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UNT Insider | January 2009 Issue

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President's Note

Dear Alum,

President Gretchen M. Bataille Making an outstanding college education accessible and achievable for students is the hallmark of UNT's mission as a student-centered university. Since Texas launched its Closing the Gaps initiative in 2000, UNT has become a leader in both enrolling students and producing highly qualified college graduates.

Our university-wide enrollment management efforts earned a 2008 Texas Higher Education Star Award, which recognizes the university's work to achieve the goals of Closing the Gaps, a program that aims to have 630,000 additional students enrolled in college by 2015. This is the second year in a row that UNT has earned the award. In 2007, our Student Money Management Center was recognized for supporting our students' fiscal health.

Because of our enrollment management efforts, UNT currently ranks first in the state for the increased number of degrees awarded and second in the state for increased total enrollment. Since 2000, UNT increased enrollment by 26 percent — which added more than 7,000 students to those pursuing higher education in Texas. But perhaps more importantly, during the same time, UNT increased the number of degrees awarded by 39 percent. This means many more highly qualified, university-educated individuals are available to help build the Texas economy and strengthen Texas communities.

As part of our enrollment efforts, we ensure that students from all backgrounds attend UNT. We are now one of only nine public universities in the country enrolling more than 4,000 Hispanic and 4,000 African American students. And this fall, UNT had the highest enrollment of Native American students of any university in Texas. We rank 46th in the nation for number of degrees awarded to minority students by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education Magazine.

Our Next Generation Course Redesign Project also was named a finalist for the 2008 Star Award. Our innovative program is reinventing the learning experience using technology to create small-classroom experiences within large lecture courses. We currently offer 14 Next Generation courses, from history to philosophy, and have six more in development. Already, we have seen improvements in student learning and we are paving the way for other institutions to transform their classes.

I'm proud of the strides we have made and the recognition we have received. But I'm even more proud of what these achievements represent. They show that because of UNT, more students are seeking and earning a higher education, which makes Texas stronger.

With green pride,
Gretchen M. Bataille


Bonita Jacobs

Bonita Jacobs

Moving Forward: UNT forms association to ensure transfer student success
UNT is a top draw for students transferring from community colleges and other institutions — we lead Texas and rank sixth nationally among public universities for the number of students who choose to transfer here to complete their degrees. We also lead the way as an authority on the study of the issues transfer students face through our National Institute on the Study of Transfer Students. The institute recently launched the national Association for the Study of Transfer Students during its seventh conference, forming a network of individuals around the country who will conduct research and explore partnerships to ensure the success of transfer students. The association draws upon UNT's long-established partnerships with institutions and advocates and will serve as the institute's professional organization. For more information, visit www.transferinstitute.unt.edu/.

Wen Chyan

Wen Chyan

TAMS student wins prestigious science award
UNT's Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science has launched many promising young scientists, taking in talented high school students and stoking their research passions as they pursue their freshman and sophomore years of college while also earning their high school diplomas. I am proud of our latest standout, Wen Chyan, a TAMS student who won the Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology, the nation's premier competition of its kind. He won for his work engineering a polymer coating that could help prevent common — and sometimes deadly — bacterial infections resulting from prolonged use of invasive medical devices in hospitals. Chyan, whose father Oliver Chyan is a UNT chemistry professor, received a $100,000 scholarship for his innovative research. TAMS had one other regional finalist and 14 regional semifinalists honored in the Siemens competition, and I am proud of all of our young researchers. Chyan also was recently named a HealthCare Hero by the Fort Worth Business Press, an honor that recognizes excellence in the medical community. And he was one of eight TAMS students named semifinalists in the 2009 Intel Science Talent Search, one of the country's most prestigious science research competitions for high school students.

Robert Martin

Robert Martin

Jesús Moroles

Jesús Moroles

Photos by James Kegley

UNT alumni awarded national honors
Our graduates not only launch successful careers after getting an education at UNT; many rise to the top of their fields. I'm proud that two of our alumni received national honors in November from then-President George W. Bush. Sculptor Jesús Moroles ('78) received the 2008 National Medal of Arts "for his enduring achievements as a sculptor of stone," while Robert Martin ('79 M.L.S.), the former director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, received the Presidential Citizens Medal for his career dedicated to managing libraries and promoting lifelong learning. The National Medal of Arts is the highest award given to artists and arts patrons by the U.S. government, and the Presidential Citizens Medal is one of the highest honors the president can confer upon a civilian.

Richard McCaslin

Faculty Focus: Richard McCaslin
The scholarship and caliber of our history faculty help make UNT a leader in Texas history. Our faculty members have published more than 20 books about Texas history in the past 20 years. Richard McCaslin, professor and chair of the Department of History, was recently awarded the 2007 Philosophical Society of Texas Award of Merit for the best fiction or nonfiction book published on Texas. His book, At the Heart of Texas: 100 Years of the Texas State Historical Association, 1897-1997, details the first century of what historians regard as the nation's most dynamic regional history organization, the Texas State Historical Association, which settled into its new home at UNT last fall. Dr. McCaslin, who was elected a TSHA fellow in 2006, has written several other award-winning books, one of which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

immigration conference

UNT to hold immigration conference
America is an increasingly global society as the number of people living in America who hail from other countries continues to rise. To understand the challenges the country faces as it grows, UNT is hosting a free daylong conference March 12 called "Perspectives on Immigration: Strategies for the 21st Century." Experts and policymakers from around the nation will gather to explore immigration issues in various panels and an evening debate. Sponsored by several UNT offices, colleges and centers, the conference is part of our One Book, One Community program, a yearlong initiative to engage the UNT and surrounding communities in dialogues about race and socioeconomic issues. As part of the program, the campus community is reading Barbara Kingsolver's The Bean Trees, which explores themes of American identity. I encourage you to attend the conference. To learn more, visit www.unt.edu/immigrationconference.htm.

Murchison Performing Arts Center

UNT Traditions: Murchison Performing Arts Center
For 10 years, UNT's Murchison Performing Arts Center has been the setting of some of the finest musical performances in the North Texas region. Next month, the Murchison celebrates its 10th anniversary by hosting "From Handel to Brubeck," a monthlong series of performances featuring students and faculty as well as guest artists. The series starts Feb. 5, with a performance of Handel's Saul by the UNT Baroque Orchestra, Collegium Singers and A Cappella Choir, led by guest conductor Graeme Jenkins, the musical director of the Dallas Opera. The Dave Brubeck Quartet will join our Symphony Orchestra, Grand Chorus and One O'Clock Lab Band to close the series on Feb. 26. I hope you will attend one of these fine concerts to celebrate our 10 years of musical excellence and to usher in many more years of success. To learn more, visit www.music.unt.edu.

Jessie Pavelka, Photo Credit: Lifetime Television

Jessie Pavelka

Photo Credit: Lifetime Television

Featured Link: Reality TV trainer
Jessie Pavelka started out at UNT on the path to play football and study business, but he eventually found a new path that led him to helping others stay fit and active. Pavelka, who became certified as a trainer while he was a UNT student, is now a Los Angeles fitness coach and healthy living expert on Lifetime network's show, DietTribe, which follows five friends who want to lose weight. Along with a psychotherapist, he helps the women approach weight loss through a mind, body and lifestyle makeover. You can read more about his time at UNT and his journey as a trainer by visiting www.unt.edu/features/diettribe/index.htm.

North Texas Alumni

Alumni association offers free Texas Monthly subscription
One of the perks of being a member of the UNT Alumni Association now includes receiving a complimentary annual subscription to Texas Monthly magazine, which chronicles Texas and its newsmakers and icons. Starting this month, lifetime and new or renewing annual members will receive the magazine each month as part of their alumni association membership. The subscription is one of the many ways the alumni association is creating new benefits for its members. For more information about being a member, visit www.untalumni.com or contact the alumni association at alumni@unt.edu or at 940-565-2834.

January 2009

At a Glance

Moving Forward:
UNT forms association to ensure transfer student success

TAMS student wins prestigious science award

UNT alumni awarded national honors

Faculty Focus:
Richard McCaslin

UNT to hold immigration conference

UNT Traditions:
Murchison Performing Arts Center

Featured Link:
Reality TV trainer

Alumni association offers free Texas Monthly subscription

Don't Forget!

I hope you will join us for this year's Emerald Ball Saturday, Feb. 28, at the Fort Worth Zoo and at the same time support our students in the Emerald Eagle Scholars program. To reserve seats, call 940-565-3480 or send an e-mail to karen.selby
by Feb. 13. Proceeds from the gala support the Emerald Eagle scholarship endowment fund.


Two UNT debate students, Kuntal Cholera, a senior economics major, and Grant Peretz, a freshman biological sciences major, won a Cross Examination Debate Association-sanctioned tournament, winning 12 debates in a row, beating out 100 teams from more than 25 different schools.

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The UNT Insider,
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