Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022

Dear UNT Faculty and Staff,

We begin Spring 2022 with a significant jump in student enrollment. As our rankings rise and bolster our state and national profile, more students than ever are choosing to study at UNT. The expansion of our research enterprise, growth of our student population, and our new campus buildings in Frisco all point toward a dynamic and flourishing UNT. Thank you for the countless ways your individual contributions help us move UNT forward.

We are making solid progress on our strategic focus to implement comprehensive career exploration and development initiatives for every student. Hiring continues for our career coaches, who will be embedded in each college, and we welcomed Eileen Buecher as our new assistant vice president for Student Affairs in Career and Leadership. She will work to better strengthen the career resources across our campus for all of our students. We also celebrate a $5 million gift from alumnus Wilson Jones — the former president and CEO of Oshkosh Corporation — and his wife, Jane, to create The Wilson Jones Career Center in the G. Brint Ryan College of Business.

As you plan for the semester ahead, join us March 23 for the virtual Equity & Diversity Conference presented by Fidelity Investments. Themed “IDEAS for Change: History, Hope & Progress,” the conference will provide opportunities for centering the effects of historical and present-day oppression on minoritized communities for progress and change, and feature Juneteenth scholar Dr. Annette Gordon Reed as keynote speaker. Registration is free for all UNT faculty, staff, and students. You also can find plenty of other opportunities for events on our newly revamped university-wide calendar.

As we hope to see this pandemic peak and pass, I want to remind you all to keep safe. We strongly encourage our community to get vaccinated, utilize our free on-campus testing locations, and wear face coverings indoors to reduce the risk of infection for our community. The Return to Learn website includes valuable information for all academic faculty and staff, including this video message I have requested to be played in all classes this week.

Despite the challenges of COVID-19, UNT has continued moving toward our goals and the dynamic changes we're seeing as we excel in research and education show that we're a first-choice university for our students. These gains are realized because of the immense contributions and great care of our faculty and staff. My sincere thanks for all you do, even amidst the craziest of times. As a reminder, the UNT Employee Experience Survey is open through Jan. 26 so we can learn how to best facilitate your professional and personal well-being.

This semester holds great opportunity as we support our students on their academic journeys. We play pivotal roles in supporting their success, helping them develop their careers, and guiding them to achieve their dreams.

UNT Proud,
Neal Smatresk
UNT President