Chancellor's Report to Board of Regents
UH System Achievements
- The UH System’s 2015 legislative agenda includes a $91.35 million TRB request for a new building at the UH Sugar Land Campus and a $58.5 million request for a new building and land for the UH System’s Katy teaching center. The Sugar Land campus serves 4,500 students, and a new building is needed to house a projected additional 2,600 students over the next few years. The Katy facility is in a residential area. Classes are held in one building with an occupancy limit of 1,000. As new programs are added, a larger and more accessible facility will be needed.
- A UH Sugar Land Master Planning Work Group is preparing for the transition of the Sugar Land campus to a branch of UH. The group has received input from Fort Bend County and Sugar Land elected officials, area business and industry leaders, and the UH Sugar Land advisory council. The deans of the College of Technology, College of Education and C.T. Bauer College of Business are actively engaged in the process as well. Over 20 new or expanded academic programs have already been identified for the new campus.
University of Houston Achievements
- UH has been selected to lead a national research center, the Subsea Systems Institute, to improve the sustainable and safe development of energy resources in the Gulf of Mexico. The institute will be led by UH, working with Rice, NASA’s Johnson Space Center, Texas Southern University, Houston Community College, and Lone Star College, and serve as a liaison for industry and government regulators, developing new materials and science-based policies, as well as overseeing workforce training.
- Texas native Matthew McConaughey, Academy Award-winning actor and philanthropist, will deliver the inaugural university-wide Commencement address at TDECU Stadium Friday, May 15. The announcement produced considerable excitement within the campus community and the general public as well as unprecedented coverage in social and mainstream media. McConaughey’s father, “Big Jim” McConaughey, played football at UH.
- UH has been included in the Princeton Review’s recent guide “Colleges That Pay You Back: The 200 Best Value Colleges and What It Takes to Get In.” The publication evaluates the nation’s best and most affordable colleges that also have excellent records of alumni employment.
- Tom Herman, offensive coordinator for Ohio State’s national champion team, has been named Head Coach of our football program. Before joining Ohio State, he spent more than a decade of his coaching career in Texas, including posts at Sam Houston State, Rice and the University of Texas. In related Athletics news, the UH baseball team received its highest preseason ranking in program history, at No. 3 in the nation, by Baseball America in its Top 25 poll.
- The Cougar Experience Scholarship program has been launched to help defray the costs of freshmen living on campus, with State Sen. John Whitmire making the first gift to this fund. Research shows that students who live on campus have slightly higher GPAs, take more credit hours, are less likely to withdraw, and are more likely to finish a degree in four years. Students can start applying for the $4,000 scholarship this spring for on-campus living in Fall 2015.
- Recent community engagement activities include the CHAMP program directed by Mark Tomforde, associate professor of mathematics. This STEM program puts high school students in contact with UH professors, graduate students, and undergraduates. The program includes math lessons and tutoring on campus, and sessions at places such as the Good Hope Academy sponsored by the Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church. Students also come from the neighboring College High School at Felix Fraga and Stephen F. Austin High School.
UH-Clear Lake Achievements
- After experiencing a record-breaking enrollment in Fall 2014, UHCL data for Spring 2015 shows an 89% persistence rate for first-time freshmen college students. This academic year marks the first that UHCL has offered freshman- and sophomore-level coursework. Established in 1974 as an upper-level institution, UHCL previously specialized in programs only for junior, senior, and graduate students.
- The Corporation for National and Community Service has announced that UHCL has been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for 2014. This is the fifth consecutive year UHCL has received the honor, which is the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning, and civic engagement.
- The J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board has selected LieJune Shiau, professor of mathematics, for a Fulbright award to Germany during the 2015-16 academic year. The Fulbright Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, was created to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.
- The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching recently selected UHD as one of five universities in Texas – and the only in Houston – to receive its 2015 Community Engagement Classification. The Carnegie Foundation selects universities for this classification based on an institution’s extensive community engagement and service commitments. Last year, UHD students, faculty, and staff contributed more than 73,000 community service hours, serving approximately 82,000 individuals in Houston.
- The Houston Endowment has committed $1 million toward construction of the new Welcome Center and Student Services Suite. The new facility, which is under construction, will provide a one-stop entry point to help students navigate the UHD campus and access critical functions that support their success. Included in the facility will be a 100-seat auditorium and reception area, alongside enrollment services functions, such as admissions, testing, disability services, veterans services, and other offices supporting student success and access.
- UHD hosted a sold-out fundraiser, Celebrating 40 Years: University of Houston-Downtown Gala, which raised over $420,000. Nearly 450 Houston business, civic, and community leaders and legislators attended the January 23 event. Event Chairs Gilbert and Deanna Garcia and Clarease and Cary Yates spearheaded the gala. A UHD student and an alumna shared their testimonies of how UHD has provided the skills and knowledge to succeed in their professional and personal spheres.
- UHV continues to focus its efforts on becoming a self-sustaining destination university in Victoria. Jay Lambert has been promoted from associate vice president for student affairs to vice president for enrollment management and student affairs. This move frees Jeffrey Cass, provost and vice president for academic affairs, to focus on academic programs and UHV’s Academic Master Plan. The 10-year plan calls for expansion of degree programs by as many as five each year until enrollment reaches 6,000 face-to-face students on the Victoria campus.
- Dorothy Alcorn, a Victoria resident and former member of the UH System Board of Regents, has provided the gift of her home to UHV in her estate to be used as the university president’s residence. Alcorn, who also is a UHV alumna, was appointed to the Board of Regents in 1987 and served until 1993. The house has been owned by the Alcorns since 1973 when the family purchased it from another former UH System regent, Morgan Dunn O’Connor.
- The School of Arts and Sciences was awarded a $191,567 grant from the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Army to conduct research in immersive virtual reality with applications to teleoperation and training. The grant will fund a research project studying the interactions between humans and robots. Research will be conducted in the university’s Computation and Advanced Visualization Engineering (CAVE) lab, a state-of-art motion capture studio.