Update from Chancellor Lesa Roe, Oct. 30, 2020

Friday, October 30, 2020

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UNT World Faculty & Staff:

Quick check in – how are you holding up during the coronavirus pandemic?

These are challenging times for many of us. Across the globe, people are feeling the economic effects of the pandemic, as well as related stressors such as childcare/schooling, lack of social interaction or simply getting sick.

If you need support for interpersonal health, please don’t hesitate to engage with our Employee Assistance Program, which offers free counseling sessions to benefits-eligible faculty and staff, as well as to your dependents. Our system-wide well-being program – In the Green: UNT World Well-Being – also offers interpersonal health resources and virtual events.

I also want to hear how you are doing from a work standpoint. How can our leadership make your job easier and eliminate as much work-related stress as possible?


Our goal, across the UNT System, is to be a “Best Place to Work,” and that’s why we ask our faculty and staff to anonymously provide input as to how we can improve UNT World via the Gallup Engagement Survey. This annual inquiry is intended to provide direct guidance from our most important resource – faculty and staff who are fulfilling UNT World’s important missions – so we can provide the very best employment experience possible.

This year’s Gallup Survey was launched on Oct. 26, with a hard deadline to complete the survey by Nov. 6 – just one week from today. It only takes a few minutes to complete. Here is a brief snapshot of the participation rates per campus so far:

UNT: 45% participation

UNT Dallas: 42% participation

HSC: 55% participation

UNT System Administration: 61% participation

If you have not yet completed the survey, please provide your anonymous feedback to us via Gallup. Once complete, your insights will provide Presidents Mong, Smatresk, Williams and me with four years of rich data to analyze and help us build workplace engagement strategies. So please respond before it’s too late!

For those who haven’t yet taken the survey, a reminder is on its way from the Gallup organization (subject line: [EXT] You’re Invited to Participate).  Your voice is an essential part of our effort to make UNT World the very best it can be for faculty and staff, and your participation will make a difference. 
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Dr. Stephan Davis


The Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, with contributions from the HSC School of Public Health, has released a set of recommendations for building a culture of fairness, respect and inclusion in health professions learning environments. Dr. Stephan Davis of HSC contributed to the Foundation’s report and development of four broad recommendations and specific action steps for addressing forms of harmful bias and eliminating discrimination, to make diversity, equity and inclusion top priorities in learning environments and in practice.
Hispanic Heritage Month Video Series


The UNT System Office of Communications & Marketing led a virtual celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15 to Oct. 15) by producing a series of videos featuring Latinx faculty, staff and alumni from across UNT World. Each interview subject for the video series discussed what Hispanic Heritage means to them in a short vignette that was distributed via social media. CLICK HERE for a YouTube! playlist that includes all seven of the short videos.
Wonbong Choi and Yijie Jiang, engineering professors at UNT

Wonbong Choi and Yijie Jiang, engineering professors at UNT, will collaborate with the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the largest U.S. Department of Energy science and energy laboratory, as part of a $1.5 million grant from the DOE to advance 3D printed materials for automotive body frames. Choi and Jiang will conduct their research over the next three years in the UNT Center for Agile and Adaptive Additive Manufacturing, one of the most advanced university research facilities in the nation for materials analysis. CAAAM was launched in 2019 with a $10 million appropriation by the State of Texas Legislature.
UNT Dallas athlete running

The UNT Dallas men’s and women’s cross country teams became the university's first program to compete in intercollegiate athletics, participating in five competitive events this fall. The Trailblazers compete at the NAIA level and plan to launch men’s and women’s basketball, as well as men’s and women’s track & field, during the 2020-21 academic year. UNT Dallas Director of Athletics Jack Allday paused to recognize the historic launch of intercollegiate competition for UNT Dallas: “This is something (the cross country team) will proudly carry with them for the rest of their lives.”
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In preparation for the upcoming 87th Texas Legislative Sessions, which begins in January 2021, Presidents Mong, Smatresk, Williams and I will be participating in LAR (Legislative Appropriations Request) Hearings with the Governor’s Office and Legislative Budget Board staff on Nov. 5. As state-funded entities, the UNT System and member institutions submit funding requests and priorities for consideration by the State Legislature. These hearings will be a precursor to additional testimony that the presidents and I expect to provide to appropriate House and Senate committees for higher education and appropriations in 2021.

On Oct. 22, UNT System Vice Chancellor & Chief Financial Officer Dan Tenney launched a new virtual event series for faculty and staff across UNT World titled, “Ask Me Anything.” The first “Ask Me Anything” discussion included a panel of senior leaders from across the UNT System asking pre-submitted and live questions from employees. If you did not have a chance to participate or view the discussion live, archive video has been posted online at UNTSystem.edu.

In addition to the new “Ask Me Anything” series, we will hold a virtual Town Hall on Dec. 15 from 1 - 2:30 p.m. that will include Presidents Mong, Smatresk, Williams and me. The Town Hall will reflect on the fall semester and will introduce our spring plans across UNT World. The Town Hall will be available at this link: UNTSystem.edu/DecemberTownHall. If you have specific work-related questions you would like us to address during the Town Hall, please email communications@untsystem.edu.

America is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment that gave women the constitutional right to vote. Voting brings us together as Americans and allows us to have a say in the future of our local community and country.

Earlier this week, UNT Professor of Political Science Elizabeth Oldmixon, who also serves as Faculty Director for UNT at Frisco, joined our “We Are North Texas” podcast. I encourage you to listen, as Dr. Oldmixon previews the upcoming presidential election and discusses how politics continue to evolve with new forms of media, technology and data.

As I’m sure you know, this coming Tuesday, Nov. 3, is Election Day across North Texas and America. If you have not already, I'd like to encourage all of our eligible employees to exercise your right to vote. 

Thank you, 

Lesa B. Roe