Academic Devleopment of Student-Athletes (ADSA)

Introducing Keyana Smith as the new ADSA associate director

As we gear up for the upcoming 2023-2024 academic year, Academic Development of Student-Athletes is thrilled to welcome Keyana Smith, as our new Associate Director! 

Smith comes to us with a wealth of experience and a passion for serving student-athletes. Her impressive background and commitment to student-athletes success on and off the field, align seamlessly with our office’s values and aspirations. With the addition of Keyana, we are poised to elevate our academic support and enhance the student experience in new ways!  

A Glimpse into Smith’s Journey: 

Keyana joins the Hilltop from the University of Mississippi, where she was the Assistant Director of Athletics Academic Services working as the lead academic counselor of Women’s Basketball and second of Football. Her previous stops include the University of New Mexico, Utah Valley University, and the University of Texas at San Antonio. Smith is a previous student-athlete herself, playing two years at Morgan State University on their softball team. After receiving her undergraduate degree, she pursued a Master’s in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Sports Psychology and then later, achieved her Master’s in Sport Administration. She is an active member of N4A and is currently the Co-Lead on the Institutional Partnership Program.  

The ADSA is excited to have the additional leadership and insight that Keyana will bring into the 2023-2024 Academic Year! 

Office of General Education Student Academic Engagement & Success Student Academic Success Programs

Peer Academic Leaders kick off the academic year with social media campaign and certification program

As the Fall 2023 semester fast approaches, the Office of General Education is pleased to announce the Peer Academic Leader program (PALs) relaunch.

PALs are third- and fourth-year SMU students who have proven to be successful academically and are also highly involved on campus. Their mission as peer leaders will be to plan and facilitate programming throughout the academic year to ensure first- and second-year students are knowledgeable about campus resources. PALs will also serve as peer advisors to ensure students are registered for classes on time and understand common curriculum requirements.

Be sure to follow our Instagram (smu_advising_pals) for updates on PALs events. The PALs have quickly adopted this page and begun their first social media campaign, “Meet Your PAL“. These posts contain short videos where the PALs can introduce themselves, discuss their favorite part of being an SMU student, and share back-to-school tips.

The PALs will move back to campus on August 10th, 2023, and we’re excited to welcome them back.

They will be in training from August 11th until August 16th. As a result of training, PALs will be Certified Peer Educators, ready to support their fellow Mustangs. The training includes eight modules, covering the role of peer education, helping peers make a behavior change, listening skills, response and referral skills, how to take action and intervene, recognizing the role of diversity and inclusivity, programming and presentation skills, self-care, and group dynamics.

Finally, starting on August 17th, PALs will serve as Stampede Guides to further connect with their residents.

Questions, comments, or social media collaborations are welcome. Please contact Melina Padron, Senior Advisor for General Education.

Office of General Education

New Common Curriculum course and experience proposal forms available

Updated Common Curriculum course and approved program or organization proposal forms are now available for download.

Based on recommendations from the Council on General Education and to improve proposal experience, each Common Curriculum (CC) Foundation, Breadth, and Proficiency & Experience will have its own form. Individual forms will aid the proposer in addressing all requirements during the first submission, improve the ability of CoGE to offer targeted feedback to the proposers when necessary, and aid in the CoGE review process to ensure all criteria are met.

Departments and proposers can submit course or experience proposals for any CC Foundations, Breadth, or Proficiencies & Experiences components via the Office of General Education online proposal system. At the same time, sponsors of programs and organizations will be able to submit proposals for Proficiency & Experience components via the same system.

Updates that make the new proposal forms more user-friendly include:

  • fillable PDF formatting,
  • more space for descriptions and explanations,
  • links to the CC rubrics to ensure accuracy, and
  • individual forms for each component rather than selecting one component via a checkbox.

If you have any questions about the new forms, proposing a course or experience, or the Common Curriculum, please contact the Office of General Education.

Student Academic Engagement & Success

SAES website brand migration update and media library cleanup begins this week

In June, we shared Student Academic Engagement and Success (SAES) began migrating unit websites to the new SMU-banded web pages.

The remaining migration schedule is below and will commence on or around the dates listed below:

  • August 11:
    • Office of Undergraduate National Fellowships
    • University Honors Program
    • Scholars’ Den
  • September 1:
    • President’s Scholars
    • Rotunda Scholars
    • Mustang Scholars
    • Hilltop Scholars

We expect the migration to be complete around September 15. If you discover broken links or issues, please direct them to to be routed appropriately.

Beginning the week of August 7, SAES will clean and reorganize our SAES Sitecore Media Library. The media library contains pictures, files, and other digital assets linked to our web pages.

Due to the migration and restructuring of pages, the Media Library will be updated into a structure similar to the page organization (e.g., academic support, academic enrichment, and initiatives).

Webmasters may notice folder organization changes and removing files that are no longer linked to any front-end pages following the migration. This will eliminate constituents from finding outdated files by accident in SMU searches. Plus, file names may be changed to improve accessibility and navigation.

The next communication on the webpage migration will be once all SAES units have been completed.

Office of Engaged Learning Office of Engaged Learning – Research

Summer Research Symposium: Panel on Resilience

The Summer Research Intensive wrapped up its final session of its Summer Research Symposium last week. 

The undergraduate researchers were able to hear from a faculty panel as they discussed the navigation of their careers, life advice, and ways to be resilient in challenging times. 

Dr. Lynne Stokes, Professor of Statistical Science, encouraged the students as they think towards their post-undergraduate career to not think “that [they] picked the wrong opportunity, or picked the wrong thing. Don’t feel like you’re looking for the one thing to make you happy. There are a lot of interesting jobs out there.” 

When the panel discussed how students can bounce back from failure in a research project or graduate experience, Dr. David Son, Professor in the Department of Chemistry, affirmed the students to not “take failure or rejection personally. Be persistent and don’t take the failure personal to your character. If you don’t want to fail, don’t try.”

Dr. Sarah Kucker, Professor in the Psychology Department, added to the resiliency conversation by talking about what to look for in a graduate school or industry position. “Fit is really important. Highlight the different qualities that you have and can bring to an experience,” she stated.

Dr. Crystal Clayton, Executive Director of the Hegi Family Career Development Center, concluded the discussion and reminded the students that in their careers they “will get out what [they] put into it. If you put a lot into the experience, you will have a very rich experience. If you take the time to do something, go full on.” 

The panel discussion and Q&A was a great way for the undergraduate researchers to receive some last moments of insight and advice as they finished out the SRI.