Transforming Education – A Message from the President

Aug. 16, 2017

Dear faculty and staff,

As we look back over the past four years, I am amazed at how far we have come. We reestablished a strong financial footing, we became Tier One, we have grown enrollment and reorganized ourselves to become more efficient and effective all while retaining our defining characteristics as the most creative institution in Texas and a community that cares deeply about our students and each other. These accomplishments and many more are due to your hard work and passion for UNT. Now, it’s time for us to look forward and to better understand what will define us in the future and how we will get there.

At our annual Planning Implementation Workshop, we focused on how our community will nurture our students’ success and how we can become one of the most innovative centers of learning in the world. Enabling our students through cutting-edge technologies and strong partnerships, within and outside of our university, will be key to moving into an increasingly digital future. In short, our goal is to become a global leader in education innovation. We were inspired by many of our own faculty who are pushing the envelope in education research and practice, and who are adapting to the modern digital landscape. We also heard from some of our global partners who are deeply committed to helping us prepare the next generation workforce. I believe that with the growing collaboration we are seeing here on our campus and our partnerships with top global brands like Toyota, the Dallas Cowboys, the New Media Consortium and NetDragon we can achieve our goals. These partnerships are already bearing fruit, and their impact on us and our New College at Frisco are beginning to produce real excitement. 

These plans will also help us confront some of the challenges we see in years to come with increasing competition for students and the need to offer relevant and easily accessed programs of study. We have been invited to shape the future with our NetDragon partners as co-developers of new software tools for communication, the formation of media savvy learning communities and interest groups, and the next generation of online programs. The response from faculty participants has been overwhelmingly positive, and our new Provost, Jennifer Cowley, is already planning a number of initiatives, like UNTonline and other collaborations.

I invite all of you to get involved and to unleash your “inner entrepreneur” and help us build the next generation research university. I will host a number of workshops this fall to engage our broader community in this discussion. We have the talent, resources and will to achieve prominence. With your help and commitment, I believe we will become one of the most dynamic campuses in the world, breaking new ground and delivering on the promise of a great education to our students.

Please join me at my State of the University address at 3 p.m. Sept. 21 at the Murchison Performing Arts Center. Doors open at 2:15 p.m. I will unveil our future priorities and identify some of the selected projects we will begin focusing on.

I look forward to what’s to come this year and in our future. Thank you for all you do. We will achieve our goals only if we are working together! Let's have a great year!

UNT Proud,
Neal Smatresk
President