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

Success Fest data points to higher usage of Degree Planner

SMU’s first-ever Success Fest wrapped up on February 28th, 2024. The Peer Academic Leaders (PALs), under the direction of The Office of General Education, and the University Advising Center (UAC) began promotional efforts for Success Fest in early February by:

  • Hosting Degree Planner workshops
  • Working with the Registrar’s Office to write and post To-Do Tasks to undergraduate students’ my.SMU accounts
  • Sending marketing emails to all undergraduate students

These efforts resulted in:

  • 40 total attendees at all Degree Planner workshops in February
  • 63 total attendees at Success Fest
  • 65 total scheduled 1-1 meetings with PALs
  • 1,506 students utilizing Degree Planner between February 15th and March 1st
  • 1,938 students utilizing Degree Planner between February 1st and March 1st

Success Fest will be a semesterly offering, aligning with the Degree Planner deadlines of March 1st and October 1st. These deadlines will be added to SMU’s Academic Calendar to help promote continued use of Degree Planner.

Overall, the PALs and UAC are excited with the Spring 2024 results and look forward to planning Success Fest for Fall 2024.

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

Degree Planner 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 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.

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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

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

As the Peer Academic Leaders (PALs) wrap up their September programming, the Office of General Education wants to recognize their September PAL of the month, Hannah Ashby.

Hannah is currently a Junior at SMU who is working towards a degree in Psychology. Since her first day of training, Hannah has impressed us with her work ethic and creativity.

When Hannah is not planning or facilitating her own programs, she can be found at her fellow PALs’ events, cheering them on. Hannah has quickly developed into a leader during her time as a PAL, and she continuously leads by example.

The Office of General Education is proud of Hannah’s hard work, and we look forward to seeing her continued efforts to inspire her fellow Mustangs.

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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