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SMU Department and Units

Residence Life & Student Housing (RLSH) has identified the importance of collaborating with academic and student affairs units to promote the success of our students. We value scholastic environments and opportunities that enhance academic success.

Recognizing that academic and student affairs collaborations support such success, we encourage intentional interactions or integration of residential education efforts with student persistence and success efforts.

Types of partnerships

Commencing engagement at a lower level, focus is on the immediate rather than the long-term in services, facility use, and/or funding. Types of programs include use of academic spaces for student organization meetings, one-time space or facility usage, and sponsorship of on-campus students to attend a program/event.
Units engage in a partnership that results in a mutually beneficial exchange beyond facilities and funding, but does not constitute a long-term, coordinated relationship between the units. Types of programs include inviting faculty/staff to speak at/attend events, inviting student affairs staff to speak at/attend other events, and other one-time uses of someone’s expertise.
Units engage in a coordinated relationship where roles are designated by independent expertise and responsibilities are shared over a long-term, recurring relationship between units. Types of programs include advisory boards, advisory committees, and task forces.
Units share full responsibility in an integrated partnership that includes planning and researching, financing, decision-making, coordinating, and assessing a project or experience. This partnership is often a long-term and sustained coordinated relationship that is mutually beneficial for the units. Types of programs include study-abroad programs, internships/assistantships, joint research and project engagement, and shared staff with academic areas.

Current partnerships

Our campus collaborators make transformative experiences possible in our residential communities. Below are our current campus collaborators and their respective collaborations.

Program/Event/Initiative Description Partnership Level Partnering Unit(s)
Program/Event/Initiative  Description Partnership Level  Partnering Unit(s)
 Affiliate Program
 The Affiliate Program at SMU is an integral part of the Residential Commons, where faculty and staff commit to supporting the intellectual, cultural, and social life of the 11 communities by engaging residents and providing mentorship, guidance, and support to students. Affiliates get involved in the Residential Commons in a wide variety of ways, ranging from casual meals, sporting events, and social gatherings, to lectures, career panels, and theatrical performances – to name a few. Regardless their level of engagement, each of the faculty and staff listed here have indicated a willingness and enthusiasm to support students.  Exchange
  Academic Affairs,Division of Student Affairs
 Faculty-in-Residence Program  The Faculty-in-Residence (FiR) Program is a collaboration between the Provost and the Vice President of Student Affairs that strengthens the connection between students academic and residential learning experiences. Faculty members from an array of disciplines live on campus and work closely with Residence Life and Student Housing staff members to provide opportunities where residents can interact with professors outside the classroom environment, further supporting student learning, engagement, and success.
 Academic Affairs
 Fire and Life Safety Initiatives   Each year, SMU is required, by law, to complete one fire and life safety inspection of every resident room on campus and four fire drills over the course of the academic year with 100% evacuation checks. RLSH works with the Office of Risk Management and the Highland Park Fire Marshal's office to coordinate these inspections and checks.
 Government,Other University Divisions (i.e. Development and External Affairs, Athletics, etc.)
 Opening  Opening is the process of welcoming students to SMU as they move-in to the residence halls.
 Support, Exchange, Cooperation
 Business/Corporation,Academic Affairs,Division of Student Affairs,Other University Divisions (i.e. Development and External Affairs, Athletics, etc.)
 Closing  Closing occurs in May when the residence halls close for the year. A smaller closing occurs in December. Students receive instructions regarding how to check-out of the building and the appropriate condition in which they should leave their room. Hall staff prepare the building for custodial and facilities to “flip” the building for summer.
 Business/Corporation,Other University Divisions (i.e. Development and External Affairs, Athletics, etc.)
 Residential Commons Dinners & Pinning Ceremony  Residential Commons dinners are opportunities for residents in an RC to have a meal together twice a semester. These meals may be unique programs or an on-going tradition incorporating holiday meals or awards banquets. Part of a common dining experience is building a sense of belonging. These meals are included in the resident meal plans and require partnership with dining services. Pinning ceremonies are often conducted during Residential Commons dinners, adding to the tradition, identity and sense of belonging. Faculty-in-Residence play a key role in both RC dinners and RC pinnings.
 Division of Student Affairs,Other University Divisions (i.e. Development and External Affairs, Athletics, etc.)
 Research Team  "The Residence Life and Student Housing Research Team fosters interdisciplinary inquiry through intensive efforts to break down barriers and advance interdisciplinary research related to student success and learning. The Research Team is comprised of faculty, staff, and students - both undergraduate and graduate - from all disciplines who produce original, empirical research related to residential life and students. The Research Team's findings aid in the improvement of university policies, practices, and programs to support residential student success and positively contribute to the field of higher education.

Individual faculty collaborate on research projects while the Office of Engaged Learning exchange through financial support, presentations, research days, and events."
Exchange, Collaboration
 Academic Affairs
 Residential Commons  The Residential Commons are residential communities that create a sense of belonging and life-long membership while providing opportunities to interact with faculty outside of the classroom. Residential Commons are made up of students, staff, faculty, and various student leaders.


 Academic Affairs,Division of Student Affairs,Other University Divisions (i.e. Development and External Affairs, Athletics, etc.)
 RA Program  The resident assistant program is designed to provide peer leadership for residential students. RAs build relationships with individual students, create communities of support and a sense of belonging, and connect students to resources on campus. RAs are trained in a variety of topics including leadership skills, conflict management, crisis management, community building, on-call protocols, active listening skills, hazing recognition, students of concern recognition, and a wide range of campus resources. Partners include dean of student life office, CCC program and dining services.
 Support, Exchange, Cooperation  Division of Student Affairs,Other University Divisions (i.e. Development and External Affairs, Athletics, etc.)
 Signature Programs  Signature programs are large scale programs sponsored by a residential commons. The goal is to provide a sense of tradition, identity and belonging in a residential commons and opportunity for student leaders to plan and execute a large event. Each of these various, but most use 3rd party vendors for food and entertainment. Some use dining services to provide all or part of the food. Some events include the Study Abroad office or International Languages.
 Support  Business/Corporation,Academic Affairs,Other University Divisions (i.e. Development and External Affairs, Athletics, etc.)
 StarRez  We work with the Office of Information Technology to install and maintain the software (StarRez) used to mange student records related to housing, including application, assignment, billing and profile data.
 Cooperation  Other University Divisions (i.e. Development and External Affairs, Athletics, etc.)
 Professional Staff Recruitment  The Professional Staff Recruitment committee is responsible for marketing and recruiting full-time residence life positions. Additionally, the committee organizes the interview process. Residence Life relies on campus partners to participate in our on-campus interviews to help host candidates and provide insight into working at SMU. Moreover, when other departments are looking to interview at The Placement Exchange, our department organizes the purchasing of tables and positions and provides the supplies for a successful and unified interview approach.
 Exchange  Division of Student Affairs
 RLSH Housing Marketing  We work with the office of Undergraduate Admissions and Integrated Marketing to produce the housing brochures for incoming students, and with Participate in Admission “yield” events.
 Cooperation  Academic Affairs,Other University Divisions (i.e. Development and External Affairs, Athletics, etc.)
 Facilities (Custodial/Maintenance)  Partnership with facilities to accomplish the baseline service agreement and to identify additional service level agreement work that is planed or scheduled during the year. The facilities partnership address the Siemens contract for HVAC and fire building systems. Project management to identify major projects, summer flips and turns and to coordinate this work with contracted vendors. Partnership with ABM custodial for daily, weekly and yearly cleaning of the residential hall building, setting up lofts at move in/out.
 Collaboration  Business/Corporation,Other University Divisions (i.e. Development and External Affairs, Athletics, etc.)
 Professional Staff Development and Training  Residence Life Professional Staff Development weeks occur twice a year in January and July. The residence life staff is trained through a variety of presentations that further their professional development and changing job functions. Our department relies on other members of the university to present. While these presentations and partners can change from year to year, there are a few units that will present at least once a year.
 Exchange  Division of Student Affairs
 Housing Contract Appeals Committee  We work with a group of individual staff and faculty members to review petitions to be exempt from the housing requirement, and appeals for release from the housing contract.
 Cooperation  Academic Affairs,Division of Student Affairs,Other University Divisions (i.e. Development and External Affairs, Athletics, etc.)
 Vendors   All vendors partner with housing operations to provide supplies and service to maintain the operations for student furniture, appliances and special equipment on an as needed basis. Southwest Contract room furniture, Gary Street mattress, HD Supply for building supplies,
 Exchange  Business/Corporation
 Peer Leader Programs  Peer Leaders are SMU upperclassmen who have learned from experience and have developed skills to successfully guide other students in a specialized topic area. A Peer Leader is a role model who assists residents with making important transitions, learning new skills, or facing unknown challenges. Three types of Peer Leaders support students on-campus.

Honors Mentors

From the beginning of the school year, Honors Mentors take an active role in welcoming the Honors residents in their Residential Commons. They continue to meet informally with the Honors students, serve as a resource, and encourage their participation in their Residential Commons and other University Honors Program events. Learn more and connect with your Honors Mentor.

Peer Academic Leaders

Peer Academic Leaders (PALs) are a diverse group of undergraduate students with a common goal to help students better understand the University Curriculum, utilize academic resources, and navigate academic challenges. Under the direction of the University Advising Center, PALs work directly with students in their Residential Commons, empowering them to take ownership of their collegiate careers through mentorship and educational programming. Find your Peer Academic Leader in your Commons.

Student Wellness Champions

The Student Wellness Champions are a diverse group of students trained to educate their Residential Commons and campus community about college lifestyle and wellness issues in a positive, interactive, fun, and nonjudgmental manner. In this program, students serve as liaisons for the Office for Community Health Promotion and the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center and act as health leaders on campus. Student Wellness Champions are given the opportunity to specialize in a health area of their choice, including: Nutrition, Mental Health, Physical Activity, Stress Management, Time Management, Sleep, Resiliency, Alcohol and Drug Prevention, Sexual Health, Violence Prevention and Healthy Relationships. Learn more about the Student Wellness Champion Program."
 Cooperation  Academic Affairs,Division of Student Affairs
 Fraternity & Sorority Life  FHD Team has begun including FSL in collaborative meetings and conversations. FSL is seeking ways in which to include FHDs in meetings and other activities with chapter leadership.
 Collaboration  Division of Student Affairs
 RLSH Summer Conferences  RLSH Summer Conferences provides housing for various groups on the SMU main campus during the summer months. Groups vary greatly and can include youth academic groups and sports camps to adult groups that are business oriented or theologically driven. RLSH Summer Conferences also provides employment opportunities for SMU students as front lines customer service representatives and emergency management staff.

RLSH Summer Conferences works closely with SMU Facilities (cooperation) and the Office of Conference Services (collaboration).
 Cooperation  Other University Divisions (i.e. Development and External Affairs, Athletics, etc.)
 RLSH Key Management and Service Desks  The RLSH service desks provide lock out, temp ID, and general information services to residential students and the greater SMU community (contractors, visitors, student guests). The service desks also provide employment opportunities for current SMU students.

The service desks work with the SMU lock shop and Parking and ID Card Services (cooperation).
 Cooperation  Other University Divisions (i.e. Development and External Affairs, Athletics, etc.)
 Academic Outreach and Support  Each semester, the ALEC and RLSH-Academic Initiatives administers a micro-assessment to all residential students. The micro assessment checks in on resident academic well being. Each micro assessment is designed to also have an intervention or personal outreach associated with it.
 Cooperation  Academic Affairs
 Boaz Community Engagement Pilot  Boaz Commons is piloting a community engagement initiative where they have identified food insecurity as their social issue. They have also identified local non-profits and community partners to volunteer with or support in various ways throughout the academic year. This pilot will be used to potentially expand to all commons in the future.
 Support, Exchange  Non-Profit

Get in touch so we can explore opportunities for partnership. Our director of academic initiatives will help you connect with the right campus contact.