Provost moving to biology researcher, teacher

Warren BurggrenFeb. 2, 2015

Dear UNT Community, 

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Warren Burggren, right, recently informed me of his desire to return to full-time faculty status to pursue his research and teaching interests. On March 1, Dr. Burggren will return to his position of full professor with tenure in the Department of Biological Sciences.

I am grateful for the 17 years that he has ably served UNT in various administrative roles, including five years as our provost and his previous service as the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. During his years at UNT, he has made a notable difference for students and faculty — something he will continue to do in the years ahead.

Dr. Burggren is one of the most professional, collegial and cordial individuals with whom I’ve ever worked. And, while we’ve lost him as a provost, Dr. Burggren is and will continue to be an exemplar researcher-scholar on a global scale. So I’m especially appreciative that he has agreed to continue to serve UNT as the President’s Special Advisor on STEM and International Activities. He also has offered to continue to help in any other capacity that will ensure our university continues to advance.

I respect Dr. Burggren’s leadership and service to UNT. It’s clear he is passionate about fostering student and faculty success. During his tenure as provost, he has promoted rigor in the classroom, collaboratively advanced student advising and success programs, and facilitated a program for funding graduate student tuition. Dr. Burggren launched the Office of Faculty Success, and oversaw the progressive elevation of promotion and tenure standards while streamlining the related processes. He has been a champion of diversity, especially in the hiring of academic administrators and promoted international activities of both faculty and staff. Dr. Burggren encouraged strong, productive working relationships among the Divisions of Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, and Research and Economic Development, and others. And he encouraged highly collaborative relations with the leadership of the Faculty Senate.

The position of Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs is one of the university’s most important leadership posts, and I am appreciative that over the next several weeks, Dr. Burggren will ensure UNT continues to make progress on the most urgent of activities and projects under his purview. Of course, we have an able team of other leaders in Academic Affairs, including our Deans, who will help to ensure we don’t lose momentum.

Meanwhile, I will be meeting with various groups on campus to both identify candidates for the position of interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and to identify members for a search committee for this essential leadership position. I will be carefully listening to input about the qualities we seek in our search for a new academic leader. 

I hope you’ll join me in thanking Dr. Burggren for his service as an institutional leader. Please wish him well and support him as he undertakes work on a major new research grant, in addition to his ongoing research activities, and focuses on mentoring and teaching our students. 


Neal Smatresk