About the Office of Engaged Learning

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The Office of Engaged Learning provides the institutional framework for SMU undergraduates to complete signature work, a significant project that demonstrates application of knowledge, skills and responsibilities to a real-world situation, through capstone-level research, service, internships, creative and entrepreneurial projects.


All SMU undergraduates complete at least one signature work as part of their SMU education. Students have SMU encouragement to connect a personal passion with academic learning and SMU support to turn it into a project or business of their own.


In 2011, SMU chose "Engaged Learning Beyond the Classroom" as its Quality Enhancement Plan, a requirement of SACS re-accreditation. Engaged Learning is a campus-wide initiative to enhance student learning through experiential learning opportunities.

The Office of Engaged Learning complements SMU efforts to enrich other undergraduate programs such as residential learning communities, SMU-in-Taos, and SMU Abroad. Students benefit from a transformed learning experience that emphasizes the increasingly interdependent, reciprocal and experiential nature of higher learning in a liberal arts tradition.


Undergraduate Research Steering Team

Comprised of SMU faculty, administrators, and community partners, these committees provide advice and guidance in the development and implementation of Engaged Learning policies, programming, and assessment of its overall educational impact.

  • David Son (Faculty Fellow), Professor of Chemistry (Dedman College)
  • Brandi Coleman, Assistant Professor of Dance (Meadows School of the Arts)
  • Dustin Grabsch, Director for Academic Initiatives (Residence Life & Student Housing)
  • Elizabeth Killingsworth, Associate Dean (SMU Libraries)
  • Chrystyna Kouros, Associate Professor of Psychology (Dedman College)
  • Milica Mormann, Assistant Professor of Marketing (Cox School of Business)
  • Janille Smith-Colin, Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering (Lyle School of Engineering)
  • Allison Kanny (Simmons School of Education and Human Development)

Engaged Learning Student Board

The EL Student Board is the student voice for Engaged Learning (EL) and all of its programs - Engaged Learning Fellowship (ELF), Undergraduate Research (UGR), Clinton Global Initiatives University (CGI U) and Big iDeas (BI). More on SMU360