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Office of General Education SMU in Four Student Academic Engagement & Success Student Academic Success Programs Student Success & Retention

Summer Forge returns for Summer 2024 with a 29-student cohort 

Following the successful completion of the inaugural Summer 2023 cohort, Summer Forge is back with a cohort of 29 students. Summer Forge provides invited undergraduate students with financial, academic, and social support to accelerate their path to on-time graduation.    

Invited students receive up to 8 paid semester credit hours over May, Summer, and/or August terms. To make the program more accessible, housing costs were included for non-local students. The Summer 2024 cohort consists of 29 students attempting over 167 credit hours during the summer terms. The average participant takes 6 hours to fulfill major, minor, or Common Curriculum requirements.  

Summer Forge is a collaboration between the Office of Student Success and Retention, SMU in Four, Office of Financial Aid, and Student Academic Success Programs. It reflects the university’s commitment to improving retention and graduation rates. Program Co-Directors Brittaney Wilson, General Education and Academic Appeals Coordinator, and Jay Guillory, Success Counselor in the Office of Student Success and Retention, initially identified the students based on various criteria, in addition to their commitment to complete classes in the Fall 2024 semester at SMU. They would like to thank the many advisors who recommended students and assisted with student outreach for their support.   

To kick off a successful Summer Term, Becca Umobong and Chris Meyers from Academic Skill Development led a Learning Strategies Workshop focused on: Time Management Resources and Improving Academic Success. In addition to the workshop, all students have individual academic counseling sessions. Students are also encouraged to visit the A-LEC for tutoring services across course content areas.  

Please contact Brittaney Wilson or Jay Guillory with any questions about the program.  

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SMU in Four

Call for applications: Provost Faculty Fellow for Undergraduate Academic Success

The Office of Faculty Success within the Office of the Provost announced a call for applications for a new Provost Faculty Fellow to join the current cohort. The open position will focus on the following priority area:

Undergraduate Academic Success Fellow. As we move into Year 4 of the Quality Enhancement Plan (SMU-in-Four), we will begin to implement several recommended solutions from the Early Alert and Advising Pillars. The Provost Faculty Fellow in this role will assist in conversations with academic departments about the best way to implement 2 of these recommendations: 1) building an academic alert system using information in Canvas; and 2) implementing professional advising across the five undergraduate schools. During the fall term, the Fellow will be part of a small group who will meet with each academic department to gather critical feedback. In the spring, the Fellow will support this group in development the plan to implement recommended changes. Prior experience as a faculty advisor or as a director of undergraduate studies would be advantageous in this role, but not a necessary criteria. Previous applicants are encouraged to re-apply.

All full-time faculty members can apply—with priority for either instructional (professional/teaching track) faculty or tenured faculty who have interest and/or experience in the area above. The priority deadline for consideration is Friday, May 17th. A full application should include both a CV and a cover letter that describes your interest a) in the priority area and b) in the professional development opportunities associated with the Fellow role. Applications and questions can be sent to facultysuccess@smu.edu.

For a complete description of the role of Provost Faculty Fellow, please see AY24-25 Provost Faculty Fellow Call for Applicants.

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SMU in Four

Undergraduate student focus groups on early alert tools occuring this week

SMU in Four Early Alert Pillar is facilitating three focus groups this week to discuss student experiences related to early alert tools.

Students will be asked to share their experiences related to Early Progress Reports, Midterm Progress Reports, and the Mid-Semester Check-in survey, to name a few. All undergraduate students are invited to participate.

Please help us recruit students to participate by forwarding to interested students. Lunch is provided for in-person attendees, but online participants are possible

Questions about the focus groups can be directed to the SMU in Four email at smuinfour@smu.edu.

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Academic Center for Excellence Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center First-Generation Initiative Honors and Scholars Office of General Education Offices & Programs Rotunda Scholars SMU in Four Student Academic Engagement & Success Student Academic Success Programs Student Success & Retention

Student Senate Awards First-Generation Scholarship

The First-Generation Initiative is excited to announce that on March 26th, Student Senate passed legislation, which appropriates $50,000 per year exclusively to Pell Grant, first-generation students. This first-gen scholarship will begin in Fall 2024 and last for the next nine years (Spring 2033).

A huge thanks to all of Student Senate for the unanimous vote, but a special thanks to: Alex Alarcón, Clayton Meyer, Michael Castle, and Wyatt Harms! We also want to thank the First-Generation Initiative’s former graduate/student assistants, Briana Morales and Guadalupe Roman, for their determination in continuing to push for more first-gen support.

 

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Office of General Education SMU in Four Student Academic Engagement & Success

Degree Planner updated to plan co-curricular options

The Office of General Education partnered with the Office of Information Technology and the Registrar’s Office to permit undergraduate student’s the ability to plan co-curricular obtainment of Common Curriculum (CC) Proficiencies and Experience in Degree Planner. 

The purpose of this change is to simplify and ultimately make planning easier for our students.  With the Degree Planner update, students can select an SMU course, a preapproved activity, or inform us of their desire to petition an individual activity to fulfill a Proficiency or Experience 

Watch this new video on how to plan a pre-approved or individual activity in Degree Planner:  

The following pre-approved clubs and organizations fulfill CC graduation requirements, also known as Proficiencies & Experiences (PREX), and have already been added as options in Degree Planner: 

Activity Name  CC Requirement 
Alternative Breaks  Community Engagement 
Engage Dallas  Community Engagement, Civics and Individual Ethics 
Vice President for Student Affairs Advisory Board  Civics and Individual Ethics 
Mustang PEP Talks  Civics and Individual Ethics, Oral Communication 
Peer Academic Leaders (PAL)  Community Engagement, Oral Communication 
Student Wellness Program  Community Engagement 
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)  Community Engagement 
Board Fellows Program  Community Engagement 
Spiritual Life Mentors  Community Engagement 
SMU Abroad Programs  Global Perspectives 

 

Search for these pre-approved activities under the PREX course attribute in Degree Planner. 

Following the Council on General Education‘s approval, look for more pre-approved clubs and organizations that will be added to Degree Planner. Updates can also be found on each Proficiency &  Experience webpage.  

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SMU in Four

Advising and records responsbility survey distributed by the SMU in Four Advising Pillar

The SMU in Four Advising Pillar released a second survey on March 18, the Advisor and Records Responsibility Survey, to the advising community.

The Advisor and Records Responsibility Survey aims to assess the perceived importance and performance ability of various responsibilities within academic advising and records management. Participants are asked to rate their role’s importance and their ability to perform tasks such as advising on course selection, helping students develop academic plans, reviewing transcripts, referring students to resources, and maintaining accurate records.

The survey was sent to a roster of major, minor, and faculty advisors and school records office personnel. If you are on the intended survey invitation list, please respond via the personalized link sent to your email before April 1. 

The survey also gathers feedback on the utilization and effectiveness of advising tools. It suggests improvements for student advising, such as requiring advisor approval for student schedules and standardizing advising loads.

This survey helps identify areas for improvement and inform decision-making regarding advising at SMU. If you have questions about the survey, please contact Josh Beaty, who chairs the SMU in Four Advising Pillar.

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Student Academic Engagement & Success Student Success & Retention

Introducing SMU Dining flex cards to support student success

Exciting news, faculty and staff! The Office of Student Success and Retention is thrilled to announce the introduction of SMU Dining flex cards, designed to enhance your engagement with students beyond the traditional classroom or office setting.

This initiative offers a fantastic opportunity for you to connect with students in a relaxed environment, foster meaningful relationships, and demonstrate your support, particularly for those who may need additional encouragement to stay on track or at SMU.

To get your hands on a flex card:

  1. Reach out to the Office of Student Success and Retention at ssr@smu.edu or 214-768-6824 to reserve your card.
  2. Pick up your card from the SSR office in Perkins Administrative Building, Suite 301 between 8:30 – 5 PM Monday – Friday.
  3. Treat yourself and your student to coffee, tea, lunch, or a snack at any SMU Dining location.
  4. Return the card along with your receipt within 24 hours of checkout to the SSR office.

Don’t miss this chance to make a difference! For any inquiries, please don’t hesitate to contact the Office of Student Success and Retention at ssr@smu.edu. Thank you for your commitment to supporting our students and helping them succeed.

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SMU in Four

SMU in Four Year-two report available

The SMU in Four team releases the year-two progress report on SMU’s Quality Enhancement Plan.

Updates are provided on early-alert mechanisms, undergraduate academic advising, technology enhancements, and gateway & introductory courses. Plus, student retention, graduation rates, and goals for year three of the five-year initiative are shared.

Download a copy of the SMU in Four Year 2 Progress Report.

In October, a copy of the year-two progress presentation was shared with the SMU community and is also available online. Questions regarding the report or presentation may be directed to smuinfour@smu.edu.

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SMU in Four Student Academic Engagement & Success

Advising @ SMU infographic now available

SMU in Four has released a new Advising @ SMU infographic designed to make student and advisor expectations transparent throughout their academic journey, from orientation to graduation.

In addition to clarifying the advising process and timeline, the infographic will help first-year admit undergraduate students understand the benefits of regularly meeting with their academic advisors.

Midsize posters will be distributed to advisors to place in their offices, and larger prints will hang in other campus offices and common spaces. To request copies of the flyers and posters, please email Dallas Forbes at dforbes@smu.edu.

The infographic will also be socialized at SMU’s inaugural Success Fest, planned for Thursday, February 28th. This event will promote the completion of Degree Planner by the March 1st deadline – with food, swag, and a gift card giveaway to students who show that they’ve completed a degree plan. More information on Success Fest is to come… but, for now, save the date.

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SMU in Four

SMU in Four presented year-two progress and goals for year three

On Thursday, October 12, the SMU in Four team presented their second annual presentation to discuss and showcase SMU’s progress toward completing our Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP). A total of 141 members of the campus community were in attendance.

This five-year QEP, a key component of SMU’s SACSCOC accreditation process, is constructed to undergird SMU’s goals to increase first-year retention and four- and six-year graduation rates for our undergraduate students.

Sheri Kunovich, Associate Provost for Student Academic Engagement and Success; Paige Ware, Associate Provost for Faculty Success; Dustin Grabsch, Assistant Provost for Undergraduate Education and Academic Success; Curt Herridge, Associate Chief Information Officer in the Office of Information Technology (OIT); Molly Ellis, Director of Strategic Initiatives in the Office of Faculty Success; and Josh Beatty, Associate Director for the University Advising Center each spoke about the SMU in Four initiatives currently underway, shared data analyses and reflections on this year’s activities, and previewed plans for next year’s initiatives.

The written SMU in Four Year-Two Progress Report will be made available later this fall, but in the interim, click here for a copy of this week’s presentation.

What can you do to support student success and retention on campus? We invite faculty and staff to support this work by submitting progress reports, Advising Notes, and Retention Alerts.

Learn more about these efforts on the Office of Student Success and Retention website.