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"This will be a good year for UNT," predicts Rawlins

(President V. Lane Rawlins shares his observations in this Official Notice sent July 26.)

10_Rawlins_Lane_Torso_sm_DSC1676.jpgDear UNT community,

In my first two months here, I have had the opportunity to take a fairly in-depth look at UNT. As I meet more faculty and staff members, I learn about how each of you contributes to our successes.

I am extremely excited by what I’ve learned and by those I’ve met. And, I want to remind each of you that we all have much to be proud of in the university. UNT has high standards, excellent faculty and staff members, and a student-centered, public-driven mission that creates opportunities for us to serve the region, state and nation with a commitment that surpasses many universities.

I am proud to be part of the UNT community, and I’m glad to know that those I’ve met are proud to be a part of UNT, too. I look forward to getting to know you better.

My encounters with faculty and staff members also have allowed me to listen to your concerns. In many of our conversations, two questions have come up repeatedly. The first question I’ve been asked by nearly everyone I’ve met is:

In the past few years, the UNT and the UNT System administrations have said one of our goals is to be a top-ranked research university. With the recent changes in administration and the search for a longer-term president, do you think this emphasis will be continued?

I want to assure all of you that in the coming year we will continue to focus on the goals outlined in the university’s overall strategic plan and our strategic plan for research, and we will direct our resources toward the identified objectives. Becoming a major research university is a long-held vision, developed with input from the university community, and UNT will continue to follow this path. I know that the UNT System chancellor and regents have stated strong support for UNT’s strategic goals and are seeking a longer-term president who shares these goals and vision.

At the same time, the UNT administration and I are aware that, as we seek to achieve our goals, the very things that have made UNT a university with strong traditions of excellence must be preserved and enhanced — they are the foundations for our emergence as a research university. In this coming year, we will establish new processes and councils designed to include more of you in developing and implementing plans to support UNT’s evolution into a major research university. I will be sharing more information about the formation of councils in the months ahead.

The second question I’ve been asked regularly is:

Since the plan for moving toward our goals in research and overall excellence requires new expenditures, how will we be affected by the state-mandated budget reductions?

The first thing to remember is that our state appropriation will most likely be reduced significantly because of the economic crisis. By tightening our belts now with a modified hiring freeze and cost-saving measures, and with projected increases in enrollment, I believe we can weather the proposed state reductions and make progress toward our long-term objectives. The proposed budget cuts may affect the speed of our progress, but they won’t change our direction.

I am optimistic that this will be a good year for UNT, and I promise you that I will do what I can to keep us on track. I also will strive to keep you informed about our progress and the challenges we may encounter along the way.

Thanks for all that you do to make UNT such a great place. And thanks for the warm welcome into the UNT community.

V. Lane Rawlins

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