UHD Experiencing Summer Enrollment Growth
By Mike Emery
The “new normal” has changed the way universities are delivering courses during the COVID-19 pandemic. At UHD, classes moved online for the summer, and students quickly adapted to virtual learning platforms, including Blackboard and Zoom. So much so, the University is seeing significant enrollment increases for summer sessions.
According to Dr. Jimmy Jung, Vice President for Enrollment Management, UHD’s summer enrollment is currently up by 24 percent from this time last year. More than 6,400 students are enrolled in online classes at UHD.
“Students are seeking normalcy during this pandemic age,” he said. “Staying in school, taking classes, and going through their regular routines are helping them stay focused on their goals. Our students are resilient. They’re committed to completing their degrees.”
Jung also cites a renewed effort to enhance advising services for students as another factor for summer enrollment growth.
Although many students will admit to missing campus life, they are becoming more proficient with online learning, said UHD Provost & Senior Vice President for Academic & Student Affairs Dr. Eric Carl Link. Likewise, faculty members are effectively delivering curriculum in creative ways using virtual platforms.
“The opportunities for students across the Greater Houston region to take classes and work toward their educational goals continue at UHD despite the pandemic,” Link said. “Faculty and staff across the University are working diligently to provide great learning experiences for students this summer through online classes and virtual experiences. It’s not how we planned it months ago, but students, faculty and staff have come together during this COVID-19 era to stay focused on learning, educational growth and achievement.”
University College Dean Dr. Scott Marzilli acknowledged the Center for Teaching & Learning Excellence (CTLE) and Infomation Technology's Technology Teaching & Learning Center (TTLC) for their quick response to helping faculty transition courses online and supporting the UHD Community. With CTLE providing expert instruction on best practices for online instruction among other topics and TTLC offering training and support for platforms such as Zoom, faculty and students have been well prepared for UHD's online summer
"The CTLE already had many faculty development options such as workshops and consultations in place before the pandemic, making it easy for its staff to incorporate those into a fully online course on best practices in online teaching," he said. "While the CTLE supports the pedagogical needs of faculty, UHD is also fortunate to have the robust TTLC handling the technology side of online teaching. Through the TTLC, faculty have been taking synchronous training sessions delivered via Zoom on a wide variety of topics."
While the bolstered summer enrollment is indeed encouraging, there’s more work to be done for fall 2020, Jung noted. There’s certainly a sense of optimism, but members of Jung’s staff and others across the institution are diligently working to ensure the University continues to support its students. Among the tasks at hand is to prepare the revised fall class schedule to reflect the different course modalities offered in the upcoming semester.
“We’re definitely focusing on fall at the moment,” Jung said. “These are very uncertain times, but students are finding reassurance in UHD. All of us are here to support our Gators, and we’re working hard to help them succeed.”
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 61,000 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 awarded UHD 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.