Dean's Challenge

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Welcome to the Engineering Dean's Challenge for the 23-24 school year.

Every year, the Dean's Challenge gives freshmen and new transfer students the opportunity to work together in teams and come up with a concept that will help the City of Arlington and UTA address a significant issue of your choice. Your entrepreneurial concepts should be technology, tools, programs, and/or processes which will be described in a poster presentation on Demo Day in Spring semester (both virtual and in-person) and could include, but does not need to have, a prototype.

This year we are encouraging Dean's Challenge teams to think like entrepreneurs and create innovative ideas to address some meaningful issue in our city and/or our school. Your team is not expected to implement your idea but to flesh out your concept so that observers and judges will understand the problem you are addressing and the way in which you propose to address that issue. The concept(s) you develop must include “UT Arlington” as part of your area of focus but you do not need to limit your idea to UTA.

The Dean's Challenge will be a team competition. Registration will be 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 '23, Fall '23, or Spring '24 at UTA. A new transfer student is a college student who moved to UTA starting in Summer '23, Fall '23, or Spring '24. A team should consist of at least 2 or more freshmen or new transfer team members. The total number of teams is not restricted, and participating 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

Teams should register and include all team members. You are encouraged to register with your existing team if you have a great idea you would like to pursue. Students who are not freshmen or new transfers can be registered as team mentors. Mentors are not considered to be part of the team for purposes of team awards.

Registration will be open at  Dean's Challenge Member Sign Up

Registered Dean's Challenge teams will receive a verification email and will be given access to the Engineering Dean's Challenge Team in MS Teams which will have additional info and will allow students to chat with one another and make connections.

Mentors: Any student who is not eligible to be a team member may participate as a mentor for a team. Mentors are encouraged to be members of engineering student organizations, senior design teams, competitive teams, or other engineering groups. Students who volunteer to mentor may be teamed up with other mentors and may be assigned to serve one or more freshmen teams.

Engineering student organizations are encouraged to create and mentor Dean's Challenge teams. Engineering organizations that sponsor and mentor teams that complete the Dean's Challenge may receive funding from the College after Demo Day. Registration is open at  Mentor Sign Up for Dean's Challenge

Process: Registered Dean's Challenge mentors will receive a verification email and will be given access to the Engineering Dean's Challenge Team in MS Teams which will have additional info and will allow students and mentors to chat with one another and make connections.

Submission Deadline: April 8, 2024 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 electronic submission April 8th, 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. Team posters must also be printed to be displayed and reviewed on Demo Day, April 16, 2024 from 9:00 - 11:30am as described below. The presentations and posters will be adjudicated by faculty and invited guests.


At the end of the Challenge, on Demo Day, April 16, 2024, the Student Teams will present their posters in-person and the engineering student group mentors, if any, will present their effectiveness in mentoring their team(s) (however they choose to demonstrate this.) 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 ne trasfers.
  • New freshmen are first-time-in-college students who started their first full-time semester in college in Summer 23, Fall 23, or Spring 24 at UTA.
  • New transfer students are college students who moved to UTA in Summer 23, Fall 23, or Spring 24.
  • Teams should have at least 3 students and preferred size is 5.
  • Maximum team size is 10.
  • Every team must have primarily engineering majors.
  • Students should register with a team
  • Individual students who wish to participate but are not currently part of a team should find collaborators to create a team and then register.
  • All participating student team members must register individually on the Challenge website by the deadline in order to participate.
  • Dean's Challenge Member Sign Up


  • Teams are encouraged to think like entrepreneurs
  • Teams will create CONCEPTS for new technology, tools, programs, and/or processes to implement innovative ideas.
  • These technology, tools, programs, and/or processes should address some meaningful issue in our city and/or our school.
  • The concepts may address any aspect of a meaningful issue in Arlington but must also include UTA as part of their concept.


  • Teams will develop their concepts, create a poster presentation using the given format, 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.
  • Teams will also print out their poster and 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 may 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 Dean’s Challenge poster content should include the following five content areas:

  • Concept: Your final concept that addresses some aspect of dealing with a meaningful issue by using innovative 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.

You must create your poster using one of the formats from the resources below. After your poster is created, you will need to 1) save it as a PDF for electronic submission and 2) print it for the Demo Day presentation.

Teams must submit their poster and presentation video electronically by April 8th and must bring their printed poster to Demo Day on April 16th to be displayed and reviewed.

See the electronic submission information at the bottom of this form.

Poster format resources:

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

Poster printing resources:

Printed research poster resources for printing at UTA:

Poster printing FAQs: or

Printing and Scanning at the library:


Video Deliverable: a 2 to 4-minute video presentation of your Dean's Challenge poster

Required content in the deliverable:

  • An introduction slide including
    • your team number and
    • the names of all team member that participated in the project.
    • If you named your team, feel free to include that info here
  • a visual overview slide of the whole research poster showing the overall structure of the poster with the required content topics as listed above,
  • a slide or focus for each of the five content areas 1) – 5) highlighting the relevant section of the poster and narration describing the content area (don't read from the poster – describe and expand on the poster content), and
  • a slide with a list of references that you used to create your research idea and references for any images, video, or music used in your presentation

Format of the video deliverable: The video should be a narrated Powerpoint presentation that presents your poster as described above with at least some narration by each participating team member.

The minimum length is 2 minutes and the max is 4 minutes.

The video should be posted in an accessible place with settings that allow anyone with the link to view the video. The URL of the video will be part of the electronic submission as described below.

Electronic Submission Requirements

After receiving their Dean’s Challenge team verification message from Dr. Tiernan with your Dean’s Challenge Team number, teams may submit their poster pdf and the URL of their video here: TBD

DEMO DAY Presentation Requirements

On Demo Day, Tuesday, April 16, teams will set up their Dean's Challenge printed poster in NH Atrium in the designated area by 9:00am. Poster display and review will be from 9:00 - 11:30am. If possible, teams will have a team member available to speak about their Dean's Challenge idea with reviewers, faculty, staff, and students between 9:00 and 11:30. Team members may rotate out as needed to attend classes and other responsibilities. Only teams who submitted their materials electronically as well as on Demo Day will be eligible for prizes.

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