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Letters to the University Community

Update on Spring Semester 2011

January 20, 2011

 

Dear Colleagues,

Many good things are happening as we begin spring semester.

Winter Term & Spring Semester Enrollment:

Our new online winter term helped students move ahead with their degrees and provided 2,187 semester credit hours to support our base budget. Some 728 students enrolled, and Interim Provost and Vice President Michael Dressman has provided feedback from a few students:

"I love winter/mini term classes; this was one of the best ones I have taken, and I hope UHD continues this next year." and "I really enjoyed this class, and I learned a lot. I am glad that this winter term was open so now I will be able to graduate this spring."

As you can see, many of our students found winter term to be extremely helpful. I know this required extraordinary effort from our faculty and staff to bring these classes online, promote them effectively and provide our students with superb support. I want to extend my sincere thanks for your assistance. When we work together to achieve new goals, we rise to a new level of excellence.

Vice President Ed Apodaca has provided additional good news about our spring enrollment. As of Wednesday morning, we were running 3.9 percent ahead of last year, an increase of 466 students compared to the same time last spring. We will gain more enrollments prior to the 12th day of classes as students finish registering and paying for tuition and fees. These efforts will also improve our general revenue funding for the next biennium.

State Budget Outlook: Our elected officials are facing a very tough budget year in Austin and we have seen proposals for significant cuts in education, higher education and other areas. The initial House budget presented in Austin this week would fund UHD for the next two years with $50.3 million of general revenue, a reduction of $10.3 million (17 percent) from the current budget. This is what UHD's executive team had expected. As the Senate presents its budget and a final budget is developed, we will keep you informed of significant developments.

No Furloughs at UHD this Fiscal Year: I also want to share the following important message. Because of the broad reductions that have already been taken and the growth in student credit hours, we have decided not to use furloughs to offset our budget shortfalls this fiscal year, FY2011. Many higher education institutions, cities and states are using furloughs, but UHD will not utilize this tool now.

Efficiencies and Cost-saving Ideas: Last semester I asked for your ideas and comments on how we could save money, generate revenue, and create efficiencies. Many of you forwarded ideas to suggestionbox@uhd.edu. We will continue to share these with the Budget Reduction and Efficiencies Task Force. The task force will reconvene next week. Please continue to send us your ideas and suggestions. Read suggestions and comments from your colleagues by clicking here.

Visit from Dr. Vincent Tinto: UHD will host nationally known Professor Vincent Tinto, Distinguished University Professor at Syracuse University, Friday, Feb. 4. He will present "Developing a Culture of Faculty-Student Engagement to Improve Student Success" at 10 a.m. in the Wilhelmina Cullen Robertson Auditorium on the 3rd floor of the Academic Building. An informal session with Q & A will occur at 1 p.m. and will focus on linking student success initiatives to strategic planning. Both events are open to the University community.

Professor Tinto has written extensively on student success in higher education and the positive impact that institutions have experienced with learning communities. His visit will build on work UHD has already done through our Quality Enhancement Program and Achieving the Dream initiatives. I would like to thank Drs. Chris Birchak, Gene Preuss, Sara Farris, Bill Waller and Tammis Thomas who spearheaded Dr. Tinto's visit after they attended the Institute for Higher Education Policy this summer; I would also like to thank the Faculty Senate for supporting his visit.

UH earns Tier-One Status: Join me in congratulating Chancellor Renu Khator and the University of Houston. On Tuesday, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching placed UH in its top category (Tier One) of research universities reserved for institutions with "very high research activity." That makes UH one of only three public Carnegie-designated Tier-One universities in Texas with the University of Texas and Texas A&M University. This is a milestone accomplishment that deserves our recognition.

I believe UHD is prepared to meet the challenges that lie ahead. Thank you for your continued support and hard work as we begin spring semester.

With great appreciation,

 

Bill Flores

UHD President

 

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Last updated or reviewed on 2/21/11

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