UHD: Poised For Further Growth
In order for UHD to continue rising, the University must commit to constant reflection
and improvement. Among our challenges, UHD must align its vision and strategy within
each department while also bringing University-wide focus and unity. This call to
action also entails investing in the programs and processes that facilitate student
success. Our mission will always be to serve the students from start to finish of
the college experience and when they become alumni. The University is already working
on this objective, and it is always poised for further growth.
UHD must bolster its institutional focus.
Establish a clear University-wide strategic plan with clear goals, departmental benchmarks
and aligned budget priorities
The University’s strategic plan must be updated and remain visible to all internal stakeholders. There should be a clear vision for all employees regarding priorities and tasks to be accomplished. Clear benchmarks also should be in place to measure success and growth.
Create Campus Synergy and Break Down Silos
Departments must create synergy and accept responsibility to support both UHD’s mission and student success. Collaboration and communication can make a positive difference in ensuring students receive the assistance they need and achieving their ultimate goal of completing their degrees.
UHD must improve student retention and completion rates which will also result in improving the campus’ public perceptions and external funding opportunities.
Building the University’s Public Image, Institutional Pride
Institutional pride is essential for all universities, and UHD is no different. In growing internal pride, the University must continue to look at new ways of ensuring its students stay on track academically while remaining loyal to the institution. And pride often is created through an institution’s enhanced public image; one that shows UHD as a quality university that significantly impacts the region.
Students rely on the guidance of their colleges and other departments to help them succeed academically. The University will continue to explore new, innovative ways to support students and ensure they remain enrolled and ready to graduate on time. Many such programs are already in place such as the Writing and Reading Center and the Course Innovation Initiative, but the University can continue to explore new ways of ensuring student success.
Creating an Environment of Care
Once a student is enrolled, the clock begins on UHD’s responsibility to make sure they not only succeed in the classroom but emerge from the University with a degree in hand. The University will work to cultivate an environment of care in which faculty and staff continue to mentor students and provide the guidance and direction necessary for them to remain enrolled and on track to graduate.
UHD must commit to student services, programs and facilities that foster student
Accessible, Expanded Scholarship Offerings
The University must work to inform students of the many scholarships and financial aid opportunities available. Additionally, the institution must support students as they navigate the criteria for such awards, as well as the application processes. Additionally, the University must work to provide increased scholarships benefitting those nontraditional or transfer students, as well as part-time students balancing work and school.
Promote Open Access Textbooks
It is always in the interest of UHD to find accessible, cost-saving measures to deliver education. Open access textbooks provide multiple ways to impact the overall success of our students including an affordable alternative to having the course materials needed to ensure success in course completion.
Although UHD has been ranked one of the safest universities in the nation, the downtown location can seem intimidating to some stakeholders. Students must be reminded that security patrol the campus regularly and callboxes, security escorts and other resources are readily available 24 hours daily. UHD also holds a ranking of one of the safest campuses in the United States.
Commitment to Serving and Understanding Our Diverse Populations
UHD is federally designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) and Minority-Serving Institution (MSI); however, it is critical that the University continue to understand the significance of these designations. With that in mind, staff and faculty should understand the cultural accountability that comes with being an HSI and MSI and continue to develop curriculum and programming that support these student populations.
Expanding student engagement programs and facilities that contribute to a complete college student experience
Although we are a commuter campus, many students crave the “full-university” experience found at residential institutions. Expanding programs like study abroad, and experiential learning and facilities like a student union and the now developing Student Wellness Center will go a long way to growing and maintaining student engagement and enrollment.
Supporting Students Throughout Their Academic Journey and Beyond
While significant attention is placed on FTICs upon their arrival, it is critical to support them throughout their time at the University. It would be wise for the University to have support systems for freshman during their second semester as well as sophomores, upper classmen, non-traditional and graduate students – all who sometimes feel left without any guidance or support infrastructure in place.
UHD has a distinct need for knowledgeable, friendly and professional customer service teams to address questions and complaints from current and prospective students. Potential ideas to achieve this include effective cross-training for staff in student-facing offices to ensure students’ issues are resolved quickly and efficiently, a centralized call center, specialized evening services, better promotion of university services and resources, and a consistently updated University website.
Enrollment Outreach Should Be Seen as a Campus Investment
Having designated ambassadors, be they staff members, faculty or students, who are well-informed about UHD and can meaningfully engage prospective students from K-12 schools and community colleges could greatly benefit the University.
Student Affairs Should be Expanded to Meet the Current Student Population
The University must continue to expand student-focused spaces to keep students engaged with campus life and extend their involvement with UHD programming. As enrollments grow, the need for student spaces (both for studying and recreational use) becomes increasingly essential.