Division of Student Affairs

Student Affairs Committees

Shared leadership is an important value within the SMU Division of Student Affairs. One manifestation of this value is through individual staff participation in Division-wide committees. Student Affairs Division-wide committees examine issues of importance to our Division and enhance the effectiveness of our student support, programs, services and activities. Additionally, Division-wide committees help sustain the esprit de corps of our Division. For more information on a committee or to indicate interest in serving on a committee, contact Adam Cebulski, Director of Assessment and Strategic Initiatives at acebulski@smu.edu.

Brand Development Committee

The division is currently reviewing its brand identity including visual identity as well as tone and voice in communications. This committee is charged with developed a robust student affairs style guide (using the SMU branding guidelines as a foundation) for student affairs staff to have better direction in their visual and written communication. Part of the charge of this committee is to develop standards for a new website. 

First Six Weeks Committee

As a division, our goal is to develop a more intentional and guided journey for students at SMU – that all starts with their initial transition to the university. As we break down the student experience into phases, we have tentatively called this “Phase 1: Connect.” We are charging the group of you to rework the framework in which we transition students to the university from AARO through their first several weeks at the institution. 

Graduate Assistant Experience Committee

Graduate Assistants are an essential part of functioning as a lean division within the institution and as a school with a graduate program in higher education, it is essential to have a strong partnership. With that, this committee is charged at looking holistically at the graduate student experience within our division and how we can better prepare future student affairs educators within our various departments and programs. The goals of the committee are to streamline the assistantship request process for departments, create consistent expectations for graduate assistants and supervisors, to develop more meaningful performance and experience evaluations, and to create a professional development program for graduate assistants. This committee is in partnership with the Simmons School of Education. 

Awards Committee

This committee plans and executes two awards ceremonies on behalf of the division:

  • Hilltop Excellence Awards – annual ceremony held on Honors Day in April honoring outstanding leadership for faculty, staff and students. The event includes juniors serving in honorary positions as invoker, emcees and stage managers, and an address from the student body president. The awards program culminates with the presentation of the M Award by President Turner, the highest honor a Mustang can receive. The ceremony is held in the HTSC Theater at 7:30 pm and is followed by a desert reception.
  • Dorothy Amman Awards – annual ceremony honoring SMU graduates for outstanding service to the student affairs division. This event is traditionally held on the Friday afternoon before graduation and is hosted by the student affairs division vice president.

Talent Development Committee

While we are a student-centered division, we strive to provide a community for our staff members that is both personally and professionally rewarding. This committee is charged with looking at how we compose search committees, recruit potential new staff, onboard and orient those new staff, and then ultimately retain and evaluate staff. As the largest committee in the division, there are four subcommittees focusing on each of the main charge areas. 

President's Commission on Substance Abuse Prevention

SMU President R. Gerald Turner appointed faculty, staff, and student members to a newly-formed Task Force on Substance Abuse Prevention on June 11, 2007 to examine efforts in the areas of education, prevention, enforcement, and assistance. At that time, Turner stated, “The considerable benefits of an SMU education and the entire collegiate experience should be enjoyed without the destructive influence of illegal and dangerous lifestyle habits. Prevention requires a partnership involving the institution, parents, and students themselves, as well as external law enforcement agencies and community leadership. All of us must do more, and more often, to make an impact.” The President’s Commission on Substance Abuse Prevention was formed in 2009 and has met quarterly each academic year since its founding chaired by the Vice President for Student Affairs and the Provost

Implementation Workgroup on Sexual Misconduct Policies and Procedures

By letter to the University community, dated September 28, 2012, R. Gerald Turner, President of Southern Methodist University, announced the formation of the President’s Task Force on Sexual Misconduct Policies and Procedures chaired by SMU Trustee Kelly Compton. President Turner’s letter stated, “SMU is committed to fostering a healthy and supportive environment, to holding members of the community accountable if they violate the rights of others, and to providing care and counseling to the victims of sexual misconduct. At the same time we encourage respect for the rights of all concerned while investigations and processes unfold.” Within that framework, the Task Force, made up of SMU students, faculty, and administrators, along with community members representing law enforcement agencies and victims’ advocacy and support organizations, met over the course of the 2012-13 academic year to examine SMU’s process for responding to allegations of sexual misconduct and to recommend strategies for strengthening the University’s policies and procedures, and prevention and education efforts. The Task Force issued its final report to Dr. Turner on April 22, 2014, which included 41 recommendations addressing each of the seven areas in Dr. Turner’s charge. The implementation workgroup is charged with assessing the progress of putting those recommendations into action.