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UNT Insider | July 2009 Issue

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President's Note

President Bataille talks with CEO KERA's host Lee Cullum

Dear Alum,

UNT has long embraced the reality that not every student starts out at a four-year institution. In fact, about one-half of undergraduate students will transfer during their college career. In Texas, the number of students transferring from two-year to four-year institutions increased 40 percent since 2000.

We have reached out to this growing demographic and become a top draw for talented students wanting to complete their four-year degrees.

In fact, UNT leads Texas and is sixth in the nation among public universities for the number of transfer students enrolled. UNT also is leading the nation in addressing the challenges that transfer students face by researching this important population through the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students. The institute holds an annual conference to provide professionals who work with transfer students at colleges and universities with assessment and retention strategies to assist these students. We also recently established an Association for the Study of Transfer Students to facilitate partnerships to enhance the transfer experience for students nationwide.

This May, the institute and our Center for Higher Education joined forces with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to host the Texas Transfer Success Conference, which was the first large-scale conference of its kind centered on transfer students' needs.

Recently, President Obama announced widespread support for community colleges. UNT has been a leader in working in partnership with community colleges and established itself as a destination for transfer students because we want to ensure that, no matter where a student's path starts, the journey includes a college degree.

With green pride,
Gretchen M. Bataille


Big Coal. by Jeff Goodell

One Book, One Community
Our One Book, One Community program will continue to encourage community readership with this year's book, Big Coal by Jeff Goodell, and the theme, "America's Energy Future." The book gives readers a look at the economic, environmental and cultural forces behind the coal industry around the world. I'm excited that Mr. Goodell will speak on our campus Oct. 6. It is one of several lectures and workshops that we are hosting to explore the energy topic. Already, we have hosted John Hofmeister, founder and CEO of Citizens for Affordable Energy and retired president of Shell Oil. To encourage you to read along with us, I'm giving away books to the first 10 people who e-mail by 5 p.m. Aug. 3 with "Big Coal" in the subject line.

Rada Mihalcea

Moving Forward: Research strides, faculty in nation's top 100 researchers
UNT is earning important recognition for its strides as an emerging research university. We were featured in a recent story in The Chronicle of Higher Education about our growing success. And our faculty members are being singled out for their work. For example, Rada Mihalcea, associate professor of computer science and engineering, was one of only 100 university researchers nationwide and the only one in the region to earn the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor for a beginning scientist or engineer. Dr. Mihalcea will be honored at the White House this fall for this award. She also is one of five UNT faculty members to win a CAREER award, given by the National Science Foundation to up-and-coming researchers.

They include:
Srinivasan Srivilliputhur, assistant professor of materials science and engineering, who you can read more about below
Mohammed Omary, professor of chemistry
Pam Padilla, associate professor of biology
Angela Wilson, professor of chemistry

Simulated classrooms may help boost new teacher retention

Simulated classrooms may help boost new teacher retention
Tandra Tyler-Wood, associate professor in the College of Education, is leading a group of UNT researchers in studying and developing teaching methods for first-time teachers to keep more of them in the classroom. The team, which includes College of Information faculty, is evaluating simSchool, an online classroom simulator that allows budding teachers to run sample lessons and observe how each simulated pupil responds to different teaching methods. Already, the team has found that undergraduate students using simSchool have increased confidence and improved teaching skills. The study is being funded in part by a grant from the National Science Foundation.

Grandparents University

UNT expanded its offerings this summer through Grandparents University, a two-day camp that allowed grandparents and grandchildren to take classes together.

Emeritus College to open for 50-and-over crowd
Because learning never stops, UNT will launch its new Emeritus College this fall aimed at community members age 50 and older. The college will offer not-for-credit courses, lectures, field trips and travel opportunities conducted by our emeritus faculty and other academic leaders. Classes will be offered October to November and February to May, and more will be added to the roster as the college grows. Courses include "The Evolution of the American Presidency" and "How to Remember Not to Forget: Improving Your Memory." James Miller, a World War II veteran and retired UNT administrator, is the founding dean of the new college, which is overseen by the Center for Achievement and Lifelong Learning.

art of soon-to-be fourth-grader art of soon-to-be fourth-grader

Eagles in the making
I am excited to find the Mean Green spirit already on display in a group of soon-to-be fourth-graders at John Nance Garner Elementary in Grand Prairie. I connected with the students after seeing one of them photographed wearing a Mean Green jersey in the Dallas Morning News. Thanks in part to their teacher, Karen Rogers, an alumna who has taught elementary school for 18 years, the students worked hard this school year and recently passed their TAKS tests. I hope to one day see them join our Eagle family.

Srinivasan Srivilliputhur

Faculty Focus: Srinivasan Srivilliputhur
Srinivasan Srivilliputhur, assistant professor of materials science and engineering, was awarded a National Science Foundation CAREER award, which is the most prestigious recognition offered by the NSF for young researchers. Dr. Srivilliputhur is the fifth UNT researcher to win this top award. His research focuses on the development of strong, ultra-light materials for automotive applications. Such engineered materials could someday replace heavier ones like steel and result in significant cuts in fuel consumption. He also will focus on increasing the enrollment of blind students in science and engineering programs by developing digital educational modules delivered via the Internet that will incorporate Braille and other tools.

Discover UNT commercial

UNT Traditions: Spreading the word
I'm proud to see that we have won more than two dozen awards for our efforts to spread green pride and make sure others know about the great opportunities that exist at UNT. Our new television commercials, "Zillion Opportunities" and "Discover UNT," have each won a Telly Award, which honors the best local and regional commercials. They are part of a campaign launched last year to showcase the breadth of our programs and raise our profile. The campaign includes print ads, billboards, and radio and television commercials. Our Division of University Relations, Communications and Marketing have been honored for their work in marketing, recruiting, writing, publication and printing. And our Printing Services department led all Texas universities for awards this year and last year. These efforts play a critical role in expanding UNT's strength and add value to every UNT degree.

Life Sciences Complex

Featured Link: See the Life Sciences Complex
The Life Sciences Complex, our first official LEED-certified building, is taking shape and you can watch for yourself the wonderful progress we're making. The complex, which we expect will be certified as LEED gold, will be the first in a new chapter of our green history in which all of our major new buildings are built to the highest environmental standards, a benchmark set by our EESAT Building. Just as important, the new building will feature state-of-the-art facilities for research, including an open research lab design, a rooftop greenhouse and an aquatics lab. The building is scheduled to open in May 2010.

North Texas Alumni

UNT Alumni Association
The UNT Alumni Association will join other university organizations in welcoming new students and their families during the 12th annual Sunday Fun Day Aug. 23. As part of its welcome, the Alumni Association will be handing out special laundry bags with its logo. Sunday Fun Day, which starts at 8 a.m., is a great opportunity to visit your alma mater and meet the new generation of UNT students. You also can help our new freshmen move into their residence halls. Volunteers will receive a free Sunday Fun Day T-shirt. To volunteer, please register. For more information about volunteering, contact James Fairchild in Housing and Residence Life at 940-565-2897 or james.fairchild@unt.edu. For more information about the Alumni Association, visit www.untalumni.com or contact the alumni association at alumni@unt.edu or at 940-565-2834 or 800-868-1153.

July 2009

At a Glance

One Book, One Community

Moving Forward:
Research strides, faculty in nation's top 100 researchers

Simulated classrooms may help boost new teacher retention

Emeritus College to open for 50-and-over crowd

Eagles in the making

Faculty Focus:
Srinivasan Srivilliputhur

UNT Traditions:
Spreading the word

Featured Link:
See the Life Sciences Complex

UNT Alumni Association

Don't Forget!

You can run along the site of our new stadium and learn more about our plans in the inaugural North Texas Athletics Touchdown 5K Run and 1-Mile Family Fun Run beginning at 8 a.m. Aug. 1 at the Mean Green Village. Coach Todd Dodge will be there to talk about the upcoming season.

UNT's football season starts Sept. 3, when the Mean Green plays Ball State. The game will be broadcast on ESPN U at 6:30 p.m. Our first home game is at 6 p.m. Sept. 12 and will be broadcast on TXA 21.


Kristen Blair, a junior in vocal performance, was named Miss Texas 2009 and incoming student, Ashley Parivar, has been named Miss Texas United States 2009.

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.