From the Board of Regents to our university presidents to my office and cabinet, UNT World is committed to continuous improvement as it relates to producing the highest quality outputs as efficiently as possible. This includes the central services we provide to our member institutions, and it also includes the customer services we provide to our students.
To help ensure best practices in service, quality and efficiency, we have conducted functional reviews in many business areas over the last two years, including human resources, IT, legal, facilities and financial functions. We are in the process of reviewing our enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform, and a review of our procurement operation is launching this month.
These reviews provide a unique opportunity to gather and analyze input from customers, stakeholders and industry experts. We then apply the insights gained through each review to find opportunities to get better, whether that applies to processes, people or overall organizational structure.
Through these efforts, we have made great strides in aligning services with university initiatives. Working together across our UNT World, we can put more of our resources into achieving our visions and institutional missions, while also elevating customer service.
One success story that resulted through our functional review process was the decision to move student financial services back to our campuses in April, 2018 – changing our centralized model. Since transitioning to a campus-based model, we have achieved new campus-level efficiencies, while also improving personalization and customer service through increased face-to-face interactions with students and parents.
As part of this initiative, UNT has also introduced the Start Green, Stay Green program to help ensure that students are receiving the financial assistance they require. This collaborative program, which includes the Dean of Students Office, Student Financial Services, Student Financial Aid and Scholarships, and the Student Money Management Center, provides individualized support to students in financial duress.
“Every student has a story,” said Joey Saxon, UNT's associate vice president of Student Financial Services. “They may need money for books or living expenses. We’ve heard from students who are homeless. Sometimes they just need a little extra help or just have an outstanding balance that prevents them from enrolling. The program allows offices to coordinate in order to provide as much assistance as possible.”
It's programs and ideas like these that drive our system and institutions forward. Looking inward to review our processes and services can be catalyst for positive change and that makes all of us better.
Fiscal Year 2019 was a record-setting time for UNT World on many levels – enrollment, academic excellence, research growth and fundraising. The year also was a milestone for construction activity, as the UNT System and its institutions opened four new or renovated facilities that are making a significant impact on our campuses. These facilities were funded through the State of Texas’ Tuition Revenue Bond (TRB) program.
This month's spotlight video highlights these incredible facilities and their impact on our campuses, as well as hard work and collaborative efforts of UNT System Facilities and our institutions.
Gov. Greg Abbott appointed Daniel Feehan, John Scott, Jr., D.O. and Melisa Denis to the UNT System Board of Regents. Regents Feehan, Scott and Denis replace Gwyn Shea, Glen Whitley and Rusty Reid. We are excited to introduce our new regents at the February Board Meeting and thank our outgoing regents for their service.
MORE: UNT System
UNT Dallas was named the top public university in Texas for its support of first-generation college students by ScholarShot.UNTD edged the University of Texas at Arlington for the top spot in ScholarShot's "report card," which considers graduate outcomes, academic engagement, financial management and interventions.
MORE: Inside Higher Ed
Kent Chapman, a University of North Texas regents professor, is working with researchers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other universities to find better ways to store and use lipids. Lipids, energy-dense molecules that are found in all plants, could help further biofuel research.
MORE: Denton Record-Chronicle
UNT Health Science Center has recognized the link between exercise and diet to cancer treatment by opening the FitSteps for Life program. Funded by the Cancer Foundation for Life, Rutledge Cancer Foundation and HSC Foundation, the free program provides supervised exercise sessions for cancer patients and cancer survivors.
MORE: UNT Health Science Center
UNT World will be launching a new well-being program for faculty and staff across our system this spring that will focus on physical, interpersonal and mental well-being. This program will include learning opportunities, special events and access to benefits and resources to help us reach our full potential in every phase of our lives.
As a lead-in to the launch of this exciting new initiative, UNT System Human Resources would like to encourage you to participate in the 2020 Get Fit Texas! State Agency Challenge. Get Fit Texas, which began this week, offers state employees a fun opportunity to monitor and improve physical activity as part of a healthy lifestyle. Our team members that participate in this fun fitness challenge will strive to be physically active for 150 minutes per week for at least six of the 10 weeks of the Challenge.
Simply visit http://getfittexas.org to register, and you can can start logging your physical activity time. In the spirit of friendly competition, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) will track the completion percentages for each state agency and recognize top agencies in each size category (small, mid-size and large) with the highest completion percentages.
We all know the many benefits of exercise and physical activity: weight loss, increased mobility, reduced risk of heart disease, lower stress, and even a reduced risk for some types of cancer. We can do this! It’s time to lace up those shoes, join the program and show the state that UNT World understands how important physical activity is to a healthy lifestyle.
Lesa B. Roe