Message From the President: Welcome Back to Campus
Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,
Welcome to the 2022-23 academic year! It is wonderful to have everyone back together again and to feel the anticipation of the campus abounding with activity. To our class of 2026, transfer and graduate students, new faculty and staff, and others who are joining us for the first time, we are so happy you are here. Welcome to the University of Houston-Downtown community!
I have no doubt that this is going to be a productive and exciting year. I hope it affords each of you the opportunity to explore, to discover, to learn, and to contribute meaningfully to life on our campus and throughout the Houston community.
Here are a few of the highlights to look forward to during this academic year.
We will be heavily engaged in implementing our new Strategic Plan entitled as A New Paradigm. By working together with the plan as our guide, we will succeed in our quest for excellence and student success, ensuring that UHD is an inclusive university of choice for Houstonians. Together, we are setting a course to ensure that UHD is the vibrant, competitive, ascendant institution we all know it can be. What began as a 21-session Listening Tour and the development of our pivotal Institutional Compass led us to create new mission and vision statements, revealing a new paradigm to keep us on course. I encourage you to read our Strategic Plan with an eye toward how you can play a role in its implementation as we seek to be an Anchor Institution for Houston and beyond.
There is energy and excitement around opening our new UHD Wellness and Success Center, which offers two additional dance studios, a third basketball court, indoor running track, bouldering wall, and a demonstration kitchen. Programming will include additional group exercise classes, more sports, informative nutrition demonstrations, and more exercise opportunities for the UHD Community to fulfill their health and wellness goals. The expected opening date is January 17, 2023.
I also trust that you could not help but see the new signage and landscape improvements we have begun making to our One Main Complex. UHD’s Wayfinding Project is designed to add new exterior signage to help with navigation onto Campus, into parking areas, and toward One Main building entrances. Inside, we will add temporary signage to elevators and other transitional areas while we gather input from users. I am asking everyone to participate in this usage survey to help us improve the UHD experience for us all—especially for those new to the campus.
Lastly, we have incredibly important work to do to enhance our student success agenda at UHD. In developing a seamless and holistic approach to supporting our students, we created the new Division of Student Success and Student Life to support both the basic needs and academic needs of our students. We know that students cannot be successful in the classroom if they are struggling with housing, food, financial, and transportation insecurities. Through a planning grant from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the Division of Student Success and Student Life, together with the Academic Affairs and Enrollment Management divisions, are dedicated to providing resources to ensure our students’ basics needs are being met.
In a similar vein, we have re-envisioned Academic Advising, with a student-centered, case management approach. Now our Student Success Coordinators will begin to provide a “one-stop shop,” following each student from admissions to graduation while connecting them to the academic, career, and personal support they may need along the way.
It is of paramount importance that we continually remind ourselves of our true purpose: to educate and support our students to best equip them for future success. Whether UHD is brand new to you or you are a returning student or faculty member, please know that you are joining us at a very special time in the history of the University. With student success as our barometer, I look forward to beginning an exciting, new academic year with you—one filled with the promise of learning and achievement in a dynamic academic environment predicated on excellence.
Loren J. Blanchard, Ph.D.
President, University of Houston-Downtown