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Virtual Spring 2022 Opening Meeting Provides Updates to Faculty, Staff

University of Houston-Downtown President Loren J. Blanchard and campus leadership shared updates and a snapshot for the semester during a virtual Welcome to Spring 2022 Opening Meeting on Monday, Jan. 24.

“As our institution grows and considers new approaches to serving our students and our communities, it is you – the faculty and staff – who will be leading that charge,” Blanchard said. “UHD will depend on your steadfast knowledge and expertise to help our campus expand to new and exciting endeavors. This gathering is also designed to provide critical details on our campus operations this semester and an overview of things to come this spring.”

The event began with greetings from Faculty Senate President Dr. Ed Cueva and Staff Council President Caroline Smith, followed by remarks by President Blanchard.

The President reminded faculty and staff that UHD’s soft opening status will continue with the expectation of resuming regular operations on Monday, Feb. 7. He added that the university is working with the city, state and national source to track any developments that might that timeline or operations on campus.

In addition, Blanchard encouraged the UHD Community to take advantage of free monthly vaccination clinics this spring, along with using hand sanitizer and mask dispenser stations throughout campus and visiting the Curative COVID Testing Kiosk near the Jesse H. Jones Student Life Center.

Blanchard reminded faculty and staff that as more people return to campus, several featured events will be held, including the President’s Lecture Series featuring Nikole Hannah-Jones on Wednesday, Feb. 9. The series is sponsored in part by the ECMC Foundation and hosts guests and panel discussions on topics such as health equity in communities of color; environmental justice and sustainability; and inclusive excellence and creating diverse organizations.

Other noted topics covered during the event included UHD’s Strategic Plan and the work of the Strategic Planning Committee and the upcoming fifth year review by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC), which was presented by Dr. Sheila Lloyd, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Blanchard noted that UHD’s Institutional Compass serves as a directional guide of the University’s mission as it is based on the Four Points of Excellence that include strengthening justice, bolstering student success and equity, supporting institutional excellence, and growing as an anchor institution.

“I know that with focus, we can utilize this time and feedback to strengthen our resolve and further commit our energies toward creating not just ‘a’ university for Houston but ‘the’ university for Houston,” he said.

Following the President’s address, other University leaders provided updates from their respective divisions including Interim Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Akif Uzman, Dr. Sheila Lloyd, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs; Dr. Daniel Villanueva, Vice President of Enrollment Management; Interim Vice President for Administration and Finance Marty Baylor; and Director of Emergency Management Cynthia Vargas.

The University Community may watch the meeting in its entirety by viewing the video above.


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.