Start of the New School Year

Dear faculty and academic department staff,

I have been anxiously waiting for the start of the school year. For the last few weeks, I have been staring out my office window, eagerly anticipating the arrival of our faculty and students. I’m so happy you’re back (or alternatively if you are new to campus - I’m so happy you have joined us)!

In the two months I’ve been here, I’ve already met with many talented students, faculty and staff who are committed to ensuring our students and university succeed, and I’m excited to meet more of you and learn more about the academic programs, departments and areas that make our university strong. I look forward to watching the magic happen as you and your students come together and learn from each other this fall. These may sound like little things, but let’s make sure UNT is a welcoming place.

  • Offer a friendly wave or hello to students in this first week on campus. If you see someone who looks lost, ask if they need directions. Hey, it might even be me looking lost as I continue to find my way around our beautiful campus.
  • If a student has missed more than one class, please reach out to them. This small gesture helps our students understand how much we care about their success.
  • Let’s remember to give each other a pat on the back when it is deserved. Remember all of the people who make UNT a great place to be – such as the custodians who keep our buildings clean, the advisors who answer countless student questions, the tutoring staff who help students grasp concepts they struggle with, administrative staff who keep our offices running smoothly, and our faculty who enable and encourage student learning, as well as the countless other UNT community members who are working hard each day.
  • We all can make UNT a better place to work by respecting everyone on our team. We demonstrate this respect when we meet deadlines, respond to communications in a timely manner, speak to each other in ways that encourages productive dialogue, and show appreciation for work well done.  
  • We are a team that takes great pride in the roles we play in supporting the success of UNT. I look forward to what we can accomplish together this year.

As I am getting to know the campus and each of you, I encourage you to join me, in a small setting, for an informal brown bag lunch this fall. You bring your lunch, I’ll provide the drinks and dessert, and everyone brings their voices and perspectives so we can have an informative and thought-provoking conversation about the future direction for UNT. Please contact Margaret Vestal to sign up for one of the dates listed below. Slots will fill on a first-come, first-serve basis to faculty and staff, with seven slots available for each lunch.

  • Sept. 29: Noon to 1:30 p.m.
  • Oct. 20: Noon to 1:30p.m.
  • Oct. 24: Noon to 1:30 p.m.
  • Nov. 3: Noon to 1:30 p.m.
  • Nov. 28: Noon to 1:30 p.m.
  • Dec. 11: Noon to 1:30 p.m.

Faculty, please keep me in the loop. I know you are busy with finishing that next piece of scholarship, helping your students master a difficult concept, and serving on important committees. Feel free to drop me a line this semester and let me know what you are working on, whether it be research, teaching or activities in your program. And if you have published a book in 2017, please send a copy to my office so I can display it.

UNT reached Carnegie Tier One status because of the excellence and hard work of our faculty and staff. I will do what I can as provost to provide a positive environment for your success, but it is your passion and drive that will take us further as a research university. I ask that you simply be your best and encourage those around you to be their best, too. 

This fall, we are welcoming new leaders to our campus. Here’s a look at some of the new faces:

  • Dr. Pia Wood starts Oct. 23 as the Vice Provost and Dean of International Affairs, as well as an Associate Professor of Political Science. Read more about Dr. Wood.
  • Dr. Randy Bomer from the University of Texas at Austin joined us as our new Dean of the College of Education. Read more about Dr. Bomer.
  • Dr. Su Gao has successfully transitioned as the Dean of the College of Sciences. Dr. Gao accepted a two-year appointment as the college’s dean, following his service as the interim dean and leading the establishment of the new college.
  • Dr. David Holdeman will continue to serve as Dean of the newly formed College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. Dr. Holdeman accepted a two-year extension of his appointment as dean.

Please join us at 3 p.m. Sept. 21 for President Smatresk’s State of the University address and stay for a reception to meet all of UNT’s new academic leadership immediately afterward.

As we head into the fall, we already have marked points of pride that are moving our institution forward:

  • We are welcoming 107 new faculty to campus this fall.
  • We are expecting another record-breaking freshman class, and we are proud that we have many National Merit Finalists joining our student ranks this fall. Our incoming doctoral class is also up this fall.
  • Only two years after launching UNT New College at Frisco, enrollment surpassed 1,100 students and 10 degree programs, with a number of concentration options.
  • We have several offices that have moved this summer, including Mayborn School of Journalism (2nd floor of Sycamore), the College of Science (2ndfloor of Hickory Hall), College of Education Dean’s Office (Matthews Hall 124), Higher Education (Matthews 214), Economics (3rd floor of Wooten), and Teach North Texas (Curry Hall 3rd floor).

And please continue to be patient as we also have some temporary relocations, including the Veteran’s Center (GAB 102 and 119), UIT Help Desk (Sage 233), Career Connect (GAB 201) and the BAAS Program (Sage Hall 302).

Remember my office cares deeply about the success of our students, faculty and staff. The more you keep my team and me informed, the easier it is to support you and your colleagues. We are committed to finding ways to make things work.

Together, I know we are going to have a great academic year.

Jennifer Cowley, PhD
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs