Record Enrollment and Graduations Defines UNT as Driver of Progress

For the fourth year running, the University of North Texas has seen significant growth that outpaces state predictions for both enrollment and graduation, which is key to bolstering Texas' economy. As other institutions begin to turn around declines in enrollment, UNT's unprecedented continued growth through and after a pandemic means 44,000 students, an increase of 6%, are working toward degrees that will meet workforce demands in the future. UNT is Texas' only comprehensive Tier One Research University serving the North Texas region and continues to offer and expand much needed degree programs, such as data analytics, biomedical engineering and a complete suite of business options from the bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels. And as one of only 18 Carnegie Tier One research universities designated a Hispanic-Serving Institution, UNT is proud to also be designated a Minority-Serving Institution. Most importantly, UNT has the highest four-year graduation rate in the North Texas region for Hispanic students. "We are seriously committed to helping our students succeed," UNT President Neal Smatresk says. "It is thrilling that UNT continues to be the choice of more students than ever before, and it also is important because no other university in North Texas helps more students earn their degree. And in turn, that means no other university in North Texas does more than UNT to drive our state's progress."

Collaboration Spotlight
Producing Fungal-derived meds

Researchers in UNT's BioDiscovery Institute have secured a $1.4 million grant from the W. M. Keck Foundation to explore the potential to develop fungal-derived pharmaceuticals like penicillin in plant hosts for more accessible and environmentally sustainable medicine. This first-of-its-kind study will establish a new concept for producing valuable fungal products and may ultimately lead to medicines that can be delivered in plant seeds, eliminating downstream processing. Elizabeth Skellam, assistant professor of chemistry, is leading the interdisciplinary research team which includes Kent Chapman, director of the UNT BioDiscovery Institute, Ana Paula Alonso, an associate professor of biological sciences who studies plant biochemistry, and economics professor Michael Carroll, who will evaluate the economic feasibility of this new manufacturing process.

Research News
New Bird Species Found in Chile

Ricardo Rozzi, director of the UNT Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation Program in Chile, has made a substantial aviary discovery along with international collaborators including UNT biology alumnus Ramiro Crego. The interdisciplinary research team has identified a new terrestrial bird species, Subantarctic Rayadito (Aphrastura subantarctica), in the Diego Ramírez Archipelago — the southernmost location in Chile and the Americas. Results from the six-year study confirming the new bird species were recently published in Scientific Reports.

Discovering Best Practices in Oral History, Digital Literacy Competencies

UNT faculty members in the College of Information and College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences have earned two grants from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Jeongyhun Kim, associate professor of information sciences, will lead a team of UNT researchers examining current perspectives of community college librarians, faculty and students regarding data literacy, and identify data literacy competencies needed for students along with the role community collge libraries will play in fullfilling those competencies. Kim also will work with Todd Moye, professor of history, on another funded project focused on finding best practices and strategies to respond to challenges around building, implementing, preserving and accessing community oral history projects.

New Policy Framework for Crops

Richard Dixon, a Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus of biological sciences and founding director of UNT's BioDiscovery Institute, is among an interdisciplinary committee of researchers hoping to spur governments to rethink regulations on genetically engineered crops. Dixon coauthored a paper published in Science, which outlines possible options for a policy overhaul that would bring more consistency and scientific merit to safety standards across the world and put more emphasis on regulating the product rather than the methods used to genetically engineer crops. Throughout his career, Dixon has made significant contributions to plant science especially in better understanding how molecules are made within plants and the implications that has for agriculture and human health. UNT will celebrate his career and retirement during the Plant Biochemistry Symposium Oct. 7.

Save the Date for CVAD Celebrates

The College of Visual Arts and Design will dedicate the new Art in Public Places sculpture by artist Matthew Ritchie and the Art Annex building during CVAD Celebrates 4-6:30 p.m. Oct. 22. Ritchie is a New York-based artist known for his paintings and installations that draw from the vocabularies of science, sociology, anthropology, mythology and the history of art. His sculpture, "Shadow Garden," is located on the west side lawn of the UNT Art Building. The 25,242-square-foot Art Annex will be home to the Studio Arts ceramics program as well as 40 graduate student studios, allowing dedicated space to inspire creativity and exploration in their craft.

Research on Tap

The Division of Research and Innovation is partnering with Denton-based Dan's Silverleaf to host the next installment of the Research on Tap discussion series. Grab a beverage from 6 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 11, and hear Heidemarie Blumenthal, associate professor of psychology. If you're unable to attend, watch on Facebook Live, where you can also see videos of previous talks.

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