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UHD Staff Profile: Assistant Dean of Students Branston Harris


By Mark Kramer

Branston Harris

For University of Houston-Downtown Assistant Dean of Students Branston Harris, it's second nature to be involved.

It’s not uncommon to see him making his daily rounds on campus  sharply dressed in his vintage royal blue bowtie  visiting with students in the hallways of the One Main Building or the UHD Food Court. You’ll also find him rolling up his sleeves and participating in a number of student-oriented events such as UHD’s Week of Welcome that kicked off the fall semester.

“No day is ever the same, but the one constant on most days is taking a stroll around One Main and engaging in conversations and stopping by one of the many events happening campus,” Harris said. “I feel like taking the time to have meaningful conversations with our students really lets them know how much we care.”

The San Antonio native’s "getting-involved" qualities were evident during his teenage years at Dillard McCollum High School where he graduated from its Magnet School for Leadership and Public Service. He was active in band, choir and all athletics. Harris didn’t stop there — he played football and earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Music from Texas State University in 2010 followed by a master’s in Higher Education Administration from the University of Houston.

Prior to Harris’ arrival as the Assistant Dean of Students in November 2020, he served in numerous positions providing support to students at the Texas A&M University-Galveston, including Housing Coordinator, Manager of Orientation& Student Engagement and Assistant Director of Community Standards.

“One of the things I love most about UHD is the opportunity to engage our students where they are,” Harris said. “I value being in a position to assist them through their collegiate journey and leaving them inspired and empowered after any interaction that I have with them.”

In his UHD position, Harris manages student conduct issues, counseling and health services, and addressing students in crisis and connecting students to appropriate resources. To that end, he looks to build trust among the UHD student community.

“I believe the work that I do adds to our students’ ability to navigate college,” he said. “Taking the time to address questions and concerns and offering assistance allows me to make a direct impact on their lives.”

Harris said that mentoring to students is something that comes naturally.

“I always try to find a way to assist those around me in any way I can,” he added. “My goal is to try my best to make sure that the individuals I mentor are better than when I first met them and leave them with the ability to empower themselves and others.”

Harris said the main reason he chose to join UHD is its spirit of community.

“I love the fact that so many individuals are invested in making sure our students succeed inside the classroom and beyond,” he said. “The spirit of our campus community is truly felt in the determination of our students, the work ethic of our employees and how we are all a committed part of the Gator Family.”

About the University of Houston-Downtown

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 60,000 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 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.