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Chancellor's Update to Faculty & Staff

November 14, 2014

UH System Achievements

  • Approximately 4,800 students enrolled in our four UH System universities take some or most of their face-to-face classes at various off-campus sites, near their homes of jobs, making it easier for them to complete their degrees in a timely manner.

– UH Sugar Land Campus, approximately 1,500 students
– UH System at Cinco Ranch, approximately 500
– Northwest Houston, approximately 2,000
– UHCL Pearland Campus, approximately 800

  • The UH Sugar Land Work Group will present its report to the UH-Victoria and the UH Sugar Land Campus communities on Nov. 20 and 21, part of the ongoing process to transform UHV into a destination university of the first class and the UH Sugar Land Campus into a vibrant operation serving the needs of that growing region.

University of Houston Achievements

  • UH, already classified by the Carnegie Foundation as a “Community Engaged University,” has now been honored by APLU as an “Innovation and Economic Prosperity University.” UH was selected for this honor by “focusing on creating an innovation ecosystem by nurturing interdependence between internal know-how and resources, and input from university stakeholders and industry.” There were eight finalists for the 2014 awards, including Penn State, Purdue, University of Illinois, and Virginia Tech.
  • Cougars rule the world of business! UH and the UH Alumni Association hosted the inaugural Cougar 100 Luncheon this month to honor the fastest-growing UH alumni-owned or -operated businesses in the world. The businesses were nominated for the honor and had to meet certain criteria based on annual growth from 2011 to 2013. The Houston Business Journal published the list of the 100 companies that were recognized.
  • Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture students and faculty have swept several national and international awards recently. Matthew Burton, industrial design student, won first place in the International Housewares Competition for his electrical outlet adapter specifically designed for people with severe handicaps. The college won the Global Arts Affairs Foundation Prize at the Architecture Biennale in Venice, competing against colleges from 40 countries.
  • Generous gifts from UH alumni were highlighted during groundbreaking for the four-story, $51 million Multidisciplinary Research and Engineering Building last month. The Mehta Family Foundation provided support to establish the Mehta Family Engineering Research Center on the building’s ground floor. Three members of the family – Jainesh, Nisha, and Dharmesh – hold engineering degrees from UH. Regent Durga Agrawal and Sushila Agrawal’s gift will underwrite the facility’s second floor. Regent Agrawal holds a master’s and a Ph.D. in industrial engineering from UH. The facility is scheduled to open in 2016.
  • The MOU signed last summer between Swansea University and UH is already bearing fruit. A delegation of high-ranking Swansea officials and scholars, including Vice Chancellor Richard Davies and Chancellor Rhodri Morgan, were on campus in October for a day-long series of lectures and discussions. Topics included psychology, law, engineering, biosciences and poetry, among others.
  • UH continues to engage our surrounding community. This year, as is the case every year, Graduate College of Social Work students are interning with Community Cloth, an umbrella organization comprising dozens of organizations and churches interested in enhancing the Third Ward. Our students are helping develop program elements for the $30 million renovation of the historic Emancipation Park, while others are working with Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church’s transitional living program for the elderly in the poorest part of Third Ward, and with the widely acclaimed Project Row Houses, among others.

UH-Clear Lake Achievements

  • UHCL was tapped as a Military Friendly School by Victory Media, the leader in successfully connecting the military and civilian worlds. The Military Friendly Schools list features top colleges, universities and trade schools recognized for their dedicated efforts to ensure military students’ success.
  • A full-scale replica of the 1752 Liberty Bell will be on display in the north lobby of the Bayou Building thanks to the efforts of Associate Professor of Legal Studies James Benson to offer educational opportunities outside of the classroom to students and visitors. The bell was cast by London’s Whitechapel Bell Foundry, creators of the original, now on display in Philadelphia. Installation of the bell was made possible through generous donations from alumni and community partners.
  • School of Education undergraduate students Christine Houston and Mari Martinez were named Exceptional Teacher Candidates by the Texas Quest for Quality project, a state initiative highlighting exemplary quality in university-based teacher preparation programs. The project supports the goals of Closing the Gaps, the state initiative to help strengthen the future work force of Texas.

UH-Downtown Achievements

  • In his only speaking engagement in Houston, The Honorable Stéphane Dujarric, spokesperson for U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, addressed students and community members on global citizenship and world affairs at UHD. More than 300 students from UHD and Harmony Public Schools, and Model U.N. advisers from Lone Star College, attended the event, which was co-sponsored by UHD and the Houston chapter of the United Nations Association.
  • UHD has partnered with the City of Houston and Interise to launch “Build Up Houston,” an executive education program to support small construction companies operating and doing business with the city. Using an innovative curriculum developed by Interise, a nonprofit that assists small business owners, UHD will provide training in financial management, business strategy development, human resources, marketing and sales to help companies build operational capacity, increase revenues and create sustainable jobs.
  • UHD received approximately $400,000 in cooperative grant funds for its partnership with the Houston Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation. The alliance, funded by the National Science Foundation, has joined in an effort to adapt and develop innovative programs to increase the number of underrepresented minority students who earn bachelor’s degrees in the STEM fields. Universities involved in the project have agreed to apply the funds to build academic and social support systems, increase research opportunities and adopt the alliance’s best practices.

UH-Victoria Achievements

  • UHV’s growing international activities have resulted in the establishment of an International Studies Office. The office will integrate and simplify all processes related to international students, handle study abroad programs, international agreements, visa and English language issues, and applications. Most recently, 29 business students traveled to China as part of UHV’s largest-ever study abroad program. Many of them received travel scholarships thanks to a $600,000 gift to UHV from Chinese businessman Bingxin Wu and his wife, Shuqin Feng.
  • UHV’s new Center for the Arts will be located in a leased building in downtown Victoria. The 5,500-square-foot facility will house the university’s new art and design courses and a second Computation & Advanced Visualization Engineering (CAVE) Lab.
  • The School of Education & Human Development has been awarded an $850,737 federal grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to be used to increase the number of professional counselors trained in integrated behavioral health care. The majority of the grant will be used to provide $10,000 internship stipends to UHV students pursuing master’s degrees in clinical mental health counseling.