May 1, 2017

Dear faculty and staff, 

As we near the end of the spring semester, I want to take the opportunity to thank you for all you have done and continue to do to make UNT strong.

After three years of putting our nose to the grindstone to work through challenges and create new opportunities, we can take a breath and take pride in what we've accomplished so far. 


  • Revenue is up and we have healthy reserves.
  • Enrollment is up, and our projected freshman enrollment for fall is on track to be higher than it has ever been. That increase is expected to once again include a record number of National Merit Finalists.
  • Doctoral enrollment also is expected to increase — an important factor for retaining our Carnegie top-tier research university status.
  • Enrollment — particularly freshman enrollment — is a sign of our growing reputation. More students are making us a first choice because they see us as a high quality university and a place where they feel welcome.
  • Our list of academic programs in the Top 100 is growing.
  • We're making steady progress on the CVAD building as well as the new residence hall, dining hall and tour center, which will be co-located. The residence hall and tour center are expected to open May 2019, and will be exciting additions.


Process improvement

  • Our new Office of Organizational Development in the Division of Finance and Administration is a team of professionals with experience in policy, communications, training and process improvement. The office is charged with facilitating change management and process improvement throughout the university. 
  • Just as importantly, more people are seeing process improvement as a team effort where we look beyond our department or job responsibilities to solve problems and make things better for our students and university.

Talon Team

  • The Talon Team, led by Terri Day, Vice Provost for Academic Administration; Brandi Renton, Assistant Vice President for Organizational Behavior; and Debbie Rohwer, Associate to the President, are working toward solutions to issues identified by faculty and staff. Some of the issues raised will lead to systemic process improvements that will positively impact the campus community.
  • The Talon Team is a conduit for identifying issues and is a partner to the Office of Organizational Development, which has been developed for the formal management of process improvement. 

Data Warehouse

While most signs are pointing north, there are some things on the horizon for which we need to prepare.

Legislative session

  • We're still under a state-mandated hiring freeze until Aug. 31. We have applied for waivers where we can and will be ready to start hires effective Sept. 1, if the freeze is lifted. Because of the freeze, we're delaying the implementation of Job Evaluation and Grading Project for staff until the new fiscal year as I noted in this earlier message.
  • You've also likely been following the legislative session and know that they are proposing cuts to higher education as well as a possible tuition freeze. As with all sessions, we won't really know where we'll end up until the session actually ends. I'm hopeful and know that regardless of the outcome, we're prepared. No matter what, we won't go backward. We'll keep pushing forward.

We can each take pride in this list of accomplishments because we have each played a role by rolling up our shirt sleeves and collaborating to make good things happen. We're all working together to make UNT a better place for our students and one other. This is the best team I have ever been a part of and I'm proud to be part of UNT.

There is no better reminder of the importance of what we do than seeing our students graduate. An estimated 8,900 students will graduate this 2016-17 academic year — another record! Join us for this year's Spring Commencement May 12-13 and the UNT Graduation Block Party where we will celebrate the Class of 2017 UNT-style!


UNT Proud,

Neal Smatresk