UNT unveils new goals for guiding its growth

DENTON -- The University of North Texas wants to become the school of choice for graduating high school seniors and a superior center for graduate-level work in the next five years, according to a vision plan unveiled Monday and summed up in a new saying: "A green light to greatness."

UNT President V. Lane Rawlins outlined the strategic plan, billed as "Four Bold Goals, One Great University: UNT in a Whole New Light," during a special event at the Murchison Performance Arts Center on the Denton campus. The vision plan was detailed along with the new tagline that will become part of UNT's future marketing message.

About 1,200 students, faculty and alumni listened as Rawlins asked them to "Imagine UNT tomorrow," adding, "We must know we are trying to do. We must know where we are going."

The five-year plan builds on the school's mission to become a major public research university committed to advancing educational excellence and preparing students for the world.

During a sometimes funny preamble that touched on the university's accomplishments through the decades, Jeffrey Snider, chairman of vocal studies at the College of Music, said, "Good enough is never good enough."

Top choice

The audience received bags featuring the new logo. Inside, they found T-shirts, water bottles and notebooks with the same saying.

Bottled water and cookie bags with the new logo were also handed out.

UNT's quest mirrors efforts across the state by universities and college to compete for the best and brightest graduating high school seniors. Rawlins said UNT wants be in the game.

"We would like that," Rawlins told the Star-Telegram in an earlier interview. "That would be an excellent outcome. ... There are a lot of institutions in this country that are really stepping it up. I think North Texas can lead."

The school's first goal is to provide the best undergraduate educational experience in Texas. The plan calls for attracting and supporting strong students who will learn from faculty dedicated to high standards, research and scholarship. The plan also promises to support efforts that help students stay in school, engage in service and graduate on time.

"Let's shoot for being the best in the state of Texas," Rawlins said.

Customer friendly

The plan also calls for expanding and recruiting high-quality faculty and research to support a stronger graduate education program. This goal ties into the school's efforts to reach top-tier research status.

Texas Tech, the University of Texas at Arlington and University of Texas at Dallas are also trying to gain that status.

Other goals include becoming more customer friendly and savvy when it comes to the needs of students and school operations, and becoming more engaged in the North Texas community.

"I thought it was really cool," said Julia Clark, a senior majoring in social work.

Jennifer Smith, a freshman majoring in criminal justice, said she likes UNT's efforts to become the best.

"I think the four bold goals will brighten it up and have everyone become more involved," Smith said, adding that UNT has many strong programs.

"We have some of the best schools," Smith said.

Diane Smith, 817-390-7675

Twitter: @dianestar