When you volunteer to be a team leader, CCPA 2375 Communication Research and Data Analytics brings endless opportunities. Nobody could have expected that the fall 2018 semester class would still be sharing its findings long after its conclusion in December.

Meadows Student Experience

With the “Meadows Student Experience” as the focus of the research, Dean Sam Holland, Associate Dean Karen Drennan and several Meadows department chairs attended the class’s final presentation and heard some fascinating results. That, however, was not the end for the team leaders, Kate Adams, Caroline Mathews, Chell Staley and Isabelle Terry or the information the class collected from 188 Meadows majors through focus groups and surveys.

The student team leaders and Dr. Sandra Duhé presented the research results at the biannual Meadows faculty meeting in January 2019 and then again to the Meadows Executive Board later that month. Those research results are now being used by the Boulevard Consulting capstone class for Public Relations and Strategic Communication majors, led by Dr. Duhé to help the Meadows leadership implement the findings. Clearly, the research is highly valued among the Meadows community, as noted by Associate Dean, Karen Drennan.

Meadows Associate Dean, Karen Drennan

Here is a brief summary of the results that are being utilized as the Meadows School considers its future plans: 


Being an entrepreneur is heavily encouraged by Meadows faculty because it sets their students apart by giving artists the necessary skills to succeed in the business world. While the survey respondents indicated a connection to the terms “entrepreneur” and “artist,” the research indicated that “professional” is the term that all Meadows majors most strongly identify with.

Another interesting finding is that many students identify with the characteristics typically associated with entrepreneurs such as being passionate or a self-starter, yet do not consider themselves to be entrepreneurs.

“Just in Time” Class

Interest was expressed for a senior year, “just in time,” entrepreneurship class to prepare students for the real world before graduation.  The research teams put together “The List of 9” skills Meadows students should graduate with, all of which can be taught in this senior class setting and throughout each of their Meadows courses. 

Aligned with Divisions

The teams also discovered that most all of the Meadows students feel a stronger affiliation with their division and use their division name instead of Meadows when asked what they are studying at SMU. Building a Meadows community that encompasses both buildings, Umphrey Lee and Owen Arts Center, is extremely important to students.

Salary Potential

In terms of salary knowledge, Meadows students are confident that they will make a living after college, but are relatively uninformed about their salary potential. The research leaders shared that increasing the connections current students have with alumni from their divisions will make students feel more confident about their salaries and ability to reach out to alums on their own.

Using this research, exciting projects are in the works at Meadows. We can’t wait to see what this research has in store for Meadows students, professors, faculty and visitors.