Sept. 22, 2017

Dear UNT community members,

For the past three-and-a-half years, I have continually been amazed by what our community can achieve when it pulls together and focuses on a singular goal. From record-breaking enrollment with increased retention and graduation rates to the best-ever year of philanthropy with more than $30 million raised to launching new regional campuses, we've clearly shown we can hit the mark ― even surpass our goals ― when we keep our students' success and our common purpose in focus.

As I said at my 2017 State of the University yesterday, this year is crucial to our success. We had a great year, and we've achieved some incredible things. But we need to do an even better job moving forward. We are on the cusp of an incredible revolution and have an opportunity to make sure our students are on the cutting-edge of learning.

While we will continue to provide an excellent education for our students (and there is no doubt we are the best in Texas!), we must continue to make strides in building our national reputation and closing the gaps with nationally prominent peers. And as the world becomes increasingly digital, it is paramount that we create forward-thinking learning ecosystems that leverage the mobile and online technologies that UNT is evolving and our student body expects.      

To ensure a successful future, we need to work together to focus on our action plans in four key areas:

  • Continue building research, bringing UNT's creativity and technology strengths together to move from STEM to STEAM
  • Focus on recruitment and retention to help students succeed ― and drive revenue
  • Improve student access to education and improve learning by using new technologies and expanding regional campuses
  • Partner with the private sector to build better curricula and to leverage their expertise to make our university even better

These last few years, we've been busy gathering the pieces to create a Next Generation Research University. This year, we will begin putting those pieces together and start our transformation into a global leader in education innovation.

We can achieve anything we set our minds to, and I look forward to what we will achieve together.

UNT Proud,
Neal Smatresk