Office of General Education

Audit conducted to identify UC students who are missing general education or graduation requirements

To assist students on the University Curriculum (UC) graduate, the Office of General Education conducted an audit of all UC students who are missing general education or graduation requirements. 

 This audit identified 51 students’ missing requirements.  

 The Office of General Education staff reviewed Degree Progress Reports (DPR) and Transfer Evaluation Reports (TER), if applicable, to see what action was needed to support individual students. 

Melina Padron and Brittaney Wilson sent initial outreach by email in December 2023. They then followed up with text and phone calls to share personalized support on assisting UC students with degree completion.  

The support offered included: guiding students through the petition process, advising on course enrollment, and sharing alternative credit pathways. Additionally, four course overrides for credit were performed on behalf of the students. 

The UC requirements apply to students who matriculated into SMU between Fall 2016 and Spring 2020. The UC’s main coursework components are Foundations, Breadths, and Depths. In addition to seven Proficiencies and Experiences.  


Office of General Education

Council on General Education – Spring 2024 Meetings

The Office of General Education has announced the Council on General Education’s Spring 2024 meetings.

Meetings will be held via Zoom from 11:30am – 1:00pm on the following dates:

  • February 2, 2024
  • February 23, 2024 (proposal meeting)
  • March 8, 2024
  • April 5, 2024 (proposal meeting)
  • April 26, 2024 (in-person; location TBD)

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

Office of General Education

Approved meeting minutes from the Council on General Education on December 1, 2023

The Council on General Education met on December 1, 2023. The meeting minutes for November 10, 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 the December 1, 2023 Council on General Education meeting.
  2. Approval of Minutes for the November 10, 2023 Council on General Education meeting.
  3. Common Curriculum Assessment Results (Yan)
    1. CC Components Assessed
  4. Proposals
    1. Revisions submitted
      1. APSM 3360 (Nutrition and Population Health) – PREX-CE
    2. Courses approved that are still pending a meeting with the assessment office
      1. FILM 3352 (American Film History) – HC
      2. PSYC 3362 (Psychology & the Challenges of Life) – SBS, PREX-HD
      3. WL 3379 (Modern German Culture from the Enlightenment to the Present) -PREX-GPS
      4. GERM 3379 (Modern German Culture from the Enlightenment to the Present) – PREX-GPS
    3. Courses that were tabled pending revisions
      1. FILM 2351 (International Film History) – PREX-GPS
      2. ASCE 1310 (Ceramic Technology) – TAS
      3. HRTS 4399 (Human Rights Research) – PREX-CIE, PREX-HD, PREX-GPS
  5. Critical Reasoning Fulfillment Discussion
  6. General Education Office Updates (Dustin)
    1. CoGE Working Group Timelines
      1. Re-Evaluation of Transfer Credit on Texas Common Course Numbering System
      2. External Test Credit Review (AP, IB, CLEP)
    2. CoGE Spring meeting dates
      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)
    3. Members leaving
      1. Luigi Manzetti served only Fall 2023
      2. Scott Douglas served from 2017-2023
    4. New/returning members
      1. Elena Borzova 2024-2027 (replacing Scott)
      2. Karisa Cloward returning from leave

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

Office of General Education

The Council on General Education approves changes to Common Curriculum Critical Reasoning fulfillment requirements

On Friday, December 1st, the Council on General Education approved a change in the Common Curriculum Critical Reasoning fulfillment requirement effective Spring 2024.

Since the establishment of the Common Curriculum in Fall 2020, the Critical Reasoning Foundation component required undergraduate students to (1) achieve a C- or better and (2) not drop or withdraw from a CR course. Effective Spring 2024, students can now drop or withdraw from a CR-tagged course.

This change was warranted due to the recently announced changes to the Critical Reasoning rubric and the efforts to develop courses outside of the Writing and Reasoning Program (WRTR). Beginning in Spring 2024, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs (CCPA) and Journalism (JOUR) will offer CR-tagged courses.

The Office of General Education will coordinate updates to impacted course descriptions, syllabi language, and websites with academic departments before winter break. This recent approval will be reflected in the Undergraduate Catalog for the 2024 – 2025 academic year.

Student progress through the Common Curriculum Foundation components will be monitored and enforced via the University-wide Requirements for Academic Progress articulated in the Undergraduate Catalog. 

The fulfillment requirements of a C- letter grade and the inability to drop and withdraw remain in effect for the Academic Writing Foundation component.

Please direct questions to the Office of General Education at

Office of General Education Student Academic Engagement & Success

New External Breadth Swap Petition now available for Common Curriculum students on the Fall 2023 Catalog or later

The Office of General Education made a new External Breadth Swap Petition available on Tuesday, September 19. The new petition is public at and on the Registrar’s Form Library

SMU Common Curriculum (CC) students may satisfy up to three Breadth requirements using external credit. External credit is test, dual, concurrent, or transfer credit.

Suppose a student possesses pre-matriculation external credit for more than three Breadth requirements. In that case, a student may want to substitute one of the three satisfied Breadth requirements that were applied during Fall 2023 admission processing for a different Breadth requirement.

Based on recommendations from the University Advising Center, the Registrar’s Office configured the Fall 2023 catalog to satisfy external Beadth credits in the following order during the admission process:

  1. Literary Analysis and Interpretation (LAI),
  2. Creativity & Aestetics (CA),
  3. Historical Context (HC),
  4. Philosophical, Religious, and Ethical Inquiry (PREI),
  5. Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS),
  6. Exploring Science (ES), and then
  7. Technological Advances and Society (TAS).

The advising community felt this order would benefit the high-hour majors in Lyle School of Engineering and other sciences and Pre-Health track students who will fulfill ES and TAS through SMU courses.

Questions or concerns about the new petition can be directed to the Office of General Education via

Office of General Education

Council on General Education approved updates to the Common Curriculum Critical Reasoning rubric

On Friday, September 1st, operating within its scope of authority, the Council on General Education approved an update to the Common Curriculum Critical Reasoning rubric.

Critical Reasoning was assessed for the first time in Summer 2021 by the Office of Institutional Planning and Effectiveness. Following that round of assessment, raters recommended reviewing and revising the rubric, which they found difficult to apply in many cases. A faculty-led committee was charged to review and revise the rubric over the summer.

Further review of the rubric found that although the learning outcome for Critical Reasoning is appropriate to the components (Students will demonstrate university-level critical reasoning proficiencies through written expression), the supporting skills emphasize writing and are nearly identical to the supporting skills for Academic Writing requirement, which has a different learning outcome (Students will develop competency, clarity, coherence, and organization in their writing). Plus, writing is assessed separately under the Academic Writing, Writing, and within the academic evaluation process.

The current design of the Critical Reasoning rubric has functioned as a barrier to the development of courses outside of the Writing and Reasoning Program (WRTR), mainly because of the primary focus on academic writing in the current iteration of the rubric. Therefore, efforts to revise the Critical Reasoning rubric have been joined with this effort to expand offerings in Critical Reasoning beyond WRTR 1313, WRTR 2304, and WRTR 2306.

Common Curriculum course proposal forms and the online rubrics were updated with the newly-approved rubric.

Office of General Education

Student communications blast off from the Office of General Education

Energy is high on the Hilltop as we welcome students back to campus.

This academic year, the Office of General Education is committed to enhancing the student experience by providing programming to connect students to SMU resources and help them stay on track toward graduation. Plus, we want each student to get the most out of the Common Curriculum.

As we work towards this mission, the Office of General Education has begun student communications to keep all undergraduate Mustangs in the loop of campus offerings.

A quick look at two recent communications sent to all undergraduate students is featured below:

Sender Subject Line Brief Description
The Office of General Education (  Welcome Mustang! Scheduling information about Common Curriculum workshops and pop-ups. A link to Zoom office hours was provided, increasing the accessibility of our services.
Peer Academic Leaders ( Ready to PAL around? Let’s connect you with campus resources and more! Information about the Peer Academic Leaders (PALs) program and its various services. Booking.SMU and SMU360 links were referenced.

We hope you may amplify or point students to these communications in your interactions. Specifically encouraging Degree Planner and other programming.

We look forward to keeping you and our students informed throughout the year. Please direct feedback to

Office of General Education

Meet the new Senior Advisor for General Education and the 2023 – 2024 Peer Academic Leaders

The Office of General Education is excited to welcome our new Senior Advisor and twelve Peer Academic Leaders to the team.

Melina Padron will join the Office of General Education team on Monday, July 24. Padron’s professional experience includes serving as an enrollment counselor and, most recently, serving as an admissions counselor at Arizona College of Nursing.

As Senior Advisor, Padron is responsible for coordinating the Office of General Education’s undergraduate student outreach and timely offering of academic advising to ensure progression through Common Curriculum requirements. The Senior Advisor develops, oversees, and provides Office of General Education programs, initiatives, and student interventions to undergraduate students.

When asked about what excites Padron to join Student Academic Engagement and Success, she shared:

Higher education has always been a passion of mine, especially as a first-generation college student. I am honored to play a role in helping SMU students achieve their goals, both academically and personally. I’m excited to connect students with the great resources SMU offers to help them be successful during their time with us. SMU is a vibrant and diverse campus, and I look forward to joining you all on the Hilltop.

In her role, Padron will also serve as the primary supervisor of the Peer Academic Leader (PAL) program. PALs are a diverse group of undergraduate students to help students better understand the Common Curriculum, utilize academic resources, and navigate academic challenges.

PALs work directly with students in their Residential Commons, empowering them to take ownership of their collegiate careers through mentorship and educational programming.

Get to know the twelve Peer Academic Leaders serving for the 2023 – 2024 academic year. Their headshots, biographies, and assigned Residential Commons are on the Office of General Education’s website.

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.  

Office of General Education Student Academic Engagement & Success

Brittaney Wilson transitions to the Office of General Education full time

Effective April 17, Brittaney Wilson will transition to full-time at the Office of General Education as the inaugural General Education and Academic Appeals Coordinator.

Brittaney Wilson

Since October 2022, Brittaney has served in a joint Undergraduate Degree Counselor position between the Office of General Education and Meadows Student Academic Services. In this role, Brittaney provided:

  • academic advisement for declared majors,
  • aided in adopting the new Degree Planner tool in my.SMU, and
  • launched new student outreach related to general education to Meadows students.

In her new role as General Education and Academic Appeals Coordinator, she will:

  • support the Council on Academic Petitions (CAP),
  • aid in the development and compliance of Common Curriculum pre-approved programs and organizations,
  • Provide data analysis and marketing to encourage student progress through Common Curriculum requirements, and
  • to develop inter-office agreements and audits for the Office of General Education.

Wilson shared, “Though my time in Meadows Academic Services has been short, I have enjoyed supporting students and working with such a knowledgeable team. My new position offers the opportunity to provide support in a different way.  I look forward to increasing my knowledge of university processes, and continued growth on the Hilltop.”

The Office of General Education and the Meadows School of the Arts are grateful for the collaboration to successfully implement this shared Undergraduate Degree Counselor position pilot program. Due to increased demands on both offices, full-time staff was required. The Meadows Academic Services office will begin serving all Meadows graduate and performance degree students in addition to their long-standing service to the undergraduate population, which requires the addition of a full-time Meadows Degree Counselor.

Please join us in congratulating Brittaney Wilson (