UNT Board of Regents meeting to discuss money, future of university

UNT Board of Regents meeting to discuss money, future of university

November 16
17:06 2016

By Tiffany Ditto and Evan Groom

The UNT Board of Regents will meet Thursday and Friday after a two month break to review the UNT system performance, Texas’ 2017 Legislative session, financial decisions for the coming year and the finances from 2016.

One of the items submitted to the board is the addition of a new Bachelor of Arts degree program with a major in Japanese. Enrollment in Japanese courses has increased 125% since 2006 with steady increases each year, according to the agenda.

Currently, UNT only offers a minor in Japanese. If approved, they will also add a third teacher to the Japanese department at UNT.

Another item on the agenda is the approval to add a TWU and UNT joint master of social work degree program. The joint program, which focuses on health care as well as child and family services, will be an equal collaboration between the two institutions. Both will share a common program and curriculum, according to the regent agenda.

If approved, up to 36 applicants, once accepted into the program, will be distributed to either UNT or TWU’s campus to complete 30 hours of course work, beginning in 2018.

Another item pending approval is a master of the arts degree program with a major in women’s and gender studies. Currently at UNT, there is only an undergraduate minor for this program.

The program is being considered because of the growth in the job sector that has increased demand for these graduates, especially in non-governmental organizations both locally and globally, according to the agenda. Currently, interdisciplinary studies has enough existing graduate courses to offer a stand-alone program, so the creation of new classes for the program is unlikely.

The Board of Regents will also be deciding on the acquisition of property at 1125 North Texas Boulevard in Denton. This property will allow for further definition of the campus entry point and delineation of the campus edge south of Interstate 35 East. The property, already signed by the UNT System, is awaiting the board’s approval and will be sold for about $75,000.

The board will also review the progress of the campus in regards to the 2013 UNT master plan. Among the items is a housing master plan set to be released in February 2017 that will provide a strategic analysis to inform housing goals and objectives for UNT campus, according to the presentation.

One other aspect the board will be looking at pertains to finances, academic quality, research and audit activities reports. One of the key points covered in the annual research report reveals that UNT is ranked last among total research expenditures compared to its Texas peers, with Texas Tech being the highest ranked.

To increase funding, the report urges the board to consider strategically working with other institutions and federal labs, increase travel grants for graduate students and increase funded partnerships with between UNT, federal labs and the private sector.

The last thing on the agenda is the Quarterly Operations Report. This report shows, in a preliminary copy, that at the end of the fourth quarter of 2016, UNT’s revenue was above “$30.4 million, due to increases in tuition and fees driven by higher than anticipated enrollment.”

The report also shows that UNT ended the year with a $19 million surplus to Current Funds, exceeding the budget by over $14 million.

In addition, UNT ended the fiscal year with less than 1 percent under it’s budget for the year.

The board will use last year’s financial reports to determine how much funding is needed for next year.

The 2017 Texas Legislative session will also be discussed, but it is unclear how big of a role this will play in the meeting. The Texas legislative session is important to the university because each year, lawmakers allocate state funding to the university.

Other topics set to be discussed pertain to the athletics department, upcoming events and research collaboration opportunities.

The board meeting will begin at 9 a.m. Thursday in Union room 333,  and will be streamed live at https://www.untsystem.edu/leadership/board-regents/bor-webcast-111716.

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Tiffany Ditto

Tiffany Ditto

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