Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022

Dear UNT Faculty and Staff,

Welcome back! I hope you had a relaxing winter break and are excited about the possibilities ahead this year. As you settle in and begin strategizing for the semester, I challenge you to minimize unit-level meetings and create more time in your schedule for meaningful work that will propel your unit and UNT forward.

We heard that November's “Meeting-Free Week” was received positively, and I encourage units to evaluate meeting schedules and eliminate those that do not yield results. We've all sat through meetings that could have been emails, and I would like to see supervisors facilitate opportunities for every team member to have weekly meeting-free work time.

The adoption of meeting-free work time will look different across the university, and I've asked the Cabinet to make decisions that are reflective of UNT's caring spirit and student success priorities, while encouraging balance and avoiding burnout for all.

Since we aren't designating one day as meeting-free university-wide — and are instead asking supervisors to create pockets of time free from unit-level meetings — there may be instances when colleagues from other areas call collaborative meetings requiring your presence. We appreciate your participation in those meetings even when they conflict with time designated as meeting-free in your immediate unit. To minimize these instances, Cabinet members recommend that, to the extent possible, Fridays be meeting-free since many divisions routinely hold cross-divisional meetings.

Your availability to meet with students should not be impacted by our meeting-free pilot. By reducing the number of internal meetings held, we hope to provide faculty and staff more time to complete their valuable work, while also helping you protect the after-hours time you deserve to spend at home. Your work is critical to UNT's success, and we know that uninterrupted focus time enables you to achieve the strategic work that is paramount to our momentum.

UNT Proud, Neal Smatresk UNT President