Committees & Task Forces

Student Academic Engagement & Success (SAES) committees are the vehicles by which the we drive collective action around enhancing the academic experience and services we offer the SMU community.

Review the standing committees and task forces we empower within the area.

Standard roles & responsibilities 

Roles refer to one's position on a team. In this case, SAES defines three common roles used on our standing committees and task forces. SAES team members are held accountable for completing these responsibilities on their annual performance and evaluation process.

What is the member role?

The first and foremost responsibility of a committee member is to try to attend all meetings. After appointment to a committee/task force, it is important for each new member to become familiar with the charge, history, current agenda, and the other members of the committee/task force. As a member, you will move tasks, projects, and goals forward.

What are common responsibilities of the member?

The committee/task force member will actively participate in the work of the committee/task force; provide thoughtful input into the deliberations of the group; focus on the best interests of SAES and committee/task force rather than personal interests; and work towards fulfilling the committee/task force goals.

  • Attend committee/task force meetings as scheduled.
  • Review all relevant material in advance of scheduled committee/task force meetings.
  • Contribute in order to promote knowledge-based decision-making.
  • Carry out individual assignments as assigned by the committee/task force chair.
  • Work as part of the committee/task force to ensure that the committee/task force proposed policies and/or develops products and services within the scope of interest of the committee.
  • Represent the committee/task force in meetings with other SAES units and groups.
  • Promote clarity within the committee/task force on its role and how it fits within SMU.

How long do members serve a committee or task force?

Standing committees are continual and advance organizational goals each academic year. In this case, members serve a minimum of one academic year (June - May) but may remain serving the committee for more than one. After a three year term, SAES will often rotate a membership to ensure fresh perspective and provide professional development for an another SAES unit staff member.

Task forces, sometimes called working groups, are more project-based in nature. Therefore when the group's charge is being formed a timeline will also be developed for the project's completion. A member who anticipates serving in the role from the inception to the completion will be identified from the SAES Leadership Team. This is an intentional process to ensure momentum is not lost to leadership transitions. Some projects are less than a semester in length while others may span 2 - 3 academic years. If the project spans more than one academic year, a minimum of one year commitment is expected by a member.

What is the chair role?

Committee chairs are responsible for facilitating committee/task force meetings and reporting the committee's findings to the executive sponsor. Good facilitation skills are important for committee chairs so that all committee/task force members participate and meetings run smoothly.

What are common responsibilities of the chair?

  • Manage the membership of the committee/task force
  • Recruit new members via the executive sponsor to ensure representation from SAES units.
  • Prepare (when established and annually thereafter) and submit to the executive sponsor the goals of the committee/task force for the coming year of service.
  • Prepare (when established and annually thereafter) and submit to the executive sponsor the committee/task force’s budget requirements for the coming fiscal year of service.
  • Prepare (quarterly) a brief "actual vs. goals" report and submit to the supervising executive sponsor for incorporation in SAES's quarterly cycle report to the Provost.
  • Participate in meetings of the SAES Leadership Team from time to time as may be requested.
  • Review annually the committee/task force’s charge for continued relevance and propose any changes to the supervising executive sponsor.
  • Assign tasks to committee/task force members so as to achieve the agreed upon goals for the academic year.
  • Monitor the work of committee/task force members to ensure that progress towards goals is being achieved as planned.

How long do chairs serve a committee or task force?

Standing committees are continual and advance organizational goals each academic year. In this case, chairs serve a minimum of one academic year (June - May) but may remain serving the committee for more than one. After a three year term, SAES will often rotate a chair position to ensure fresh perspective and provide professional development for an another SAES unit staff member.

Task forces, sometimes called working groups, are more project-based in nature. Therefore when the group's charge is being formed a timeline will also be developed for the project's completion. A chair who anticipates serving in the role from the inception to the completion will be identified from the SAES Leadership Team. This is an intentional process to ensure momentum is not lost to leadership transitions. Some projects are less than a semester in length while others may span 2 - 3 academic years. 

 

What is the executive sponsor role?

The executive sponsor role refers to an SAES Leadership Team member with overall accountability for a project. Meaning, they’re on the line for project success. They’re appointed to a project initiative and oversee the entire project life cycle from inception to adoption.

What are the responsibilities of an executive sponsor?

Executive sponsors are responsible for initiating, ensuring, approving, and establishing the vision, governance, and value/benefits realization for the project. A few specific examples of executive sponsor responsibilities:

  • Provide business context and guidance to the chair, committee or task force.
  • Champion the committee or task force's purpose, including advocating and securing support from cross-functional departments.
  • Ensure resource capacity, secure funding, and communicate project priority within the organization.
  • Act as an escalation point and help to resolve issues beyond the project manager.
  • Serve as a primary point of contact for internal and external stakeholders (e.g., the committee/task force as well as other stakeholders).

Engaged executive sponsors bridge gaps, remove roadblocks, and ensure stakeholders are aligned so committees and task forces meet their goals.

How long do executive sponsors serve a committee or task force?

Standing committees are continual and advance organizational goals each academic year. In this case, executive sponsors serve a minimum of one academic year (June - May) but may remain serving the committee for more than one. After a three year term, SAES will often rotate an executive sponsor to ensure fresh perspective and provide professional development for an another SAES Leadership Team member.

Task forces, sometimes called working groups, are more project-based in nature. Therefore when the group's charge is being formed a timeline will also be developed for the project's completion. An executive sponsor who anticipates serving in the role from the inception to the completion will be identified from the SAES Leadership Team. This is an intentional process to ensure momentum is not lost to leadership transitions. Some projects are less than a semester in length while others may span 2 - 3 academic years. 

Standing committees

Professional Development, Recognition, & Social Committee

  • Identify, market, and coordinate professional development opportunities for SAES and/or specific units utilizing provided resources (e.g., Academic Impression)
  • Offer and advertise campus social justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion professional opportunities to SAES
  • Facilitate semi-regular social opportunities for the SAES area employees
  • Develop and execute a full-time staff member recognition program for SAES
  • Plan and host a student worker end-of-year recognition event

Strategic Planning, Assessment, & Reporting Committee

  • Facilitate a strategic planning process for SAES and the identification of priories which support established goals and strategic objectives
  • Track progress on strategic objectives and produce reports for various university departments (e.g., WEAVE, Second Century) 
  • Serve as an assessment support group for SAES units, assisting in the development and analysis of data
  • Review programs and service utilization for diversity, equity, and inclusion gaps
  • Produce reports which may require multiple data sources across SAES units

Area-Wide Policies, Procedures Committee

  • Oversee the adoption of Wiki to document current policies, practices, and manuals to permit organizational effectiveness and continuity
  • Identify and recommend shared policies and procedures across all or some SAES units for organizational efficiency
  • Review and update SAES programs and policies for justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion concerns
  • Regularly review and update the Wiki and adopted area-wide policies and procedures

Marketing, Communications, Digital Technology Committee

  • Provide or coordinate trainings on SMU brand guidelines, Sitecore, and other digital technologies to SAES staff
  • Develop marketing materials to promote student/SMU community usage or awareness of SAES academic support, academic enrichment, and initiatives 
  • Promote and ensure representation of equity, diversity, inclusion in SAES marketing and communication efforts
  • Produce blogs and other written communications of SAES happenings
  • Coordinate an annual communications calendar to share social media posting content
  • Develop, update, and deliver an SAES Overview Roadshow presentation to provide campus partners and stakeholders

Task forces

None are active