Another indication that the UNT Dallas name and the university's unique mission are gaining traction in southern Dallas and beyond, UNT Dallas on Wednesday welcomed the Texas Philanthropy Leadership Circle to campus.
The two-hour visit with members of numerous foundations and organizations consisted of a campus tour, lunch as President Bob Mong detailed the university's mission, vision and achievements -- such as the soaring graduation rate and being ranked No. 1 in the nation for lowest student debt among public schools. A panel discussion followed focusing on how UNT Dallas is playing a critical role in stemming the shortage of teachers in local school districts, and how future teachers are being educated and trained to better cope with the myriad of stresses of modern-day teaching.
"Our belief, and I think all of us in this room share it, that your ability to get an education should not be determined by how much money your parents make," Mong said. "So these are some of the things that drive us here at the University of North Texas at Dallas. We were put here to increase educational attainment in an area that has very low educational attainment. That's why we're here."
Representatives of 50 national and regional foundations made up the group that visited campus through the assistance of Educate Texas. The Texas Philanthropy Leadership Circle chose to make UNT Dallas one of their stops because of the vision President Mong has delivered: a unique collaborative, a focus on high-poverty students and the university's growth trajectory that has seen a 51 percent increase in enrollment over the last three years, and a 90 percent increase in graduates from 2015 to 2019.
"Our vision, we believe, is one of the things that we believe has legs, and that is we want to be a university that provides a pathway to social and economic mobility for our students," President Mong said. "And it's happening."
Dr. John Gasko, former School of Education dean and now Special Advisor to the President, led the panel discussion. Emerging Teacher Institute executive director Elizabeth Cheek served on the panel that examined the teaching profession and the critical nature of producing not only enough teachers to fill the growing need, but also producing quality, well-prepared teachers to guide future generations.