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

Summer Forge returns for Summer 2024 with a 29-student cohort 

Following the successful completion of the inaugural Summer 2023 cohort, Summer Forge is back with a cohort of 29 students. Summer Forge provides invited undergraduate students with financial, academic, and social support to accelerate their path to on-time graduation.    

Invited students receive up to 8 paid semester credit hours over May, Summer, and/or August terms. To make the program more accessible, housing costs were included for non-local students. The Summer 2024 cohort consists of 29 students attempting over 167 credit hours during the summer terms. The average participant takes 6 hours to fulfill major, minor, or Common Curriculum requirements.  

Summer Forge is a collaboration between the Office of Student Success and Retention, SMU in Four, Office of Financial Aid, and Student Academic Success Programs. It reflects the university’s commitment to improving retention and graduation rates. Program Co-Directors Brittaney Wilson, General Education and Academic Appeals Coordinator, and Jay Guillory, Success Counselor in the Office of Student Success and Retention, initially identified the students based on various criteria, in addition to their commitment to complete classes in the Fall 2024 semester at SMU. They would like to thank the many advisors who recommended students and assisted with student outreach for their support.   

To kick off a successful Summer Term, Becca Umobong and Chris Meyers from Academic Skill Development led a Learning Strategies Workshop focused on: Time Management Resources and Improving Academic Success. In addition to the workshop, all students have individual academic counseling sessions. Students are also encouraged to visit the A-LEC for tutoring services across course content areas.  

Please contact Brittaney Wilson or Jay Guillory with any questions about the program.  

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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.  

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Office of General Education

Audit conducted to identify UC students who are missing general education or graduation requirements

To assist students on the University Curriculum (UC) graduate, the Office of General Education conducted an audit of all UC students who are missing general education or graduation requirements. 

 This audit identified 51 students’ missing requirements.  

 The Office of General Education staff reviewed Degree Progress Reports (DPR) and Transfer Evaluation Reports (TER), if applicable, to see what action was needed to support individual students. 

Melina Padron and Brittaney Wilson sent initial outreach by email in December 2023. They then followed up with text and phone calls to share personalized support on assisting UC students with degree completion.  

The support offered included: guiding students through the petition process, advising on course enrollment, and sharing alternative credit pathways. Additionally, four course overrides for credit were performed on behalf of the students. 

The UC requirements apply to students who matriculated into SMU between Fall 2016 and Spring 2020. The UC’s main coursework components are Foundations, Breadths, and Depths. In addition to seven Proficiencies and Experiences.  

 

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Office of General Education Student Academic Engagement & Success

Common Curriculum Proficiency & Experience webpages updated to include successfully-petitioned individual activities

The Office of General Education supports students in fulfilling Common Curriculum (CC) Proficiencies and Experiences with tagged courses, pre-approved co-curricular activities, and individual experiences outside the classroom.

Students can view all approved CC-tagged courses via the Course Search page and review all pre-approved co-curricular activities by downloading the linked list of approved CC activities.

The Office of General Education has now made shortlists of individual activities students have completed outside the classroom, which have successfully been petitioned to fulfill their Common Curriculum Graduation Requirements. These shortlists are not meant to be all-inclusive but help students and their advisors determine co-curricular opportunities – students may complete individually – to satisfy these requirements.

Each Proficiency and Experience webpage has these shortlists under the “Proposing, completing, and petitioning an Individual Activity” accordion. For example, Civics and Individual Ethics, students have successfully petitioned individual activities such as:

  • Volunteer with “Feed My Starving Children” program for 15 hours
  • Organ Scholar at St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church
  • Volunteer with Jubilee Park and Community Center for 15 hours
  • SMU-led trip to Spain, with a civics and institutional field visits
  • Interned in Washington, D.C. with a federal agency
  • Intern for Dallas County Public Defender’s Office

Students are strongly encouraged to submit a pre-approval petition prior to completing an individual activity at smu.edu/petitions. The pre-approval petition should include a supporting statement using the provided template on the P&E webpage, that clearly explains how the individual activity will meet the Student Learning Outcome, Supporting Skills, and Experience Criteria for the requested graduation requirement.

Students who completed an Individual Activity before or after matriculation to SMU can submit a P&E Fulfillment Verification petition at smu.edu/petitions after completing the individual activity. Fulfillment Verification petitions should include:

The Office of General Education also encourages Faculty and Staff to propose their programs or organizations to fulfill graduation requirements. If you have any questions about submitting an Experience proposal, please contact Brittaney Wilson brittaneyw@smu.edu. More information on Experience Proposals can be found here.

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Office of General Education

Updated and new admin imaging occurring in the Office of General Education 

The Office of General Education, in conjunction with the Office of Information Technology, collaborated to rename and update the drawer types used in AdminImages.SMU. Drawers store electronic records of general education and other important petitions. 

AdminImages.SMU provides an electronic document storage and retrieval system. Electronic documents can be scanned or captured in various ways, and all documents are stored in a secure, encrypted database. 

Previously, the drawer was initially named “SCH UG GEC” an abbreviation of School Undergraduate General Education Curriculum. However, the naming was changed to reflect our office’s current processes and the document types we will process moving forward. The updated drawer name is “PROV GenEd” an abbreviation of Provost General Education. The table below shows the previous drawers and types and how they have been renamed.  

Original  Drawer   Original Type  Renamed Drawer  Renamed Type 
SCH UG GEC  SCH UG Honors Petition  PROV GenEd  PROV GenEd Honors Petition 
SCH UG GEC  SCH UG Enrollment Request  PROV GenEd  PROV GenEd Enrollment Request 
SCH UG GEC  SCH UG GEC Individual Petition  PROV GenEd  PROV GenEd Individual Petition 
SCH UG GEC  SCH UG GEC Formal Exemption  PROV GenEd  PROV GenEd Formal Exemption 
SCH UG GEC  SCH UG Data Science Advising  Removed  Removed 
SCH UG GEC  Default  PROV GenEd  Default 
SCH UG GEC  SCH UG Transfer Credit Petition Reeval  PROV GenEd  PROV GenEd Transfer Credit Reeval 
SCH UG GEC  SCH UG Transfer Credit Petition Preappro  PROV GenEd  PROV GenEd Transfer Credit Preappro 

Viewing permissions and access remain the same. School records offices, the Registrar, and some advisors can access scans of completed (approved or denied) Office of General Education petitions.  However, two additional imaging drawers have been added to aid transparency and improve academic advising of students.  

New Drawer   Petitions Included 
PROV GenEd BRD Swap  New Fall 2023 catalog and forward petition tracking swaps in use of external credit 
PROV GenEd PREX  Pre-approval and fulfillment verification petitions used for graduation requirements (e.g., proficiencies and experiences) 

We share this information to increase visibility and accessibility to General Education processes and records offices. If you have any questions or concerns, please direct them to Lisa Cordoba (lcordoba@smu.edu).  

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

Summer Forge has successfully wrapped up its inaugural year

The Summer Forge, an academic support program at SMU, has successfully wrapped up the inaugural year. Summer Forge provided the initial cohort of 20 undergraduate students with financial, academic, and social support to accelerate their path to on-time graduation.   

Students who participated in Summer Forge could select courses during May Term, Summer Term, or August Term, in addition to SMUinTaos that fulfilled a major or Common Curriculum requirement. The initial cohort for Summer Forge attempted over 80 credit hours during the summer terms, with 96% of the attempted coursework completed.  

Summer Forge participants were offered tailored campus resource referrals and coached on strategies to support a successful academic summer term. 83% of the Summer Forge students report using the tutoring services provided in the ALEC, and 17% report receiving support from the Writing Center. 

Here is what some of the students had to say about their time in Summer Forge: 

Summer Forge exceeded my expectations with the ability to aid in summer tuition and provide opportunities to students who are struggling or need a little help. I would highly recommend the program in order to catch up on classes and graduate with your class on time.”-Katie P.  

 

“It allows the opportunity to raise your GPA without worrying about any finances in the process, as that can be stressful to worry about in itself.” -Morgan L.  

 

“Summer Forge was a great opportunity for me to take Summer courses and advance my studies. The program is helping me graduate on time and make up time lost.”-Sloan H.  

Summer Forge is a collaboration between the Office of Student Success and Retention, SMU in Four, Office of Financial Aid, and Student Academic Success Programs.  

For more information visit www.smu.edu/summerforge 

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

Committee on Academic Petitions launched a new webpage and appeal submission form

Effective June 1, the Committee on Academic Petitions (CAP) launched a new webpage and an appeal submission form for undergraduate students.  

Students must submit their appeal using the electronic form and include all supporting documentation. They will instantly receive notification that their appeal has been received. Additionally, students will receive notification from the system as the appeal is reviewed and considered.   

All offices should inform students to submit their appeals via the official appeal submission form. Email submissions will no longer be considered, and students will be redirected to www.smu.edu/cap to submit their CAP appeals. 

The Committee on Academic Petitions is a committee with membership appointed by the Provost. It is charged with considering and deciding student academic petitions, as set out in the SMU Statement of Process for Undergraduate Student Academic Petitions.  

Academic Petitions are requests by a student for an exception to an academic policy. Academic policy includes any policy, rule, or regulation that applies to academic matters at SMU. 

Have questions about the CAP appeal process? Visit www.smu.edu/cap for more information or email your questions to cap@mail.smu.edu 

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

Summer Forge program launched with a full, 20-student cohort

This summer, SMU launched a new academic support program called Summer Forge. Summer Forge provides invited undergraduate students with financial, academic, and social support to accelerate their path to on-time graduation.  

Invited students receive up to 8 paid semester credit hours over May, Summer, and/or August terms. The initial cohort for Summer Forge includes 20 students attempting over 80 credit hours during the summer terms. The average participant takes 6 hours that fulfill either major or Common Curriculum requirements. 

Animating the university’s commitment to improving retention and graduation rates, Summer Forge is a collaboration between the Office of Student Success and Retention, SMU in Four, Office of Financial Aid, and Student Academic Success Programs. Ivy Phillips, a Success Counselor in the Office of Student Success and Retention, initially identified the students based on various criteria, in addition to their commitment to complete classes in the Fall 2024 semester at SMU. 

Throughout the summer, Summer Forge participants are offered tailored campus resource referrals and coached on strategies to support a successful academic summer term. Becca Umobong and Sarah Cartwright, members of the Student Academic Success Programs team, are available to provide academic counseling and support. Lydia Allen in the Writing Center is also available to assist students with writing, and A-LEC has tutoring services across course content areas. 

Please get in touch with Brittaney Wilson, General Education and Academic Appeals Coordinator, with any questions about the program. 

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

Now accepting applications for three full-time staff positions

SMU Student Academic Engagement & Success (SAES) is excited to share that three open full-time staff positions within Undergraduate Education & Academic Success (UEAS), each position posting will go live on the SMU Staff Career Portal this week, May 1 – 5. Please consider, share with your offices, and post within your professional networks.   

Available Positions within Student Success and Retention:  

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: Sunday, May 28, 2023
  • Hiring point-of-contact: Dr. Dustin Grabsch (dgrabsch@smu.edu; 214-768-4887) 

Assistant Director, Student Success and Retention: The Assistant Director position involves identifying and supporting students who have either taken a leave of absence, exceeded their expected graduation term, or dropped out of the university without documentation. The Assistant Director will engage with these and other high-level students through personalized campaigns, offer concierge support for complex situations, and monitor their academic progress. They will work with the students regularly to develop action plans and facilitate referrals to on-and off-campus resources to help them complete their degrees. In addition, the Assistant Director will develop and lead programs, trainings, and workshops for re-engaged students that support their holistic student development and success. Will report directly to the Director of the Office of Student Success and Retention. 

  • Deadline: Sunday, June 4, 2023 
  • Hiring point-of-contact: Brittaney Wilson (brittaneyw@smu.edu; 214-768-6248) 

Available Position within the Office of General Education: 

Senior Advisor, Office of General Education: The Senior Advisor for General Education is responsible for coordinating the Office of General Education’s undergraduate student outreach and timely offering academic advising to ensure progression through Common Curriculum requirements. This position develops advising practices and policies and conducts comprehensive academic, career, and other student support services. Acts as a mentor and trainer to other Academic Advisors for the specialty area of general education. The Senior Advisor develops, oversees, and provides Office of General Education programs, initiatives, and student interventions to undergraduate students. Reporting to the Assistant Provost for Undergraduate Education and Academic Success, the position aids with academic integration efforts within the co-curricular. 

  • Deadline: Sunday, May 22, 2023 
  • Hiring point-of-contact: Brittaney Wilson (brittaneyw@smu.edu; 214-768-6248) 

A search committee comprised of UEAS members will review applications, conduct virtual and in-person campus interviews, and make a recommendation for hire.