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Academic Center for Excellence Academic Devleopment of Student-Athletes (ADSA) Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center Disability Accommodations & Success Strategies Student Academic Engagement & Success Student Academic Success Programs

ADSA & SASP Hosting a Staff & Faculty Breakfast on January 11th

Student Academic Engagement and Success (SAES) is hosting two upcoming tours of the Academic Development of Student-Athletes (ADSA) and Student Academic Success Programs (SASP).  Tours will take place at 9 AM and 9:30 AM at the ADSA & SASP offices located in Loyd All-Sports Center. ADSA is located on the 3rd floor, in suite 316. SASP is located on the second floor, in suite 201.  This opportunity is an invitation to all SMU faculty and staff to tour our academic centers and learn more about the support services offered to students! Breakfast and drinks will be available.

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University Advising Center

University Advising Center Welcomes Two New Advisors to the Hilltop

The University Advising Center has made some new additions to our staff this month. Veronica Gutierrez and Amy ‘Ricki’ Ward joined us just in time for the holiday season cheer.

Headshot of Ricki Ward, a new Academic Advisor in the University Advising Center.A native Texan, Ricki is a 2002 graduate of Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas, where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in both History and Psychology.  She then earned her Texas Teacher Certification via LeTourneau University’s Post-Baccalaureate Educator Certification Program.  She began her career as a teacher at Dallas Academy, where she specialized in creating and implementing personalized curriculum for students with learning differences.  Most recently, Ricki taught 4th grade math and science in Garland ISD, and was awarded 2022-23 Teacher of the Year at Dorsey Elementary in Rowlett.  She lives in Rowlett with her husband, Tony, her two teenage children, Bailey and Jake, and her black lab, Charlie.  Ricki is a lifelong Texas Rangers fan and avid reader, and recently began volunteering as a camera operator for Explore.org. Her email is arward@smu.edu and her office number is (214) 768-6835.

Headshot of Veronica Gutierrez, a new Academic Advisor in the University Advising Center.

Veronica Gutierrez joins the University Advising Center after spending 29 years in public education as an elementary school teacher and counselor. Veronica graduated from Paris Junior College and Southwest Texas State University with a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies. She also received her Master’s degree in Counseling from Texas A&M University-Commerce. Veronica was born and raised in Dallas, Texas and has always loved the beauty of the SMU campus. She is very excited to start this new journey. Her email is vgutierrez@smu.edu and her office number is (214) 768-6836.

Please join the University Advising Center in welcoming our two new advisors to the Hilltop!

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SMU in Four Student Academic Engagement & Success

Advising @ SMU infographic now available

SMU in Four has released a new Advising @ SMU infographic designed to make student and advisor expectations transparent throughout their academic journey, from orientation to graduation.

In addition to clarifying the advising process and timeline, the infographic will help first-year admit undergraduate students understand the benefits of regularly meeting with their academic advisors.

Midsize posters will be distributed to advisors to place in their offices, and larger prints will hang in other campus offices and common spaces. To request copies of the flyers and posters, please email Dallas Forbes at dforbes@smu.edu.

The infographic will also be socialized at SMU’s inaugural Success Fest, planned for Thursday, February 28th. This event will promote the completion of Degree Planner by the March 1st deadline – with food, swag, and a gift card giveaway to students who show that they’ve completed a degree plan. More information on Success Fest is to come… but, for now, save the date.

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University Advising Center

The University Advising Center welcomes new Academic Advisor Benjamin Mandelbaum

The University Advising Center is very pleased to share that Ben Mandelbaum has joined us as our newest Academic Advisor! Ben joins us after spending 7 seasons as a college basketball coach. In his most recent position, he coached the Alcorn State University Men’s Basketball team to the 2023 Southwestern Athletic Conference Championship.  Ben is a graduate of the University of Minnesota where he received his Bachelor’s degree in psychology, and a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham where he received his Master’s degree in Exercise Science. New to Dallas, Ben has enjoyed exploring the Dallas area by visiting museums, attending shows, and taking in sporting events. In his free time, Ben likes following his favorite sports teams, traveling to the beach, and listening to podcasts.

His email is bmandelbaum@smu.edu and his phone number is 214-768-6790.    Join us in welcoming Ben to the UAC and to SMU!

Headshot of Ben Mandelbaum.
Headshot of Ben Mandelbaum.
Categories
Academic Devleopment of Student-Athletes (ADSA)

Introducing Keyana Smith as the new ADSA associate director

As we gear up for the upcoming 2023-2024 academic year, Academic Development of Student-Athletes is thrilled to welcome Keyana Smith, as our new Associate Director! 

Smith comes to us with a wealth of experience and a passion for serving student-athletes. Her impressive background and commitment to student-athletes success on and off the field, align seamlessly with our office’s values and aspirations. With the addition of Keyana, we are poised to elevate our academic support and enhance the student experience in new ways!  

A Glimpse into Smith’s Journey: 

Keyana joins the Hilltop from the University of Mississippi, where she was the Assistant Director of Athletics Academic Services working as the lead academic counselor of Women’s Basketball and second of Football. Her previous stops include the University of New Mexico, Utah Valley University, and the University of Texas at San Antonio. Smith is a previous student-athlete herself, playing two years at Morgan State University on their softball team. After receiving her undergraduate degree, she pursued a Master’s in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Sports Psychology and then later, achieved her Master’s in Sport Administration. She is an active member of N4A and is currently the Co-Lead on the Institutional Partnership Program.  

The ADSA is excited to have the additional leadership and insight that Keyana will bring into the 2023-2024 Academic Year! 

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

Peer Academic Leaders kick off the academic year with social media campaign and certification program

As the Fall 2023 semester fast approaches, the Office of General Education is pleased to announce the Peer Academic Leader program (PALs) relaunch.

PALs are third- and fourth-year SMU students who have proven to be successful academically and are also highly involved on campus. Their mission as peer leaders will be to plan and facilitate programming throughout the academic year to ensure first- and second-year students are knowledgeable about campus resources. PALs will also serve as peer advisors to ensure students are registered for classes on time and understand common curriculum requirements.

Be sure to follow our Instagram (smu_advising_pals) for updates on PALs events. The PALs have quickly adopted this page and begun their first social media campaign, “Meet Your PAL“. These posts contain short videos where the PALs can introduce themselves, discuss their favorite part of being an SMU student, and share back-to-school tips.


The PALs will move back to campus on August 10th, 2023, and we’re excited to welcome them back.

They will be in training from August 11th until August 16th. As a result of training, PALs will be Certified Peer Educators, ready to support their fellow Mustangs. The training includes eight modules, covering the role of peer education, helping peers make a behavior change, listening skills, response and referral skills, how to take action and intervene, recognizing the role of diversity and inclusivity, programming and presentation skills, self-care, and group dynamics.

Finally, starting on August 17th, PALs will serve as Stampede Guides to further connect with their residents.

Questions, comments, or social media collaborations are welcome. Please contact Melina Padron, Senior Advisor for General Education.

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Student Academic Engagement & Success University Advising Center

Michelle Gaunt joins the University Advising Center

We are pleased to announce that Michelle Gaunt has joined the UAC as our newest Academic Advisor.

Michelle is a proud SMU alumnus with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in English Literature and Composition. She has taught at secondary schools in Dallas ISD, Austin ISD, and universities in Texas and Arizona.   She is dedicated to promoting art and literature in public education through PTA committees, community outreach programs, and other channels, and also co-authors contemporary women’s fiction.  She is excited to return to the Hilltop!

Michelle will carry a generalist caseload of advisees.  Her email is mgaunt@smu.edu and her phone is x8-2815.  Please join the University Advising Center in welcoming her!

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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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Offices & Programs Student Academic Engagement & Success University Advising Center

New Office Coordinator, Gerralynn McKenna, joins the University Advising Center

The University Advising Center is pleased to share that Gerralynn McKenna has joined our office as our newest Coordinator! Gerralynn comes to SMU after teaching elementary special education for 4 years. She recently moved to Dallas from Albuquerque, New Mexico with her husband . She enjoys hiking, being outdoors, spending time with family and friends, and reading. Please join us in giving her a warm welcome to SMU!

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Academic Center for Excellence Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center First-Generation Initiative Hilltop Scholars Mustang Scholars National Fellowships Office of General Education President’s Scholars Student Academic Engagement & Success Student Academic Success Programs University Advising Center University Honors Program

Writing Center is open Summer 2023

SMU’s Writing Center in the Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center (A-LEC) is open this summer from June 1 – July 31!  Appointment times are:   

  • Mon – Thurs 2:30-5 (in person at the A-LEC)
  • Tues & Thurs 4-6:30 (ZOOM)
  • Fri 2:30-4:30 (in person at the A-LEC);  Sun 5-8 (ZOOM)     

Book an appointment with a Writing Center Faculty Member in Canvas.