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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. 

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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

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Office of General Education Student Academic Engagement & Success Student Academic Success Programs Student Success & Retention

Summer Forge has successfully wrapped up its inaugural year

The Summer Forge, an academic support program at SMU, has successfully wrapped up the inaugural year. Summer Forge provided the initial cohort of 20 undergraduate students with financial, academic, and social support to accelerate their path to on-time graduation.   

Students who participated in Summer Forge could select courses during May Term, Summer Term, or August Term, in addition to SMUinTaos that fulfilled a major or Common Curriculum requirement. The initial cohort for Summer Forge attempted over 80 credit hours during the summer terms, with 96% of the attempted coursework completed.  

Summer Forge participants were offered tailored campus resource referrals and coached on strategies to support a successful academic summer term. 83% of the Summer Forge students report using the tutoring services provided in the ALEC, and 17% report receiving support from the Writing Center. 

Here is what some of the students had to say about their time in Summer Forge: 

Summer Forge exceeded my expectations with the ability to aid in summer tuition and provide opportunities to students who are struggling or need a little help. I would highly recommend the program in order to catch up on classes and graduate with your class on time.”-Katie P.  

 

“It allows the opportunity to raise your GPA without worrying about any finances in the process, as that can be stressful to worry about in itself.” -Morgan L.  

 

“Summer Forge was a great opportunity for me to take Summer courses and advance my studies. The program is helping me graduate on time and make up time lost.”-Sloan H.  

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.  

For more information visit www.smu.edu/summerforge 

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Office of General Education Student Academic Engagement & Success Student Academic Success Programs Student Success & Retention

Summer Forge program launched with a full, 20-student cohort

This summer, SMU launched a new academic support program called Summer Forge. 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. The initial cohort for Summer Forge includes 20 students attempting over 80 credit hours during the summer terms. The average participant takes 6 hours that fulfill either major or Common Curriculum requirements. 

Animating the university’s commitment to improving retention and graduation rates, 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. Ivy Phillips, a 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. 

Throughout the summer, Summer Forge participants are offered tailored campus resource referrals and coached on strategies to support a successful academic summer term. Becca Umobong and Sarah Cartwright, members of the Student Academic Success Programs team, are available to provide academic counseling and support. Lydia Allen in the Writing Center is also available to assist students with writing, and A-LEC has tutoring services across course content areas. 

Please get in touch with Brittaney Wilson, General Education and Academic Appeals Coordinator, with any questions about the program. 

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Student Academic Engagement & Success

HighPoint Degree Planner Undergraduate Survey

By Silvia Vazquez

HighPoint Degree Planner was rolled out earlier this semester as a tool for SMU undergraduates to plan their track toward graduation. To collect feedback on this new software, students are being asked to complete a short survey. The survey will provide valuable insight into students’ perspectives on HighPoint Degree Planner, including the platform’s ease of use, helpful features, and areas for improvement.

The survey is open from Monday, April 10th, to Tuesday, April 25th. Students who respond will be entered into a raffle to win one of ten gift cards.

Faculty and staff are encouraged to share the survey link below with their undergraduate student groups.

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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.  

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SMU in Four

Mid-Term Progress Reports (MPRs) completed at an all-time high this semester

As part of SMU in Four, undergraduate faculty are asked to complete early and midterm progress reports each semester. During the fall semester, requests for reports from faculty occur during September
and October, and for the spring semester in February and March.

Faculty members report on any deficient grades by students and may indicate if students are failing due to attendance or assignments.

This semester we had a record-setting 80.3% of faculty report mid-term grades, with over 90% of Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences and Lyle School of Engineering faculty making submissions.

Submitting MPRs is a crucial step in the SMU in Four initiative, as it allows records offices, advisors, and academic support staff to identify and support students who may need additional help in certain academic areas.

Staff will now reach out to students with two or more reported deficiencies and invite them to discuss academic support options, such as peer tutoring and meeting with their professors, that can help boost their academic performance.

Thank you to all the undergraduate-serving schools and colleges for coming together in this effort and to the faculty who submitted MPRs.

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

SMU in Four announces final Degree Planner raffle winners

Let’s give a big round of applause to all 758 students who completed Degree Planner before the final raffle deadline! 

For your Degree Planner to be considered complete:  

 Fifty winners were randomly selected to receive prizes courtesy of SMU in Four: 

Amazon Gift Card 

($25 value) 

Target Gift Card 

($25 value) 

Starbucks Gift Card 

($25 value) 

Visa Gift Card 

($25 value) 

SMU Flex Dollars  

($25 value)    

SMU Swag Bag 

($50 value) 

 Skyler H.  Michael G.  Breanna S.  Aaliyah A.  Grace B.  Steven B. 
Sarah B.  Spencer B.   Maya C.  Ria D.  Humberto O.  Daniele D. 
Mirana E.  Sofia G.  Jack G.   Arin J.  Eden C.  Annabelle L. 
Jack L.  Karen L.  Anna M.   Mason M.   Lily L.  Lucy M.  
Regina N.   Abby R.  Riley T.   Carina K.  Ava S.   
Alexander B.  Katie F.  Emma G.  Gracie H.   Tulsi L.   
Karis P.  Megan R.  De’Anna W.  Jaena Z.     
Oscar C.  Braden C.  Ella D.  Savannah H.     
Alexa L.  Matthew M.  Lily S.  Jess S.     
Natalya T.  Owen T.  Sydney B.  Remonda H.     

 Winners can come and pick up their prizes from the Office of General Education, Laura Lee Blanton Suite 100, from Monday, March 20th– Monday, March 27th.   

All Common Curriculum (CC) undergraduate students must complete Degree Planner by March 20.   

Visit smu.edu/degreeplanner for help getting started.