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.

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

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

As the Peer Academic Leaders (PALs) wrap up their Fall 2023 programming, the Office of General Education is excited to announce their PAL of the month for November 2023. Meet Bonita Davis.

Bonita is a current Sophomore at SMU, who is double majoring in Computer Science and Data Science. Along with her demanding course load, Bonita is also involved in other student organizations on campus and even serves as a Rotunda Scholar Peer Counselor.

Bonita is an excellent example of a student who excels in time management and is able to contribute 100% effort to everything she does. During her time as PAL, Bonita has boosted her confidence and has quickly become an outspoken leader on the team. Bonita contributes unique and thoughtful ideas to improve the PALs program overall, and she is consistently engaged during team meetings and brainstorming sessions.

The Office of General Education is proud of the work Bonita has put forth this semester, and looks forward to seeing her strengthen her leadership skills in Spring 2024.

Staff, students, and faculty can stay updated with the PALs programming via SMU 360, Instagram, or the PALs website.

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 (  

Office of General Education

Common Curriculum changes to WiM Proficiency and Experience



November 7, 2022

Dear Members of the SMU Community:

We are writing to you with important information about changes to the Writing in the Major (WiM) Proficiency of the Common Curriculum (CC) that were made to make it easier to administer and fulfill.

  1. We will be tracking student completion of the WiM Proficiency through program assessment, rather than through DPR tracking.
  2. DPR change will go into effect on November 11 with program assessment change effective Fall 2023.
  3. This change will make it easier for departments to administer and assess this Proficiency and for students to fulfill it.

On September 9, 2022, the Council on General Education approved a proposal to change how the Common Curriculum’s Writing in the Major Proficiency and Experience is tracked on the Degree Progress Report and replace it with program-level Writing in the Major student learning outcome. Below we share the rationale for this forthcoming change, how it will impact CC students and academic programs moving forward, and support that will be offered through this process.

SMU faculty have consistently expressed concern about the challenges of isolating the teaching of Writing in the Major to a single course, since many programs distribute the teaching and practice of writing across a program. For the same reason, students on the Common Curriculum have struggled to find sufficient opportunities to satisfy the Writing in the Major requirement, even when they have spent several courses learning to write in accordance with the parameters of their discipline.  For this reason, effective Fall 2023, we will replace individual tracking of the Writing in the Major Proficiency through course-level tags, and we will instead track it through program learning outcomes and program-level assessment.

On October 21, 2022 the Council approved an implementation plan for this assessment and tracking change, and as a result of this plan, effective Fall 2023, the Writing in the Major Proficiency and Experience graduation requirement be removed from the Degree Progress Report for student-level tracking.

In lieu of DPR level-tracking each academic program will be required, via the Office of Institutional Planning and Effectiveness program evaluation process, to write and assess one learning outcome that best represents the conventions of writing in their discipline. This will require each program to develop assessments and measures appropriate to their disciplines – many of which can be used from WiM-tagged courses. In this way, students will receive the instruction they need regarding discipline-specific writing, and departments will be able to deliver discipline-specific writing instruction without having to confine that instruction to a single course.  Academic programs that distribute the teaching of writing across the program sequence (which is best practice) would no longer need to place the proficiency tag on every course that delivers writing instruction to ensure students receive the tag.   Instead, they can concentrate on developing student proficiency in discipline-specific writing in the way that makes the most sense for their program.

This approved change and implementation plan honors the true intent of the Writing in the Major Proficiency and values the tremendous work done by faculty to develop WiM-tagged courses, learning outcomes, and assessments. During the transition to this new method of tracking and assessing Writing in the Major, the Office of Institutional Planning and Effectiveness will work closely with faculty and programs to write discipline-specific learning outcomes for Writing in the Major and to develop appropriate measures to assess this writing.

Questions related to this change can be directed to the Office of General Education at


Sheri Kunovich 

Associate Provost for Student Academic Engagement & Success

Dayna Oscherwitz 

Associate Provost for Institutional Planning and Effectiveness

Dustin Grabsch 

Assistant Provost for Undergraduate Education & Academic Success