Meet Our Members: Dr. Neal Smatresk

Neal Smatresk

 

Dr. Neal Smatresk, President, UNT

Today, we speak with Dr. Neal Smatresk, President of the University of North Texas System. Dr. Smatresk became President of UNT February 2014, which is a sort of homecoming after his time as President of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. This move was no gamble, he understands that our region is home to some of the best and brightest.

North Texas Commission: As UNT looks for exceptional talent what are three qualifications you seek?

Dr. Neal Smatresk:

  1. Achievement – in faculty and administrators we seek impact players who have the potential to create breakthroughs in their research and in higher education on a global level.
  2. Caring – we are a caring community and have a family feel. We want folks who care about our mission, care about each other and collaborate, and care about giving our students the best education in Texas.
  3. Adaptability – we need employees who can adapt to changing workplace requirements and an evolving education landscape, and who can grow professionally to keep us a “best practice” business.NTC: As the Texas Legislature gears up what topics impact your campus most, and what can the legislature do to improve your efficiency and ease of business.NS: Higher Education funding is always our top issue. If our state is going to convert an increasingly first generation population into a high tech work force we need to invest in public higher education because we produce the workforce of tomorrow. States that invest in higher education will take the lead in the coming decade, and public higher education has been steadily cut in Texas over the past 8 years. Community colleges and school districts are faring better as they have local taxes. The state university system does not and that is a serious problem with funding without legislative support.

NTC: As the Texas Legislature gears up what topics impact your campus most, and what can the legislature do to improve your efficiency and ease of business.

NS: Higher Education funding is always our top issue.  If our state is going to convert an increasingly first generation population into a high tech work force we need to invest in public higher education because we produce the workforce of tomorrow.  States that invest in higher education will take the lead in the coming decade, and public higher education has been steadily cut in Texas over the past 8 years.  Community colleges and school districts are faring better as they have local taxes.  The state university system does not and that is a serious problem with funding without legislative support.

NTC: As the region’s population diversifies, how are you diversifying your leadership team?  

NS:  We have several major openings on our leadership team currently and have as a high priority recruitment of talented and diverse VPs and Deans to create a deeper richer leadership team with more diverse viewpoints.

 


  Just for Fun

NTC: How long have you lived in North Texas?

NS: We lived in Arlington for 22 years, and after living in Honolulu and Las Vegas are finally home again in Denton for the past 8 months.

NTC: Who is your favorite historical figure?

NS: My favorite historical figure is Benjamin Franklin, inventor, statesman, and founding father of the first American Medical School at the University of Pennsylvania.  He was a genius in the true sense of the word and had a wicked sense of humor.

NTC: Where is your favorite place to travel?

 NS:  My wife and I have traveled around the world and love experiencing diverse cultures and landscapes.  While we particularly love Texas travel, if we had to pick travel outside the state we have always enjoyed the Pacific Coast, and our national parks, particularly Yosemite in California.

 


 

Dr. Neal Smatresk is the President for the University of North Texas and currently serves on the North Texas Commission’s Board of Directors

 

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