Jan. 24, 2018

Dear faculty and staff,

Campus is buzzing with activity after a great week kicking off the Spring semester, and I hope you are ready for an exciting term. I'm proud of all that was accomplished in 2017 − thank you for what you do to make UNT a great place to work. I'm excited to tackle the opportunities ahead.

This semester, we'll continue to make progress on our goals to move UNT closer to recognition as a global leader in education innovation while providing opportunities for our students to be on the cutting-edge of learning. Many of you participated last semester in Design Thinking Workshops focused on the development of UNT's SmartCampus mobile application, which will facilitate learning communities in the digital-first format students crave. Our team is hard at work, collaborating with developers from the UNT System and Digital Train Limited, one of the many companies owned by NetDragon founder Dejian Liu. 

The introduction of forward-thinking and in-demand 21st century degree programs including Consumer Experience Management, Digital Communication Analytics, Data Science, Public Health, Interaction Design and an M.B.A. focusing in Sport, Entertainment and Event Management is key to preparing our students for success in an increasingly digital future. Located in the Dallas-Fort Worth area — recently named the best job market in the country and a potential site for Amazon's new headquarters — it's imperative we continue our transformation as a Next Generation Research University to best prepare our students for success after graduation.

In addition to the fun events planned on campus this spring, I'm particularly excited for UNT to co-host the Conference USA Men's and Women's Basketball Championships March 7-10 at the Ford Center at The Star in Frisco. We've partnered with Conference USA, the Dallas Cowboys and Visit Frisco to host the tournament and hope to be cheering on our Mean Green teams and their coaches!

Please save the date for the championships and other events occurring this semester. Additional information will be available as the events get closer. Here are some of the big events to put on your calendar now:

As we continue to work toward making UNT one of the best places to work in higher education, we will again participate in an employee engagement survey hosted by Gallup. The survey will be open from Jan. 29-Feb. 16 and your input will help us build an even more engaging and supportive work environment. Please take a few minutes to give your feedback.

The year ahead holds much promise as we continue on the path to excellence. Together, we will make UNT a global leader in education innovation. 

UNT Proud,

Neal Smatresk