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Student Success & Retention

Lisa Miller named new director of the Office of Student Success and Retention

Lisa Miller is already known on the Hilltop, currently serving as assistant director and degree counselor in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences Academic Services since 2011. She will begin as Director of the Office of Student Success and Retention effective May 22. Lisa Miller has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in history from the University of Texas at San Antonio. Before her time at SMU, Lisa worked professionally in operations at the New York University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and in academic services at the University of Central Florida and the University of Texas at San Antonio. 

As Director of the Office of Student Success and Retention, Lisa will: 

  • Supervise three full-time staff and provide day-to-day problem-solving for students trying to remain, depart, or return to SMU.  
  • Operationalize processes to identify at-risk students, strategically outreach to inspire engagement, coordinate interventions, track academic progress, and assess our institutional strengths and weaknesses in these areas.  
  • Chair a university-wide retention and financial support committee to retrain undergraduate students.  
  • Serve as a critical partner to the Office of the Dean of Students via the Caring Community Connections CARE Team. 
  • Analyze and present data obtained from exit and leave of absence surveys with various campus offices.  

When asked what she is most excited about, Lisa shared, “Excited to join Student Success and Retention! I believe communication is the key to understanding and learning what students, staff and faculty can use to help all achieve their goals. Keeping the lines of communication open, identifying and understanding others opinions, and working closely with different offices on behalf of students creates successful graduates and contributing members of society. SMU is one of those special places where this philosophy really works–everyone is committed to our students to obtain their very best outcomes possible.”  

When not at work, Lisa enjoys traveling, going to Broadway shows, listening to music from the ’70s, and watching Marvel superheroes. 

Please join us in congratulating Lisa Miller (lamiller@smu.edu) on her new adventure on the Hilltop! 

Categories
Student Academic Engagement & Success

The Office of Engaged Learning Welcomes New Staff

The Office of Engaged Learning is excited to welcome two new staff members to the team, Alisha Bailey and Olivia Prioleau.

Headshot of Alisha Bailey

Alisha serves as Assistant Director for Pathways to Business and Industry Program. Before transitioning to OEL, she served as Program Manager in SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering, where she led the engineering outreach camps for K-16. Alisha received her Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Spelman College and her Master of Science in Environmental Sciences from Alabama A&M University. Prior to obtaining her master’s degree, Alisha worked as a sixth and seventh grade mathematics teacher in Houston, TX, before transitioning back into the science field. Through her master’s program, her knowledge and focuses were fisheries, aquaponics, and water management research and by studying abroad in Nanjing, China, she broadened her skills in GIS. Alisha worked for the government in the environmental health field as an Environmental Compliance Specialist for several years in Atlanta, GA. Outside of work, Alisha is continuously dedicated to service by volunteering at Ronald McDonald House Dallas, as an advisory board member with Women Leading Technology, serves on the Board of Directors for The GEMS Camp, a proud alumna of Leadership ISD Dallas County Civic Voices Fellowship, and a member of Junior League of Dallas.

Headshot of Olivia Prioleau

Olivia Prioleau serves as the new Project Specialist, coordinating the Big iDeas and Mustang Mentors program. As a Charleston, South Carolina native, Olivia received her B.A. in Journalism and Communications from the University of South Carolina and will be graduating with her M.Ed. in Higher Educational Leadership from Texas Christian University in May of 2024. During her two years at TCU, Olivia served first-year leadership programs, student organizations, and large-scale programs in her role as the Graduate Assistant in the Student Activities Office. She is excited for her new journey at SMU and to serve more students on the Hilltop.

Please join us in welcoming Alisha and Olivia!

Categories
Student Success & Retention

Student Success and Retention welcomes new team members

The Office of Student Success and Retention is excited to welcome two new team members beginning Tuesday, January 2, 2024. Justin “Jay” Guillory will serve as our new Success Coach. In his role, Jay will:

  • Provide academic counseling and problem-solving for students.
  • Reaching out to students reported via Retention Alerts, Advising Notes, and another early-alert mechanism.
  • Lead and facilitate the Summer Forge program, an academic credit recovery program.
  • Support and advise students who are at risk or recently lost merit-based student financial aid.

Saahil Mathews will also join the team as our new Program Coordinator. In his role, Saahil will:

  • Manage and respond to inquiries and questions from email, phone, drop-in, and other referrals to the office.
  • Process leave requests (formal exits and leave of absence) to the office.
  • Coordinate timed outreach campaigns such as early and mid-term progress reports and not-enrolled student follow-up.
  • Develop and maintain internal and external internal communications with students and constituents.

Read more about Jay and Saahil on our Meet the Team page.

Student Success and Retention will say farewell to Ivy Phillips, our Success Counselor, as she transitions to a new role in the Lyle School of Engineering on January 15, 2024. Join us for a farewell reception on Friday, January 12, from 3:30 – 5:00 pm in Blanton 108.

Categories
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!

Categories
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
Honors and Scholars Mustang Scholars President’s Scholars Student Academic Engagement & Success

Maria Izaguirre, Program Specialist for Scholars Programs

Maria Izaguirre joined the Honors and Scholars team as the Program Specialist for Scholars Programs on October 13th.

As a Program Specialist, Maria will be supporting the President’s Scholars Program and the Mustang Scholars Program.

Maria Izaguirre, a Dallas Native, earned bachelor’s degrees in Human Rights, Psychology, and Sociology from SMU. Before joining the team as a Program Specialist for Scholars Programs, Maria was the Postbaccalaureate Fellow for the SMU Human Rights Program. Maria is currently a candidate for a Master of Science in Counseling at SMU.

When not working or studying, Maria enjoys taking long walks at White Rock Lake with her dogs, spending time with her cat, attending concerts, and trying new coffee shops.

Categories
Academic Devleopment of Student-Athletes (ADSA) Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center Disability Accommodations & Success Strategies Office of General Education Student Academic Engagement & Success Student Success & Retention University Testing Center

University Testing Center welcomes Amie DeRegge as Testing Coordinator

As the University Testing Center (UTC) launches its second year of operation this fall, we are excited to welcome Amie DeRegge as our new Testing Coordinator!

Amie brings over 20 years of experience in student academic records management, having served as a Texas charter high school registrar.  Her passion for serving students and her strengths in data management, multi-tasking, and customer service make her a tremendous addition to the UTC team.

“I’m so happy to work in the University Testing Center.  I love the culture and spirit of SMU and look forward to helping our students reach their academic goals for success in life,” Amie said.

Amie’s arrival at the UTC coincides with more new changes coming to the UTC this fall.  In addition to providing testing services to students receiving accommodations from DASS (Disability Accommodations & Success Strategies), the center will expand testing services to student-athletes during their sport’s competition season.  A migration to test scheduling software in the new UTC Portal will provide additional academic testing and credit-by-exam services to SMU students and the local community.

“It’s an exciting time to be at the UTC and be a part of its growth,” Amie said.  “It provides yet another opportunity to become immersed in the life of SMU.”

Amie enjoys spending time outdoors in her spare time, vacationing with family on the beach, being “Minyama” to her grandkids, and having fun with her pets Sparky and Doc.  She and her husband, Andrew, are proud Mustang parents to their daughter, Molly, an incoming freshman and member of SMU Cheer.

The UTC is certified by the National College Testing Association (NCTA) and adheres to professional standards ensuring exam integrity and accessibility for both examiners and examinees.

 

 

Categories
Academic Devleopment of Student-Athletes (ADSA) Student Academic Engagement & Success

ADSA welcomes two new literacy specialists

The Academic Development of Student-Athletes (ADSA) is happy to add two new Learning Specialists to their academic support team! Welcome Julie Rinker and Kelly Franklin! 

Julie Rinker (Literacy Specialist) 

Julie is back on the Hilltop after she graduated from SMU with her Master’s in Education in 2018. She brings with her an extensive background in providing structured literacy interventions for students with dyslexia and infuses motivation along with mechanics for reading. She previously worked as a K-12 public school educator and enjoyed sharing her passion with others by helping certify other dyslexia practitioners. She is a human rights educator and enjoys inserting these topics into her lessons to create thought-provoking conversations among her students. 

Kelly Franklin (Literacy Specialist) 

Say hello to Kelly Franklin, our newest Literacy Specialist! She comes to the Hilltop from her previous role as an adjunct English instructor at TCU and other institutions. She is currently pursuing her Doctoral degree in English Rhetoric and Composition at TCU and brings over 20 years of teaching experience at the K-12 and university levels. Her work with underrepresented and marginalized communities remains a  through-line in her career and the ADSA welcomes her expertise to their intervention program! 

Our Intervention program is now fully staffed with the addition of Julie and Kelly, and the ADSA staff is ready to provide academic support to our 500 student-athletes for the upcoming academic year! 

Welcome to the Hilltop, Julie & Kelly! 

 

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! 

Categories
Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center First-Generation Initiative Student Academic Success Programs

Student Academic Success Programs adds additional staff

SASP is fully staffed to kick of the fall, 2023 semester!

Please join us in welcoming Gracy Herrera as the new academic probation counselor. Gracy will counsel all pre-major students on academic probation. Gracy is an education advocate with over 14 years’ experience developing academic courses of action for students of varying social backgrounds, scholastic levels, and special needs. Gracy has most recently focused on advancing the skills of student-athletes in Dubai. Gracy will start next Monday, August 7.

We are also excited to welcome Makenzie Moriarty as the new academic counselor. Makenzie will counsel declared majors on academic probation, university probation, Prelude students, and the general undergraduate population. Makenzie comes to SMU from the University of South Carolina where she was a GA in the Student Success Center working to empower peer leaders and counsel students who were working to transfer to USC.  Makenzie will start next Monday, August 7.

Varun Singh is our new Graduate Assistant for the First-Generation Initiative.  Varun will work closely with Chris Meyers to support our first-gen students and implement our signature events. Varun is pursuing a MS in Business Analytics in the Cox School of Business. Varun has worked as a head organizer for a film festival, managed various projects, and has spent the last six years starting and managing his own real estate and construction firm. Varun will start next Wednesday, August 9.

We’d also like to thank our colleagues who assisted in the search process for all our positions this spring and summer – your collaborations are so appreciated.