Thursday, April 14, 2022
The UNT Faculty Senate celebrated the grand opening of the new Faculty Lounge with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday, April 13. Faculty are invited to visit the lounge, located in University Union Room 249, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Faculty Senate Chair Scott Belshaw, associate professor of criminal justice, cut the ribbon alongside UNT President Neal Smatresk, Interim Provost Michael McPherson, Vice Provost for Faculty Success Holly Hutchins, and members of the Faculty Senate executive committee.
“I am so glad that this is happening,” said Dr. McPherson. “I remember when I first got here in the early 1990s, there was a faculty lounge in the old Union. We didn’t have one for many years. It’s so great to have a place for faculty to go and hang out, socialize, and get to know each other. The opportunity to connect with colleagues — outside of our own departments, in particular — is such a big part of our community. It’s something we lost during the pandemic. I’m so grateful to the Faculty Senate, to Scott, and to Holly for making this happen.”
Plans for the new lounge have been underway since Dr. Belshaw took office in July 2021. With support from President Smatresk and Faculty Success leadership, it’s a reality.
With ample seating, floor-to-ceiling windows, and coffee, water, and snacks supplied by Faculty Success, the lounge offers a bright, welcoming place at the heart of campus to relax and catch up with colleagues. Beginning this summer, Faculty Success will use the new space to host various programs and events, including meet and greet sessions and Faculty Resource Group member socials.
“Faculty Success is proud to partner with the Senate on the new lounge,” said Dr. Hutchins. “We offer a range of professional development, mentoring, and networking opportunities for faculty, and the lounge is the perfect place to build that sense of community. We'll also invite faculty candidates to tour the space during their campus visits, and you might even see some special appearances by Scrappy as we hand out our new Faculty Success swag! The lounge will be a great pass-through space where you can grab a cup of coffee, get something to eat, and relax. We’re excited to give faculty a special place on campus that makes them feel at home.”
The lounge will feature a plaque honoring the late Dr. Bertina H. Combes donated by Faculty Success. A beloved leader, educator, and friend, Dr. Combes held many roles in her nearly 32 years at UNT, including professor of special education, associate and interim dean for the College of Education, and vice provost for faculty success. Dr. Combes was an advocate for faculty and students and a champion of diversity, equity, and inclusion. She devoted her career to improving the university she loved, and the new lounge — a collaborative effort led by and for faculty — reflects her deep and lasting legacy at UNT.