SMU Students and Policies

desk with books and pencils

Our Policies

Academic Continuity

Find SMU's academic continuity policy here

Find SMU's Inclement Weather and Emergency Operations Guidelines here.

Using a Participation and Professionalism Grade

When setting up assignments and expectations, some faculty include a professionalism grade as part of their participation grade component. For disciplines tied to specific professions, this can be a way to help train students in the norms for a profession. In other cases, professionalism grades can encourage specific student behaviors that a faculty member wants to encourage, acknowledge, and reward.

A key aspect of using a participation/professionalism grade is providing clear expectations about what is being asked and how it will be assessed. Additionally, providing students with feedback about their participation/professionalism offers transparency in terms of what can, for some students, be implicit expectations.

Common expectations that can be evaluated with a participation grade include:

  • Engaging actively with instructor/classmates about the class content
  • Being on task and cognitively present
  • Coming prepared to class

professionalism grade, on the other hand, in addition to the potential to include the behaviors outlined above, could also include expectations that are required, and at times assessed, within the profession or discipline:

  • Attendance and punctuality
  • Respect for others
  • Adherence to norms and guidelines
  • Being open to receiving feedback
  • Dressing appropriately

For faculty who are requiring masks in class, the use of a participation/professionalism grade can provide a mechanism to encourage student adherence to the SMU CAN community standards and expectations around a culture of respect through adherence to the classroom norms and guidelines.

Our Students

What do we know about SMU students? This page contains some SMU-specific statistics, as well as some information about the current generation of university students more generally.  It also provides links to SMU resources that will help you point students toward academic or personal help when needed.

Southern Methodist University

SMU has almost 11,000 students. Students come from all 50 states and the District of Columbia; 52 percent of undergraduates list home addresses in Texas. Other leading home states of first-year students, in descending order, are California, Florida, Illinois, Tennessee, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Connecticut, Missouri and Georgia. SMU's international enrollment includes 1,052 students from 94 countries. The largest numbers of students, in descending order, are from China, India, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Korea, Taiwan (Province of China), Thailand, Guatemala, Iran and Canada.  Our students come from diverse economic, ethnic, and religious backgrounds. Among students reporting a religious affiliation, 26 percent are Catholic and 18 percent are Methodist. Also represented are other Protestant denominations and religions such as Judaism, Islam and Hinduism.

The average age of undergraduates is 20.  About a third of them live on campus, and about 2,300 are members of a fraternity or sorority.  About 1100 undergraduates work for SMU, and others work throughout the community. Information about admission statistics can be found here.

For a good overview of SMU student life, see the Faculty Guide to Student Affairs.  To see advice that all entering students are given about academic life, read the Peruna Passport.

Educause, Educating the Net Generation (e-book) 

Beloit College Mindset List, Class of 2022 (born in 2000) Help for Your Students

For issues involving class attendance, the Dedman College Advising Center (8-2291) can connect you with your student's advisor.  Problems that appear in your class may well be part of a larger pattern; communicating with the advisor may help both of you help the student more effectively.

University Teaching Policies

Both federal law and university-level policies govern some aspects of teaching. Faculty members should also consult their schools and departments for applicable policies.


Provost's Suggestions:


Copyright Policies

The laws governing fair use of copyrighted materials have always been hazy, and digitization and the internet have added complications galore.  Here are some resources that might help you discover whether something is protected by copyright law, whether your use of it might require a license, and whether what you want to do with it constitutes fair use. This page also includes links to open source materials that you can use as alternatives to copyrighted materials.

(This page presents only general information, and does not constitute individual legal advice.)

Visit the SMU Libraries Copyright Website to learn more about copyright materials. If you have specific questions, feel free to reach out to your subject librarian, or email  

Open Source Alternatives

(Note that even free sources may require attribution)

Support for Department Chairs