Planting the seeds of change

Aug. 20, 2014

Dear faculty and staff,

I’ve been at UNT six months now and I’ve learned a lot about our university in that time. One thing is clear to me: We are a great university, but we must change in order to survive and grow. The world around us is constantly evolving. More is being demanded of us as a public university. We’re constantly being held to — and seeking — higher standards of accountability and higher expectations of outcomes. 

Yesterday, we took a big step forward in creating an action plan that will detail where our university is headed and how we will get there. I hosted the inaugural Planning Implementation Workshop, with the theme of Better Together, in which 120 UNT and external community representatives explored our challenges and opportunities to brainstorm ideas to best advance UNT. Watch the recap video of the workshop.

The participants were an incredible group of passionate UNT students and leaders and Denton community leaders who brainstormed in one of the most productive planning sessions that I’ve been involved in. We challenged the leadership of our university and they stepped up.

The participants generated eye-opening and inspiring ideas. We listened and we will form priorities. In the coming months, we want to engage everyone on campus in our plans. We will launch the UNT Dream Catcher webpage soon to capture the hopes, dreams and aspirations of our institution.

The ideas and themes developed in the workshop will become the foundation of our action plan, which I will unveil at the State of the University at 3 p.m. Sept. 17, 2014, at the Murchison Performing Arts Center. The action plan will guide what the university will accomplish for the year, and it will serve as a high-level to-do list to ensure that the university is taking concrete steps and progressing. As we move forward with our planning and decision-making, we will be transparent, collaborative and adaptive.

It’s only by working together that we can be better. I hope you start the academic year as excited as I am about what we can achieve.

UNT proud,

Neal Smatresk