Dedman College has a wealth of stories to tell, from the classroom, from the discoveries of research and from service to the community. The College has long struggled, however, to craft a coherent message and effectively communicate its strengths and successes to audiences both on campus and off.
A Vital Civic Partnership
Dallas and the surrounding areas provide Dedman College a unique opportunity not only to draw from the spirit of entrepreneurship and culture but also to make a significant impact on the community by putting ideas to work to improve society.
Dedman College students and faculty are engaged in active research with many Dallas organizations and corporations to improve communities, including:
- Dallas Child Abuse Prevention Center
- Dallas Independent School District and dozens of individual school campuses
- Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas
- University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
During the next five years, Dedman College undergraduates will complete at least 100 "engaged learning" projects, applying their classroom experience in situations beyond campus.
- Number of formal partnerships with other institutions and community organizations.
- Proportion of Dedman College units with regular print or electronic newsletters for alumni and supporters.
- Community participation in events sponsored by Dedman College.
- Number of Dedman College alumni donors during each year of The Second Century Campaign.
In order to realize its full potential, Dedman College must develop a clearer identity, improve its infrastructure for marketing and external relations and do a much better job of telling its stories to a wider public.
Dedman College has a respected, longstanding record of involvement in the community and a history of successful collaborations with institutions as disparate as the Federal Reserve Bank, UT Southwestern Medical Center and the Aberg Center for Literacy in East Dallas. Nevertheless, the College should do more to serve its home community and to make the most of its enviable location in one of the nation's fastest growing and most dynamic urban areas. Connecting Dedman College more deeply with Dallas will prove broadly beneficial, enriching faculty scholarship and the student experience, providing new opportunities for applied research and grant funding and contributing to economic vitality and the quality of life in the city and the region.
Improve marketing capabilities in the College. Dedman College is the only school at SMU without a dedicated staff for marketing and public relations. Developing a marketing team in the College Dean's Office should be an immediate priority. This new team, with leadership at the assistant dean level, should work closely with the Office of Public Affairs, provide enhanced support for departments and programs (including for websites and newsletters) and create materials for the College's recruiters and development staff.
Promote community engagement, especially in Dallas, and support partnerships with other regional universities and institutions, including with the George W. Bush Presidential Center. Collaborations on all levels, from service learning projects to major partnerships, should be encouraged. Developing a productive long-term relationship with the Bush Institute should be prioritized. New mechanisms also should be explored for tapping community expertise for classroom instruction and for the mentoring of Dedman College students. Engaged learning experiences that allow undergraduates to bridge the classroom and the larger community will be stressed.
Improve alumni relations. The College needs to improve its ability to track alumni, maintain close contact with its alumni and supporters and sponsor events that engage alumni with College departments and programs.
Promote and reward public scholarship. Scholars play an important role in bringing academic knowledge to bear on issues of public interest, from politics to health care to literature. Taking scholarship beyond the academy through the media, by writing for general audiences or by undertaking public outreach should be encouraged. An endowed award recognizing public scholarship by a Dedman College faculty member would be an important incentive and reward for such activity.