Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021

Dear UNT Faculty and Staff,

We are nearing the midpoint of the busiest semester in memory, and I am proud of the ways we work as a team to surpass our goals and best serve our students. Each time faculty and staff collaborate to address challenges, I see our resilience shine through. 

As we continue to prioritize work-life balance, we have added more Star Performer awards, created merit and equity pools, promoted flexible and remote work arrangements, and encouraged vice presidents to support their teams with everything from in-office counseling appointments to therapy dogs and chair massages.

We also are looking for ways to help everyone stop to catch their breath, and for the first time this year, I am declaring Nov. 22-24 a “Meeting-Free Week.” This doesn't close the university or mean our work stops, as one-on-one advising, counseling, office hour and other appointments with students will continue as needed, but it does provide uninterrupted focus time leading up to UNT's Nov. 25-26 Thanksgiving closure. We ask units to avoid scheduling meetings during this week, though we understand some may be necessary due to emergencies.

We hope the “Meeting-Free Week” pilot will provide a brief reprieve from meetings, enable you to complete what is needed to finish the semester strong, and encourage the use of available vacation time.

Thank you for the countless ways you help UNT soar so our students can succeed.

UNT Proud,
Neal Smatresk
UNT President