President Flores Shares University Accomplishments, Future Vision at Fall 2014 Convocation
At this week's fall convocation, President Bill Flores applauded faculty and staff for their significant contributions over the past year, and also challenged them to keep student success and increased graduation and retention rates as key priorities moving forward.
He encouraged attendees to participate in the many upcoming events to celebrate the University's 40th anniversary, and provided history about UHD's many milestones since its inception in 1974.
Flores shared the University's vision statement: UHD will be a premier city university engaging every student in high-impact educational experiences and ensuring that students graduate with 21st-century skills.
To be a premier city university, UHD must be an engaged university, and the president updated faculty and staff on current civic partnerships. Seven years ago, UHD offered 111 courses with a community engagement component - today that number stands at 486. Last year, nearly 8,500 students actively participated in community service efforts, completing more than 67,500 hours of service throughout Greater Houston. With faculty and staff contributions, this number reached nearly 90,000 service hours last year alone.
Flores encouraged attendees to become involved in Citizenship Month Houston, which the University will host again this November. He also highlighted UHD's upcoming sponsorship of The Big Read, a celebration of literacy that encourages Houstonians to read for pleasure. UHD is one of only three institutions in Texas selected by the National Endowment for the Arts for this honor.
The president focused on key accomplishments faculty and staff achieved together over the past year. He noted that UHD remains among the best values in higher education in the state, with annual tuition falling 20 percent below the statewide average. He shared impressive benefits of freshman admission standards - implemented last fall - including the fact that the percentage of freshmen enrolled for their second semester was a University record of 91 percent.
Flores noted that the University has taken great strides to increase support services for students over the past year, including hiring 14 additional campus advisors for UHD's new advising center. He shared that the University recently added several new centers on campus for students and faculty, including the Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence; Center for Student Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; and Center for Critical Race Studies, in addition to a new honors program this fall.
Flores congratulated faculty and staff on the University's record enrollment of 14,382 students this fall and its significant growth in graduate school enrollment, which now stands at 593 students - 407 of whom are new. He noted that the College of Business' MBA program, which included 32 students in spring 2012, now enrolls more than 360 students, based in part on the University's new business certificate programs.
He shared the University's 2020 master plan, which includes the addition of a building to house classroom and lab space for the College of Sciences and Technology, student parking garages, a student wellness center, and recreational fields, among other facility enhancements.
Finally, Flores underscored the importance that UHD grow with the city, which is expected to add more than one million residents by 2025. He emphasized that UHD must continue to partner with industry leaders, listen to their needs, and develop degrees that equip students with 21st century skills to meet employer needs and expectations.
The UHD chapter of Alpha Lambda Delta accepts the Order of the Torch award.
As part of convocation, Dr. Glenda Earwood, national executive director of Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society, presented UHD with the organization's prestigious Order of the Torch Award, bestowed to only six collegiate chapters this year. UHD's selection marks the first time Alpha Lambda Delta has granted the award to a chapter in its first year of existence.
To read Flores' 2014 convocation message, please visit the Presidential Communications webpage.