Legislative update and upcoming town halls

From the Office of the Chancellor

Dear Faculty, Staff and Students of the UNT System:

Our Presidents and I have spent a good deal of time in Austin recently, providing testimony to the Texas State Legislature. We want to be sure that you are kept up to date on our messaging to our state leaders, as they are the key stakeholders who make vital decisions that impact us in many ways.

We will continue to communicate externally in a way that is aligned with our efforts to build a values-based culture centered on why we are all here: ensuring our students are successful in receiving the best education possible.

Simultaneously, the value proposition of higher education is being questioned by individuals across the country as tuitions rise, and as we prioritize students and families, we must also be responsive to workforce demands that will employ our students and fuel our state’s economy. One of the most important factors in this “customer-focused” mindset is ensuring college remains accessible and affordable for our students at each UNT System campus. This is critically important to me, our campus leadership, our board of regents and the Texas Legislature.

I am proud that for the seventh consecutive year, no UNT campus has raised tuition – HSC has not raised tuition once in the last ten years and UNT Dallas has raised tuition only once in the past decade. At UNT Denton, 41% of our undergrad students graduate without any debt at all, and the total amount of debt per student is decreasing. These measures continue to trend in the right direction across the entire UNT System.

On returning from these conversations at the legislature, we can be confident that we are well-positioned to become an even more significant leader in higher education in Texas. Our message must remain crystal clear about where we are going and how we want to lead. We believe that our message was well received by the legislators, who see us as solution-oriented. I expect a successful upcoming legislative cycle that will allow us to continue, and even expand our hard work.

Lastly, I want to be sure to remind you that our team will be at each campus for a town hall style listening tour launch event in early October. The dates, times and locations can be found at this website, where additional listening sessions will also be posted in the future, so keep checking in for updates.

We look forward to hearing from you live – be it in-person or virtually – starting in a week. In the meantime, as always, please feel free to send me your thoughts directly and our team will be in touch.

Very respectfully,

Dr. Michael R. Williams