Meet the Finalists: Innovation in Education

This January, Dallas Innovates and D CEO magazine hosted The Innovation Awards 2020, an inaugural event honoring local people and companies in 13 categories.

Dallas Innovates and D CEO magazine teamed up to present The Innovation Awards 2020, a new program honoring companies and leaders—CEOs, CIOs, CTOs, entrepreneurs, and others—driving innovation in North Texas.

Here are the winners and finalists for Innovation in Education.


UT Southwestern Simulation Center

UT Southwesterns simulation center uses the latest technology to train medical staff. With settings that include an emergency room, labor and delivery room, and a patient exam room, it’s disrupting traditional educational methods. Opened in September 2018, the 49,000-square-foot facility hosted nearly 500 individual simulation events in its first year. Looking ahead, leaders at the center believe the use of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and immersive virtual reality will help UT Southwestern more accurately evaluate the next generation of medical providers. “The phrase ‘it takes a village’ may sum it up best,” says Daniel Scott, assistant dean of simulation and student integration. “Without a culture of collaboration, this endeavor would not have been possible.” —Will Maddox


Big Thought

An innovator in education since its foundation in 1987, Big Thought began as an “education nonprofit dedicated to closing the opportunity gap” and is committed to constantly developing and improving upon their programs for marginalized Dallas youth. Several achievements were made in 2019 under new president and CEO, Byron Sanders, who believes in working with the community as opposed to just providing services. These include a $100K grant from AT&T in support of the Creative Solutions program for youth in the juvenile justice system, and a data sharing agreement through a partnership with DISD and SMU Center on Research and Evaluation. Big Thought programs aim to “help all young people maximize their potential in a 21st century world.” With a focus on creating opportunity and supporting youthful imagination, Big thought has grown to be one of six community partnerships in the U.S. helping scale best practices in Social and Emotional Learning. —Amanda Salerno

Design and Innovation Program at Southern Methodist University

The Master of Arts in Design and Innovation program in the Lyle School of Engineering at Southern Methodist University is a hands-on, project-based program focusing on the processes and skills in creative thinking and problem-solving. The program is grounded in the methodologies of human-centered design such as design research, solution frameworks, idea generation, and rapid prototyping. Its course work focuses on real-world design challenges. SMU says the degree is for students who want to become more versatile thinkers. Skills acquired through the degree are applicable to careers in design, engineering, advertising, education, business and the social sciences, SMU says. Jessica Burnham leads the Master of Arts in Design and Innovation program as director, and she works collaboratively with industry professionals, local organizations, and business partners to advance the vision of human-centered design as a catalyst for change in any field or industry. “To me, innovation means trying something in a new way that leads to a positive improvement. It can range in scale of impact but is rooted in personal application,” Burnham says. —Lance Murray

The University of Texas at Dallas

Located in Richardson, The University of Texas at Dallas is a major research university that’s part of the University of Texas System. In 2016, it was classified as one of 115 American universities given the R-1 designation by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, one three North Texas universities to earn the rating and one of 115 universities so designated nationally. In 2019, U.S. News and World Report in Best Colleges ranked UT Dallas at 129th nationally among all universities and No. 61 among public universities. Researchers at the university of known for their work in engineering, computer technology, and biosciences. Recent research studies include work on how eyes heal, offshore wind turbines, and how human brains learn to identify faces. The fall semester of 2019, UT Dallas had an enrollment of 29,542 students. —Lance Murray

E X P L O R E   M O R E

Click each link below to take a closer look at each finalist in all 13 categories.

CIO/CTO of the Year

Corporate Innovator of the Year

Startup Innovator of the Year

Innovation in Education

Innovation in Energy

Innovation in Finance

Innovation in Food and Beverage

Innovation in Healthcare

Innovation in Manufacturing and Consumer Goods

Innovation in Placemaking

Innovation in Retail

Innovation in Technology

Innovation in Transportation

Get on the list.
Dallas Innovates, every day.

Sign up to keep your eye on what’s new and next in Dallas-Fort Worth, every day.

One quick signup, and you’re done.
View previous emails.

R E A D   N E X T