Creative Competition is No Match for UT Dallas Teams

Aug. 27, 2010

What do engineering and theater have in common? More than it might seem, especially when the task involves a competition that requires students to think both creatively and analytically to come up with innovative solutions.

UT Dallas teams excelled at this year's Destination ImagiNation (DI) Global Finals, held at the University of Tennessee.  The competition was founded more than 25 years ago to teach problem-solving with creative thinking and teamwork.

The 14 students who make up the UT Dallas teams took first place in the Do or DI and Breaking DI News categories and third place overall in the DI Extreme contest.

“Destination ImagiNation allows students to put skills they learn in the classroom to use in creative ways,” said Megan Malone, coordinator of the UT Dallas DI teams and history of ideas PhD candidate in the School of Arts and Humanities.

Other collegiate teams at the Global Finals hailed from Clarkson University, Missouri State University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of North Texas.

“In Texas, Destination ImagiNation is the largest single organization in primary and secondary education that focuses on creativity and intellectual prowess,” said Dr. Michael Coleman, former associate provost and dean of undergraduate education. “Participants are just the kind of students we want here at UT Dallas.”

The 1,031 participating teams from across the U.S. and the world competed in “central” challenges that teams work on all year, each involving a specific educational focus category.  The teams' solutions might involve robotics, theater arts, construction design, storytelling or other approaches, depending on the competition category.

“The competition is fun, but what I love most is the energy that DI creates. Everywhere you look, there are happy, creative people doing what they love,” said Lauren Marek, a junior art and performance major. “Overall, it was an amazing experience.”

Teams also participated in “instant challenges,” which ask the teams to improvise. Teams are given 5-7 minutes to solve the challenge.

Competition scores are based two-thirds on the central challenges and one-third on the instant challenges.

“Elements like the instant challenges truly test a team’s quick-thinking abilities because no matter how much you practice you’ll never get a topic that is the same as those you have practiced,” said Malone.

DI programs range from pre-school to high school and college. More than 100,000 young people in the U.S. and 30 foreign countries began the DI competitive process by taking part in local, state and regional tournaments earlier this year.


Media Contact: Teala Miller, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, newscenter@utdallas.edu
or Karah Hosek, UT Dallas, (972) 883-4329, karah.hosek@utdallas.edu
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Destination Imagination team

UT Dallas teams excelled this year at the annual Destination ImagiNation Global Finals.


Destination Sign-Ups

When: Aug. 31, 10 p.m.-12am

Where: Green Center lobby

Who: The event is open to new or past Destination Imagination participants.

Contact Megan Malone for more information.

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