Students Meet to Improve School Spirit, Community
May 7, 2008
Almost 60 School of Management students – ranging from undergraduates to Ph.D. candidates – recently gathered to lay the foundation for the newly established Dean’s Council.
“I think the Dean’s Council can help unify the School of Management,” said member Jackie Timte, a senior in business administration and council member. “The dean knows he needs to be talking to students to do this.”
At the first organizational meeting of the Dean’s Council, students reviewed methods to improve communications in the face of rapidly changing technology, ways to support and encourage students and alumni in their professions and how the Dean’s Council might foster a spirit of community.
MBA student Arijit Choudhury saw participating in the Dean’s Council as an opportunity to help the School of Management as well as The University of Texas at Dallas.
“Our university is in the hub of the Metroplex,” he said. “Part of the challenge that lies in front of us is that we are new.” (UT Dallas started less than 40 years ago with just graduate students and only began admitting freshmen in 1990.) “I would like to see more bonding between the community and campus and reaching out to alumni.”
“The Dean’s Council opens up a collaborative way to build constructive management of the school itself,” said Hasan Pirkul, dean of the UT Dallas School of Management. “The Dean’s Council involves students in the process of improving the School of Management and in turn, once they graduate, to take those leadership skills out to the world of business.”
Pirkul met with students, telling them he’s committed to improving the flow of ideas from students to faculty and staff. He said he sees the Dean’s Council as the next best step in making the young School of Management a recognized leader in business education across the country.
Students agreed the Dean’s Council represented a way to bridge the gap between administrators and students.
“The administration is kind of separated from the students,” said council member Stephen Dunlap, a senior in business administration. As a first step to improve that, he and others established a Dean’s Council presence on Facebook and Doostang, two web-based social networking sites.
Some of the other ideas expressed include:
- Create a defining annual event that would appeal to all students on campus.
- Improve the sense of belonging to the university by forming networking opportunities among alumni and current students.
- Survey students to see what professional, student and social groups they are involved with on campus and then how those memberships impact their career goals and placement once they graduate.
“The ideas the students came up with outstripped anything we could have imagined,” said Assistant Dean Monica Powell, the Dean’s Council adviser. “The ideas they presented really pushed us as administrators to take a fresh look at what we’re doing.”
What appears to be the next step for the Dean’s Council – in true university fashion – is designing a signature T-shirt for members. That, and other issues, will be tackled in future meetings.