Office of Engaged Learning Office of Engaged Learning – Research Student Academic Engagement & Success

Engaged Learning Fellowship applications due Feb 15

Undergraduate students can apply for up to $2500 to fund their capstone research, service, or creative projects! See for more details.

Need help writing your proposal? Come see Dr. Adam Neal, Assistant Director of the Office of Engaged Learning, during his drop-in workshops, Wednesday and Thursday, Feb 1 and 2, 3-5pm. The workshops are in the Scholars’ Den “fishbowl” (glass classroom) in Clements Hall.

ELF proposal office hours Feb 1 & 2, 3-5pm

Office of General Education

Engage Dallas recaps the fall 2022 semester

Engage Dallas hosted 50 events resulting in over 1,400 hours of community service during the fall 2022 semester.

Engage Dallas is one pre-approved activity for undergraduate students to complete their Community Engagement Proficiency and Experience, and the Office of General Education is one of five key partner offices empowering this place-based community engagement initiative for West and South Dallas.

Read more about Engage Dallas’ fall impact and hear from students about their experience. 


University Testing Center

University Testing Center spring Testing Assistant team members

The University Testing Center welcomes to its team a new Testing Assistant: Yash Guptaa.

Yash will join returning Testing Assistant Matt Swigart in working alongside the Testing Manager and Coordinator to prepare testing rooms, materials, and equipment for test administrations according to individual requirements and accommodation guidelines. Testing Assistants will also proctor online and conventional pen/paper tests.

Yash says, “I enjoy working at the crossroads of travel and strategy.  My interests include, but are not limited to, pen sketching, 8 ball, hiking, and stand-up comedy. I have experience as a business developer and budding entrepreneur.  The previous few months at SMU have been nothing short of a delightful surprise in making valuable connections, and I eagerly await the next step in my path.”

We are glad to introduce you to the team as we jump into the new semester!

Office of Engaged Learning Office of Engaged Learning – Research

ELF Spotlight: Chancellor Smith ’23

Engaged Learning Fellow Chancellor Smith is a senior majoring in biochemistry. He works as an Undergraduate Research Assistant in Dr. Alex Lippert’s lab. Hear what Chancellor has to say about his work and the ELF program on our ELF Spotlight video above.

The Engaged Learning Fellowship awards up to $2500 for students pursuing capstone projects. These include research, service, and creative activities. Our Regular Decision deadline is February 15, and Dr. Adam Neal will be holding a drop-in ELF Proposal Workshop on February 1 & 2, 3-5pm in the Scholars’ Den.

Student Academic Engagement & Success

The National Collegiate Honors Council Recognizes SMU’s Hilltop Scholars Program

The National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC), in their celebration of 100 Years of Honors, sought to recognize noteworthy service learning in honors programming from across the nation at their Annual Conference in November 2022.  The NCHC honored the Hilltop Scholars Program (HSP), a first-year honors community at SMU with an emphasis on service and leadership, for their signature service event, the HSP Service Showcase.  As part of this recognition, the NCHC included the HSP Service Showcase in an online guide of exemplar projects.  This collective will serve “as inspiration for successful service projects to be developed in the future, and a tapestry of the beautiful ways honors education inspires students to connect with their peers and the world around them.”

Dr. Marta Krogh and Dr. Caitlin Anderson, Directors of the Hilltop Scholars Program, were selected to present on HSP and its focus on community engagement at the Annual Conference in November 2022.  The conference highlighted student and faculty research presentations from across the nation and provided training and development for honors program administrators and staff.

Office of General Education SMU in Four Student Academic Engagement & Success Student Academic Success Programs University Advising Center University Honors Program

Undergraduate students incentivized to complete Degree Planner

Yesterday, SMU in Four sent email communications to undergraduate students on the Common Curriculum regarding Degree Planner from Student communications were staggered – with tailored communications being sent to declared major students and pre-major students.  

Copies of the communication is below. 

January 18, 2023 

Dear Students – 

Use the new Degree Planner tool, located on your my.SMU Student Dashboard, to plan your path to graduation! This new tool will help you plan not only your upcoming semester, but all courses you will take throughout your college career.    

All undergraduate students on the Common Curriculum (CC) are required to complete Degree Planner by 03/20/2023. [Declared Majors] As a declared major you will complete your degree plan for all declared degree programs and CC requirements prior to Fall 2023 enrollment to avoid enrollment delays. [Pre-Majors] As a pre-major you will complete your degree plan for all CC requirements (Foundations, Breadths, Proficiencies & Experiences) prior to Fall 2023 enrollment to avoid enrollment delays.  

Complete it early for a chance to win some fantastic prizes! The sooner you complete your degree plan, the more raffles you are entered into. Raffle prizes include $25-50 Starbucks, Amazon, Uber, and Visa gift cards. You can also win SMU swag such as baseball caps, sweatshirts, hoodies, and more! Students who complete Degree Planner by 11:59pm on:  

  • January 27 (Friday) will be entered in three raffles.  
  • February 10 (Friday) will be entered in two raffles.  
  • March 10 (Friday) will be entered in one raffle.  

Visit for help getting started or watch the student dashboard video below


Faculty and staff communications regarding Degree Planner were sent on Friday, January 13th. As promised, Records Offices and advisors will receive email templates to use to encourage student completion in the following weeks. 

Faculty and staff advisors who have the most students complete Degree Planner by the priority deadline of March 20, 2023 will win a $100 Amazon gift card. 

Any questions, comments, and/or concerns can be directed to SMU in Four. 

University Testing Center

University Testing Center Open House scheduled for January 25

The University Testing Center (UTC) is back open for Spring 2023!

We will be hosting an open house from 2-4pm on Wednesday, January 25, 2023 in our office G15 in the basement of Clements Hall to welcome students and faculty back to campus. Catering will be provided as well as information regarding the policies and practices of the UTC.

Learn more about how the University Testing Center can support you and join us in celebrating the start of a new semester.

Happy 2023!

University Advising Center

University Advising Center New Staff Member

The University Advising Center is pleased to share that Brandi Primm has joined us as our newest Academic Advisor! Brandi comes to SMU after working as a High School Counselor for the last twenty years in Garland and Richardson ISDs. Prior to that, she was a math teacher for 9 years.  Brandi and her husband, Rusty, enjoy attending concerts and sporting events. They also enjoy traveling and hiking whenever they get the chance. They have two dogs – a 7 year old Beagle named Dirk and a 6 year old Pug named Dez. Brandi will be a generalist advisor for now, but will likely be taking on some specialist/liaison roles in the months ahead.

Please help us in welcoming her to the Hilltop!

Brandi Primm, Newest UAC Advisor
Office of General Education SMU in Four Student Academic Engagement & Success

Office of General Education publishes a schedule of student outreach efforts

Throughout the Spring 2023 semester, the Office of General Education will host a variety of student outreach events in the form of pop-ups and workshops to answer questions about the Common Curriculum, University Curriculum, and the new Degree Planner tool in my.SMU.

Pop-Up Tabling Events

Can’t stop by the GenEd office? No problem. We will come to you! Pop-ups are an opportunity to quickly stop by our table and ask questions related to your degree plan, general education requirements, proficiencies and experience, petitions, the Second Language Requirement, and much more. Upcoming pop-up dates and locations include:

Fondren Library by Starbucks

  • January 25, 2-4pm
  • February 15, 2-4pm
  • March 8, 2-4pm
  • March 29, 2-4pm
  • April 12, 2-4pm

Meadows Owens Arts Center, in the Taubman Atrium

  • April 5, 1-3pm

Caruth Hall- Mary Alice and Mark Shepherd Jr. Atrium

  • April 19, 10am-12pm

Common Curriculum Workshops

Why does SMU have general education requirements? What are Proficiencies and Experiences? How and when should I satisfy each requirement? Workshops dive deeper into your Common Curriculum questions and provide in-person support in completing your Degree Planner. Join us for these one-hour working sessions. Upcoming spring 2023 workshops dates include:

Laura Lee Blanton, Blanton 110/112

Sign up for a Common Curriculum Workshop via SMU Connect.

Any other questions, comments, or concerns? Contact the Office of General Education, sign up for an appointment with a team member, or stop by our office in Laura Lee Blanton Suite 102.

Office of General Education SMU in Four Student Academic Engagement & Success

Sharing details of Degree Planner student adoption campaign

Degree Planner, which launched in November, is a new tool that allows Common Curriculum (CC) undergraduate students to plan progress toward their degree and aid SMU in course scheduling and seat planning to permit timely graduation. All CC undergraduate students (except those graduating in May 2023) are asked to complete Degree Planner before fall enrollment begins this spring. While we want all students to establish a degree plan, SMU in Four is targeting a completion rate of 75% by March 20th.

Student adoption campaign details

Beginning next week, CC students will receive regular communications from SMU in Four requesting they complete Degree Planner. We share details of our plans below so you are aware and can encourage their completion via your own means.

Degree Planner can be completed independently within my.SMU. Pre-major students need to plan their general education and graduation requirements (Foundations, Breadths, Proficiencies and Experiences) in Degree Planner to be counted as complete. Declared students must plan their degree course and CC requirements for each declared major in Degree Planner to be counted as complete. In mid-February, minor requirements for students who have declared their minors will begin to automatically populate in their Degree Plan too. Students can then adjust these requirements as they would like.

To incentivize students, there will be three rounds of giveaways. Raffle prizes include $25-50 Starbucks, Amazon, Uber, Visa gift cards, and SMU swag/apparel. Students who complete Degree Planner by 11:59pm on:

  • January 27 (Friday) will be entered in three raffles.
  • February 10 (Friday) will be entered in two raffles.
  • March 10 (Friday) will be entered in one raffle.

Each school’s records office will be asked to contact any undergraduate CC student who does not complete Degree Planner by March 20 to ensure completion before Fall 2023 enrollment commences.

Faculty and academic advisor incentives

Faculty and staff advisors will also receive incentives whose students complete Degree Planner. The advisors who have the highest percentages of their assigned advising load on March 20 will receive a $100 Amazon gift card. Outreach templates will be provided to advisors later this month to encourage their own nudging.

Remaining Degree Planner advisor workshops

Workshops are planned for undergraduate faculty advisors and academic advisors to learn the new Degree Planner. Each session is identical and will be conducted via Zoom. A meeting notice and Zoom link will be sent 1-2 days after completing the registration form. Available workshops:

  • February 8, 3-4 pm (Wednesday)
  • February 9, 3-4 pm (Thursday)

For more information on how to assist students with Degree Planner, please visit the Degree Planner Navigation for Advisors Wiki page. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please contact


Brittaney Wilson

Undergraduate Degree Counselor; Degree Planner Adoption Team


Dallas Forbes

Undergraduate Degree Counselor; Degree Planner Adoption Team