07:24 AM

Houston Endowment Awards UHD $1 Million to Enhance Advising Services

Courtesy of Claire Caton

One MainAdditional advising staff to support student persistence and success at UHD will benefit from a recent $1 million grant from the Houston Endowment.

The expanded advising services will support retention and graduation by providing the tools that students need to choose appropriate majors, make better course selections and ensure that steady progress is made toward graduation. Advisors will have the skills and training needed to provide advising that supports student persistence and success. The national benchmark for collegiate advisors to students is one to 350. However, at UHD, a single advisor has served more than 800 undeclared students, until now. Funds from the Houston Endowment, as well as other existing funds, will be used to hire 13 new advisors, raising the number of advisors from 21 to 34. UHD's ratio of advisors to students will be lowered to one advisor to 388 students. Undergraduates will benefit from additional advisors who understand the requirements for degrees offered in the various disciplines in the colleges; transfer advisors who are proficient in managing articulation agreements; and advisors with the skills to support and guide undeclared students.

"Approximately 66 percent of UHD undergraduates are the first in their families to attend a college or university, and so they often need one-on-one assistance in navigating the challenges of higher education," said Johanna Wolfe, vice president for Advancement and External Relations. "This generous grant from the Houston Endowment will help to break down some of the barriers that have caused many of these students to step away from their dream of a college degree."

In anticipation of the added advising staff, UHD recently built a new Transfer Center located on the ninth floor of the One Main Building. By September 2013, the University will complete construction for a new Advising Center on the third floor of the One Main Building, in the vicinity of the Offices of Admissions, Registrar and Scholarships and Financial Aid.

"In a recent university-wide survey, undergraduates repeatedly made the request for improved advising services," said Ed Hugetz, interim provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs. "The enhancement of our advising capabilities is a high institutional priority for the University. By providing more individualized guidance and direction for undergraduates, I'm confident that larger numbers of our students will graduate on time."