UNT Dallas President Bob Mong closed a busy week on campus with his annual "State of the University" town hall speech. Faculty, staff and students filled Founders Hall 101 -- a crowd that overflowed into Room 138 thanks to a Facebook Live broadcast -- for an inspiring summary of the latest news, initiatives and plans for our growing urban university.
Mong announced a third consecutive fall of record attendance with now 3,756 students enrolled. He highlighted UNT Dallas' strong, and rather unique, partnership model with local school districts, Dallas Community County Community College District and corporations, such as Toyota and Texas Instruments. Most inspiring, Mong said, is UNT Dallas' continued affordability and accessibility for all students regardless of background.
Along with the most affordable tuition in Dallas-Fort Worth, for a second consecutive year, UNT Dallas ranked No. 1 in Texas and No. 2 nationally for lowest student debt among public universities, according Peterson's College Data.
"Our reason to be is to address the educational disparities in North Texas. We all know, you know, we see it every day: Educational attainment in North Texas is very closely tied to how much money your parents make," said Mong, who last month received the Chancellor's Award from DCCCD, recognizing the growing partnership between the two institutions. "And we all know that's not just, that's not the America we want, that's not the North Texas we want. That's why UNT Dallas exists. But we can't do it alone, hence, the partnership model."
Mong also touted how the university listens to its student body. Students wanted more advisors on campus. UNT Dallas responded. The university now has a ratio of 250 students for each advisor, a ratio better than the 400 to 1 ratio at the University of Texas at Austin, Mong said. In addition, students have asked for more counselors on campus. Two additional counselors are being hired.
"Students asked for more advisors and we listened," said Mong, who also welcomed 14 new faculty members to the UNT Dallas family this fall.
Others items of note included:
• The UNT Dallas College of Law received a record 1,000 applicants for the fall semester, twice as many as in 2017, with 140 students enrolled.
• The soon-to-be home of the College of Law, the Municipal Building in downtown Dallas, currently undergoing a $56 million renovation, is scheduled for completion in March and will be ready to open in the summer.
• UNT Dallas is proposing the start of an intercollegiate athletics program for the fall of 2019 or 2020. Students are expected vote in November on an athletics fee.