At the 2016 State of the University, President Neal Smatresk reviewed UNT's progress since his arrival in 2014 and talked about UNT's challenges and opportunities in maintaining its status as a Carnegie ranked top-tier — or Tier One — research university and in moving forward. Read President Smatresk's message about UNT's priorities for the future. Read a recap of the event.
In opening the annual event, which drew about 800 people and more who watched online, Smatresk gave a snapshot of UNT's momentum at for the beginning of the 2016-17 academic year. UNT set a new record enrollment with nearly 38,000 students, became the exclusive higher education partner of the Dallas Cowboys, added new faculty positions and moved closer Minority Serving Institution (MSI) status. The university also plans to break ground this year on its new home for the College of Visual Arts and Design and is renovating its Science Research Building to create a stronger environment for research and creative endeavors.
Smatresk detailed UNT's overarching priorities to enroll and graduate more students, strengthen its reputation, grow its research, and increase philanthropic support and better engage alumni in the university. As part of that effort, the university is committed to building a “Tier One” athletics program, under the leadership of its new athletic director, Wren Baker.
Those goals are encapsulated in the university's five-year goals that Smatresk unveiled at the State of the University. They include:
- Significantly increase the number of academic programs ranked in the Top 100, which is currently at 62
- Double the university's annual research expenditures
- Increase graduate student enrollment to more than 8,000 with an emphasis on doctoral student growth
- Increase total degrees awarded annually to more than 9,000
- Increase annual cash gifts to $23 million
- Fully launch UNT's Career Connect, a program focused on giving students hands-on experience for professional development through community based partnerships
- Engage more faculty and staff in change leadership and team building
Echoing his call to action from his 2016 Planning Implementation Workshop — United by Purpose — Smatresk challenged to the university to work together to create a more nimble and innovative culture and bring about change.
“Small, incremental changes won't help us reach our goals,” Smatresk says. “We need to rethink how we work and collaborate to really change our culture.”
At the event, Smatresk also unveiled the new UNT Impact Report, a new report that captures the university's economic, research, educational and cultural impacts on the North Texan region and beyond.