UHD Welcomes Urban Education Advisory Board
By Mike Emery
This week, the University of Houston-Downtown’s Department of Urban Education (UE) welcomed its first UE Advisory Board to campus. Comprised of more than 20 stakeholders, this board will support the preparation of future educators within the University’s College of Public Service.
The board conducted its first meeting on Feb. 4 in UHD’s Commerce Street Building. In attendance to welcome board members were Dr. Eric Link, senior vice president for Academic & Student Affairs and Provost; Dr. Laura Link, assistant professor of Educational Leadership & Policy and the board’s coordinator; UE faculty members; and College of Public Service Dean, Dr. Jon Schwartz.
According to Dr. Laura Link, the board’s members have a shared vision of enhancing teacher preparation within UHD’s Department of Urban Education and ultimately strengthening learning outcomes for students throughout the region.
Dean Schwartz added that the board will provide critical insights from a range of key constituents.
“As the Urban Education Department continues to evolve, the advisory board will allow us to seek guidance from and strengthen our relationships with our key district partners,” Schwartz said. “It allows us all to be invested together in our ultimate goal to produce highly qualified and dynamic teachers to influence the next generation through the classroom.”
Diversity among the board members is essential in providing perspectives that will help inform UE leadership and faculty on how to best support students in the region. Board members include principals, assistant principals, teachers, teacher recruiters, current UHD students, alumni and others.
“Context matters,” said Laura Link. “These board members serve different districts and different roles within their respective institutions. The diversity of these members’ roles provides us with contextual understanding of the needs of area school districts.”
The board will convene each spring and fall with virtual meetings taking place throughout the year.
During its first meeting, board members learned more about the College of Public Service and issues facing public education in Texas and in the U.S. The roles of board members also were outlined.
Additionally, two proposed UE graduate degrees were discussed--a Master’s in Educational Leadership with Principal Certification and Master of Arts in Teaching in Curriculum and Instruction with an Introduction to Educational Leadership.
Following presentations from UHD and College of Public Service leadership, board members engaged in open discussion table talks.
The UE Advisory Board complements the College of Public Service’s recent initiatives that also are focused on teacher preparation. Just recently, the college and its Department of Urban Education were accepted into the University-School Partnerships for Renewed Educator Preparation coalition. And in January, the college connected with representatives from Houston Independent School District and Clemson University’s College of Education to explore future participation with the Call Me Mister Program (aimed at increasing enrollment and graduation rates of male education majors).
"The Advisory Board meeting provided an important venue to exchange and ideas and receive feedback regarding the growth of our Urban Education Department," Schwartz said. "The voices of our school district partners and students are key in our success."
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.