Friday, Sept. 24, 2021

Dear UNT Faculty and Staff,

Earlier this week, I spoke about our collective successes during my annual State of the University address. Despite tumultuous times and the challenges we've faced during this COVID-19 pandemic, our university community has not only survived - we have soared. We continue to defy national trends with record-setting student enrollment. We are finding creative ways to help our students stay in school and graduate on time by tackling affordability and accessibility issues head on, including the distribution of more than 60,000 HEERF awards totaling more than $70 million in grants and aid for our students.

All of these things are happening at UNT because of you. It is you, collectively, who make us who we are. I know you deserve recognition for all that you do. As I mentioned Tuesday, we have a merit pool of 2% and an equity pool of 1% that each vice president will be working to distribute across their respective divisions. This isn't as much as I would like to have available, but it is a start. We also are significantly expanding our Star Performer Award program to recognize your contributions to your respective departments by allowing for additional days off.

I know many of you still have concerns about our staff shortages and budgets that need to be addressed, and these steps are not enough to completely solve the issues we are facing. Please know that I do hear your concerns and understand the seriousness of our campus needs. Although there are no overnight solutions, we are committed to taking continued, measured steps to improve.

About one-third of our full-time staff also are UNT alumni. This truly is your university. More than a place to work, we are a family, and I am committed to ensuring we continue to grow together.

Again, thank you,
Neal Smatresk
UNT President