Looking Forward To A New Paradigm
UHD Strategic Planning Committee Making Strides
By Sheryl E. Taylor
The University of Houston-Downtown is on the rise, and its Strategic Planning Committee wants to ensure that its trajectory advances to new heights.
The Committee convened its first meeting in early September to begin an ambitious yet significant process to ignite a conversation among UHD’s prized stakeholders . . . its students, faculty and staff. The plan’s theme, “A New Paradigm ... For Houston’s Most Diverse Public University,” seeks to determine how the University can position itself as a model Hispanic and Minority-Serving Institution across the city, region, and the nation.
The 24-member Committee (comprised of faculty, students, staff, alumni and community members) was organized into seven sub-teams to address the goals of improving the academic environment; increasing university funding; raising UHD’s visibility and profile; supporting faculty and staff; advancing knowledge creation; enhancing student success; and developing new partnerships and sustaining current ones. The last two goals—student success and partnerships—are dedicated to guiding students more intentionally on their academic and professional journeys and to leveraging partnerships with Gator alumni and communities beyond the doors of UHD.
The Strategic Planning Committee is inviting and encouraging students to participate in an online survey,
Nov. 18 – Dec. 1, for their feedback on the proposed goals for the University.
UHD student and Strategic Planning Committee member Mahalia Ogude understands the importance of the students’ voice.
“It’s critical that students are visible, that their voices are heard, and that their best interests are at the forefront when making important decisions concerning UHD,” Ogude said. “I hope to play a part in student success and graduation completion by bringing awareness as well as solutions to key factors such as course availability, academic resources and overall student life; and that the University is ready and open to make beneficial changes to support and deliver student success. In order for this happen, students must speak up and give their input on key issues, topics and solutions. Faculty, staff, and students can make a long-term difference in the future of UHD when they collectively work together for the best interest of the university and community.”
Echoing Ogude’s sentiments, Dr. Sheila Lloyd, coordinator of the planning process and Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs in the Office of the Provost said, “The Committee has high goals that if realized will make UHD a leader when it comes to serving students” and showing what sets us apart in that regard. The aspiration is to position the university to move from business as usual to becoming a model university.”
The Committee will meet three more times before the end of 2021. After review and comment periods, they will present the plan to the entire UHD Community in April.
Lloyd emphasized, “The Committee is addressing the UHD of the future, as well as the present, so it is situated where all of its constituents want it to be five years from now.”
The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD)—the second-largest university in Houston—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 more than 15,000 students; boasts more than 60,000 alumni and offers 45 bachelor’s, nine master’s degree programs and 16 fully online programs within five colleges (Marilyn Davies College of Business; Humanities & Social Sciences; Public Service; Sciences & Technology; and University College).
For the fourth consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report ranks UHD among universities across the nation for Best Online Criminal Justice Programs (No. 27 and No. 15 for Veterans) and Best Online Bachelor’s Programs.
UHD has the most affordable tuition among four-year universities in Houston and one of the lowest in Texas. U.S. News ranked the University among Top Performers on Social Mobility and a No. 1 ranking as the most diverse institution of higher education in the southern region of the U.S. The University is noted nationally as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, Minority-Serving Institution and Military Friendly School. For more on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit www.uhd.edu.