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Student Success & Retention

Office of Student Success and Retention to temporarily close for move to Perkins Administration Building

The Office of Student Success & Retention will move to the Perkins Administration Building (PAB), Suite 301, on Wednesday, July 5.

Due to packing, moving, and unpacking, the office will be closed Monday, July 3, and Wednesday, July 5, with a university holiday closure on July 4.

Phone service will be interrupted during this time, and emails will be responded to upon reopening. Our telephone number and email remain the same.

Please help us update your websites, publications, or resources that list our physical office location to our new location in Perkins Administration Building. Thank you for your support and understanding during this time of transition.

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Student Success & Retention

Help select the next Director of the Office for Student Success & Retention

On behalf of the Director for Student Success and Retention search committee, please join us for an upcoming finalist campus presentation and/or campus partner panel interview.

Three finalists have been selected for the Director of the Office for Student Success and Retention. Finalists will visit campus on Friday, June 30;  Friday, July 7; and Monday, July 10.

Friday, June 30, 2023:

  • 2:00 pm – 2:45 pm: Campus Partner Interview
  • 3:00 pm – 3:45 pm: Campus Presentation

Friday, July 7, 2023:

  • 10:00 am – 10:45 am: Campus Presentation
  • 11:15 am – 12:00 pm: Campus Partner Interview

Monday, July 10, 2023:

  • 10:00 am – 10:45 am: Campus Partner Interview
  • 11:00 am – 11:45 am: Campus Presentation

If you are interested in joining for one or more campus presentations or campus partner interviews, please email Dr. Dustin Grabsch (dgrabsch@smu.edu), chair of the search committee. Calendar invites with candidate materials, presentation prompts, and other applicable information will be shared with interested community members. We appreciate your input as we select this important campus leader.

About the Role: The Director is critical and collaborative in supporting undergraduate retention and graduation initiatives at SMU. 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. The Director chairs a university-wide retention and financial support committee to retrain undergraduate students. The position serves as a critical partner to the Office of the Dean of Students.

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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. 

Categories
Student Success & Retention

The first cohort of the Crossing the Finish Line program graduated this spring

To help more students graduate from SMU within six years, University Decision Support, academic advisors, and school record offices partnered with the Office of Student Success and Retention (SSR) to identify undergraduate students who have left SMU close to graduation based on credit hours but have not graduated from another university. Branded as Crossing the Finish Line, the new program sought to re-engage students to complete their SMU degree.  

Once identified, SSR invited select students to participate in a cohort who received academic and financial support to complete their undergraduate degrees at SMU. During the Spring of 2023, 2 out of the 11 students that received invitations from SSR decided to return to SMU and complete their degrees. Both students in the first cohort of the Crossing the Finish Line program graduated in May. 

SSR Success Counselor Ivy Phillips closely monitored these students’ academic progress throughout the semester. Additionally, Phillips met with them every two weeks to check in and address any student issues or concerns.  

Thanks to the Crossing the Finish Line program, one student earned her degree and received a job offer from her dream company. She began working for the company in May. Another student shared: 

I can whole-heartedly say that Ivy played a massive role in my success in completing my final semester. She helped me set deadlines, schedule out time to complete my assignments amidst my busy work schedule, monitored my grades, and also urged me to get involved with SMU’s student and career/ financial literacy programs… Ivy, alongside the wonderful Janet Stephens and my Meadows professors, all gave me the push I needed to finally get this degree done. Couldn’t have done it without them!”

The SSR team is currently identifying and inviting students to join the second cohort of the Crossing the Finish Line program. We look forward to re-engaging more students and helping them cross the finish line of graduation!  

Categories
Academic Center for Excellence Academic Devleopment of Student-Athletes (ADSA) Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center Disability Accommodations & Success Strategies First-Generation Initiative Hilltop Scholars Mustang Scholars National Fellowships Office of Engaged Learning Office of General Education President’s Scholars Rotunda Scholars SMU in Four Student Academic Engagement & Success Student Academic Success Programs Student Success & Retention University Advising Center University Honors Program University Testing Center

SEAS units begin migration to new SMU-branded web pages

In partnership with the Office of Information Technology, Student Academic Engagement and Success (SAES) began migrating unit websites to the new SMU-banded web pages.

As part of the brand migration, the SAES Marketing, Communication, and Digital Technology committee worked with unit webmasters to assist with a site content refresh (e.g., text, pictures, layouts). The committee recommended reorganizing navigation and pages based on Google Analytics data of high-traffic pages. As part of the process, broken links, spelling, SEO optimization, SMU web governance, and site navigation are also being addressed. Finally, professional headshots and employee biographies will be added over the summer.

Beginning with the SAES main navigation in late May, all units will be migrated over the course of the summer and early fall terms.

Last week, the following unit websites were completed:

Scheduled to migrate on or around the dates listed below will be:

  • June 23:
    • University Testing Center
    • University Advising Center
  • July 21:
    • Academic Development of Student-Athletes
    • Office of Student Success and Retention
  • August 11:
    • Student Academic Success Programs
    • Office of Undergraduate National Fellowships
  • September 1:
    • University Honors Program
    • First-Generation Initiative
    • Scholars’ Den
  • September 22:
    • President’s Scholars
    • Rotunda Scholars
    • Mustang Scholars
    • Hilltop Scholars

Please pardon our dust during this transition. If you discover broken links or issues, please direct them to academicsuccess@smu.edu to be routed appropriately. The next communication on the webpage migration will be once all SAES units have been completed.

Categories
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.