News Release


For immediate release

News contact:

Jenni Bullington, UTD, (972) 883-4431, jennib@utdallas.edu
Institute For Professional Communication
To Be Established This Fall At U.T. Dallas

Curriculum Designed To Produce Polished Workplace Communicators

        RICHARDSON, Texas (June 20, 2002) - Already recognized as an institution of higher learning that produces some of the best and brightest engineering, computer science and management graduates, The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) now is aiming to broaden students' communication skills when they enter the workplace through the creation of an Institute for Professional Communication.

        The institute, which will open this fall and be part of UTD's School of Arts and Humanities, will develop a wide range of new communication initiatives and possibly lead to the creation of a degree program in communication with courses in such fields as journalism, radio and television broadcasting and oral communication.

        Stephanie Steele, a senior lecturer at UTD who previously directed the university's nationally ranked debate program, will head the institute, which initially will offer a certificate in professional communication, an ongoing workshop series and an English proficiency program. A mobile classroom program is expected to be added later.

        "Communication offerings are in great demand at U.T. Dallas, and I am excited to take on the challenge of providing them," Steele said. "I believe the new institute is unique in its focus and will help establish communication as a truly integrated science at UTD."

        School of Arts & Humanities Dean Dr. Dennis Kratz said he hoped the program would change perceptions about corporate communications. "My vision for the institute is that it will significantly advance instruction and research about workplace communication," Kratz said. "Under Stephanie's leadership, I am confident we can fashion a program that will become an exemplar and, ultimately, help create more effective managers and executives."

        The idea for the institute surfaced in part as a result of recent collaborations between Arts & Humanities and the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science. Administrators at the Jonsson School decided graduates would benefit from a more comprehensive curriculum that included an undergraduate course on oral, written and visual communications. At the same time, several students and prospective students in the School of Arts & Humanities had expressed interest in the school's establishing a communication curriculum.

        The institute will utilize so-called "smart" classrooms, which include state-of-the-art multimedia and computer learning environments.

        Steele has been with UTD since 1996 and has a distinguished background within the School of Arts & Humanities, including leading the debate team to win the CEDA National Garrison Award for outstanding new debate program in the nation in 1996 and the Junior Varsity National Championships in 2001.

        For more information about the institute, contact Steele at (972) 883-4152 or ssteele@utdallas.edu.

About UTD

        The University of Texas at Dallas, located at the convergence of Richardson, Plano and Dallas in the heart of the complex of major multinational technology corporations known as the Telecom Corridor , enrolls more than 7,000 undergraduate and 5,000 graduate students. The school's freshman class traditionally stands at the forefront of Texas state universities in terms of average SAT scores. The university offers a broad assortment of bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs. For additional information about UTD, please visit the university's Web site at www.utdallas.edu.


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