On the Move: The Official Newsletter of UNT Dallas President Bob Mong
From the President's Desk
President Bob Mong
President Bob Mong
Greetings Trailblazers,

We create value at UNT Dallas by differentiating ourselves from others and by being relevant. One without the other doesn’t work. You need both.

One important way we’re different is that we are hyper local. Our undergraduate students are 95 percent local, meaning they come from Dallas and surrounding counties. No other four-year university comes anywhere close to our local focus and impact. As we continue to grow, that becomes even more important to our local economy. Don’t forget, we are also now one of the largest employers in southern Dallas County. This sends economic ripples throughout the economy now and into the future.

This local emphasis allows us to concentrate on the educational needs and aspirations of local students and their families, especially those who may be the first in their families to attend college.

Our laser focus on our local audience also guides our service to the community. We reach out to the same communities where we attract and recruit our students. It creates a perfect harmony. This means we partner with local school districts, non profits and industries. We care about them, and they care about us and our future success and growth. The fact that we are the most affordable four-year university in North Texas just adds to our appeal.

Employers also like us because they want more diverse workplaces, and they know UNT Dallas provides the most ethnically and racially rich four-year university experience in North Texas. We are proud of our great diversity at UNT Dallas.

Employers also appreciate that when our students graduate, they tend to stay in the Dallas-Fort Worth area to work.

We like to call this “local students for the local economy.” This makes UNT Dallas both different and relevant. And, yes, that creates value for our local economy – now and for years to come.


UNT Dallas Featured News

First Class of UNT Dallas Early College High School Students Celebrate Graduation


This month, UNT Dallas celebrated the culmination of a collaboration that began in the Fall of 2017. When Spring 2021 grades posted on May 10, this milestone marked an extraordinary accomplishment for 86 UNT Dallas students who successfully conquered remote learning this year.  These 86 students are the first class of high school seniors to complete their high school diploma and associate degree through full-time enrollment at UNT Dallas this past year. 
With a reverse transfer of credits, they graduated in May with an associate degree from Dallas College and will graduate from high school with their diploma in late June. UNT Dallas partners with Dallas ISD’s Lincoln B-TECH High School, Dallas ISD’s Sunset P-TECH High School, and Dallas College to offer this 3+1 program and is the only four-year university to partner with Dallas ISD’s Early College High School (ECHS) program.
Students at each school are on a specialized academic track. Lincoln B-TECH students study hospitality management or logistics while Sunset P-TECH students specialize in public health or teacher education.
The ECHS program affords these ambitious students the opportunity to earn up to 60 college credit hours tuition-free while in high school, paving the way for them to achieve a bachelor’s degree in just two years after graduating high school, saving the student both time and money. 
“This program provides a unique opportunity to align high school, 2-year college and 4-year university curricula to offer an affordable education to students seeking to improve their lives through education,” UNT Dallas Assistant Provost Dawn Remmers said. “After their graduation with a high school diploma and associate degree, our hope is to graduate them from UNT Dallas with a bachelor’s degree in two short years, allowing them to go on with their education or serve the workforce and their communities.”
Once the UNT Dallas campus fully reopens, the ECHS program will help to ease the transition to college life by bringing students onto the UNT Dallas campus and into its classrooms to take all their senior-year courses. Following high school graduation, students will be positioned to continue their education and graduate with a bachelor’s degree from any public university in Texas, if they choose.
The University of North Texas at Dallas has emerged as the fastest-growing public university in the state by forming unique partnerships that create pathways to an affordable college degree and a lifetime of socioeconomic mobility for urban Dallas students.

WHAT IS A P-TECH/B-TECH? 
Early College High Schools allow students to focus their studies on specialized career paths: P-TECH stands for “Pathways in Technology;” and B-TECH stands for “Pathways in Business Technology.” Both programs afford motivated students the ability to choose a specific career track and take courses that provide the academic, technical and workplace skills desired by employers. These programs also partner with industry leaders who mentor, advise on coursework, enhance skill development and initiate access to internships that will prepare students for careers after college. To learn more, visit www.ptech.org.

UNT Dallas Joins Tarrant To & Through Partnership

UNT Dallas is extending its reach across counties in a new partnership – Tarrant To & Through (T3). The university recently joined the T3 Partnership, collaborating in an area-wide effort to ensure that Tarrant County students receive the education they need to succeed in today’s workforce and start on a path toward lifelong success.
The T3 Partnership is a coalition of colleges, universities, employers, and community organizations working with Tarrant County schools to ensure more students obtain a postsecondary credential. Of the six founding T3 higher education partners, UNT Dallas is the only university located in Dallas County. UNT Dallas provides automatic admission for T3 students who graduate in the top 30% of their respective class. Participation in bold college access and persistence initiatives like T3 is one way the university lives out its mission to be the pathway to social mobility for students and families. 
“We are proud to be the first Dallas County university to join T3 and help promote increased educational attainment in Tarrant County,” said Bob Mong, UNT Dallas President. “That’s our mission at UNT Dallas – to help high need students improve their lives. We join TCU, Tarrant College, Texas Wesleyan and Tarleton in this important effort that enjoys strong support by leadership in the county.”
According to T3, 65% of jobs in North Texas require a postsecondary credential, and by 2036, approximately 70% of jobs across Texas will require some college. Yet only 39% of adults in Tarrant County possess an associate degree or higher. T3 is focused on closing three key gaps that hinder students from being prepared for, enrolling in, and finishing postsecondary education – the information gap, guidance gap, and the financial aid gap.
“Through our partnership, together, we will help create more equitable pathways while supporting students as they enroll, persist, and complete a postsecondary credential with confidence,” said Dr. Rachael Capua, Director of College & Career Success for T3. “Student success is our success, and we believe UNT Dallas will play a critical role in providing educational opportunity for more students through scholarships and supports.”
UNT Dallas anticipates having around fifty T3 Scholars during its first year. As part of the T3 program, incoming students receive persistence coaching and resources to ensure they stay on track and transfer student support should they choose to attend Tarrant County College and then transfer to a partner university. T3 Scholars also receive bridge programming, which helps ease the transition from high school to college.  At UNT Dallas, bridge programming will likely occur in August and the university hopes to see students on campus for face-to-face instruction. 
“We are so excited to partner with T3 to serve more Tarrant County students at UNT Dallas,” said Stephanie Holley, Vice President Student Access & Success. “The T3 team members have been wonderful partners and we are grateful to work together for student success. This program provides UNT Dallas with a great opportunity to connect with students who may never have previously considered our university as an option. We are eager to launch activities this summer and work with students to get a head start on their college experiences and preparations.” 

Ryan Tower Construction

To Begin this Summer

When Trailblazers return to campus this fall, something new will be taking shape on campus. Construction on University of North Texas at Dallas Amanda & G. Brint Ryan Tower is scheduled to begin mid-summer. When complete, the monument, a 180 ft. structure will be the tallest point in southern Dallas – a new landmark, visible from miles away in every direction.
Ryan Tower
Texas Reskilling Grant: UNT Dallas and Navarro College Receive $650,000 Award
The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board has awarded $650,000 to UNT Dallas and Navarro College as part of the Texas Reskilling Support Fund Grant Program.  The two institutions are partnering to deliver educational programming to displaced workers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic who need to upskill or reskill to get back into the workforce.

Reskilling grants allow Texas public colleges, technical schools, and universities to provide last-dollar financial assistance to Texas students to cover tuition and fees. The grants are designed to support displaced Texas workers and to support students who have previously stopped out of higher education before completing a postsecondary credential. The program is supported by a portion of the $175 million allocation to the THECB from the Governor’s Emergency Educational Relief (GEER) Fund.

“The Governor and THECB Commissioner have provided a valuable opportunity for our state’s future employees to return to school, especially those students who stopped out due to financial reasons. We are excited to be selected and we have a strong relationship with Navarro College and value them as a partner,” said Lisa Hobson, Ph.D., Professor and Interim Dean, School of Education.


The two institutions will focus on key areas of study that lead to high-paying jobs. Students must be within 12 months of completing their degree and cannot have been enrolled at any accredited postsecondary institution in the prior full academic semester or previous six months. Students pursuing associate degrees will be supported by Navarro College and those pursuing bachelor’s degrees will be supported by UNT Dallas.

“Texas has tens of thousands of good jobs that are being created across the state, and at the same time we have many displaced workers who are still unemployed. It’s important to help Texans reskill and upskill so they can get back on their feet, get back into the economy, and drive the state’s economic recovery,” said Commissioner of Higher Education Harrison Keller. “Thanks to the strong support of Governor Abbott and our Texas legislative leadership, the strategic investment to date of more than $27.4 million enables our Texas institutions to expand access to programs that equip students to enter the workforce with the credentials and education tomorrow’s economy will demand."

Visit untdallas.edu/reskilling to learn more.

College of Law to Welcome New Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

Cynthia L. Fountaine
Cynthia L. Fountaine 
Cynthia L. Fountaine will join UNT Dallas College of Law this summer as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Law.  During the past eleven years, Fountaine displayed vast legal expertise in both of her Dean of Law and Professor of Law roles at Southern Illinois University School of Law.   With almost thirty years of experience in legal education and administration, she will be an exceptional asset to the Dallas institution. 

No stranger to Texas, Fountaine previously served as Interim Dean and instructed classes at Texas Wesleyan University School of Law (now Texas A&M School of Law), where she was a law professor for thirteen years.  Additional professional experience includes Washington & Lee University School of Law as a visiting professor and University of Cincinnati College of Law.  Also, she taught at the University of Bayreuth Faculty of Law in Germany as a Fulbright Senior Scholar. She has been active in many professional organizations, including the American Bar Association and the Association of American Law Schools. She was recently named the SIU Law Class of 2021 Outstanding Faculty Member.
“I am excited to join the UNT Dallas College of Law to help advance its mission,” said Professor Fountaine.  “I am so impressed with the faculty, staff, and students and all they have accomplished so far, and I am looking forward to helping the law school as it continues to build its program of legal education to provide outstanding opportunities for students.”

Cynthia L. Fountaine begins her new position at the Dallas Law Center campus on August 1, 2021.  




Q & A with
Alejandra Villanueva,
Class of 2015 
Business and Sociology major
Hometown: Dallas
Who’s your current employer?
New York Health + Hospitals
 
What types of work do you do in your current position?
As a Public Health Advisor, I work with schools in New York City who have reported cases of COVID-19 among their students and staff. I conduct a report and help the schools figure out if they are required to close, and the steps they need to take to ensure safety in the building.
 
Why did you choose your career path?
I want to contribute to improving the healthcare system in the US, which is deeply fragmented and is impacting the health of our community.
 
What are some of your professional goals?
This summer I will begin a new role as a Management Fellow at Trinity Health. My goal is to learn and contribute to the health system, and then continue my career with them in a role that will allow me to make a contribution in the long-term.
 
Why did you choose to attend UNT Dallas?
I picked UNT Dallas because I received the Presidential Scholarship, which not only provided financial support, but also mentorship and a group of peers.
 
What did you enjoy most about your time at UNT Dallas?
The people! The professors, staff and students were the best part of UNT Dallas. It was easy to meet people and form relationships. I deeply appreciate how easy it was to meet with professors and all the help that staff were willing to provide.
 
Was there a specific member of our faculty or staff who inspired you?
Dr. William Garner is a source of inspiration for me. He pushed me to apply for master’s programs at ivy league universities, which I wasn't pursing at the time. I am now a graduate of Columbia University with a master’s in healthcare administration.
   
Did you have any specific experiences at UNTD that you felt were life-changing? 

The opportunity to get to know President Mong was life changing. He not only wrote my recommendation letter when I was applying to Columbia University, he also wrote a recommendation letter for me when I was applying to intern at the CDC and then for my upcoming fellowship.
 
What suggestions would you offer to a new student who may be the first in their family to go to college?
Get to know the faculty and staff! They are the best resources to have.  
The UNT Dallas Alumni Association is seeking submissions for future Trailblazer Alumni Spotlight features. Share your story with us by completing our online form.
Jag Arts Festival Winners Announced
Innocent Until Black
1st Place Studio Art: "Innocent Until Black"
On April 7, UNT Dallas celebrated student accomplishments in the literary and visual arts at the virtual JAG Arts Celebration. Graduate and undergraduate students in all academic programs of study were invited to submit original works in poetry, prose, or visual arts (in English or Spanish) for a chance to win a cash prize and have their work published in the Daedalus Arts Journal.
Please join us in congratulating our students on their winning entries from the 2021 JAG Arts Celebration!
Poetry
1st place: “The Man and Me” by Melinda McClellan 
2nd place: “Sweet Honey and the Universe” by Kiara Croom
3rd place: “Seeing Red” by Christopher Goodman
Studio Art
1st place: “Innocent Until Black” by Kendra Brown
2nd place: “The Pieces that Made me Whole” by Kendra Brown
3rd place: “The Life and Nature of Decay of Man” by Alejandro Nava
Prose
1st place: “Ixquichca Miquiztli” by Salvador Medina
Spanish Poetry
1st place: “Mi Mente” by Dora Hernandez
We look forward to sharing their work with you in the Fall 2021 launch of our new student-run literary journal, the Daedalus Arts Journal.
Are you a student interested in getting involved with the journal? Contact Shelby.Miller@untdallas.edu

FACULTY & STAFF SPOTLIGHT

Elizabeth Cheek
Elizabeth Cheek
Executive Director – Emerging Teacher Institute and Special Assistant to the Office of the President
Elizabeth focuses on pre-collegiate students. She leads the Emerging Teacher Institute, which exists to inspire and empower young people to become classroom teachers. She serves as point person for the UNT Dallas Early College High School partnership with Dallas ISD and the Tarrant County To & Through Partnership. She also supports several other projects for the university with external partners.
Q & A
Where are your roots? Technically, I am a native Texan – but I consider the southwest U.S. home. I spent the first half of my childhood in Dallas before moving to Arizona. A job opportunity and childhood fondness for the city brought me home to Dallas 12 years ago.
What led you to your current profession and UNT Dallas? When I left college to pursue teacher certification, I had realized my lifelong calling was to work for greater racial and economic equity in the U.S., to work with young people, and to work in the public or non-profit space. So far, those three values have guided me well. UNT Dallas’s mission directly aligns with my vocational calling to ensure educational opportunity and attainment for all young people.
How long have you worked at UNT Dallas? 3.5 years
What do you enjoy most about your work? In any given week, I interact with pre-collegiate students and their families, school administrators, system decision makers, and community partners. I thrive on being able to partner with so many folks to make educational opportunity a reality for every student. My work also has great variety, flexibility, and room for creativity.
What are your workplace challenges? Often, my vision for what’s possible far exceeds the hours in a week or the team involved.
How do you envision your work growing or evolving over the next year and beyond? I see the Emerging Teacher Institute evolving to partner with districts beyond Dallas ISD, to offer summer learning experiences that help shape future teachers’ entry to educator preparation programs, and the development of decision-making tools that support future teachers and their families navigating the path to teacher certification. I see our Early College High School program becoming a replicable model for how to holistically support young people in achieving advanced academic outcomes while navigating the college decision making process for what’s next. I see our Tarrant County To & Through partnership launching a new model for how to bridge students’ experience to the university and support their persistence.
What else would you share about your work? I love my job.
What do you like to do in your free time?  Enjoy time with my kids, train our dogs, read, walk among old trees, and play games with friends.
Just for fun:
Favorite quote? “Live life as if everything is rigged in your favor” - Rumi
Guilty pleasure? Buying books. And a hobby from the pandemic – completing Harry Potter LEGO sets.
Dog or cat person? Dog
Something on your bucket list? Learn to play Prelude in C Major from Bach’s Well Tempered Clavier on the piano.
Famous person you’d like to meet? Thich Nhat Hanh or Isabel Wilkerson

News Bites 

UNT System podcast examines diversity at UNT Dallas
April was Celebrate Diversity Month and the UNT System monthly podcast featured diversity at UNT Dallas – not just racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity, but also generational diversity on campus. UNT Dallas President Bob Mong and others from UNTD joined host Paul Corliss for this special episode. Listen via Spotify, Apple, or Spreaker.

Trailblazer Achievements
The Center for Scientific Review at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has invited William Garner, DrPH, FACHE, Assistant Professor, Public Health Program Coordinator to serve on two of its study sections in Tobacco Regulation Science. In this capacity, Dr. Garner will review grants submission for its R01 and K-Awards. This is a significant research milestone and an important step toward broadening the sponsored research footprint at UNT Dallas. This is the first time that a UNT Dallas researcher has served on an NIH study section.
Eric Evans, M.Ed., Digital Media Instructional Designer Office of Distance Learning & Instructional Technology presented a break-out session at the annual Texas Distance Learning Association (TxDLA) conference on Wednesday, April 21. The session was entitled “Asynchronous Discussion on a Thread – VoiceThread, That Is” which introduced participants to VoiceThread and how it supports asynchronous discussion and learning. Dr. Mychelle Smith, Ph.D., Curriculum & Instruction Graduate Program Coordinator School of Education provided video excerpts of her experiences using VoiceThread, which were shown during sections of the presentation. The Texas Distance Learning Association (TxDLA) is the professional association that bridges leaders and professionals in distance learning from elementary schools, secondary schools, community/junior colleges, higher education institutions, state government, major and minor corporations, non-profit organizations, military, and the telecommunications industry to steer distance learning initiatives in Texas.
B.J. Wagner of the Caruth Police Institute was included in an NBC DFW feature on company leaders seeking professional training on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Watch on the NBC website
UNT Dallas School of Education professor Yolanda Graham was the featured guest for this month’s episode of “Horns Up Half Hour,” Cedar Hill ISD’s monthly podcast. She spoke about how parents and guardians can prepare their children for Pre-K. Listen to the podcast online.
James Blackshear, adjunct history professor at UNT Dallas will have a new book released this fall. His most recent book, co-authored with Glen Sample Ely, will be published by the University of Oklahoma Press in September. Confederates and Comancheros: Skullduggery and Double Dealing in the Texas-New Mexico Borderlands is Dr. Blackshear’s third book. Find out more on the publisher’s website.
Congratulations to College of Law Professor Christine Tamer who published her chapter “Small Tweaks, Big Effect: Fitting Diversity and Inclusion into the “Puzzle” of Any Legal Writing Problem, Involving Any Legal Issue” in the recent release from Carolina Academic Press entitled Integrating Doctrine and Diversity: Inclusion and Equity in the Law School Classroom edited by Nicole P. Dyszlewski, Raquel J. Gabriel, Suzanne Harrington-Steppen, Anna Russell, and Genevieve B. Tung.
UNT Dallas alum and current adjunct instructor in Criminal Justice Torrey Rhone was recently promoted to the rank of Sergeant at Mesquite Police Department. He is the first African American officer to reach that rank in the history of the Mesquite Police department.
College of Law professor Michael Maslanka appeared on NBC DFW in an interview related to rights of local business owners considering the CDC’s new mask recommendations. Watch online.

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