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


Student Success & Retention

Internal applications for Director of Student Success and Retention sought

SMU Student Academic Engagement & Success (SAES) is excited to share an internal full-time staff position within Undergraduate Education & Academic Success (UEAS). The posting will be available later this week, February 19, via the Internal Applicant login in the SMU Staff Career Portal.

Please consider sharing this with your offices and posting it within your SMU professional networks.   

Director, Student Success and Retention: The Director leads the Office of Student Success and Retention (SSR). The primary role is supervising three full-time staff and providing day-to-day problem-solving for students trying to remain, depart, or return to SMU. Working closely with the Assistant Provost for Undergraduate Education and Academic Success and the SMU in Four initiative, the Director operationalizes processes to identify at-risk students, strategically outreaches to inspire engagement, coordinates interventions, tracks academic progress, and assesses our institutional strengths and weaknesses in these areas. Manage interventions as projects, repeating annually or each term, involving multiple offices. The Director chairs a university-wide retention and financial support committee to retrain undergraduate students. Serves as a critical partner to the Office of the Dean of Students. 

  • Deadline: 10 days following posting
  • Applicant Type: Internal Only; only current SMU employees may apply
  • Hiring point-of-contact: Dr. Dustin Grabsch (; 214-768-4887) 
Student Academic Engagement & Success

Nomination deadline approaching for Hilltop Excellence Awards

The Hilltop Excellence Awards is SMU’s most prestigious awards ceremony, annually recognizing the outstanding accomplishments of students, faculty, and staff at SMU. Awards include the “M” Award – the highest recognition bestowed upon a Mustang, the Presidential Awards of Excellence – Scholar Athlete, Leader, and Volunteer, and more.

Learn more about each award and submit your nominations at

Nominations must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, February 4, 2024.

Office of General Education Peer Academic Leaders

Peer Academic Leaders commence spring programs and services

The Peer Academic Leaders (PALs) within the Office of General Education commence their programs and services for the spring 2024 semester on Monday, January 22.

Peer Leader Training completed their spring refresher on Saturday at the Residence Life and Student Housing Peer Leader Training. Training refreshers included:

  • Problem Solving and Innovative Thinking by Professor Willie Baronet, Stan Richards Professor in Creative Advertising
  • Rest and Boundaries by Kaleb Loomis, Assistant Chaplain
  • Outside the Box Programming by Kauai Wilson, Peer Academic Leader (pictured)
  • Advanced SMU360 Functions by Bonnie Pickett, Program Specialist
  • Resume and Career Center Resources by Marsha Booker, Assistant Director

Peer Academic Leaders begin offering office hours and 1:1 sessions with students this week. Undergraduate students can book sessions for degree planning, setups for success, and other academic-related topics via Booking.SMU. 

Plus, spring campus-wide and Residential Commons-specific programming will be posted on SMU360. Please encourage students to RSVP or attend.

Office of General Education

Join the Engage Dallas Spring Book Club

The Office of General Education is a partner office to Engage Dallas. Engage Dallas is a place-based community engagement initiative via SMU’s Residential Commons to address community needs focusing on South and West Dallas.

You are invited to join the Engage Dallas Book Club as an opportunity to further the dialogue and learning that our campus and community partners have been having over the last year.Featured Book: Paved a Way by Collin Yarbrough

Meeting Time: Last Friday of each month, February-May, 10:30-12:00 PM

Format: Virtual—via Zoom

The first 20 people to register will receive a copy of the book.

Feel free to share the invite with others in your network!

Sign up here!





Featured Book: Paved a Way by Collin Yarbrough

Meeting Time: Last Friday of each month, February-May, 10:30-12:00 PM

Format: Virtual—via Zoom

The first 20 people to register will receive a copy of the book.

Feel free to share the invite with others in your network!

Office of General Education

The Office of General Education archives General Education Curriculum website

The Office of General Education archived the (GEC) General Education Curriculum website.

The GEC applies to students who entered (matriculation into) SMU prior to Fall 2012. Currently, only 6 undergraduate students are active on this curriculum, with only one student enrolled for spring 2024.

A copy of the archived site will be available online. The student’s catalog, archived website, and the Office of General Education are here to assist.

Student Academic Engagement & Success

Verify or set up your email signature that complies with SMU Brand Standards

Here is your annual reminder to update your email signature according to the SMU Brand Center guidelines. Also, if you have new staff in your office, a resource to assist them in setting them up for the first time.

It’s quick, easy, and adds a professional touch to every email. Learn how to change your signature in Outlook on the web, desktop, and mobile apps.

If you need assistance, please contact your office’s SAES Marketing, Communication, and Digital Technology Committee representative.

Student Success & Retention

Student Success and Retention welcomes new team members

The Office of Student Success and Retention is excited to welcome two new team members beginning Tuesday, January 2, 2024. Justin “Jay” Guillory will serve as our new Success Coach. In his role, Jay will:

  • Provide academic counseling and problem-solving for students.
  • Reaching out to students reported via Retention Alerts, Advising Notes, and another early-alert mechanism.
  • Lead and facilitate the Summer Forge program, an academic credit recovery program.
  • Support and advise students who are at risk or recently lost merit-based student financial aid.

Saahil Mathews will also join the team as our new Program Coordinator. In his role, Saahil will:

  • Manage and respond to inquiries and questions from email, phone, drop-in, and other referrals to the office.
  • Process leave requests (formal exits and leave of absence) to the office.
  • Coordinate timed outreach campaigns such as early and mid-term progress reports and not-enrolled student follow-up.
  • Develop and maintain internal and external internal communications with students and constituents.

Read more about Jay and Saahil on our Meet the Team page.

Student Success and Retention will say farewell to Ivy Phillips, our Success Counselor, as she transitions to a new role in the Lyle School of Engineering on January 15, 2024. Join us for a farewell reception on Friday, January 12, from 3:30 – 5:00 pm in Blanton 108.

SMU in Four

SMU in Four Year-two report available

The SMU in Four team releases the year-two progress report on SMU’s Quality Enhancement Plan.

Updates are provided on early-alert mechanisms, undergraduate academic advising, technology enhancements, and gateway & introductory courses. Plus, student retention, graduation rates, and goals for year three of the five-year initiative are shared.

Download a copy of the SMU in Four Year 2 Progress Report.

In October, a copy of the year-two progress presentation was shared with the SMU community and is also available online. Questions regarding the report or presentation may be directed to