As faculty and staff begin working toward reaching the goals set within the Strategic Plan, President Gretchen M. Bataille has invited five teams of other academic professionals to evaluate key operations at UNT.
The peer groups will assess the status of UNT's academic affairs, research, information technology, student development and advancement operations, as well as the support functions that run across all of those areas like fiscal and business affairs and university relations, communications and marketing. The team leaders for the peer groups will make their first visit to campus Dec. 7-8.
Each peer group, a team of external practitioners in the specific assessment area, will review what UNT is doing and compare its policies and practices to other major universities in order to determine the university's overall readiness to achieve its goals.
"It's critical that we review our current practices," Bataille says. "We need to examine our policies and practices to ensure that we are operating efficiently, being fiscally responsible and that we act in accordance not just with laws but also with our own ethical code of conduct."
Bataille, senior staff members, the deans, student leaders and the chairs of the Faculty Senate and Staff Council will meet with the group leaders.
While on campus, the consultants will learn more specifically about the university, its students, history and future goals. In addition, the lead consultant for each assessment area will meet with the vice president responsible for the area to be reviewed and also may meet with staff members within each area and tour the departments.
Stephen Portch, a former president of the University of Georgia and the advisor to the UNT System Board of Regents throughout the university's strategic planning process, is overseeing the team assessments in conjunction with Bataille.
The peer group leaders are:
- Academic Affairs - Rodney Erickson, Pennsylvania State University
- Research - Alvin Kwiram, University of Washington
- Student Development - Vicky Triponey, Pennsylvania State University
- Information Technology - Mary Doyle, Washington State University
- Advancement - Dan Nicoson, Missouri Western State University
In addition, Bataille says UNT needs to set benchmarks for how it will measure its work in the future.
To help set UNT's benchmarks, Bataille engaged Dennis Jones, president of the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems and the national expert on the identification of peers and aspirational peers for higher education. The peer study for UNT, and the final list of institutions UNT will use to set benchmarks for student retention and graduation, for faculty and administrative salaries, for federal research goals and for fundraising, is expected to be complete in early spring.