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T. Chaney Anderson President’s Distinguished Staff Service Award


By Ashley Kilday, Contributing Writer

As UHD’s Staff Awards for 2023 near, we wanted to take a moment to celebrate last year’s recipients.

Among the awardees at UHD’s 2022 Staff Awards event was Richard Simonds, who received the prestigious T. Chaney Anderson President’s Distinguished Staff Service Award.

Richard Simonds 1Simonds serves as the Director of College Data Analytics for the College of Public Service (CPS). “I feel fortunate to serve in the College of Public Service and work with our faculty, students, and staff in multiple different ways,” he said. “I really enjoy working with data and numbers to better support our students. We have some amazing people within the College, and I’m happy to be part of the team.”

Nominated by a Colleague

The T. Chaney Anderson President’s Distinguished Staff Service Award recognizes exemplary staff members who demonstrate a passion for and excellence in their work. Simonds was nominated for the honor by a colleague, and he expressed his gratitude for the recognition, saying, “I was very honored to be nominated. It's great to be part of a team that values and acknowledges the efforts of its members.”

Applied Data: Beyond IT Support

Simonds highlighted the importance of finding actionable insights from the abundance of data available. “Today you collect data on everything, but when you have so many data points, it’s essential to determine what is useful and what can lead to meaningful changes that better support our students,” he explained.

Simonds’ ability to analyze data and uncover crucial information plays a vital role in enhancing the UHD experience for students. He exemplified this through his efforts to consolidate scholarship application processes and simplify access to financial aid for students. “Working with our faculty and staff, we were able to condense multiple scholarship application portals into one system, resulting in more students applying for scholarships and increased awards. It’s about making data-driven decisions to support our students effectively,” he added.

Simonds emphasized his passion for leveraging data to improve the UHD community. He spoke enthusiastically about his aspirations, stating, “I’m excited about working with department chairs to use data more consistently, informing and enhancing the professional development of faculty and staff to benefit our students even more.”

Plans for the Future

In addition to his contributions at UHD, Simonds is in the final stages of completing his doctoral program in Educational Technology and Educational Leadership so he can elevate his application of knowledge for the betterment of students.

Simonds expressed his gratitude toward UHD for recognizing and valuing both staff and faculty through awards like the T. Chaney Anderson President’s Distinguished Staff Service Award. He believes that cultivating a collaborative culture is crucial for the University’s success, and the acknowledgment of staff members’ efforts will continue to foster an environment committed to excellence and student success.

About the University of Houston-Downtown

The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and 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 approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.

U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.