14:38 PM

Interim President's Message: First Week at UHD

Dear UHD Community,

I would like to offer a word of thanks for the warm welcome extended to me during my first days as Interim President. In a short time, I have had the opportunity to meet members of the University’s executive leadership team and others. In the near future, I hope to extend a virtual handshake to even more members of the Gator Family, including faculty, staff and student leaders.

I recognize that I arrive at a time of transition for this institution. The fall 2020 semester will be yet another period of change (albeit temporary) for UHD. As announced in prior communications, the fall session will present instructional and learning experiences unlike any in UHD’s rich history. As I write this, our Academic and Student Affairs team and UHD Colleges are meticulously revising the fall class schedule, so that all faculty, students and staff will have a clearer picture how classes will be conducted.

We have recently announced our intention to offer four course formats in the upcoming semester: online, online interactive, face-to-face and hybrid. Given what we know now, online offerings will comprise the vast majority of our course offerings, and we will continue to make adjustments as the fall semester approaches and new information becomes available. Academic leadership is taking the current state of public health in the greater Houston area into account, and our course schedule will be reflective of that effort. Know that your safety and health are our utmost priorities as we plan. Thus, the course schedule is being designed with safety as our primary focus. Therefore, in-person interactions will be limited and controlled using all necessary safety protocols. Classrooms, and the campus as a whole, will be significantly modified to allow for appropriate distancing and precautions for all members of our community.

Working alongside our academic planning process, the COVID-19 Response Taskforce will soon release its first round of recommendations on how our campus community will conduct operations for the fall semester. While broad information was shared last week, more will be forthcoming over the next few weeks as more details related to these plans are finalized. I know this is not the fall semester we were expecting, but the University has put significant thought and effort into the planning and implementation of its fall courses and it will take all of us collectively to succeed.

Communication with all of you, the students, faculty and staff, is of the utmost importance as we embark on this new normal. And you have my word, that as information is available, it will be shared. This semester will present its share of challenges, but we as a community will work together to overcome them.

Regardless of the circumstances in which I am arriving, I am honored to be here and to call myself a Gator.

Thank you again for the very gracious welcome to UHD. I am ready to get to work and support our students, faculty and staff in preparing for a successful fall semester.

Antonio D. Tillis, Ph.D.
Interim President, University of Houston-Downtown