Dear UHD Family,
Welcome back. I hope everyone is ready to begin another semester to remember at UHD.
Spring is usually a calmer time at universities. Freshmen have figured out the campus and know the lay of the land. Seniors are wrapping up their studies and keeping a cool head as graduation approaches. And, faculty and staff are rested after Winter Break and ready to go.
This past week, we hosted many Welcome Week activities aimed at helping students get back into the swing of things. Students learned more about UHD’s many services and met faculty members. Most importantly, they discovered what it means to be part of the Gator community.
A great university isn’t defined by academics alone. Although research and scholarly activities are paramount, some of the best higher education institutions also are strengthened by the participation of faculty, staff and students in campus organizations and activities. I know that many of us head home after class or work, but let’s take a moment to learn about what’s happening on our campus.
There are many clubs offering Gators a chance to experience new things beyond the classroom and give back to the community. In my office, I have student workers who contribute their energies to numerous groups including UHD’s United Nations Association and the Garden Club. I also have learned about other clubs through our Skyline newsletter including the Animal Rescue Club. These are just a few of the many student organizations that provide students with professional development and community engagement opportunities. I attribute my higher education career to personal experiences in college student organizations, such as the Model UN Club, Film Society, and yearbook staff.
I’d be remiss not to mention options for UHD employees to get involved. Staff Council and Faculty Senate are two groups that work hard for our UHD family. Staff Council is already planning its annual Chili Cook-Off on March 24; and the Faculty Senate is participating in the UH System Take Us Higher Conference on March 31 that will be hosted here on campus.
And speaking of events, UHD is proud to host the Ed Hugetz Film Festival on Feb. 17 honoring the fine work of our interim provost. Recently, I learned that UHD will host the Texas Tribune Symposium on Public Education on March 3. I’ll address both of these events in more detail in future messages.
Of course, our events and organizations would be nothing if it weren’t for the participation of the UHD family. With that in mind, I encourage you to find activities and organizations that speak to your passions. Get involved, attend events and make the most of what’s happening in our Gator community.
I thank all of you for your hard work in making UHD truly a special institution and hope everyone has a productive Spring semester.
Michael A. Olivas
UHD Interim President