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UNT Insider | February 2009 Issue

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President's Note

Dear Alum,

President Gretchen M. Bataille Because of our commitment to academic success and the breadth and quality of our 252 degree programs, UNT is increasingly the top choice for many students, as our latest spring enrollment numbers show.

We hit an all-time high spring enrollment this semester with 33,366 students, according to the unofficial 12th-day headcount. Spring enrollment was up 3.6 percent over last spring, an increase that comes on the heels of our eighth consecutive fall enrollment record. Historically, enrollment is lower in the spring compared to the fall semester.

Our students are taking more classes than ever, particularly at the upper and graduate level. And new graduate student enrollment alone shot up by 21 percent between this spring and last spring. At the same time, UNT is continuing to make student access a top priority, and we are attracting more ethnic minority and transfer students. We saw double-digit percentage enrollment gains among most of these student populations.

Many of our transfer students are choosing UNT as the place to earn their degrees because we have programs for those juggling work, family and school, and we work closely with the area community colleges to assist students in meeting UNT's entrance requirements. In fact, Dallas County Community College District and the Tarrant County College District account for our largest and second-largest groups of transfer students, respectively. We lead Texas and rank sixth nationally among public national universities for the number of students who transfer to UNT.

In addition, our Timely Graduation Tuition Program encourages students to graduate on time because they can take a 15-hour course load for the same tuition price as 12 hours. This helps ensure that we not only enroll more students; but that we also help them graduate on time.

Our UNT Preview, which lets students explore our campus, also has spurred more students to choose UNT, as roughly 90 percent of those who attend the event apply to UNT. We hosted more students than ever at the Spring 2008 UNT Preview and expect to draw another record crowd at the Spring 2009 Preview on April 25.

Our ability to educate and graduate more students will ensure that Texas' work force is well prepared and that UNT contributes to making our economy strong.

With green pride,
Gretchen M. Bataille


meteor fragments

Credit: Courtesy of Fort Worth Star-Telegram

UNT astronomers to give presentation about space debris
Ron DiIulio, director of UNT's planetarium and astronomy lab program, and Preston Starr, manager of UNT's Rafes Urban Astronomy Center and Monroe Robotic Observatory, recently found pieces of what is believed to be a meteor that was seen streaking across the Texas sky Feb. 15. You can meet the astronomers and hear about their discovery March 7 at Elm Fork Education Center's Family Fun Science Day. Saturday's theme will be "Space Frontier" and will feature the astronomers discussing the space debris pieces, which they found near the town of West. The Elm Fork center is located on the first floor of the EESAT Building. For more information about the event, visit www.efec.unt.edu/spacefrontier.html. I'm giving away a Family Fun Pack that comes with free passes for two children and two adults to the first person to e-mail me by noon Friday, Feb. 27, with "Space Frontier" in the subject line.

students researching

Moving Forward: UNT takes part in innovative undergraduate science program
As a student-centered public research university, UNT has long fostered our students' scientific curiosity through our strong research programs and initiatives. Now, we will be the only university in Texas to join the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Science Education Alliance, a new program designed to involve college freshmen in complex scientific research usually reserved for upper-level and graduate students. Starting this fall, freshman biology students will help isolate bacterial viruses called phage and analyze their genome as part of a new research laboratory offering. After the DNA is sequenced by an outside lab, students taking the second semester will use bioinformatics tools to analyze their phage's genome — a portion or all of which may be previously unknown to science.

$1 million to support the College of Education's
Superintendent Certification Program.

UNT creates $1 million scholarship endowment for superintendent program
Our College of Education's superintendent certification program helps administrators further their professional development. And I'm excited that our program recently received a $1 million scholarship endowment, thanks to the generosity of UNT alumnus Don Buchholz and his Dallas-based Southwest Securities Inc. The Southwest Securities Superintendent Certification Scholarship will allow students in the program to have half of their tuition paid back upon the successful completion of their course work. Mr. Buchholz, who is a member of the UNT System Board of Regents, also will provide funding to establish an endowed academic chair in honor of Mike Moses, a former Texas Commissioner of Higher Education and Dallas Independent School District superintendent. This gift coincides with the expansion of our superintendent certification program to offer courses at satellite locations throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth region.

trees on UNT campus

UNT appoints new director to lead sustainability efforts
UNT is a leader on environmental issues and as part of our ongoing commitment to be green, Provost Wendy Wilkins appointed Todd Spinks, a UNT alum and former special projects coordinator with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, to lead the new Office of Sustainability. The sustainability office will work closely with UNT's Sustainability Council and help us further develop our already strong sustainability initiatives in research, operations, curriculum and outreach. I'm also proud to see that the Arbor Day Foundation honored UNT as a Tree Campus USA University for our dedication to tree management and environmental sustainability. We are one of only two schools in Texas and 29 nationwide to receive the designation. These strides are part of our pledge to adhere to high environmental standards through the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment.

North Texan

Faculty Focus: Mohammad Omary and Nigel Shepherd
Led by Mohammad Omary, associate professor of chemistry, and Nigel Shepherd, assistant professor of materials science and engineering, a team of faculty and student researchers is perfecting the design of white organic light-emitting diodes, or WOLEDs. This emerging technology could revolutionize lighting and replace the common, but inefficient, incandescent bulb. The technology requires far less energy to produce and operate than incandescent light and could be a reality for residential use within the next decade. However, their usage in upper end applications will come much sooner. And because of their size, flexibility and lighting potential, WOLEDs also could be used in television and computer screens. You can read about this and other innovative research on campus in the spring 2009 issue of UNT Research.

Ruben Ramos and the Mexican Revolution

UNT Traditions: Grammys
UNT has a longstanding history of musical excellence that includes numerous Grammy wins and nominations of our talented students, faculty, staff and alumni. Most recently, the band Ruben Ramos and The Mexican Revolution, which features College of Music graduate student and trumpet player Duane Hargis, earned a Grammy Award for Best Tejano Album. Other winners past and present with UNT ties are The Eagles, featuring former student Don Henley; Norah Jones; Béla Fleck and the Flecktones, a band that includes former student Jeff Coffin; Ed Soph, professor of percussion; and Brave Combo, which featured several UNT alumni, including founder Carl Finch and Bubba Hernandez. Some of the Grammy nominees with UNT ties include our renowned One O'Clock Lab Band and its former director, Neil Slater; Steve Wiest, alumnus and associate professor of jazz studies; Joseph Banowetz, professor of music; Tony Baker, associate professor of trombone; Poovalur Srinivasan, who teaches percussion; John Holt, assistant professor of trumpet; and alumnus Alton Chung Ming Chan.

College of Music web site

Featured Link: Faculty and student musical performances online
UNT has long stood out for the quality of our musicians and music programs, which are showcased in the many performances we hold throughout the year. But if you can't attend a concert to hear our wonderful students and faculty play, you can listen to various performances by visiting the College of Music's web site at www.music.unt.edu/ and clicking on the Musical Selections tab on the right. I encourage you to browse the selections, which feature both jazz and classical music.

North Texas Alumni

UNT Alumni Association encourages you to join
Our UNT Alumni Association is a strong, vibrant community and I encourage you to join the association today and support your alma mater. You also can take advantage of the many benefits the alumni association offers for discounts, networking and professional growth, including a complimentary one-year subscription to Texas Monthly, event opportunities, access to online networks, and career, financial and insurance services. Your membership also will help students by providing scholarship funds. For more information, visit www.untalumni.com or contact the alumni association at alumni@unt.edu or at 940-565-2834 or 800-868-1153.

February 2009

At a Glance

UNT astronomers to give presentation about space debris

Moving Forward:
UNT takes part in innovative undergraduate science program

UNT creates $1 million scholarship endowment for superintendent program

UNT appoints new director to lead sustainability efforts

Faculty Focus:
Mohammad Omary and Nigel Shepherd

UNT Traditions:

Featured Link:
Faculty and student musical performances online

UNT Alumni Association encourages you to join

Don't Forget!

UNT's 10th annual Women of Color Conference will be March 27-28. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Sonia Nazario and former Houston Comet Fran Harris will be among the keynote speakers.


After winning the top prize of the national Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology, TAMS student Wen Chyan is a finalist in the prestigious 2009 Intel Science Talent Search. Seven other TAMS students were named Intel semifinalists.

Joseph Oppong, a professor of geography, has been appointed interim associate dean for research and professional development of UNT's Robert B. Toulouse School of Graduate Studies.

About UNT Insider

The UNT Insider,
a monthly
e-newsletter, connects UNT alumni and others to the university by letting you hear directly from President Gretchen M. Bataille.

The UNT Insider is brought to you by the Office of the President in conjunction with the Division of University Relations, Communications and Marketing. Please send any comments or suggestions to president@unt.edu.