Skip to content

Graphic Design and Smart Communities Initiative Making Impact

clevelandMidway through its first year, the Smart Communities Initiative at UT has already made a major impact—both on the students and faculty involved in the projects and on our first-year partner, the city of Cleveland, Tennessee.

This year, faculty and students in twenty courses are working on thirteen projects as part of the initiative. One of the projects is developing a marketing and branding plan for Cleveland.

Just before the winter break, Cleveland city officials came to campus for a two-hour presentation by Associate Professor Deb Shmerler’s senior graphic design class, which spent last semester doing research to lay the groundwork for the branding campaign.

Through interviews, discussions, and an online survey, Shmerler’s students learned that Cleveland residents want to retain their community’s history and balance its southern charm while embracing industry. Cleveland residents are also determined to counter urban sprawl with small-town ingenuity, capitalize on the beauty of the surrounding area, and promote a healthful, balanced lifestyle.

A small group of Shmerler’s students have traveled to Cleveland this month to present their findings to the Cleveland City Council. They’ll spend the rest of the semester developing visual ideas for the city’s brand and preparing a final report.

SCI is a key component of Experience Learning—the Universities new Quality Enhancement Plan, part of our reaccreditation process for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Read more about the Smart Communities Initiative here.

The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System and partner in the Tennessee Transfer Pathway.