Dr. Poonam Gulati Salhotra New Executive Director of the Office of Impact Learning
Dr. Poonam Gulati Salhotra has been named the University of Houston-Downtown’s new Executive Director for the newly founded Office of Impact Learning.
Gulati, who recently assumed her new role, will provide the vision, leadership, and administrative direction for this new office, which will act as a hub for campus-wide activities and initiatives related to high impact learning practices at UHD. She will report to the Associate Vice President for Programming and Curriculum and work closely with faculty, external stakeholders, other administrators, and staff to develop the strategic and operational plans for the office.
“Dr. Poonam Gulati will bring valuable experience as a faculty member and center director to the role of Executive Director for the Office of Impact Learning,” said Michelle Moosally, Associate Vice President for Programming and Curriculum. “In her classrooms and in her work as the director of the CCESL in the past five years, she has engaged with UHD students and faculty to build a structure and resources to support service learning; she also expanded work with community partners via paid student internships, coordinated community projects, and leadership of our QEP on critical thinking through community engagement. We are fortunate to have Dr. Gulati’s expertise as Executive Director as we launch the Office of Impact Learning to leverage current institutional and faculty efforts in order to broaden the visibility, viability, and value of high impact practices at UHD.”
Gulati, currently UHD’s Director of Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) and Community Engagement & Service Learning Center (CCESL), joined UHD in 1996. Prior to her current role she served as an Associate Professor of Biology and Microbiology and as Microbiology and Biology Coordinators. Prior to working at UHD she held a research position at the UT Health Sciences Center, Houston.
Gulati’s professional background speaks to her dedication to high impact practices. Shortly after joining UHD’s faculty she started involving students in her research and has trained over 100 different students many of whom have gone to professional schools. She also started engaging students in activities outside the classroom by taking them to elementary schools to conduct science experiments with the elementary students. Gulati holds a doctorate from Cornell University Weill Graduate School of Medical Sciences and an Artium Baccalaureus (AB) Degree from Cornell University, College of Arts and Sciences.
The new Office of Impact Learning will continue to promote high impact practices generally with enhanced focus on four specific experience types: study abroad, internships, service learning, and undergraduate research. Many of our UHD programs already include one or more of these practices; Dr. Gulati will work to synergize and expand these enriching opportunities for students.
“I am delighted and excited to start my role as the Executive Director of the Office of Impact Learning. I strongly believe that high impact practices such as, service learning, undergraduate research, internships, study abroad, and others make positive impacts on students during their academic journey and beyond. They provide a means to extend classroom knowledge, forge connections with peers, faculty and staff, and give a sense of belonging, all of which lead to student success. It is my hope that we will make the Office of Impact Learning a hub for high impact activities that all students will be able to access.”
The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.
U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.