Dean's Challenge

Smart City Artwork

2020 Winners

Congratulations to all of our Dean’s Challenge competitors!

Thank you so much for participating in the Challenge this year! Your projects were creative and looked at a variety of ways to add “smarts” to our city of Arlington.

The judges reviewed all of your projects and it was a difficult decision to determine the final results. Here are the results for the Spring 2020 Dean’s Challenge:

First Place

Smart Navigation

Second Place

Food Donations Tracker

Third Place

Tie between:

  • New Energy & Recycling Design (PET Wind Turbine)
  • Smart Food & Essentials Drive Networking

Honorable Mentions

  • Neural Networks for Alternative Energy Applications
  • Vent Stations for Pandemic Management

The first place team awards are funded by the Potratz family who has generously provided a gift each year. The second and third place awards are funded by the Meister Family Endowment. These awards will be paid into your MyMav accounts in the Fall 2020 semester.

The Event

Dean Peter Crouch challenges you to develop concepts to assist the city of Arlington TX become a Smart City.

Your concepts should be technology, tools, programs, and/or processes which will be described in a poster presentation on Demo Day 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.

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

Teams: The competing teams must be composed of new freshmen or new transfers to UTA. A new freshman is a true freshman or other student who started their first-ever semester of college in Summer ’19, Fall ’19, or Spring ’20 at UTA. A new transfer student is a college student who moved to UTA starting in Summer ’19, Fall ’19, or Spring ’20.

A team must have 3 or more team members with a preferred average size of 5 members. The 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. Each competing team will 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 Dean's Challenge Mentor Sign Up

Process: The Dean’s Challenge web site will provide registration links and details about the Challenge. 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 team's with research into current Arlington activities and processes. Registered teams and mentors will submit team progress reports and mentoring reviews. Reporting will take place roughly every two weeks from mid-February to the end of March. Reporting will include team progress reports and mentor’s effectiveness in mentoring the Student Teams. At the end of the Challenge, on Demo Day, the Student teams will present their results and the engineering student group mentors will present their effectiveness in mentoring their team(s) (however they choose to demonstrate this)

Demo Day - April 22, 2020
Posters (and prototypes if applicable) from each team will be displayed in the atrium of Nedderman Hall and adjudicated by faculty and invited guests. Prizes will be awarded ( 1st, 2nd and 3rd) for each of :

  • Best idea
  • Best treatment of UT Arlington
  • Best mentoring organization (awarded to the mentoring student group – not team)

Requirements for the Dean's Challenge

Team Requirements

  • All Dean’s Challenge activity must be done by a team.
  • All team members must be new freshmen or new transfers.
  • New freshmen are first-time-in-college students who started their first full-time semester in college in Summer 19, Fall 19, or Spring 20 at UTA.
  • New transfer students are college students who moved to UTA in Summer 19, Fall 19, or Spring 20.
  • 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.


  • Teams will create CONCEPTS for new technology, tools, programs, and/or processes.
  • These technology, tools, programs, and/or processes will help Arlington become a SMART CITY.
  • The concepts may address any aspect of Arlington as a Smart City but must also include “UTA” as part of their concept.

Project Requirements

  • Teams will develop their concepts and present them in a POSTER PRESENTATION format at Demo Day in April.  The teams will also create an “elevator speech” describing their concept that they will share with judges on Demo Day, April 22, 2020.
  • Over the course of the project, teams will submit REQUIRED PROGRESS REPORTS every two weeks as directed.  A general report format will be made available for use and report dates will be given.
  • 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.) 
  • Teams and mentors will do SELF-ASSESSMENTS in the middle of the project and at the end of the Challenge.  These are a required part of the Challenge.

Mentor Requirements

  • 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.

Student Organizations

  • Student organizations are encouraged to recruit freshman/ new transfer teams and to supply team mentors.
  • Students 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.