09:19 AM

Lights, Camera ... Gator Preview Live!

CHSS faculty, staff and students served as anchors for Gator Preview Live.

With bright studio lights and cameras in front of them, members of the University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) community made history hosting the first Gator Preview Live webcast.

This interactive event was presented online to prospective students and provided information about transferring credits, registration, financial aid and academic offerings. Faculty, staff and students hosted the 60-minute webcast.

"The students of today are on the go, so an event like this is an excellent opportunity to connect with them," said Daniel Villanueva, assistant vice president for enrollment management and registrar. "They can view this webinar from their phone, tablet or laptop. It's important that UHD is proactive in engaging future students using interactive, digital communications."

Produced in UHD's television studio with support from the Technology, Teaching & Learning Center (TTLC), this kickoff Gator Preview Live focused specifically on the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Future webcasts will spotlight UHD's other colleges: University College, College of Public Service, College of Sciences and Technology and Marilyn Davies College of Business.

This CHSS edition of Gator Preview Live included an interview with the college's dean, Dr. Doveanna Fulton and spotlighted three standout students: Alejandro Alvarez, Irene Nuñez and Keila Ramon.

The three Gators all shared their experiences with CHSS, including Alvarez' role in launching UHD iRadio and Ramon's scholarly activities presenting at national conferences.

"I think this webcast will be very helpful for students," said Ramon, who will graduate this summer with her bachelor's degree in English Literature. "When I transferred, it was an easy process, but I still had to find answers to some specific admissions questions. Gator Preview Live will help answer those questions for students coming to UHD."

Ramon transferred from a larger institution to UHD and found a variety of opportunities awaiting her. These included undergraduate research projects, study abroad excursions and presentations at scholarly events.

"When I was at a larger school, no one really noticed me," she said. "At UHD, everyone pays attention to students. That's what makes it special."

Other Gator Preview Live presenters included Ceshia Love, director of admissions; David Landry, financial aid counselor; Reyna Romero, director of CHSS advising services; and Crystal Guillory, assistant dean of CHSS. These staff members answered questions emailed from students and delivered information essential to any future Gator.

"It's important for a student to meet our staff members and our students," Villanueva said. "Through Gator Preview Live, future students can see the faces of those staff members, who can help them. They also can see what our students look like and hear their success stories. The people who were on this webcast are reflective of UHD's population. Not only do prospective students learn the admissions and transfer processes, they get an actual preview of our community."

Although it was streamed over the internet, a few prospective students showed up to campus and viewed Gator Preview Live from TTLC's offices. They then had the opportunity to meet the webcast's stars and receive personal escorts to the admissions office.

More than 100 prospective students tuned in to Gator Preview Live, Villanueva said. That number is encouraging considering that it was the first time UHD had engaged in a live production aimed at informing new students. The next Gator Preview Live is set for July 11 with the University College.

"We're ready to do the next one," Villanueva said. "Many institutions host webinars, but hosting a live webcast shows UHD's commitment to reaching future students in innovative new ways."