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UH System Statement in Response to Victoria Advocate

We understand and appreciate the interest and concern your readers have regarding the University of Houston (UH) System, UH-Victoria and UH Sugar Land Campus. We’ve received more than 40 separate questions from The Victoria Advocate about the UH Sugar Land Task Force Report and related issues.

While we respect the Advocate’s right to ask its questions, some we have received cannot be answered at this time. A UH Sugar Land Transition Committee will be appointed in the near future to gather information, hear from the public, study the issues and make recommendations. We cannot speculate on its eventual conclusions, nor should we.

It is important to note, again, that the recommendations of the UH Sugar Land Task Force Report, which the UH System Board of Regents approved, will be implemented over two to five years.

Where appropriate, we have provided the Advocate with detailed responses that include budget information; funding sources for UHV buildings in Sugar Land; enrollment numbers related to UH-Victoria, UH Sugar Land Campus and UH Cinco Ranch; and extensive information about UH-Victoria’s nursing program.

We’ve provided the Advocate with bullet points outlining the proactive steps being implemented to address these issues. These steps include:

  1. Distribution of a news release detailing the action by the UH System Board of Regents
  2. Creation of a website to receive public comments and suggestions
  3. Distribution of UH System Chancellor Renu Khator’s email to all faculty and staff in the UH System in which she addresses the UH Sugar Land Campus transition
  4. Development of an op ed from the Chair of the UH System Board of Regents
  5. Chancellor Khator has already reached out to the faculty of UH Sugar Land Campus and UH-Victoria
  6. Forthcoming creation of the UH Sugar Land Transition Committee that will conduct two public meetings – one in Sugar Land and one in Victoria

Our transparency is consistent with past actions of the UH System related to UH Sugar Land Campus and UH-Victoria. Public discussion of these issues by UH System officials and public action by the UH System Board of Regents has been ongoing since 2008. The following timeline provides an overview of some of the key initiatives.

October 2008:  The UH System Board of Regents Chair and The Victoria College Board Chair created the Commission on Expanding Access to Higher Education in fall 2008 to explore ways in which Victoria education institutions could enhance student access and success in higher education, in accordance with the goals identified in the state's plan for higher education, "Closing the Gaps." The commission recommended unanimously the downward expansion of UH-Victoria. This recommendation was approved by the UH System Board of Regents in a public meeting on Oct. 10, 2008.

November 2011:  The UH System Board of Regents, in a public meeting, approved the expansion of nine new programs at the UH System at Sugar Land. To support this expansion, Regents announced that UH as an institution would replace the UH System as the administrative entity for the teaching center, effectively making it a branch campus of UH. With this action, the campus was renamed the "University of Houston Sugar Land" as of January 2012.

May 2013:  The UH System Board of Regents, in a public meeting, approved the $5 million purchase of land and associated improvements to expand the footprint of the UH-Victoria campus. This allows for the construction of a new academic building and addresses concerns in the UH-Victoria master plan that shows the campus needs extra space for future expansion.

Fall 2013: Chancellor Khator announced plans to implement a major change in the delivery of off-campus instruction:  to make UH the sole UH System institution delivering programs at the Sugar Land campus.

Fall 2013:  The UH Sugar Land Task Force was appointed to examine the issues involved in such a major undertaking to ensure that the best interests of students, the community and the UH System were being served.

December 2013:  Chancellor Khator addressed the Fort Bend County Chamber of Commerce, announcing that the transition to making Sugar Land a branch campus will begin in early 2014. “We are hearing you loud and clear: You want to have a full presence of the University of Houston, with full rights and privileges that come with it,” she said.

February 2014:  The UH System Board of Regents, in a public meeting, approved the recommendations of the UH Sugar Land Campus Task Force.

Future initiatives: 

  • Creation of the UH Sugar Land Campus Transition Committee
  • Chancellor Khator and Vice Chancellor Paula Myrick Short will continue to engage with faculty at UH Sugar Land and UH Victoria
  • The UH Sugar Land Campus Transition Committee will conduct two public meetings – one in Sugar Land and one in Victoria