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Office of General Education Peer Academic Leaders Student Academic Engagement & Success

Peer Academic Leaders wrap up their first year of General Education programming

This year, the Office of General Education relaunched the Peer Academic Leaders (PALs) program during the 2024 Academic Year.

The PALs are a diverse group of undergraduate students who aim to help their peers better understand the Common Curriculum, utilize academic resources, and navigate academic challenges. They are also inserted into the Residential Commons (RCs) and facilitate monthly programming meant to build a sense of community in the RC.

The PALs had a very successful first year with many highlights, such as:

The Office of General Education is proud of the PALs’ success this year and looks forward to seeing their continued impact in the 24-25 academic year.

Students, staff, and faculty can stay up to date with the PALs events and programming on SMU 360 and the PALs website.

 

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Office of General Education Student Academic Engagement & Success

The Office of General Education to re-launch Common Reading in revised format

As the Spring 2024 semester comes to an end, the Office of General Education is working to re-launch the Common Reading program for SMU undergraduate students in Fall 2024 in a revised format.

This version of the Common Reading will target first-year students, allowing them the opportunity to earn their Civics & Individual Ethics (CIE) Common Curriculum (CC) Proficiency. Due to budget and logistical constraints, it will only be a targeted group within the first-year cohort rather than all first-year students.

The Office of General Education has created a campus-wide survey to get feedback from students, staff, and faculty members on the following:

  • Book selection and its alignment with the CIE rubric
  • Time commitment and requirements for students intending to receive the CIE credit
  • Time commitment for faculty/staff facilitators

This survey will assist the General Education team in these early planning stages as they work to create a meaningful program for students that also supports their academic endeavors. The Office of General Education encourages undergraduate students, and faculty/staff that work primarily with undergraduate students, to complete this survey.

More information will be provided regarding the Common Reading program as it continues to be developed throughout the spring and summer months.

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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

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.

Categories
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.