Why Our Values Journey Matters

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

 UNT System - Office of the Chancellor

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff of the UNT System:
First and foremost, I hope each of you enjoyed the winter break and that your 2023 is off to an exciting start. During our recent closure, I hope you were able to step away from work and find time to spend with family and friends making new memories. If you are like me, you might have also spent time reflecting on the past year reviewing various areas of your life while looking forward to all you want to achieve in 2023. I certainly did. As I reflected on the past year we have had together, there was one high note I was most proud of in 2022.
That specific high note was the hard work of many people in the fall that culminated in the formation of our new UNT System's core values and behaviors – the values and behaviors we will all ultimately strive to live by every day in the new culture we are building together. As we carry that exciting momentum into 2023, I think it is important we remind ourselves why we embarked on this journey to build a values-based culture across the entire system.
From the time of my first days as Chancellor I heard repeatedly how the UNT universities had always worked separately and existed in separate silos.  There was a strong desire for more collaboration and support for bringing us closer together.  I saw where each university had its own values, its own direction and its own specific culture. There was no evidence of how we were all connected other than the "UNT" in our respective names. Because we were so separate there was no alignment on goals, no opportunities for synergy, and no sharing of future plans in a way where we could help each other. As a result of all I heard, I began to dream of how much better our system and each campus could be if we all became better aligned, more collaborative, and part of one unifying culture that maximized our collective strengths as one team.
In order to have such a shared culture there needed to be a well-defined set of core values to be the bedrock of our new unified culture. In November, a representative group of 125 or so team members from each campus came together to form these values. As we become one team, working together to fulfill our shared vision in lockstep under the same values, our day-to-day will be brighter, and we will become collectively the best place to work, learn, discover, and innovate. As we continue to build a culture of high trust, we will create a greater sense of understanding among each other, where we break down silos and openly share information. We will be a more inclusive environment celebrating each other’s successes and rallying in support of each other when faced with adversity. We will foster an environment where we can encourage innovation and curiosity. This will make all that we do better.
I am excited for our future because I know and have experienced the impact shared values make in everything we do. For those who are uncertain and for those who are already on board, I encourage each of you to spend time becoming familiar with our values and to attend an upcoming event where we will share more about our values, what they mean, and how we can begin to live them.
I’m confident our new values will provide us a structure to guide us to a highly successful future. I am fully committed to living these values each and every day and invite you to join me on this transformative journey.
With gratitude,
Dr. Michael R. Williams