Tuesday, May 18, 2021


Dear UNT Faculty and Staff,

Our UNT Family is caring, creative, and bolstered by each of you and the different perspectives, life experiences, and talents you bring to the workplace. As we work together to help our students succeed, our differences are something to appreciate and celebrate.

Just as the embrace of other forms of diversity makes our university community stronger, an understanding of neurodiversity reminds us that we need all kinds of minds to achieve our strategic goals. “Neurodiversity is the idea that neurological differences like autism and ADHD are the result of normal, natural variation in the human genome,” as explained by John Elder Robison, a spring presenter in UNT's neurodiversity speaker series.

Thanks to the dedicated work of many faculty and staff in recent years, UNT is beginning to be considered a leader among universities as awareness of neurodiversity spreads to campuses nationwide. We now offer a robust set of programs, known collectively as the UNT Neurodiversity Initiative, to support neurodivergent faculty, staff, and students. These initiatives include:

We also are growing our programs and resources for neurodivergent students:

  • UNT ENGAGE provides individualized, student-centered services.
  • UNT EPIC provides organized social, philanthropic, and learning opportunities.
  • UNT CAN is a cohort housing program for those who identify as neurodivergent.
  • Eagle Chat is a peer support group that meets weekly. Email engage@unt.edu for more information.

Like all forms of diversity, neurodiversity should be celebrated for its strengths, and I fully support the important work taking place to support the neurodivergent members of our UNT Family. My deepest appreciation to everyone involved with the Neurodiversity Initiative and the UNT Neurodiversity Professional Network ERG. We know that the more inclusive our workplace, the more innovative and creative our university will be.

UNT Proud,
Neal Smatresk