in Operations Research and Engineering Management degree.  Thank you, Carlos and you will be missed.

Student Academic Engagement & Success University Advising Center

Pre-Law 101 Informational Sessions September 14th & 15th

Pre-Law 101 Information sessions will be held on September 14th and September 15th at 5:30pm, in Harold Simmons 101A.

Students that are interested in Pre-Law information and events should connect with Pre-Law Advising by filling out the interest form on the Pre-Law advising website! Doing so will send an invitation to the Pre-Law Canvas course with more information, the Pre-Law event calendar, and announcements.

For any questions regarding Pre-Law advising, students can email


Student Academic Engagement & Success

Announcing new SAES marketing and communication project assistance

Student Academic Engagement & Success now offers marketing and communication project assistance for large-scale communications in support of area-wide goals.

Members of the SAES team can request support via the SAES Marketing & Communication Project Request Form. The form is permanently available on the SAES website under Staff Resources.

Please submit project requests related to informative blog posts, creative digital flyers, website redesign, and other marketing materials. SAES is here to provide you with creative marketing strategies. Under the categories of marketing types, you can provide details about the project.

Requests can be made for:

  • Blog Post-development
  • Digital Flyers (e.g., Instagram feed, story post, digital screen, etc.)
  • Website Design
  • Printed Flyers
  • Merchandise Design (e.g., pens, water bottles, etc.)
  • Event Photography
  • Newsletter Assets

We ask for a minimum of one business week lead time with two weeks being ideal. In the event of resource constraints, projects are evaluated for impact scope and time commitment by the Assistant Provost for Undergraduate Education & Academic Success.