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

Degree Planer 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.

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

Peer Academic Leaders and University Advising Center prepare for Success Fest

Since Fall 2023, the Peer Academic Leaders (PALs) within the Office of General Education and the University Advising Center (UAC) have been planning a collaborative event titled “Success Fest” to promote the use of Degree Planner amongst SMU undergraduate students.

Success Fest will occur on February 28th from 2pm to 4pm in the Hughes-Trigg Varsity. The event will offer students incentives, such as food from Grilled Cheese Co. and the opportunity to enter a raffle to win Amazon gift cards.

To enter Success Fest, students must show proof of a completed Degree Planner. Academic Advisors from the UAC will review students’ Degree Planners to check for completion before entering Success Fest. There will also be PALs and advisors in the Hughes-Trigg Chamber to help students complete their Degree Planner on the day of the event.

Pre-major students will be required to fill out their Degree Planner leading up until major declaration, while declared students will be expected to complete their Degree Planner leading up until graduation. The deadline for students to complete their Degree Planner is March 1st, 2024.

Students can expect a To-Do task to be added to their student dashboard on my.SMU, in addition to receiving a message in their Message Center with more details about Degree Planner deadlines and Success Fest.

The UAC will host Degree Planner workshops on February 26th and 27th from 11:30am to 2:30pm in Hughes-Trigg room 130. During this same time, the PALs will be tabling across campus to distribute marketing materials for Success Fest.

The PALs will also host two Degree Planner workshops on February 8 and February 22. The details for both events can be found on SMU 360. Students are encouraged to book 1-1 appointments with the PALs if they prefer a more individualized tutorial on Degree Planner.

 

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Office of General Education Peer Academic Leaders Student Academic Engagement & Success

The Peer Academic Leaders complete their Fall 2023 programming

This fall, the Peer Academic Leaders (PALs) program has been consistently offering programs to help support SMU students on their academic journey.

Their programming has covered topics such as Degree Planner, Enrollment, and effective study strategies. The PALs have also facilitated workshops and Peer Panels highlighting SMU resources, including the A-LEC, the Hegi Career Development Center, TAOS, Intersessions, and Study Abroad.

The PALs have also hosted monthly “Study Breaks” in each of their assigned Residential Commons to help students maintain a healthy academic lifestyle before major exams.

The PALs have had over 700 students attend their programs throughout the Fall 2023 semester. The PALs are proud of this achievement and have already started to plan events for the Spring 2024 semester.

The PALs will wrap up their fall programming on December 5th, where they will collaborate with Fondren Library for SMU’s first-ever Study-A-Thon. This event will take place in Fondren’s Blue Mezzanine, reserved so students can grab snacks and study for their final exams.

The Office of General Education is excited to see what the PALs can achieve in Spring 2024. Students, staff, and faculty can stay updated with the PALs programming via SMU 360, Instagram, or the PALs website.

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Office of General Education Peer Academic Leaders Student Academic Engagement & Success

Office of General Education promotes office hours in latest email blast to undergraduates

With finals on the horizon and enrollment beginning, the Office of General Education is working hard to ensure that SMU’s undergraduate students feel supported while on their academic journey.

To increase knowledge of the services provided by the Office of General Education, a recent email blast has been sent out to all undergraduate students promoting drop-in advising for both in-person and virtual appointments.

Students are encouraged to attend these appointments should they have questions about Common Curriculum or University Curriculum requirements, petitions, or Degree Planner.

The email blast also invites students to book appointments with the Peer Academic Leaders (PALs) during their office hours in Laura Lee Blanton, Suite 100.

Students, faculty, and staff can refer to SMU 360 to keep up with the events and programs offered by the Office of General Education.

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Office of General Education Peer Academic Leaders Student Academic Engagement & Success

The Office of General Education celebrates their October PAL of the month

With the end of the Fall semester fast approaching, the Peer Academic Leaders (PALs) are wrapping up another month of programming.

The PALs have consistently offered October programming over topics such as navigating Degree Planner, effective testing strategies, and enrollment. In total, the PALs had 295 students attend their 16 events in October!

Although every PAL has played a role in making their first semester of programming successful, one PAL has impressed the Office of General Education with her time management skills, creativity, and reliability.

Meet Ruth Kinyua. Ruth is a current Sophomore at SMU pursuing degrees in Biochemistry and Spanish. Despite having a demanding course load, Ruth manages to meet all deadlines and programming requirements while maintaining a positive attitude.

Ruth even goes as far as to assist her teammates with tasks and shares her tips for staying organized. Ruth has remained consistent in her hard work and effort, and the Office of General Education is pleased to announce her as the October PAL of the month.

Learn more about the program and upcoming events at smu.edu/pals.

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Office of General Education Peer Academic Leaders Student Academic Engagement & Success

The Office of General Education launches new Peer Academic Leaders website

The Office of General Education is happy to announce the launch of the new Peer Academic Leaders (PALs) website.

The website has exciting new updates, including an SMU 360 calendar of PALs events, details on the services provided by the PALs, and information on recruitment and selection.

The website also offers the option to book a PAL workshop for student groups or organizations that would like the PALs to come to them.

As the end of the Fall semester quickly approaches, students are encouraged to book a one-on-one appointment with a PAL should they need additional academic support, help understanding Common Curriculum requirements, tutorials on properly enrolling for classes, or assistance with filling out their Degree Planner.

 

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Office of General Education Peer Academic Leaders Student Academic Engagement & Success

PALs wrap up September programming and look toward October

The Peer Academic Leaders (PALs) are happy to announce that they have completed their first whole month of programming this academic year.

In September, the PALs hosted:

  • 4 Degree Planner Workshops
  • 2 Peer Panels
  • 2 Advice Booths
  • 2 Enhancement Workshops highlighting the A-LEC and SMU 360.

The PALs consistently marketed all their events via Instagram, physical flyers, and digital boards across campus. These efforts proved successful, as the PALs averaged 10-30 attendees per event.

The PALs have also succeeded with their one-on-one advising appointments at Laura Lee Blanton in Suite 102. Undergraduate students scheduled appointments in Booking.SMU with the PALs to cover topics such as Degree Planner, and how to get involved on campus as a Freshman.

With a month of programming under their belt, the PALs are eager to get a start on their October events.

They will host workshops throughout the month highlighting Spring Enrollment, with their first one being held on October 20th. Students can find their PALs before then; however, during their October Peer Panel that will highlight TAOS, Intersessions, and Study Abroad experiences.

The Office of General Education also encourages SMU students to take advantage of the PALs office hours should they prefer a one-on-one appointment with a PAL.

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Office of General Education Peer Academic Leaders SMU in Four

Find your PAL and complete your Degree Planner in my.SMU student communication sent

SMU in Four would like to share efforts being made to encourage undergraduate students to complete their my.SMU Degree Planner. 

The following message was shared on Sunday, September 17.

——————-

From: SMU in Four (smuinfour@smu.edu)

To: Undergraduate Students

Subject Line: Find your PAL and complete your Degree Planner in my.SMU

Dear Mustangs,

We’re officially in week 4! Is this semester flying by, or is it just us? SMU in Four hopes you’re getting into the swing of things, but if not, have you considered finding a Peer Academic Leader (PAL)? PALs are a diverse group of undergraduate students at SMU who have been dedicating their time to help their peers navigate academics.

If you haven’t gotten a chance to meet them, have no fear! They have plenty of upcoming events on the books to help you succeed.

All students are expected to use Degre Planner, so visit one of the PAL workshops this month to start, update, and complete your plan! Degree Planner workshops are on the following dates. RSVP’s are encouraged, but walk-ins are welcome:

If you can’t make it to any of these, book a one-on-one appointment with a PAL during their office hours, and they’re happy to help! Whether it’s at Laura Lee Blanton Building, Suite 100, or anywhere else on campus, they’re excited to PAL around!

Melina Padron

Sr. Advisor for General Education

she/her/hers

O: 214-768-6559

melinap@smu.edu

Office of General Education; Student Academic Engagement & Success

Office of the Provost

SMU

6185 Airline Road

Dallas, TX 75205

Categories
Student Academic Engagement & Success

HighPoint Degree Planner Undergraduate Survey

By Silvia Vazquez

HighPoint Degree Planner was rolled out earlier this semester as a tool for SMU undergraduates to plan their track toward graduation. To collect feedback on this new software, students are being asked to complete a short survey. The survey will provide valuable insight into students’ perspectives on HighPoint Degree Planner, including the platform’s ease of use, helpful features, and areas for improvement.

The survey is open from Monday, April 10th, to Tuesday, April 25th. Students who respond will be entered into a raffle to win one of ten gift cards.

Faculty and staff are encouraged to share the survey link below with their undergraduate student groups.

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Office of General Education SMU in Four Student Academic Engagement & Success University Advising Center

Degree Planner after-action report and advisor incentives announced

Degree Planner was introduced to students at the end of the Fall 2022 semester as a tool that supports the SMU in Four – SMU’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) –SMU’s comprehensive approach to improving retention and four-year graduation rates. 

The Degree Planner in the my.SMU Student Dashboard is a powerful tool that can provide students with a personalized, pre-populated degree plan to help them on their journey to graduation. This degree path provides a sequence of courses that will fulfill degree requirements and can be adjusted regularly to fit their future plans. This differs from the Degree Progress Report (DPR), the authoritative source for graduation requirements. 

Initial adoption efforts focused on the 5,348 Common Curriculum students who matriculated in the fall 2020 semester or after (213 Spring 2023 graduating seniors were excluded). Students received outreach on Degree Planner’s purpose, support with completion, and notification of their progress in a variety of ways: 

  • 1,201 students completed their Degree Planner for all remaining terms.  
  • 1,484 students completed their Degree Planner for the Fall 2023 semester. 
  • 8 Degree Planner Support sessions were held (4 in Caruth, 2 in Hughes Trigg, 1 in Meadows, and 1 Zoom Session)  
  • 7 Blog posts were written introducing Degree Planner, sharing progress, announcing raffle winners (on 2/2/23, 2/13/23, & 3/16/23 ), and general information on Degree Planner  
  • 7 Student emails were sent   
  • 130 Winners were selected in raffles to win prizes for completion of Degree Planner.  
  • To-do tasks were added to students’ My.SMU accounts. These to-do tasks were updated and removed weekly. 

We want to reward the following advisors with $100 Amazon gift cards for having the highest number of advisee completions University-wide: 

  • Dorie Beitchman 
  • Misti Compton 
  • Maria Crouch 
  • Christopher Logan 
  • Jennifer Malone 
  • Barbara Morhle 
  • Jeanene Renfro 
  • Caroline Rydquist 
  • Alyssa Wong 

Special Acknowledgement is also given to Janet Stephens and Alyssa Wong for their efforts in encouraging student completion and advertising our student support sessions.