12:01 PM

UHD, HCC Partnership Earns Texas Affordable Baccalaureate Grant

Professionals in the public sector are passionate about the constituents they serve. Still, the long hours spent as public servants may conflict with their academic aspirations. A partnership between the University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) and Houston Community College (HCC) soon will provide many Houston public servants with an affordable and accelerated bachelor's degree option.

Through a $250,000 Texas Affordable Baccalaureate (TAB) grant, UHD and HCC are developing competency-based curriculum that will be the foundation for a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences (BAAS) concentration in Applied Public Administration and Leadership at UHD, and an Associate of Applied Sciences in Business Management at HCC. It is aimed specifically at bolstering the knowledge and skills of professionals serving their communities.

"This grant is another testament to the value of higher education. We celebrate with our partners from UHD in receiving the resources to put many students on the path of professional success," said HCC Chancellor Dr. Cesar A. Maldonado. "Together we are stronger and we can't wait to see the impact this grant will have on our city's future leaders. "

Students completing HCC's associate's program in Business Management will be able to seamlessly transfer to UHD's new BAAS concentration - part of an existing degree program offered through the University College.

"The concentration addresses the needs of people in the workforce who have been working steadily for years but have not completed their degree," said Faiza Khoja, associate vice president for academic affairs. "They have the practical, hands-on experience required for their careers but don't have the degree. Through this new concentration, students can accelerate their academic journeys at an affordable cost."

The competency-based curriculum will help students complete college credits and advance toward their graduation goals. Students who demonstrate a mastery of principles outlined in these competencies can advance through the program in a timely manner and progress in their careers.

UHD's BAAS in Applied Public Administration and Leadership is scheduled to begin in fall 2019 following approval by UHD's Curriculum Committee, University of Houston System Board of Regents, THECB and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools- Commission on Colleges.

The concentration will be developed following research and consultation with employees from the Houston Police Department, Houston Fire Department, Houston Port Authority, Harris County Sheriff's Office and other organizations. It would be the only Texas Affordable Baccalaureate degree located in a major urban setting.

"The Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences degree in Applied Public Administration and Leadership was designed for professionals serving the city's public sector," said UHD President, Dr. Juan Sánchez Muñoz. "We are confident that its curriculum will benefit both students and ultimately, the communities they serve."

The agreements signed by UHD and HCC will reflect both institutions’ commitment to the Houston Guided Pathways to Success (Houston GPS) initiative. This multi-institutional partnership fosters collaboration among area colleges and universities with the goal of helping students graduate on time and with less debt. Additionally, Houston GPS is focused on streamlining the transfer process between local community colleges and universities.