14:05 PM

UHD Launches New Student Success Initiative 'UHD2020'

This past year, University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) faculty, staff and administrators collaborated to completely reengineer the entire onboarding process for new students. As a result of their efforts, incoming UHD freshmen will begin their college careers in an entirely new way.

Beginning July 18, students from the College of Business and College of Public Service will participate in a five-day Gator Gateway experience uniquely tailored to their majors. Similar events for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Sciences and Technology and University College will follow in the weeks leading up to the fall semester.

Mandatory for all incoming freshmen, Gator Gateway is an on-campus orientation experience uniquely tailored to each student's academic major. The program introduces students to the UHD campus and to campus life, where they will meet new classmates in a friendly, fun environment. A collaborative cross-functional team of faculty, staff and administrators from across the University led the effort.

"Research clearly shows the more connections a student builds with an institution, the more likely the student is to remain at the university throughout their college career," said UHD Interim Senior Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs and Provost Edward Hugetz. "Providing incoming freshmen with critical information in an engaging and supportive environment with dedicated University faculty and staff helps ensure their long-term success."

Highlights for students will include participating in a college-based cohort of other incoming freshmen. Many of the freshmen will be attending at least two classes with their college cohort of no more than 30 students in the fall semester since they registered for linked courses. During Gator Gateway, current UHD student leaders, faculty and staff will lead informative and interactive sessions creating awareness and excitement for our incoming freshman. Students will also participate in simulated college classroom experiences presented by UHD English and math professors and even participate in a community service project. In addition, students will spend five to six hours over the course of the week focused specifically on the student experience in their respective college.

College of Humanities and Social Sciences' students will attend July 25 through 29, with College of Sciences and Technology students kicking off their orientation August 1. University College, honors and international students will attend August 8 through 12.

While significant, Gator Gateway is actually just one part of a multi-tiered student success initiative referred to as #UHD2020, designed to provide students with every opportunity to excel and succeed at UHD.

#UHD2020 will:

  • Help students navigate UHD processes
  • Connect students to an effective academic and social support system
  • Align talents and interests with academic and career goals
  • Reinforce positive behaviors
  • Foster a thriving, supportive community at UHD

The initiative includes a two-part orientation, "Gator Ready" and "Gator Gateway," and a faculty-peer-advisor mentoring program.

  • Major and pre-major declaration
  • Freshmen Orientation
  • Gator Ready
  • Gator Gateway
  • Faculty, peer and advising mentoring
  • Linked schedules
  • Assessment activities

Some 900 first-time-on-campus freshmen are expected to participate over the course of four weeks.