President's Message: Student Success at UHD
In the first few weeks of Fall 2021, we’ve accomplished many things. We swiftly adjusted to a soft opening that will last through October 9 and return everyone to campus on October 11; we greeted students during the Week of Welcome (WOW!); and I recently delivered the inaugural State of the University Address. I was pleased to see the broad support from our legislators, UH System Regents and many other dignitaries present at the event. And, I was happy to see so many of you in attendance, both in person and online.
With the semester launched and well on its way, it is time now to turn our attention to another vital benchmark, Student Success. I appreciate the dedication that faculty and staff demonstrated in boosting enrollment and steadying the course during the semester’s start, and I’m sure our students feel the same. But now, the entire campus community must rally together for student success as the University’s primary objective for the coming months.
It has long been my belief that once students enter our doors, the clock starts ticking to guide them toward degree completion. We must continue the momentum to create the rich atmosphere that students, faculty and staff associate with an exceptional University. Now is the time to enhance our efforts related to campus experiences and extracurricular activities; support services such as the Gator Success Center, the Writing and Reading Center, and Supplemental Instruction; and of course, the outstanding teaching, learning and support that are occurring in our classrooms.
We can see examples of this in every college. For example, in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, faculty and staff continue to collaboratively engage historically underrepresented students and all UHD learners in inclusive and transformational learning practices. The college is also shifting resources to include streamlined curriculum development and alternative pathways to degree completion for transfer students.
These are just two examples within one college of the University that support our student population. Excellent work such as this is being implemented across all our colleges … but there is always room for new and innovative ideas. It is inspiring to experience the spirit of UHD faculty and staff working together in concert and their full commitment to student success.
I am looking forward to the great outcomes I know we will achieve as we work towards our common goal of student success, and to traveling the road ahead with determination as a Gator community.
Loren J. Blanchard, Ph.D.
President, University of Houston-Downtown