Give Now

Mentoring Program

The Mentoring Program brings together faculty, staff and students. It enhances mentoring practices and builds long-term professional relationships.
"I’m just thrilled with the program and am very supportive of how Engaged Learning has been designed for impact, follow-through, and intellectually mature engagement" - Dr. Carolyn Smith-Morris, ANTH


Ideal Mentor

Engaged Learning, as well as other campus programs, requires students to work with mentors. The ideal mentor is:

  • SMU faculty, staff or other qualified expert
  • Member of the student’s academic department if the project content relates; if not, an expert in the project content
  • Identified by the student during the proposal phase and works with the student throughout the project's activity, presentation and report

Time Commitment

Time commitment varies depending on the project. It is recommended that mentors and students spend at least 15 hours together throughout the project. Teams can meet either:

  • weekly as in a directed study, senior thesis, departmental distinction or other independent study course
  • as needed at regular meeting time based on project activity.


Excellence in Mentoring Award

The Excellence in Mentoring Award recognizes mentors who play a significant role in the personal and professional development of Engaged Learning students. The award carries a certificate of merit and a stipend. 

Graduating seniors nominate mentors for the award. Selection is made based on student documentation of the mentor relationship (timely advice, feedback and guidance) and the quality of the completed project.

Awardees contribute to the Engaged Learning initiative in the following ways:

  • Serve a two-year term on the Engaged Learning Advisory Committee's Mentoring Working Group
  • Present at least one Engaged Learning workshop on mentoring or other expertise during the academic year of the award

The Excellence in Mentoring Award is awarded at the Engaged Learning Luncheon.




Dr. Jill Kelly
Assistant Professor of History
Recipient of 2016

Excellence in Mentoring Award

By Sarah Rahimi, SMU’16
"My mentor, Dr. Kelly, has been an unbelievable support system throughout my Engaged Learning journey. I have known Dr. Kelly since I began my career as an undergraduate student at SMU. It was her dedication and passion for African history along with her belief in my abilities that made this project possible.Her energy and passion is contagious and she is one of the most humble and open minded professors."   


Dr. Victoria Lockwood
Professor of Anthropology
Recipient of 2015

Excellence in Mentoring Award

By Paige BlueJacket, SMU’15
"My mentor, Dr. Lockwood, guided me through my research project on a personal and professional level.  I would not have been able to complete it without her support and understanding that students manage complex lives while managing complex research challenges.  She patiently worked with me to produce the best work I have ever done."  


Dr. Lee Arning
Executive Director of Emergency Preparedness
Recipient of 2015
Excellence in Mentoring Award

By Kelly Kizer, SMU’15
"Mr. Arning has been an inspiration to me and the entire Mustang EMS team.  He is passionate about making SMU a better place, and this passion shows in the quality time he spent teaching me EMS skills and mentoring me to be positive, people-oriented, flexible, and devoted as student leader of Mustang EMS."  


Dr. Donna Gober
Senior Lecturer & Director of Wellness
Recipient of 2015
Excellence in Mentoring Award

By Courtney Thrower, SMU’15
"My mentor, who stepped in to turn my project around midway into the school year, proved to be full of great resources in all aspects.  Dr. Gober helped me better understand diets, develop a professional research paper, and network to find people to assist in my community health day in Dallas."