"UNT is focused on rising to the top, and if we have a clear vision and a multi-year plan, we’ll get there faster than we think. Through our Action Plan and Planning Implementation Teams, we’ve made significant progress in just one year. We already can see — and feel — the difference."
— President Neal Smatresk
What will I do to help UNT close the gaps and own excellence?
President’s Executive Summary
For 125 years, UNT has focused on serving the people of Texas through education. By preparing the leaders of tomorrow, we power the workforce and provide the intellectual and creative capital to keep the region and state moving forward.
Today, UNT is a university on the rise, expanding the notion of what it means to be creative and innovative. We’re focused on becoming a national public research university by growing in strategic areas like plant sciences, engineering and logistics. As we draw more high-quality students such as National Merit Scholars and students from the Top 20 percent of their class, we’re increasingly becoming the first choice for students.
Uniting through a shared vision and action plan, we can achieve a vision for UNT that enables us to provide the best education in Texas and rise to the top through academics, research and reputation.
Every vision must start with a solid plan, clear action steps and accountability every step of the way. We also must build a team that is willing to work hard together and be accountable for making progress toward the plan.
Starting in Fall 2014, I worked with many units across campus — and external stakeholders to execute our 2014-15 Action Plan, which focused on improving operations and infrastructure, enhancing academics and strengthening research.
To ensure key university priorities outlined in the Action Plan were supported, three Planning Implementation Teams each focused on a priority area:
- The Operations and Infrastructure Implementation Team led by Bob Brown, vice president for finance and administration.
- The Academic Implementation Team co-led by Warren Burggren, then provost and vice president for academic affairs, and Elizabeth With, vice president for student affairs. Finley Graves assumed co-leadership of the team’s ongoing initiatives following his appointment as provost and vice president for academic affairs. Shannon Goodman, vice president for Enrollment, has contributed to the team’s work since his arrival in February and will lead an implementation team focused on enrollment for 2015-16.
- The Research Implementation Team led by Tom McCoy, vice president for research and economic development.
The planning implementation work is part of a three-year planning cycle that addresses both critical issues and long-term goals, while more closely aligning our initiatives with our budgeting process and investments to best move the university forward. This year, we’ve focused on urgent issues like rebuilding our budget and accounting foundation. Year two will be about stabilization with a focus on academics. In year three, we’ll begin the process for strategic growth and building our brand and reputation. Along the way, progress is being made in all areas.
This 2014-15 end-of-year report outlines the progress made so far and the work still left to do. As you read through these reports, you’ll see that we’ve made strides in some areas, actually checking off big items on the to-do list. But it’s clear that we still have more to do in many areas, especially on projects that are far-reaching, more complex or require significant financial commitments.
The important thing is that we’ve outlined our priorities and put the wheels in motion to accomplish them, assigning projects and team leads so it’s clear what work must be done and who is responsible for leading the process. We’ll be rolling out more initiatives in the coming years as the teams continue to work on priorities in their areas.
In addition to the work of the three teams, I launched several important, high-level and broad-based projects that needed to happen immediately to place our university in a better position to move forward — and at a quicker rate.
For example, it was clear the university needed to act quickly to establish a Division of Enrollment and hire a founding vice president so that we would have a streamlined and more focused effort on recruiting and enrollment management, ultimately ensuring UNT achieves sustainable enrollment growth while balancing both quality and accessibility of UNT’s student population. We also hired Joanne Woodard as vice president for institutional equity and diversity to ensure UNT offers a welcoming, inclusive and accessible environment for all campus community members. David Wolf also joined us as vice president of advancement to help UNT take our donor relations, alumni engagement and fundraising operations to the next level.
Other equally impactful items started in 2014-15 included:
- Launching our very successful Eagle Express Tuition Plan and Eagle Advantage Top 20 percent guaranteed admission program
- Leading technology efforts for the UNT System, which includes introducing better data warehousing and launching projects to implement Customer Relations Management and a Marketing Automation System
- Providing merit raises for faculty and staff in FY 2015 and FY 2016
- Establishing a salary floor for faculty so that we are competitive in the marketplace and appropriately supporting quality faculty
We had a long to-do list this year, and we have made significant material progress, some completed and some ongoing work. I’ve never been on a campus where so much has been accomplished in a year, and much of that is thanks to the concerted effort of our teams and many dedicated faculty and staff across campus.
With our Action Plan in place and Implementation Teams working steadily toward progress, this coming year, we’ll focus on opportunities to build on the quality of our academic programs and advance their reputations nationally.
All of these efforts will make our university stronger and go a long way in ensuring we have the necessary support and work culture in place to provide our students with the best services and education possible. Our success depends on how sound our plan is and how well we all pull together to achieve our goals. With our Action Plan in place and Implementation Teams working steadily toward progress, we will journey to the top.
The Action Plan prioritizes the university’s vision and focus for each academic year. It also gives each division a better framework for its own individual planning and budgeting to make sure its efforts are aligned with the university’s goals. In addition to the work the Planning Implementation Teams did this year to achieve the goals outlined in the 2014-15 Action Plan, the university’s divisions accomplished a good deal of work in support of the university’s overall progress.
2015 Planning Implementation Workshop: Owning Excellence
- Read the message to campus about the 2015 Planning Implementation Workshop.
- Read a summary of the 2015 Planning Implementation Workshop.
- Read the 2014-15 Planning Implementation Reports.
2014 Planning Implementation Workshop: Better Together
- Read the message to campus about the 2014 Planning Implementation Workshop.
- Read a summary of the 2014 Planning Implementation Workshop.