Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022

Dear UNT Faculty and Staff,

As a caring community that supports and empowers our students, one of the most important goals in UNT's five-year strategic plan is to increase our fall-to-fall retention rate to 86 percent. This past year, we saw our community struggle with COVID, which negatively impacted our retention and showed that we must help our students even more than usual. You consistently step up to support our students, and we want our UNT community to continue those positive efforts. To celebrate your caring spirit and recognize your extra efforts during this coming semester, I am pleased to share Soar for More, a new financial reward program for full-time faculty and staff focused on helping students remain on track to graduation while moving us closer to our retention goal.

Our student retention rate is currently 78.2%, but working together we should be able to reach or exceed 80% by the end of the spring semester. As an incentive, the following Soar for More cash rewards will be distributed to full-time, merit-eligible faculty and staff based on the final Spring 2022 retention figure.

  • 80% student retention rate: $100
  • 81% student retention rate: $150
  • 82% student retention rate: $200
  • 83% student retention rate: $250

The ability to improve our student retention rate is not limited to full-time faculty and staff who interact regularly with students. Everyone can play a role in making students feel welcome and displaying aspects of our culture that makes us a welcoming community.

For example, greet our students with a smile and say hello, help them if they are lost, let students know about engaging activities on campus, and involve students in high-impact practices like research and collaborative learning experiences. Your division vice president will provide helpful suggestions about the meaningful ways your area can contribute to increased student retention. There is so much we can do individually to demonstrate how we care for each student's success.

I see examples every day of our caring university community, and I'm confident that we will continue to show our students, visitors, and campus colleagues why this is a special place to learn and work.

UNT Proud,
Neal Smatresk
UNT President