Welcome to the spring semester — A message from Provost McPherson

Greetings Colleagues,

I hope you enjoyed a restorative winter break. As we embark upon a new year and a new semester, I want to express my gratitude for the many ways you inspire, support, and care for our students. It is because of your dedication that UNT continues to shine.

We weathered our share of challenges in 2023, but we also celebrated major milestones including the approval of the Texas University Fund, the opening of two new career centers, the debut of the Pettinger Engine Collection at Discovery Park, UNT ELEVAR’s Star Award from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, and countless high-profile grants and awards earned by our trailblazing faculty and students.

While we have much to celebrate, there is always work to be done. I want to highlight some of the topics that will be guiding our conversations in the coming months, as I know that they are top of mind for many of you as well. I invite you to share your thoughts with me and with your area leadership so that we can better support you and your departments.

Strategic Growth

UNT has experienced tremendous growth over the past few years — a testament to our world-class faculty and to our university’s critical higher education role not just in the North Texas region, but throughout the state.

We’ve known for some time that certain areas are feeling the strain of this growth more acutely than others. Moving forward, we will shift our focus to more thoughtful and strategic growth — identifying well-resourced areas that have room to grow, such as UNT Online and UNT at Frisco, while taking measures to increase support for areas we know are already stretched thin so they can better serve our students. I will be having discussions with deans about areas in their colleges that have the capacity for growth and areas that need more support.

Budget Update

The passage of the TUF fund, a permanent endowment from which we (along with Houston, Texas Tech, and Texas State) will receive an annual allocation in perpetuity, was an important step forward for us. It will allow us to address some of the compensation issues that have constrained us. Certainly, this includes faculty and staff compensation, but it also will allow us to begin addressing inadequate compensation of doctoral students. We’ll soon be announcing a first step in what will be a multi-year process.

I’ll look forward to learning about college priorities from deans next month. Continuing to shore up areas strained by rapid growth in recent years will remain a priority. In addition, we must continue to make strategic investments in the scholarly/creative/research endeavor. We are

very close to hitting the marks set by the legislature that would qualify UNT for additional TUF funding. In particular, we need to meet or exceed the required levels of research expenditures for two consecutive years.

Academic Policy Update

Policy review is an ongoing, collaborative process and is crucial to our mission of shared governance. I encourage you to familiarize yourself with UNT Policy and to reach out should you have questions or concerns. Three notable policies recently were revised:

  •  UNT Policy 06.004, Faculty Reappointment, Tenure, Promotion, and Reduced Appointments — Revisions include clarifying that external reviewers' identities will not be redacted should a candidate request copies of external review letters. If a negative recommendation is being considered, the concerns must be specified in writing to the candidate.
  • UNT Policy 06.051, Faculty Grievance — The substantive revision was to Professional Faculty member grievances related to a promotion where the dean is a party. The aggrieved faculty member must be granted a hearing by the University Faculty Grievance Committee (UFGC).
  • UNT Policy 06.052, Review of Tenured Faculty — In order to align this policy with Texas Senate Bill 18, modifications were made to the criteria for a tenured faculty member to be placed on a Professional Development Plan (PDP).

Eclipse Day

As many of you know, North Texas will experience a rare phenomenon on Monday, April 8 — a total solar eclipse. Frisco will be in the path of totality, and Denton will not miss it by much. In both places, weather permitting, it will be a sight many of us will not see again. It seems to me that we have a rare opportunity to do what we do best: to teach and learn, and to spark intellectual curiosity.

To take advantage of this opportunity, President Smatresk will allow faculty who are teaching classes that meet between noon and 5 p.m. to either not hold classes or to move class outdoors. There is no obligation for faculty to do so.

In addition, committees of faculty and staff (one on the Denton campus and one at UNT at Frisco) are gathering information on the many activities being planned around the eclipse and will work out a plan to publicize them. Look for details as the semester progresses. Please share your ideas for activities with Vice Provost Lisa McIntyre, chair of the Denton committee, or Assistant Vice President Hope Garcia, who leads our efforts in Frisco.


Every three years, UNT participates in the COACHE Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey to identify ways we can strengthen our efforts to attract and retain the best and brightest scholars and teachers and increase the satisfaction of all UNT faculty.

This survey differs from the recent Gallup Employee Engagement survey in that COACHE was designed solely to assess your current job satisfaction compared to faculty at peer institutions. Results are confidential, with only aggregate data (void of identifying information) being shared with select UNT administrators.

The survey is only the first step in a three-year process designed to transform data into actionable policies and practices. In the past, our COACHE survey results helped us identify and address aspects of faculty life where you and others were less satisfied, such as compensation, equity, faculty mentoring, and support for our Professional Faculty community.

In early February, all full-time faculty members will receive an email directly from COACHE containing their unique link to the web-based survey. I encourage you to participate in this important opportunity to share your voice as a member of our academic community, create a better work environment for you and your colleagues, and make UNT a great place to work.

I wish you a wonderful spring semester and look forward to hearing about the exciting work that’s underway across our university. Please reach out if there is anything I can do to support you.


Michael A. McPherson, Ph.D.

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs