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Office of General Education Student Academic Engagement & Success

The Office of General Education to re-launch Common Reading in revised format

As the Spring 2024 semester comes to an end, the Office of General Education is working to re-launch the Common Reading program for SMU undergraduate students in Fall 2024 in a revised format.

This version of the Common Reading will target first-year students, allowing them the opportunity to earn their Civics & Individual Ethics (CIE) Common Curriculum (CC) Proficiency. Due to budget and logistical constraints, it will only be a targeted group within the first-year cohort rather than all first-year students.

The Office of General Education has created a campus-wide survey to get feedback from students, staff, and faculty members on the following:

  • Book selection and its alignment with the CIE rubric
  • Time commitment and requirements for students intending to receive the CIE credit
  • Time commitment for faculty/staff facilitators

This survey will assist the General Education team in these early planning stages as they work to create a meaningful program for students that also supports their academic endeavors. The Office of General Education encourages undergraduate students, and faculty/staff that work primarily with undergraduate students, to complete this survey.

More information will be provided regarding the Common Reading program as it continues to be developed throughout the spring and summer months.

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Office of General Education

Approved meeting minutes from the Council on General Education on March 8, 2024

The Council on General Education met on March 8, 2024. The meeting minutes for February 23, 2024, were approved at this meeting. Below is the agenda, and the meeting minutes have now been posted on the General Education website.

  1. Approval of Agenda for March 8, 2024, Council on General Education meeting.
  2. Approval of Minutes for the February 23, 2024, Council on General Education meeting.
  3. CC Tag Proposals (Peter)
    1. Course Proposals
      1. HRTS 4399 (Human Rights Research) REVISED-Civics and Individual Ethics; Human Diversity; Global Perspectives
      2. AMAE 3387 (Principles of Creative Entrepreneurship) – REVISED-Oral Communication
    2. Activity Proposals
      1. Honor Council – Civics and Individual Ethics
      2. SMU Outdoor Adventures – Community Engagement; Oral Communication
  4. CC Rubric Update (Dayna)
    1. Approved pending revisions.
      1. Social and Behavioral Sciences
      2. Technological Advances and Society
    2. Tabled
      1. Exploring Science
      2. Global Perspectives
  5. Student Progress Toward Degree and Throughout (Sheri)
    1. Role of the Schools in satisfying CIE/CE
  6. Proposals (Peter)
    1. Critical Reasoning Fulfillment Requirements
      1. CR proposals-voting ballot will be sent out with a 3/21 deadline.
      2. In Development – WIM to W Progress; Modification to Course Content Criteria (4000-level)
  7. General Education Office Updates (Dustin)
    1. Catalog Review

Please contact the Office of General Education for questions or proposal development support.

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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.

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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.

 

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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 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.

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

Success Fest data points to higher usage of Degree Planner

SMU’s first-ever Success Fest wrapped up on February 28th, 2024. The Peer Academic Leaders (PALs), under the direction of The Office of General Education, and the University Advising Center (UAC) began promotional efforts for Success Fest in early February by:

  • Hosting Degree Planner workshops
  • Working with the Registrar’s Office to write and post To-Do Tasks to undergraduate students’ my.SMU accounts
  • Sending marketing emails to all undergraduate students

These efforts resulted in:

  • 40 total attendees at all Degree Planner workshops in February
  • 63 total attendees at Success Fest
  • 65 total scheduled 1-1 meetings with PALs
  • 1,506 students utilizing Degree Planner between February 15th and March 1st
  • 1,938 students utilizing Degree Planner between February 1st and March 1st

Success Fest will be a semesterly offering, aligning with the Degree Planner deadlines of March 1st and October 1st. These deadlines will be added to SMU’s Academic Calendar to help promote continued use of Degree Planner.

Overall, the PALs and UAC are excited with the Spring 2024 results and look forward to planning Success Fest for Fall 2024.

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Office of General Education

Approved meeting minutes from the Council on General Education on February 23, 2024

The Council on General Education met on February 23, 2024. The meeting minutes for February 2, 2024, were approved at this meeting. Below is the agenda, and the meeting minutes have now been posted on the General Education website.

 

  1. Approval of Agenda for February 23, 2024, Council on General Education meeting.
  2. Approval of Minutes for the February 2, 2024, Council on General Education meeting.
  3. Proposals (Peter)
    1. Course Proposals
      1. ARHS 3398 (Introduction to Museum Studies) – Creativity & Aesthetics
      2. BIOL 1310 (Aquatic Biology of the American Southwest)- Exploring Science
      3. PHYS 1320 (Music & Physics) – Quantitative Applications
      4. AMAE 3387 (Principles of Creative Entrepreneurship) – Technological Advances & Society; Oral Communication
      5. ARHS 3326 (How It’s Made: Approaches to the Art Object) – Technological Advances & Society
      6. JOUR 2303 (Media Literacy and Democracy) – Literary Analysis & Interpretation; Civics and Individual Ethics
      7. ANTH 3313 (South America: Culture, Environment, History) – Historical Contexts; Global Perspectives
      8. HIST 3381 (The First World War and Its Impact)- Global Perspectives
      9. RELI 1304 (Intro to Western Religions)- Human Diversity
      10. HRTS 4399 (Human Rights Research) REVISED-Civics and Individual Ethics; Human Diversity; Global Perspectives
    2. Activity Proposals
      1. Honor Council – Civics and Individual Ethics
      2. SMU Outdoor Adventures – Community Engagement; Oral Communication
  4. Student Progress Toward Degree and Throughout (Sheri)
    1. Role of the Schools in satisfying CIE/CE
  5. Proposals (Peter)
    1. Critical Reasoning Fulfillment Requirements
    2. In Development – WIM to W Progress; Modification to Course Content Criteria (4000-level)
  6. General Education Office Updates (Dustin)
    1. CC Overview workshop attendance
    2. CC Course Proposal workshop attendance
    3. Catalog review
    4. Success Fest 2/28/24
    5. Undergraduate Degree Planner deadline 3/1/24

Please contact the Office of General Education for questions or proposal development support.

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Office of General Education

Approved meeting minutes from the Council on General Education on February 2, 2024

The Council on General Education met on February 2, 2024. The meeting minutes for December 1, 2023, were approved at this meeting. Below is the agenda, and the meeting minutes have now been posted on the General Education website.

  1. Approval of Agenda for February 2, 2024, Council on General Education meeting.
  2. Approval of Minutes for the December 1, 2023, Council on General Education meeting.
  3. Update on Spring 2024 Meeting Schedule (Peter)
    1. 2/2/24
    2. 2/23/24-proposals due 2/12
    3. 3/8/24
    4. 4/5/24-proposals due 3/25
    5. 4/26/24 (EOY sendoff)
  4. Welcome new/returning members (Peter)
    1. Elena Borzova 2024-2027 (replacing Scott Douglas)
    2. Karisa Cloward returning from Fall 2023 leave (Luigi Manzetti only served Fall 2023)
  5. Rubric Updates (Dayna)
    1. Exploring Science
    2. Social and Behavioral Sciences
    3. Technological Advances and Society
    4. Global Perspectives
    5. Human Diversity
  6. Critical Reasoning Redesign Update (Sheri/Dustin)
    1. Fulfillment Requirement
    2. Grade Repeat
    3. Course Registration
  7. CoGE Working Group Timelines (Dustin/Melina)
    1. Re-Evaluation of Transfer Credit on Texas Common Course Numbering System
      1. Volunteer Members: Chris Logan, Stephanie Amsel, Dayna Oscherwitz
    2. External Test Credit Review (AP, IB, CLEP)
      1. Volunteer Members: Dayna Oscherwitz
  8. General Education Office Updates (Dustin)
    1. Communications shared related to Fall CoGE business
      1. Council on General Education approved updates to the Common Curriculum Critical Reasoning rubric
      2. New External Breadth Swap Petition now available for Common Curriculum students on the Fall 2023 Catalog or later
      3. The Council on General Education approves changes to Common Curriculum Critical Reasoning fulfillment requirements
      4. Modifications made to Common Curriculum Global Perspectives rubric, permitting all SMU Abroad programs to satisfy
      5. The Office of General Education archives General Education Curriculum website
      6. Council on General Education – Spring 2024 Meetings
      7. Approved meeting minutes from the Council on General Education on September 01, 2023
      8. Approved meeting minutes from the Council on General Education on September 29, 2023
      9. Approved meeting minutes from the Council on General Education on October 20, 2023
      10. Approved meeting minutes from the Council on General Education on November 10, 2023
      11. Approved meeting minutes from the Council on General Education on December 1, 2023

Please contact the Office of General Education for questions or proposal development support.

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

Degree Planner To-Do Tasks added to undergraduate students’ my.SMU

On Thursday, February 15th, two separate To-Do Tasks were added to all undergraduate students’ my.SMU accounts to promote the completion of their Degree Planner by March 1st and Success Fest on February 28th.

  • To-Do Task for pre-major students: “Complete your Degree Planner, if you have not already. Pre-major students are required to plan through the semester after their major declaration by Friday, March 1st. Students with a completed path in Degree Planner can attend Success Fest on Wednesday, February 28th. Students can get help with Degree Planner from a PAL, advisor, or at a Degree Planner workshop.”
  • To-Do Task for declared students: “Complete your Degree Planner, if you have not already. Declared students are required to plan through the semester of their graduation by Friday, March 1st. Students with a completed path in Degree Planner can attend Success Fest on Wednesday, February 28th. Students can get help with Degree Planner from a PAL, advisor, or at a Degree Planner workshop.”

A message was also sent via students’ Message Center, detailing information on Degree Planner, how to enter Success Fest, and upcoming Degree Planner workshops.

Students are encouraged to attend a Degree Planner Workshop hosted by the Peer Academic Leaders (PALs) on February 22nd from 4pm-5pm in Hughes-Trigg room 120, or to schedule a 1-1 appointment with a PAL.

Students can also attend Degree Planner Workshops hosted by the University Advising Center (UAC) on February 26th or February 27th from 11:30am-2:30pm in Hughes-Trigg room 130. Students who show proof of a complete Degree Planner can enter Success Fest on February 28th from 2pm-4pm in the Hughes-Trigg Varsity.

Every Fall and Spring semester, undergraduate students can expect a Degree Planner deadline and Success Fest as it becomes a pre-advising season ritual.