Office of General Education

2022 – 2023 SMU Common Curriculum assessment results shared with campus community

As part of its commitment to excellence in undergraduate education and in fulfillment of its responsibilities to its accreditor the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), SMU assesses student learning in the Common Curriculum each year. To allow sufficient time to collect, review and analyze results, and in the spirit of continuous improvement, SMU assesses approximately one-third of the Common Curriculum’s components each year (using a three-year cycle). In 2022-2023, student work was assessed in the following components: Exploring Sciences (ES) Breadth, Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS) Breadth, Technological Advances and Society (TAS) Breadth, Global Perspectives (GPS) Proficiency and Human Diversity (HD) Proficiency.

Work is taken from courses in fall, spring and intersession terms for review and falls into two broad categories: rated (e.g., papers, essays, oral presentations, art projects) and objective (quizzes and tests with a single, discrete answer). Student work is evaluated by trained teams of faculty volunteers, supported and coordinated by the Office of Institutional Planning and Effectiveness. The “juried assessment” strategy we use involves having each example of student work scored or rated by two to three trained faculty evaluators using the rubric associated with each Common Curriculum Component. Results are presented to each department delivering courses in the assessed component, and each department uses the results to identify and document potential improvements in their courses. Course changes can include improvements to assignments, improvements to the delivery of particular content in the course, or improvements to the course overall. Starting this year, we are also sharing the results with all SMU stakeholders and they are available for viewing here using your SMU login credentials.

It is important to note that we are using this first cycle of assessment to establish a baseline (determining where student performance actually fell in each component) that can be used to determine the appropriate targets for future improvement. Targets listed in this year’s report were inherited from the University Curriculum and were not based on student learning or performance in the Common Curriculum nor set using the current learning outcomes. These targets will be replaced in the second cycle of assessment with targets established at one-half of a standard deviation from the mean of student performance, as demonstrated in the first cycle of assessment, as this is an accepted method of establishing targets for improvement. Going forward, in addition to reporting on the results of the Common Curriculum assessment, we will give a progress report on efforts to seek improvement in the delivery of the Common Curriculum and student educational attainment in the Common Curriculum.

It is also important to note that work was done in this first cycle of assessment on “tuning” or reviewing, refining, and improving the rubrics that we use to assess learning in the Common Curriculum. The revisions reflected in the assessment report are those proposed by the faculty raters who participated in the assessment process over the summer of 2023. These revisions, once proposed, are reviewed and approved by the Council on General Education (CoGE), which may elect to propose additional revisions and changes. The revised rubrics that result from this process go into effect after review and approval by CoGE, and the final version of the rubric will be communicated to the SMU community by CoGE through the Office of Student Academic Engagement and Success.

Academic Center for Excellence Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center First-Generation Initiative Honors and Scholars Office of General Education Offices & Programs Rotunda Scholars SMU in Four Student Academic Engagement & Success Student Academic Success Programs Student Success & Retention

Student Senate Awards First-Generation Scholarship

The First-Generation Initiative is excited to announce that on March 26th, Student Senate passed legislation, which appropriates $50,000 per year exclusively to Pell Grant, first-generation students. This first-gen scholarship will begin in Fall 2024 and last for the next nine years (Spring 2033).

A huge thanks to all of Student Senate for the unanimous vote, but a special thanks to: Alex Alarcón, Clayton Meyer, Michael Castle, and Wyatt Harms! We also want to thank the First-Generation Initiative’s former graduate/student assistants, Briana Morales and Guadalupe Roman, for their determination in continuing to push for more first-gen support.


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

Meadows students pursue research projects with Engaged Learning Fellowships

Discover what meaningful research projects Meadows students across four different majors are pursuing with their Engaged Learning Fellowship. Read the full article from Meadows School of the Arts.

For students interested in pursuing a research or capstone project, there is another opportunity to apply for an Engaged Learning Fellowship this spring. Find information about the fellowship and how to apply at The deadline to apply for this cycle is April 15.

Honors and Scholars Office of Engaged Learning Office of Engaged Learning – Research President’s Scholars Student Academic Engagement & Success University Honors Program

Research & Innovation Week, April 1-5

Research & Innovation Week is happening next week! As part of RIW, The Office of Engaged Learning is excited to showcase the outstanding research and projects being done by SMU undergraduates across campus.

The Undergraduate Poster Session will take place Tuesday, April 2, 2-5 p.m. in the Moody Hall Atrium.  Prizes are awarded for the Top 3 posters overall, and the best poster in each school will be recognized. You can also vote for your favorite poster during the session for the Fan Favorite award. We hope you will come by to check out their posters, hear their presentations, and support these exceptional Mustangs!

The week is filled with panels, workshops and more. Visit the Research & Innovation Week website for event details and registration links.

  • Monday, April 1: Kick-off Event and Centers & Institutes Panel, 8am-12 PM
  • Tuesday, April 2: Undergraduate Poster Session, 2-5 PM
  • Wednesday, April 3: Graduate Poster Sessions, Dedman College graduate programs at 9 AM-12 PM, All other graduate programs and postdoctoral scholars at 2-5 PM
  • Thursday, April 4: Lunch & Learn: Navigating through the Research Labyrinth, 11:30AM-12:30PM
  • Thursday, April 4: Keynote Talk: Keivan Stassun, Director of the Frist Center for Autism & Innovation and Stevenson Professor of Physics & Astronomy at Vanderbilt University, 5 PM
  • Friday, April 5: SMU Faculty Innovation Day, 8 AM – 3:45 PM
  • Friday, April 5: MFA Qualifying Exhibition: “To Feel, To Mend, To Be”, 2-5PM in the Pollock Gallery


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

Degree Planner updated to plan co-curricular options

The Office of General Education partnered with the Office of Information Technology and the Registrar’s Office to permit undergraduate student’s the ability to plan co-curricular obtainment of Common Curriculum (CC) Proficiencies and Experience in Degree Planner. 

The purpose of this change is to simplify and ultimately make planning easier for our students.  With the Degree Planner update, students can select an SMU course, a preapproved activity, or inform us of their desire to petition an individual activity to fulfill a Proficiency or Experience 

Watch this new video on how to plan a pre-approved or individual activity in Degree Planner:  

The following pre-approved clubs and organizations fulfill CC graduation requirements, also known as Proficiencies & Experiences (PREX), and have already been added as options in Degree Planner: 

Activity Name  CC Requirement 
Alternative Breaks  Community Engagement 
Engage Dallas  Community Engagement, Civics and Individual Ethics 
Vice President for Student Affairs Advisory Board  Civics and Individual Ethics 
Mustang PEP Talks  Civics and Individual Ethics, Oral Communication 
Peer Academic Leaders (PAL)  Community Engagement, Oral Communication 
Student Wellness Program  Community Engagement 
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)  Community Engagement 
Board Fellows Program  Community Engagement 
Spiritual Life Mentors  Community Engagement 
SMU Abroad Programs  Global Perspectives 


Search for these pre-approved activities under the PREX course attribute in Degree Planner. 

Following the Council on General Education‘s approval, look for more pre-approved clubs and organizations that will be added to Degree Planner. Updates can also be found on each Proficiency &  Experience webpage.  

SMU in Four University Advising Center

New videos on understanding the Degree Progress Report released

The Degree Progress Report (DPR) is arguably the most essential tool for preparing for an advising meeting. Although you might think you understand the DPR, it can be tricky to read for even the most experienced advisor.

The Advising Resources Canvas Course (permission required) has a section devoted to the DPR, and SMU’s wiki pages on the subject are helpful. But if you’d rather watch the movie than read the book, the Registrar and Office of Information Technology (OIT) partnered to produce new videos on understanding the DPR and DPR Summary.

These two short videos cover a lot of ground, so you will likely learn something new, no matter how much you already know. Using the DPR and DPR Summary in new ways could make advising easier and better.

Of course, the DPR should also be an essential tool for students to independently navigate their academic requirements. Encourage your students to prepare for your meeting by visiting their DPRs to find out what requirements remain unfulfilled. Since that’s no easy task, a video for students can be found on this Student Essentials Academic Progress webpage

Please contact Josh Beaty, SMU in Four Advising Pillar Chair, at with questions. Special thanks to the Registrar and OIT teams for their efforts on these projects.

Office of Engaged Learning

New mentorship opportunities with Mustang Mentors

This past month, a select group of students were invited to participate as a mentor or mentee in the SMU Mustang Mentors program. The Office of Engaged Learning is working with Mentor Collective, a peer mentoring platform that creates one-on-one connections between students to enhance the college experience. Students are paired with a peer mentor based on common interests, skills, and academic goals who can provide guidance and support as they transition to life at SMU. Students will learn what to expect in school, how to approach challenges and gain career advice. At the same time, mentors will build their networks and develop skills to become better professionals and leaders.

Mustang Mentors will be hosting info sessions this spring for students to learn more about the program and what it has to offer. In the fall, the program will welcome a full cohort of mentors and mentees. To learn more about the program, contact and stay tuned for more information at

SMU in Four

Advising and records responsbility survey distributed by the SMU in Four Advising Pillar

The SMU in Four Advising Pillar released a second survey on March 18, the Advisor and Records Responsibility Survey, to the advising community.

The Advisor and Records Responsibility Survey aims to assess the perceived importance and performance ability of various responsibilities within academic advising and records management. Participants are asked to rate their role’s importance and their ability to perform tasks such as advising on course selection, helping students develop academic plans, reviewing transcripts, referring students to resources, and maintaining accurate records.

The survey was sent to a roster of major, minor, and faculty advisors and school records office personnel. If you are on the intended survey invitation list, please respond via the personalized link sent to your email before April 1. 

The survey also gathers feedback on the utilization and effectiveness of advising tools. It suggests improvements for student advising, such as requiring advisor approval for student schedules and standardizing advising loads.

This survey helps identify areas for improvement and inform decision-making regarding advising at SMU. If you have questions about the survey, please contact Josh Beaty, who chairs the SMU in Four Advising Pillar.

Office of General Education Student Academic Engagement & Success University Advising Center

Upcoming Office of General Education workshops for faculty and staff

The Office of General Education is continuing to offer various workshops for faculty and staff this spring semester.

The upcoming workshops for March include:

  • Faculty and Staff Common Curriculum Workshop
    • Tuesday, March 19th, 12PM-1PM in HT 219
    • Learn more about the Common Curriculum! This workshop will go into depth about how students are able to complete Foundation, Breadth, and Proficiency & Experience requirements.
    • Register for the workshop on SMU360 here
  • Faculty and Staff Course Proposal Workshop
    • Friday, March 22nd, 11:30AM-12:30PM in HT 219
    • Learn more about how to submit a Common Curriculum course or experience proposal. Questions will be answered about what documentation is needed, annual responsibilities to maintain the CC tag, and more.
    • Register for the workshop on SMU360 here
  • Departmental Responsibilities Workshop
    • Thursday, March 28th, 3PM-4PM in Blanton 110
    • Learn more about departmental responsibilities for submitting, maintaining, and removing Common Curriculum component tags.
    • Register for the workshop on SMU360 here

For more details about these upcoming workshops, please contact Dallas Forbes within the Office of General Education.

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

Encourage undergraduate students to present at Research & Innovation Week

Research & Innovation Week is two weeks away and we’re looking for students to present at the Undergraduate Poster Session. The deadline for students to register is Monday, March 18.

Please encourage your students to participate! This is a great opportunity for undergraduates to share their research with the SMU community, and to compete for cash prizes.

The Undergraduate Poster Session will be held Tuesday, April 2 from 2-5pm in the Moody Hall Atrium. For more information about the poster session and other events, visit