Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021

Dear UNT Students,

During today's State of the University, I celebrated the accomplishments that came from our incredibly challenging past year as we pushed harder than ever to support our students. These tremendous efforts ultimately led to record-setting student enrollment following three consecutive years of 4% annual growth, distribution of more than 60,000 HEERF awards, construction progress, soaring licensing revenues, athletic successes, and increased corporate partnerships.

While it is important to celebrate what we have accomplished, we must acknowledge how the future of work and the preferences of your generation are at odds with how many universities typically educate students in our degree-bound model that emphasizes learning in single content areas.

To ensure that you are prepared for professional success following graduation day, we are integrating comprehensive career exploration and development initiatives into your academic curriculum. As you navigate your UNT journey, you'll work with career coaches to gain professional skills, develop your personal brand, obtain practical experiences and internships, expand your network, and understand the role of diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

To help achieve these goals, we also are amplifying existing programs and introducing new resources to help you with career preparation. Learn more by watching my address or reading the transcript.

  • MyPlan -- New students will complete the MyPlan career assessment tool during Orientation to explore careers, then participate in group discussions to better understand career opportunities and the skills needed to succeed in their chosen field.
  • First-Year Seminar -- We also will introduce a zero-credit online First-Year Seminar beginning Fall 2022 to expose students to the skills that will help them chart their career path.
  • Embedded Career Coaches -- To provide you access to advisors knowledgeable about your specific field of study, we will embed 30 Career Coaches directly into colleges to provide one-on-one and group coaching to students, help faculty incorporate career and professional development into curricula, and help students secure internships and jobs at graduation.
  • Mean Green Mentors -- We plan to expand our Mean Green Mentors program so current students can easily connect with alumni interested in providing career advice.
  • Unpaid Internship Scholarship -- To support students completing internships in fields that do not provide compensation, we will provide up to 300 new Unpaid Internship Scholarships to support those with the greatest financial need. 
  • New Career Paradigm -- As we investigate and apply best practice models for education paradigms that better meet the career futures of Gen Z, we also will consider expanding our Integrative Studies program and project-based degrees at UNT at Frisco, which are popular because of the ways they allow students to study in multidisciplinary areas of interest, rather than a unitary-focused degree choice.

As we implement these initiatives and evolve them over the next four years, we will be able to better support your needs along your college journey and help you achieve your career aspirations. We will equip you with the necessary skills to land your first job and welcome you into our UNT alumni network of 461,000.

UNT Proud,
Neal Smatresk