A plan for action and change

Sept. 18, 2014

Dear UNT community,

In my relatively short time as president, I've talked to many of you, listened to your concerns and heard your hopes for this great university. I feel the passion you have for UNT and for higher education. It reminds me why I'm here — why we're all here — to help our students achieve their dreams. There is nothing more transformative than public higher education. It changes our students and it changes their family trees.

I've also told you about the many challenges we face internally and externally. None are insurmountable, especially if we work together. Many times, the toughest challenges become the best opportunities for transformation. We have the opportunity to change UNT for the better, if we start now.

At yesterday’s State of the University, I unveiled the top priorities we will accomplish this year and outlined how we will evolve our focus throughout the next three years. In 2014-15, we will continue to improve operations and efficiency, increase revenue and build stronger academic support systems. This also must be the year we re-invent our campus community to breakdown silos and create a “can-do” culture for each other, our students and our communities.

To keep us on track, I assigned three Implementation Teams that will be accountable for delivering on our goals:

  • The Operations and Infrastructure Implementation Team will be led by Bob Brown, vice president for finance and administration.
  • The Academic Implementation Team will be co-led by Warren Burggren, provost and vice president for academic affairs, and Elizabeth With, vice president for student affairs.
  • The Research Implementation Team will be led by Tom McCoy, vice president for research and economic development.

Our to-do list is ambitious and most of the priorities require multi-year tasks. To continue to evolve, we must fully understand what makes us valuable to our students, communities and world. So, please continue to share your dreams for UNT and your thoughts on what the world expects from us.

It's time to take UNT to the next level. This is a team effort. It will take all of us working together to change UNT for the better. I'm honored to be a part of UNT. And together, we will accomplish great things.

UNT proud,

Neal Smatresk