December 17, 2010

Professor Maria Dixon with student Patrick Fleming.

“One of the programs that I helped to establish at SMU is called Mustang Consulting, which enables our students to work with organizations for the greater good and to apply the communications theories, processes and methodologies that I teach in class. Probably the greatest joy that I’ve had so far is working with the Dance Theatre of Harlem. When the students and I first met with the dance company, it wasn’t sure if it would make it financially through the next year. My students interviewed donors, staff members and the founder to develop communication strategies and campaigns in an effort to create new audiences for the classical arts. We are so proud to say that the company just came off tour. Because my students were willing to do the hard work, Dance Theatre of Harlem was able to do what it needed to do.

“I’ve had students who challenge me, who force me to go back to my own books, to my colleagues across the country and say, ‘I have never thought about this problem in this way and one of my undergraduate students brought this to me.’ I’m always amazed by the level of intellectual curiosity that my students bring to me.”

Maria Dixon, associate professor of corporate communications and public affairs in Meadows School of the Arts, joined SMU in 2004. She is a recipient of the 2007-08 Golden Mustang Outstanding Faculty Award and the 2009-10 Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award from the Rotunda yearbook.