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Update from Chancellor Lesa Roe

Friday, September 25, 2020

UNT World Faculty & Staff:

Now roughly one month into the fall semester, I’m happy to report that while nothing is flawless, our coronavirus safety protocols are working. Below is a summary of data we released on Sept. 18 as part of a formal public information request by the New York Times.

At UNT, the total number of COVID-19 tests completed as part of our university program is 3,403. This includes random testing and patient-requested testing performed at our Student Health & Wellness Center, as well as routine testing performed as part of our NCAA Division I athletics testing program. Out of these we have had just 69 positives. In addition faculty, staff and students have voluntarily reported 152 positive tests performed by others. Between UNT Dallas and UNT Health Science Center, we have less than 40 positive cases reported.

This good news doesn't mean we can put our guard down, as we've seen several institutions of higher education become coronavirus hot spots. Some positive COVID-19 cases are inevitable, but by continuing to follow safety guidelines we can continue to keep those numbers low. When positive cases occur, our contract tracing protocols will help isolate exposure and limit the spread of the virus – your support of these efforts is greatly appreciated.    

We will continue to put the safety of our students, faculty, staff and communities first, and sometimes we will have to make hard choices. UNT made the responsible decision to cancel this Saturday's football game at the University of Houston due to positive COVID-19 cases. Per Vice President & Director of Athletics Wren Baker: “Our student-athlete health and safety is the priority in every decision we make and that is what this difficult decision is based on. We are hopeful we can resume safe activities soon.”  

Thank you our system-wide coronavirus response team for creating and executing a plan that's keeping our students, faculty and staff as safe as possible during this challenging time.

High Fives

UNT announced a 4.1% enrollment increase to a record 40,796 students for Fall 2020. Additionally, our flagship shared a dramatic rise in U.S. News & World Report’s 2021 Best College Rankings, moving up to No. 121 among the nation’s top public schools, leaping upward from its 140th ranking last year.UNT also is ranked 44th among American universities in social mobility, a jump from its 96th placement in 2020.

UNT Dallas also announced a new enrollment record, with 4,171 students this fall – a 3% increase from last fall. UNTD also celebrated its climb in three categories in the U.S. News & World Report 2021 Best Colleges Rankings for regional universities in the West – moving to No. 60 Overall (up from No. 77); No. 28 Top Public Schools (up from No. 37); and No. 71 Top Performers on Social Mobility (up from No. 91). 

Dr. Jamboor Vishwanatha

HSC will administer the Texas portion of a $12 million National Institutes of Health award for outreach and engagement efforts in ethnic and racial minority communities disproportionately affected by COVID-19. Part of NIH's Community Engagement Alliance (CEAL) Against COVID-19 Disparities, the Texas Consortium will be led by Dr. Jamboor K. Vishwanatha, Regents Professor and Founding Director for the HSC Texas Center for Health Disparities

The upcoming UNT System Board of Regents meeting on November 18-19 will be held virtually due to coronavirus, as we continue to follow the state’s guidelines for indoor gatherings of 10 or more during the pandemic. A link to view the board meeting via livestream will be posted to the UNT System web site prior to the meeting. 

Fall means election season, and I'd like to encourage all of our eligible employees to exercise their 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.

The deadline to register and be eligible to vote in the November 3, 2020 election is October 5, 2020. This can be either the postmark date or the date the application is received in the office of the voter registrar. You can obtain a voter registration application from your voter registrar's office, libraries, most post offices, and high schools. You can also fill out a voter registration application online or request a postage-paid application be mailed to you. 

Thank you, 
Lesa B. Roe