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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 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.

Categories
Student Success & Retention

Internal applications for Director of Student Success and Retention sought

SMU Student Academic Engagement & Success (SAES) is excited to share an internal full-time staff position within Undergraduate Education & Academic Success (UEAS). The posting will be available later this week, February 19, via the Internal Applicant login in the SMU Staff Career Portal.

Please consider sharing this with your offices and posting it within your SMU professional networks.   

Director, Student Success and Retention: The Director leads the Office of Student Success and Retention (SSR). The primary role is supervising three full-time staff and providing day-to-day problem-solving for students trying to remain, depart, or return to SMU. Working closely with the Assistant Provost for Undergraduate Education and Academic Success and the SMU in Four initiative, the Director operationalizes processes to identify at-risk students, strategically outreaches to inspire engagement, coordinates interventions, tracks academic progress, and assesses our institutional strengths and weaknesses in these areas. Manage interventions as projects, repeating annually or each term, involving multiple offices. The Director chairs a university-wide retention and financial support committee to retrain undergraduate students. Serves as a critical partner to the Office of the Dean of Students. 

  • Deadline: 10 days following posting
  • Applicant Type: Internal Only; only current SMU employees may apply
  • Hiring point-of-contact: Dr. Dustin Grabsch (dgrabsch@smu.edu; 214-768-4887) 
Categories
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.

Categories
Student Academic Engagement & Success Student Success & Retention

Enhancing student success: A closer look at SMU’s retention alert system

Ensuring the academic success and well-being of undergraduate students is a priority for SMU, and the Office of Student Success and Retention is taking proactive steps to address potential challenges through its innovative Retention Alert system. Faculty, staff, parents, and families are encouraged to utilize this reporting tool to share information about students who may be considering leaving SMU.

What is a Retention Alert?

The Retention Alert system serves as a valuable tool to identify and support students who may be at risk. This reporting form allows faculty, staff, and concerned individuals to communicate their retention concerns about an SMU undergraduate student. By using this tool, reporting personnel can play a crucial role in initiating timely intervention to support students facing academic or personal challenges.

How does it work?

The process is simple and user-friendly. The Retention Alert reporting form prompts the individual reporting to identify the reason for the alert and provide some details to help the SSR team. This information is then utilized by the SSR team, who will make a deliberate effort to connect with the student. This goal is to offer academic personal support services that can contribute to the student’s overall success and retention here on the Hilltop.

Encouraging Collaboration:

One of the key strengths of the Retention Alert system is its emphasis on collaboration. Faculty, staff, and other stakeholders are encouraged to continue working closely with the identified students even after submitting the alert. This collaborative approach ensures a holistic support system for students, addressing both academic and personal challenges that may hinder their progress.

When in Doubt, Report:

If there’s uncertainty about whether a situation should be reported, individuals are encouraged to err on the side of caution and report their concerns to the Caring Community Connection (CCC) program or call 214-768-4564. This proactive approach ensures that no potential issues are overlooked and appropriate support can be provided.

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.

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
Student Success & Retention

Now accepting applications for Program Coordinator position in Student Success and Retention

SMU Student Academic Engagement & Success (SAES) is excited to share that the Office of Student Success and Retention is hiring a full-time Program Coordinator.

Please consider, share with your offices, and post within your professional networks.   

Program Coordinator, Student Success and Retention: The coordinator’s visible position provides support for SSR, customer service to a variety of constituents, & support for the implementation & ongoing usage of a campus-wide early alert system to help SMU meet retention & graduation goals. This position will coordinate efforts across areas involved in early alert identification & reports, & integrate the information into a single system in order to connect students to the appropriate campus resources. Campus-wide solutions that need integration/coordination include early & mid-term grade reports, mid-term student self-assessments, weekly reports from dropout detective, PeopleSoft Queries, surveys, & CCC reports of academic concerns. The position will also manage the paperwork and flow of information for students intending to transfer from SMU to another institution, track & summarize data in reports, & maintain website. Will compile and analyze data to assist in change recommendations

  • Deadline: November 22, 2023
  • Hiring point-of-contact: Dr. Dustin Grabsch (dgrabsch@smu.edu; 214-768-4887) 

Submit an application within the SMU Staff Career Portal.

A search committee comprised of SAES staff members will review applications, conduct virtual and in-person campus interviews, and make a recommendation for hire.  

Categories
Peer Academic Leaders Student Success & Retention

Ask a Mustang: A resource for new and current students

Ask a Mustang is a pop-up Q&A table hosted by the Office of Student Success and Retention, with volunteer support from staff and students. It’s located at popular student spots and serves as an informal platform for students to ask questions about all aspects of student life. Sessions are held at key points during the term, including the beginning of the semester, enrollment periods, and finals preparation.

Our first Ask a Mustang session this fall featured the SMU Peer Academic Leaders (PALs) and took place on September 5th and 6th in the morning hours at Fondren Library, near Starbucks. During this two-day event, we invited students to ask questions to SSR and the PALs, as well as share their SMU experiences.

We had a total of 44 student participants (6 first-year students, 10 sophomores, 8 juniors, 18 seniors, and 2 graduate students), many of whom shared insights on our question board: ‘What do you wish you knew before coming to SMU?’ and ‘What advice would you offer to new students?’ Here are some notes left by students:”

  • “Study hard! You are not alone, reach out if you need help!”
  • “Find out about SMU’s resources, they have everything!”
  • “Don’t miss classes. Prioritize mental health. Have a balance.”
  • A-LEC provides tutoring and (professor) office hours are helpful too!”
  • “Keep your priorities straight and focus on school and make good relationships with professors.”
  • “Don’t wait until the last minute to start studying.”

We’ll have our second Ask a Mustang session during the enrollment period and the final round during the preparation for finals. We look forward to seeing you there!

p.s. Lesson learned – sometimes giving someone something free is not as attractive as asking for help. We attracted 10X students with the question, “Would you be willing to help new students” vs. “Would you like a free cookie? ”

Categories
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 

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