Dean's Challenge

Smart City Artwork

Dean Peter Crouch challenges you to assist UTA and the city of Arlington to use Smart City concepts to address the issues with COVID-19.

For the 20-21 school year, your team will research Arlington and Smart City ideas to come up with a concept that will help Arlington cope with some aspect of COVID-19 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.

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: The competing teams must be composed of only new freshmen and/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 ’20, Fall ’20, or Spring ’21 at UTA. A new transfer student is a college student who moved to UTA starting in Summer ’20, Fall ’20, or Spring ’21. 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. 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: 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 (virtual or in-person as appropriate) and the engineering student group mentors will present their effectiveness in mentoring their team(s) (however they choose to demonstrate this) Demo Day – Spring 2021

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 and adjudicated by faculty and invited guests.

If Demo Day is virtual, then posters will be submitted electronically, displayed on the Demo Day website, and judged online by faculty and invited guests.

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 20, Fall 20, or Spring 21 at UTA.
  • New transfer students are college students who moved to UTA in Summer 20, Fall 20, or Spring 21.
  • 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 in Arlington with Smart City ideas but must also include UTA as part of their concept.


  • 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, Spring 2021.
  • 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.


  • 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.
  • 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.