Seven groups received Outstanding Department Awards at the President's Staff Sack Lunch in the Union Ballroom Tuesday. Also recognized were Star Performer Award recipients and Soaring Eagles. It was the first in-person sack lunch since Fall 2019, and also was shared by livestream.
Student Health and Wellness Center
These teams from the Division of Student Affairs were recognized for their service in the midst of COVID, snovid and the fall re-opening. The work of Housing allowed nearly 5,000 students to remain on campus and engage in campus life. They also re-trained staff to meet needs during the pandemic such as isolation space, cleaning, policy changes, emergencies and community building as well as daily operations. The Student Health and Wellness Center team remained on campus and open for the health and safety of the residence hall population and essential personnel, while providing guidance on operations, safety and contact tracing. And Dining Services remained operational amidst every challenging situation, providing free meals to essential staff during the first seven weeks of COVID at Avesta, and providing more than 38,000 hot meals during the winter storm event, despite rolling power outages and significant heating issues.
UNT Police Department
The UNT Police Department in the Division of Finance and Administration has continued to serve the campus in a difficult environment across the nation. Officers routinely change flat tires, give directions, host safety events and engage with students, some of whom have never previously had a positive interaction with law enforcement. Officers stayed in a hotel close to campus for days at a time during the winter storm in between working long hours to ensure campus safety. Also recently, in separate incidents, two different individuals were convinced not to take their own lives and the kidnapping of three children was averted.
International Student and Scholar Services
COVID and the changing U.S. immigration rules added another layer of difficulty to the responsibilities of the Division of Academic Affairs' International Student and Scholar Services team, made up of just seven full-time staff and numerous student workers. The number of international student applications has tripled in the past several years and the number of enrolled international students increased from 2,649 to 4,196 in the last year. ISSS also is responsible for advising and all immigration documentation for more than 5,100 international students and scholars in all. The office has not only been able to keep with the high volume of work but also has maintained a high level of service, with fast turn-around of I-20s, efficient advising both virtual and in-person, and accurate and rapid information for departments regarding immigration rules and international scholar employment.
Research Integrity and Compliance
The Research Integrity and Compliance group in the Division of Research and Innovation has made significant strides in providing excellent customer service, improving workflow efficiency, and increasing training for faculty and students. The department oversees the IRB, IACUC, Export Control, COI, RCR, Vivarium, Visiting Scholar, and International Affiliation and also help the Biosafety team. Since January, they've processed 576 IRB protocols, completed 527 restricted party screenings, conducted 288 RCR trainings, reviewed and screened 288 visiting scholar applications, approved 67 IACUC protocols, completed 461 COI disclosures and eight COI management plans, and processed 829 international disclosures.
The Enrollment Systems team in the Division of Enrollment has been instrumental in providing automation and paperless process solutions, as well as new initiatives. Recent projects with other divisions include EAB's Navigate student success platform, appointment scheduling software that reduces student wait times and congestion, an AI-powered chatbot, an admissions application they created that integrates into EIS and allowed DSI to deploy online programs with Coursera, and a COVID contact tracing application they developed and a database to house testing and vaccination results. They also eliminated 95% of the manual steps associated with download processing for admissions, resulting in a 26% increase in overall applications and a 15% increase in admitted students since last fall. Their efforts also helped Admissions handle an increase of more than 147% in international applications, leading to a record increase in new master's students of more than 43%.