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Academic Center for Excellence Academic Skill Development Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center Disability Accommodations & Success Strategies First-Generation Initiative Student Academic Engagement & Success Student Academic Success Programs

Assistive technology helps all students – part 1

We at Disability Accommodations and Success Strategies (DASS) see how invaluable assistive technology is in the life of a student with a disability, but we want to share how this tech can help anyone. In the first of a two-part post, we’ll look at the text-to-speech software Kurzweil, and browser extensions that make Canvas more user-friendly. 

Kurzweil reads electronic text aloud, and so students who are blind, have low vision, and many who are dyslexic rely heavily on it or similar apps. Students with ADHD, ESL students, students with a preference for auditory learning, and even those just struggling to focus find it easier to follow along as the text is read to them. Kurzweil is available for download to all SMU students through DASS, Academic Development of Student-Athletes (ADSA), and Fondren Library.

Academic counselors here at DASS and in Academic Skill Development (ASD), see students struggle to find posted assignments, rubrics, and important dates on Canvas. Two Chrome browser extensions available for download at the Chrome Web Store might help: Tasks for Canvas and Better Canvas.

Tasks for Canvas presents many ways to organize and bring important things front and center, including class announcements. It “gamifies” assignments with a progress wheel and helps the student break a task into smaller parts, then tracks their progress.

The second extension, Better Canvas, is more for cosmetic changes to the layout making it easier to see and get to the most important parts of each Canvas page. It is like Tasks but allows more creativity in its use of colors, dark/light modes, and themes.

Stay tuned for part two next week when we’ll consider mindfulness apps and AI!

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Student Academic Engagement & Success Student Success & Retention

Success starts here: Secure your coaching appointment!

What is Success Coaching?

Achieving success in college requires more than just good study habits. It involves the development and alignment of your academic, social, and emotional selves to become a well-rounded individual. That’s why SMU provides one-on-one success coaching for students. This free service supports students academically as well as personally. Our experienced SSR team works individually with students to identify their goals, understand any obstacles they may face, and help them achieve academic and personal growth for a more enriching college experience.

Academic Counseling vs. Success Coaching

How can I schedule a session?

Please follow the steps below to schedule an appointment with our Success Coach:

  1. Go to our scheduling page by clicking the link provided.
  2. Choose a convenient time slot that works best for you. You can either select a virtual or in-person meeting based on your preference.
  3. Fill out a brief form to provide some information about your objectives and needs. This will enable our Success Coach to personalize the session to your unique requirements.
  4. Once you have scheduled your appointment, you will receive an email confirmation with all the details about the meeting.

During your meeting with our Success Coach, you can expect a judgment-free environment, personalized guidance tailored to your goals and challenges, as well as actionable insights and strategies to overcome any obstacles you may be facing.

If you have additional questions or concerns, Contact the Office of Student Success and Retention by emailing ssr@smu.edu or calling 214-768-1231.

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Student Academic Engagement & Success

Verify or set up your email signature that complies with SMU Brand Standards

Here is your annual reminder to update your email signature according to the SMU Brand Center guidelines. Also, if you have new staff in your office, a resource to assist them in setting them up for the first time.

It’s quick, easy, and adds a professional touch to every email. Learn how to change your signature in Outlook on the web, desktop, and mobile apps.

If you need assistance, please contact your office’s SAES Marketing, Communication, and Digital Technology Committee representative.

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Student Academic Engagement & Success

Pass/fail declaration deadline moved to deadline to withdraw

New pass/fail declaration deadline for fall 2023 classes is Tuesday, November 21, 2023.

Student Academic Engagement and Success (SAES) is pleased to announce that the pass/fail declaration deadline, which has typically been aligned with the deadline to drop a course without academic record, has been moved later into the semester to align with the deadline to withdraw from classes and/or the University. As we move into future semesters, we plan on keeping the pass/fail declaration deadline in the later part of the semester. By changing this policy, we hope to provide students with academic continuity alternatives other than simply withdrawing from a course.

The decision to change the date was made after careful examination of student behavior, discussions with faculty, benchmarking of our peer and aspirant schools, and observing the impact of changes to the academic calendar during previous semesters.  The recommendation to change the date was discussed by the faculty and student steering committees associated with SMU in Four, the University Registrar, school records offices, and was formally approved by Academic Policies Committee of Faculty Senate and the Educational Policies Committee.

In light of this new deadline, we ask that faculty whose students wish to switch to a pass/fail grading option, as long as it is before the deadline, give serious consideration to these requests. Completing a course via pass/fail enables students to earn elective credit, helps them stay on track toward a timely graduation, and for some, retain their full-time student status.

For students, we ask that you keep the following criteria in mind when looking to change a class to the pass/fail grading format. You may take one course per term on a pass/fail basis with a maximum total of 12 hours of pass/fail credit counting toward a degree. Your intention to take a course pass/fail must be indicated no later than the published deadline on the academic calendar by completing the Undergraduate Pass/Fail Option Declaration Form available in your school’s Records Office. After the declaration of intent, you may not change back to a letter grade.

We always encourage students to consult their advisers before utilizing the pass/fail option for any course. Not all courses can be taken pass/fail such as courses needed to meet major/minor requirements or those used to meet Common Curriculum requirements. Additionally, SMU schools may have different pass/fail policies for major and minor courses, and an academic advisor will help students navigate these exceptions.  We have created an expanded FAQ on the Registrar’s website to answer as many questions as possible to inform your decision.

Thank you for supporting this academic calendar change. As always, we look to support our students as holistically as possible as they work towards their degrees and believe that this change will make an impactful difference for many of our students and their ability to stay on track to an on-time graduation.

FAQs about pass/fail grading will be posted to SMU’s Office of the Registrar website soon.

With questions or concerns about the new pass/fail declaration deadline, please contact: academicsuccess@smu.edu.

Categories
Office of General Education Student Academic Engagement & Success

SAES shows up to support Engage Dallas’ #1Day4Dallas Residential Commons Fall Day of Service event

On Saturday, October 21st, Engage Dallas hosted its third annual #1Day4Dallas event. Student Academic Engagement and Success members showed up to serve with students over the weekend.

The Residential Commons fall service day, known as #1Day4Dallas, serves as an annual tradition where every Residential Commons participates in service around their community-identified need on the same day. This annual event is a student-led initiative supported by the Engage Dallas Student Directors and SMU Service House (SMUSH) liaisons.

Preliminary numbers revealed 151 volunteers attended, including 25 student leaders from Engage Dallas and SMUSH, who helped facilitate the service opportunities. Volunteers were sent to one of 13 service sites with West and South Dallas community partners. Sites included:

  • Greenspace
  • Our Saviour Community Garden
  • Sunny South Community Garden
  • Brother Bill’s Helping Hand
  • Genesis Women’s Shelter
  • Austin Street Center
  • The Bridge
  • Jubilee Park
  • Dallas Furniture Bank
  • After8toEducate
  • Voice of Hope
  • Empowering the Masses
  • Legacy Cares

Why is SAES all in with Engage Dallas? Engage Dallas is the most accessible co-curricular way for Common Curriculum students to receive their Community Engagement (CE) and/or Civics and Individual Ethics (CIE) Proficiency and Experience required for graduation. Students can learn more and get started with the service by following the instructions on the Engage Dallas website.

Special thanks to the University Advising Center (Vivian Fowler, Michelle Gaunt, Jacob Trevino), Student Academic Success Programs (Gracy Herrera, Makenzie Moriarty), and the Office of General Education (Dustin Grabsch) for joining in this annual service offering.

Engage Dallas is a partnership between Residence Life & Student Housing, the Office of General Education, the Office of Social Change & Intercultural Engagement, the Office of Engaged Learning, and the Hegi Family Career Development Center.

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Student Academic Engagement & Success

SMU360 training videos now available

The Office of Information Technology recently hosted two separate online trainings for SMU360, led by a representative from CampusGroups, the vendor for SMU360. Recordings for both trainings are now available on the SMU360 Resource webpage, smu.edu/smue360resources. Please share this webpage with your student organization leaders so they know the resources available to help manage their group page.

Below are topics that were covered during each session.

Student Leaders

  • Basic User Navigation
  • Group Page and Feed
  • Communicating with Members
  • Event Management
  • Building Surveys and Forms
  • Mobile App
  • Gamification (Badges and Points, CCT)

Staff and Student Org Advisors

  • Home Page Overview
  • Group Pages & Feed
  • Communicating with Members
  • Event Management (RSVP, reviewing, approving, assessment, and reporting events)
  • Attendance Check-In
  • Mobile App
Categories
Student Academic Engagement & Success

SAES unit web pages brand migration and media library reorganization completed; deleting old websites week of September 11

In partnership with the Office of Information Technology, Student Academic Engagement and Success (SAES) began migrating unit websites to the new SMU-banded web pages in May and completed migration on September 1.

As part of the brand migration, the SAES Marketing, Communication, and Digital Technology committee worked with unit webmasters to assist with a site content refresh (e.g., text, pictures, layouts). The committee recommended reorganizing navigation and pages based on Google Analytics data of high-traffic pages. As part of the process, broken links, spelling, SEO optimization, SMU web governance, and site navigation were addressed. Finally, professional headshots and employee biographies were also added.

Additionally, SAES Marketing, Communication, and Digital Technology committee announced the reorganization of the Media Library. The media library contains pictures, files, and other digital assets linked to our web pages.

Due to the migration and restructuring of pages, the Media Library was updated into a structure similar to the page organization (e.g., academic support, academic enrichment, and initiatives).

Webmasters should notice folder organization changes and our removal of files that are no longer linked to any front-end pages. This eliminates constituents from finding outdated files by accident in SMU searches. Plus, file names may have been changed to improve accessibility and navigation.

The final step of our process will be to finalize redirects, verify brand standards across SEAS pages, and delete the old web pages the week of September 11. If units require content from their old sites, they are advised to make appropriate arrangements to export and/or archive.

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Student Academic Engagement & Success

SAES website brand migration update and media library cleanup begins this week

In June, we shared Student Academic Engagement and Success (SAES) began migrating unit websites to the new SMU-banded web pages.

The remaining migration schedule is below and will commence on or around the dates listed below:

  • August 11:
    • Office of Undergraduate National Fellowships
    • University Honors Program
    • Scholars’ Den
  • September 1:
    • President’s Scholars
    • Rotunda Scholars
    • Mustang Scholars
    • Hilltop Scholars

We expect the migration to be complete around September 15. If you discover broken links or issues, please direct them to academicsuccess@smu.edu to be routed appropriately.

Beginning the week of August 7, SAES will clean and reorganize our SAES Sitecore Media Library. The media library contains pictures, files, and other digital assets linked to our web pages.

Due to the migration and restructuring of pages, the Media Library will be updated into a structure similar to the page organization (e.g., academic support, academic enrichment, and initiatives).

Webmasters may notice folder organization changes and removing files that are no longer linked to any front-end pages following the migration. This will eliminate constituents from finding outdated files by accident in SMU searches. Plus, file names may be changed to improve accessibility and navigation.

The next communication on the webpage migration will be once all SAES units have been completed.

Categories
Office of General Education Student Academic Engagement & Success Student Academic Success Programs Student Success & Retention University Advising Center

Committee on Academic Petitions launched a new webpage and appeal submission form

Effective June 1, the Committee on Academic Petitions (CAP) launched a new webpage and an appeal submission form for undergraduate students.  

Students must submit their appeal using the electronic form and include all supporting documentation. They will instantly receive notification that their appeal has been received. Additionally, students will receive notification from the system as the appeal is reviewed and considered.   

All offices should inform students to submit their appeals via the official appeal submission form. Email submissions will no longer be considered, and students will be redirected to www.smu.edu/cap to submit their CAP appeals. 

The Committee on Academic Petitions is a committee with membership appointed by the Provost. It is charged with considering and deciding student academic petitions, as set out in the SMU Statement of Process for Undergraduate Student Academic Petitions.  

Academic Petitions are requests by a student for an exception to an academic policy. Academic policy includes any policy, rule, or regulation that applies to academic matters at SMU. 

Have questions about the CAP appeal process? Visit www.smu.edu/cap for more information or email your questions to cap@mail.smu.edu 

Categories
Student Academic Engagement & Success

New SAES staff resources available

Student Academic Engagement and Success (SAES) has released new marketing and communication resources for staff.

These new resources and others are now available on the SAES Staff Resources webpage. Questions, feedback, and recommendations related to these new resources can be directed to Beryl Hellinghausen.