Norval Pohl, the president of UNT with the memorable name, has announced that he’ll be stepping down in 2006. His resignation letter follows below, and to say that it’s comprehensive is an understatement. He even mentions new flower beds on campus as part of his legacy.
To the Members of the UNT Community:
Nearly seven years have passed since arriving at UNT, and I have greatly enjoyed working with the university’s students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends, and the wonderful citizens of Denton. It has been a time of rapid change for higher education here in Texas. While the fundamental ideal of the university learning community has not changed, almost everything else has: student demographics, distance education, tuition deregulation and the rise of education markets, and the sea change in educational planning and outcomes measures promulgated by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and the State Legislature.
In addition, the physical “look” of the UNT campus has changed. It has expanded to include the UNT Research Park, Eagle Point and the former Liberty Christian School. Flower beds, outdoor seating areas, and the renovation of the Library Mall tell us things are different. The addition of over 900 beds in residence halls, a new dining commons, a five-sorority housing complex, and a hugely successful shuttle system have forever altered the residential nature of the campus. We have also witnessed the construction of a new Chemistry Building, an Athletic Administration Building, a very popular Student Recreation Center, and by this fall, new venues for women’s sports and a beautiful new tennis complex. And, by winter, construction will begin on a $17m Student Wellness and Career Center, and a new observatory facility.
Perhaps less visible, but ultimately more important to the future of UNT, has been the addition of a College of Engineering; the successful completion of An Act of Leadership , our first real capital campaign; the addition of over $7 million in federal appropriations for research; 47 patent filings; the licensing of intellectual property to a well funded start-up company, and the anticipated move into the Research Park of our first tenant.
Overlaying all of this change has been the initiation of a comprehensive strategic planning effort. The Academic Plan, the cornerstone of our strategic planning process, is completed. The development of a 5-year University-level Strategic Plan, which defines the parameters for planning at the unit level will be in draft stages by mid-August, and following feedback from the UNT community, in final form by late September. In early October, units will begin a 4-month intensive effort to populate the plan with specific unit-level goals, objectives, strategies, performance measures and action plans.
Because there is a multi-year time frame for actually implementing the Strategic Plan, I feel that there is a window of opportunity now for both the University and for me.
For the University, it is an opportunity to bring in a new person to lead the campus community through these next several years of rapid development. And for me personally, it is perhaps the last opportunity to take on one new academic challenge and experience the wonderful feeling of self renewal. Accordingly, I have informed Chancellor Jackson and the Board of Regents that I will neither seek nor accept an extension of my administrative contract beyond August 31, 2006. By announcing my intent now, the University community will have ample time to complete a successful search process.
Norval F. Pohl