March 2019

UNT public administration doctoral candidate named emerging scholar at regional conference

Vaswati Chatterjee received the recognition at a January conference in Austin.

DENTON (UNT), Texas – The Southern Political Science Association recognized Vaswati Chatterjee, doctoral candidate in the University of North Texas College of Health and Public Service Department of Public Administration, with their 2019 Emerging Young Scholar Award at the third annual Conference Within a Conference in Austin. She earned the honor for her paper entitled “Impact of Smart Growth on Economic Resilience.”

“It’s been an honor to not only watch Vaswati mature as a student, but to see her accomplishments be recognized by leaders in the field,” said Dr. Simon Andrew, professor of public administration. “Her research stands out among doctoral students and is innovative in the sense that she applies the institutional analysis to examine smart growth policies adoption in Florida. She employs GIS to determine if cities experiencing disasters are more likely to change the ways they can mitigate the consequences of disasters.”

Chatterjee says she’s proud of the honor and appreciates the caring faculty in HPS.

“I am grateful for the continued support from Dr. Andrew, who has been immensely instrumental in developing my scholarship and receiving this recognition,” Chatterjee said. “The departments of Public Administration and Emergency Management and Disaster Science provide a very supportive environment for graduate students. I am happy to be part of the UNT family that has helped me so much in achieving my career goals.”

Chatterjee is currently pursuing a tenure-track position in public administration.

“We look forward to seeing what the future holds for her,” said Dr. Andrew. “We know big things are on the horizon.”

Dr. Neale Chumbler, dean of the college, says he’s proud of Chatterjee and her many accomplishments.

“It’s always so fulfilling to see our students succeed, especially to this capacity,” Dr. Chumbler said. “They trust us with their futures and this is an excellent example of how a student’s intelligence and talent, fostered by a strong and caring faculty, can lead to life-changing research. I can’t wait to see how she shapes the lives of her students.”

U.S. News and World Report names three HPS graduate programs top in the state and among the nation’s best

DENTON (UNT), Texas – U.S. News and World Report has named two graduate program concentrations in the University of North Texas College of Health and Public Service (HPS) number one in Texas and fifth in the nation on its 2020 list of Best Graduate Schools – local government management, and homeland security and emergency management. Rehabilitation counseling was also named first in Texas – and sits at no. 11 among public universities and no. 12 overall.  

“These stellar rankings further build on the reputation of our faculty and quality of our staff, alumni and students,” said Dr. Neale Chumbler, dean of the college. “It’s an honor to be recognized with such a high standing among peer institutions and I believe that our talented faculty members have earned these accolades and deserve to be held in such high esteem.”  

The Master of Public Administration (MPA) program specialization in local government management jumped three spots nationally from last year and for the first time, the MPA is also ranked in the public financing and budgeting category, where it sits at no. 27.     

“The continued excellence of the UNT MPA program is again recognized with our many national rankings,” said Dr. Brian Collins, chair of the Department of Public Administration. “In particular, our top five national ranking in local government is a testament to faculty commitment and our respected alumni in local government throughout the metroplex and the nation.”

UNT has long been a pioneer in emergency management education, having established the nation’s first bachelor’s degree program in 1983. Today, UNT offers bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in the Department of Emergency Management and Disaster Science and an emergency management specialty in the MPA program within the Department of Public Administration. This is the first year HPS has been ranked in the homeland security and emergency management category.

“This ranking reflects UNT’s longstanding reputation in the field of emergency management and it affirms our commitment to promoting societal resilience to disasters by providing a top-notch education to the next generation of emergency management professionals,” said Dr. Gary Webb, chair of the Department of Emergency Management and Disaster Science.

The rehabilitation counseling graduate program has jumped three spots since 2015 – the last time there were rankings in this category.

“We are tremendously proud of the recognition by U.S. News and World Report and believe that it exemplifies the hard work of our faculty, staff, students and alumni,” said Dr. Chandra Carey, interim chair of the Department of Rehabilitation and Health Services. “This forward momentum in ranking is indicative of the dedication of our master’s degree program to provide a high-quality education which prepares competent leaders in the field of rehabilitation counseling.”

For more information on the UNT College of Health and Public Service and any of its degree programs, visit

Feeding clinic at UNT is about more than picky eaters

The clinic helps children struggling with eating, swallowing and other food-related problems.

DENTON (UNT), Texas – The University of North Texas College of Health and Public Service’s Department of Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (ASLP) is now providing services to children of all ages with feeding and eating challenges. The UNT Feeding Clinic is currently serving children who not only have eating problems, but have associated medical needs.

“There are parents who are desperately pursuing services for their children based on a variety of difficulties,” said Dr. Theresa Kouri, director of the UNT Speech and Language Clinic. “It’s important to address feeding or eating issues early to guarantee adequate nutrition and hydration to support a child’s physical, mental and emotional development.”

In the clinic, Dr. Kouri and her clinicians work with children who experience any of the following issues while eating: breathing difficulties, coughing or choking, crying, difficulty chewing, vomiting, gagging or refusing to eat certain types of foods. Services are available two days per week on Monday and Wednesday mornings, during which time speech, language and communication skills are also facilitated.

The hourly feeding clinic cost is $55, but scholarships are available to families who need assistance.

“We have a variety of grants that can be used to lower the financial burden on parents,” Dr. Kouri said. “The generosity of the Dallas Scottish Rite Foundation and the George McQueen Foundation make the feeding clinic and other UNT speech and hearing services a viable option for those families who cannot afford our full clinical fees.”

Dr. Kouri plans to work with area pediatricians to provide services that supplement the ways they’re treating children.

“Our UNT Feeding Clinic provides innovative and much needed services for Denton residents,” said Dr. Neale Chumbler, dean of the college. “I commend Dr. Kouri for her ingenuity and creativity in cultivating this important program.”

For more information on the UNT Feeding Clinic, contact Dr. Kouri at or (940) 565-2262.