Maria's students gain real experience by doing real work for real clients.
Maria Dixon is serious about complementing dynamic classroom interaction with real world experience.
So this assistant professor of corporate communications and public relations developed Mustang Consulting, a communication consulting group made up of corporate communications arts students at SMU. Mustang Consulting is a year-long course that provides students with hands-on learning, implementing communications theory as they work to solve real clients' communications concerns.
Past Mustang Consulting clients have included Southwest Airlines, Dance Theatre of Harlem and the Texas Ballet Theatre. This year's client is the Ugandan American Partnership Organization, a nonprofit agency that supports women and children in their communities. The students began working on the agency's messaging campaign last July and during spring break this March her team traveled to Uganda to meet many of the clients who have benefitted from their advice.
As Professor Dixon knows, classroom education alone can't fully equip a student for the workplace. Giving students the opportunities to do real work for real clients is what sets SMU apart.
Office hours, outside the office
When not in the classroom, Professor Dixon can often be found wherever students like to gather. She's known for holding office hours all over campus, in places like the student and faculty cafeteria, Java City, the coffee shop inside Hughes-Trigg Student Center, or the flagpole at the center of campus.
Professor Dixon is also known for being a fantasy football fanatic and watching football with her on Sunday afternoons is popular among her students.