Dean's Challenge

Smart City Artwork

For the 21-22 school year, your team will research Arlington and Smart City ideas to come up with a concept that will help Arlington address a significant issue and its impact on the city and UTA. Your concepts should be technology, tools, programs, and/or processes which will be described in a poster presentation on Demo Day in Spring semester (virtual or in-person as appropriate) and could include, but does not need to have, a prototype. The concept(s) you develop must include “UT Arlington” as part of your concept but you need not focus on this. this.

The Dean’s Challenge will be a team competition. Registration is open at Dean's Challenge Member Sign Up To participate in the challenge you can either be a new student team member or you can be a mentor to a team, preferably as a member of a student organization. Engineering student organizations are encouraged to mentor teams for the Dean's Challenge.

The idea behind this Challenge is to bring groups of students together to explore the nature of engineering as it impacts society.

Teams: A new freshman is a true freshman or other student who started their first-ever semester of college in Summer ’21, Fall ’21, or Spring ’22 at UTA. A new transfer student is a college student who moved to UTA starting in Summer ’21, Fall ’21, or Spring '22. A team must have 3 or more team members with a preferred average size of 5 members. The total number of teams is not restricted, and students can be from any engineering discipline. It is preferred that all student team members should be engineering majors and the majority of team members must be engineering majors. Each competing team may have one or more mentors working with them. Eligible students can register as a whole team, as small groups of students, or as individual students and all interested students will be placed on teams to compete. You are encouraged to register with your existing team if you have a great idea you would like to pursue. If you already have a mentor, make sure they sign up to be your official mentor. Registration is open at Dean's Challenge Member Sign Up

Mentors: Any student who is not eligible to be a team member may sign up to be a mentor for a team. Mentors may sign up to work with a specific team or may be available to be assigned to a team. Mentors are encouraged to be members of engineering student organizations, senior design teams, competitive teams, or other engineering groups. Students who register to mentor may be teamed up with other mentors and will be assigned to serve one or more freshmen teams. Engineering groups are encouraged to create and mentor multiple freshmen teams. Engineering organizations that sponsor and mentor teams that complete the Dean’s Challenge may receive funding from the College after Demo Day, proportional to the number of students who complete the Challenge. Registration is open at Mentor Sign Up for Dean's Challenge

Process: This Dean’s Challenge web site provides registration links and details about the Challenge. For students who register without a team, the Dean’s Office staff will assist in creating teams from registered students and with assigning mentors to teams that need them. The Dean's Office may, if requested, assist in arranging presentations by City of Arlington staff to help teams with research into current Arlington activities and processes. Registered teams and mentors will be asked to submit team self-review reports at the end of the competition. Reporting will include team progress and process evaluation and mentor’s effectiveness in mentoring the Student Teams.

Submission Deadline: Tuesday April 12 at 11:59pm.

Requirements: Each Student Team will submit an electronic poster and a video of their presentation for judging prior to Demo Day. The poster and video submission will be due by Tuesday April 12 at 11:59pm. The formats and requirements for the poster and video are given in the list found below. The submission link will be on this page. The presentations and posters will be adjudicated by faculty and invited guests.

Demo Day – April 19, Spring 2022

At the end of the Challenge, on Demo Day, the Student Teams will present their posters in-person, as appropriate, and the engineering student group mentors, if any, will present their effectiveness in mentoring their team(s) (however they choose to demonstrate this.) If we are able to have an in-person Demo Day, then posters (and prototypes if applicable) from each team will be displayed in the atrium of Nedderman Hall from 9:00am to 11:30am with awards announced at noon in the Bluebonnet Ballroom in the University Center.

Prizes will be awarded for:

  • Best idea (First place)
  • Best treatment of UT Arlington (Second place)
  • Best mentoring organization (awarded to the mentoring student group and team)



  • All Dean’s Challenge activity must be done by a team.
  • All team members must be only new freshmen and/or new transfers.
  • New freshmen are first-time-in-college students who started their first full-time semester in college in Summer 21, Fall 21, or Spring 22 at UTA.
  • New transfer students are college students who moved to UTA in Summer 21, Fall 21, or Spring 22.
  • Teams must have at least 3 students and preferred size is 5.
  • Maximum team size is 10.
  • Every team must have primarily engineering majors.
  • Students may register with a team if desired
  • Individual students who wish to participate but are not currently part of a team will be assigned to a team after they register.
  • Participating students must register individually on the Challenge website by the deadline in order to participate.
  • Dean's Challenge Member Sign Up


  • Teams will create CONCEPTS for new technology, tools, programs, and/or processes.
  • These technology, tools, programs, and/or processes will help Arlington use Smart City concepts to address the issues with COVID-19
  • • The concepts may address any aspect of COVID-19 or other issues in Arlington with Smart City ideas but must also include UTA as part of their concept.


  • Teams will develop their concepts, create a poster presentation, and MAKE A 2 to 4-MINUTE VIDEO PRESENTATION that will be submitted, with the electronic poster, for judging. The presentation should be based on the poster that is developed. See poster requirements and video requirements below.
  • If possible, teams present their ideas in a poster presentation format at Demo Day in April to share their work with other students, faculty, and staff.
  • At the end of the project, teams will asked to submit team self-review reports at the end of the competition. Reporting will include team progress and process evaluation and mentor’s effectiveness in mentoring the Student Teams. Teams that submit self review reports will be eligible for a raffle drawing after the end of the Dean's Challenge.
  • This website will have resources to assist the team in their work including team building help, poster presentation formats, etc.
  • Teams may design and build a prototype of their concept if desired. Prototypes are not required.
  • Teams may not spend more than $25 in creating their poster (and prototype if built.)


  • Any engineering student who is not eligible to be a team member may sign up to be a team mentor.
  • Mentors may be paired together and assigned to a freshman/new transfer team.
  • Participating mentors must register individually on the Challenge website by the deadline in order to participate.
  • Mentor Sign Up for Dean's Challenge


  • Student organizations are encouraged to recruit freshman/ new transfer teams and to supply team mentors.
  • Student orgs that participate in the Challenge with teams and mentors will be eligible to win monetary awards.
  • Team mentors can identify the student organization they are part of when they register to participate.


For your concept, the poster content should include the following five content areas:

  • Concept: Your final concept that addresses some aspect of dealing with COVID-19 or other issues by using Smart City ideas for UTA and the city of Arlington
  • Genesis: The initial idea about the concept that you started with
  • Background research: The research you did to reach your final concept
  • Development process: The refinement process you went through from your initial idea to your current idea, and
  • Future actions: The next steps you would take in determining feasibility of your concept.

Your concept should be described both verbally and graphically in your poster in diagrams, charts, graphs, pictures and/or videos. If you create a physical prototype, a software mockup, or similar, include a copy or it or a picture of it as part of your poster also.

Poster format resources:

Research poster format for online development and instructional video:
Scientific poster design:


Video Requirements coming soon.