Office of General Education Student Academic Engagement & Success

Save the date for #1Day4Dallas on October 12

Join the Office of General Education at Engage Dallas’ 4th annual fall day of service, #1Day4Dallas!The Residential Commons fall service day, known as #1Day4Dallas, is an annual tradition in which every Residential Commons participates in service around their community-identified need on the same day.

Each Residential Commons will have a goal of meeting the needed number of students to serve in the same geographic location at various non-profit organizations and community agencies (the same organizations the Residential Commons work with for monthly programs).

Save the date for Saturday, October 12, from 8 AM – 3 PM. Learn more at

Student Academic Engagement & Success

SAES announces summer hours of operation

The Division of Student Academic Engagement and Success, within the Office of the Provost, has summer hours of operation that begin Monday, June 3, and are in effect through Friday, August 23.
Offices with adjusted summer hours of operations:

Academic Development of Student-Athletes

M-Th: 8 AM to 5 PM

F: 8 AM to 4 PM 

Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center

Sun: 5 PM – 8 PM

MTWTh: 8:30 AM – 8 PM

F: 8:30 AM – 5 PM


Sun-Th: 5 PM – 8 PM

Writing Center

By appointment, email Lydia Allen or Shon Phillips

University Testing Center

M-F: 8 – 4PM

Traditional Monday – Friday operations from 8:30 am – 5pm:

We will be closed for University Holidays scheduled for:

Memorial Day

Monday, May 27

Independence Day

Thursday, July 4

University Advising Center University Testing Center

New SMU Placement Tests requirement for Calculus and Chemistry

At SMU, a few courses require placement tests for students to enroll. Placement testing determines a student’s current level of skills and knowledge, ensuring that they have the best chance for success.

On May 1, enrollment in MATH 1309, MATH 1337, and CHEM 1303 requires either:

  • a passing score on a placement test (see below);
  • or the corresponding pre-requisite course:
    • MATH 1303 or 1304 for MATH 1309 and 1337.
    • CHEM 1302 for CHEM 1303.

Students with previous credit in MATH 1309, MATH 1337, or CHEM 1303 (whether AP, transfer, or SMU) will be able to enroll in these courses without taking the placement test. Although effective on May 1st, this requirement only applies to Fall 2024, not Summer 2024 classes.

Students who pass the placement exam will be put into a my.SMU Student Group that allows them to enroll.

  • Students with a score of 20 or above (out of 35) on the MATH 1309 placement test will be put into “MTH 2 – Enrollment in MATH 1309.” They can only enroll in MATH 1309.
  • Students with a score of 20 or above (out of 35) on the MATH 1337 placement test will be put into “MTH 1 – Enrollment in MATH 1337 & 1309.” These students can enroll in either MATH 1337 or 1309.
  • Students with a score of 18 or above (out of 30) on the Chemistry placement test will be put into CHM1 – “Enrollment in CHEM 1303.”

These tests can be found within a Placement Test Canvas Course; students can enroll themselves in this course, but they should start with the University Testing Center’s website ( for the link and further information. This new course will also host the language placement exams, so continuing students no longer need to contact the World Languages and Literatures department before taking the exam.

Students are given a maximum of two attempts on each exam. If they encounter technical difficulties, they should contact the University Testing Center (

Students are told within the Canvas course that these permissions to enroll will be granted within 24 hours of finishing the test, although they can see their scores immediately.

Pre-majors with questions about their test or placement can contact the University Advising Center (; declared majors can reach out to the University Testing Center (

SMU in Four

Call for applications: Provost Faculty Fellow for Undergraduate Academic Success

The Office of Faculty Success within the Office of the Provost announced a call for applications for a new Provost Faculty Fellow to join the current cohort. The open position will focus on the following priority area:

Undergraduate Academic Success Fellow. As we move into Year 4 of the Quality Enhancement Plan (SMU-in-Four), we will begin to implement several recommended solutions from the Early Alert and Advising Pillars. The Provost Faculty Fellow in this role will assist in conversations with academic departments about the best way to implement 2 of these recommendations: 1) building an academic alert system using information in Canvas; and 2) implementing professional advising across the five undergraduate schools. During the fall term, the Fellow will be part of a small group who will meet with each academic department to gather critical feedback. In the spring, the Fellow will support this group in development the plan to implement recommended changes. Prior experience as a faculty advisor or as a director of undergraduate studies would be advantageous in this role, but not a necessary criteria. Previous applicants are encouraged to re-apply.

All full-time faculty members can apply—with priority for either instructional (professional/teaching track) faculty or tenured faculty who have interest and/or experience in the area above. The priority deadline for consideration is Friday, May 17th. A full application should include both a CV and a cover letter that describes your interest a) in the priority area and b) in the professional development opportunities associated with the Fellow role. Applications and questions can be sent to

For a complete description of the role of Provost Faculty Fellow, please see AY24-25 Provost Faculty Fellow Call for Applicants.

Student Success & Retention

Lisa Miller named new director of the Office of Student Success and Retention

Lisa Miller is already known on the Hilltop, currently serving as assistant director and degree counselor in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences Academic Services since 2011. She will begin as Director of the Office of Student Success and Retention effective May 22. Lisa Miller has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in history from the University of Texas at San Antonio. Before her time at SMU, Lisa worked professionally in operations at the New York University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and in academic services at the University of Central Florida and the University of Texas at San Antonio. 

As Director of the Office of Student Success and Retention, Lisa will: 

  • Supervise three full-time staff and provide day-to-day problem-solving for students trying to remain, depart, or return to SMU.  
  • Operationalize processes to identify at-risk students, strategically outreach to inspire engagement, coordinate interventions, track academic progress, and assess our institutional strengths and weaknesses in these areas.  
  • Chair a university-wide retention and financial support committee to retrain undergraduate students.  
  • Serve as a critical partner to the Office of the Dean of Students via the Caring Community Connections CARE Team. 
  • Analyze and present data obtained from exit and leave of absence surveys with various campus offices.  

When asked what she is most excited about, Lisa shared, “Excited to join Student Success and Retention! I believe communication is the key to understanding and learning what students, staff and faculty can use to help all achieve their goals. Keeping the lines of communication open, identifying and understanding others opinions, and working closely with different offices on behalf of students creates successful graduates and contributing members of society. SMU is one of those special places where this philosophy really works–everyone is committed to our students to obtain their very best outcomes possible.”  

When not at work, Lisa enjoys traveling, going to Broadway shows, listening to music from the ’70s, and watching Marvel superheroes. 

Please join us in congratulating Lisa Miller ( on her new adventure on the Hilltop! 

SMU in Four

Undergraduate student focus groups on early alert tools occuring this week

SMU in Four Early Alert Pillar is facilitating three focus groups this week to discuss student experiences related to early alert tools.

Students will be asked to share their experiences related to Early Progress Reports, Midterm Progress Reports, and the Mid-Semester Check-in survey, to name a few. All undergraduate students are invited to participate.

Please help us recruit students to participate by forwarding to interested students. Lunch is provided for in-person attendees, but online participants are possible

Questions about the focus groups can be directed to the SMU in Four email at

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.

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.

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.

SMU in Four Student Academic Engagement & Success Student Success & Retention

Early Progress Reports (EPR) are available and will be due on February 20 at midnight

Early and mid-term reports are an excellent opportunity to remind students about course expectations and to positively acknowledge what has already been accomplished.

It is also very important that faculty report a deficiency.

Faculty reminders about the Early Progress Report (EPR) deadline of Tuesday, February 20 at 11:59p.m. were sent today. SMU in Four School Implementation Teams were also notified of response rates over the weekend.

If you have any questions, please contact the Office of Student Success and Retention at