Smith and Sheridan reflect on university situation

Michelle Norton

Staff Writer

Wednesday marked the first day in office for the university's second in command and the one year anniversary of its first.

Newly appointed University of Houston Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs/Provost Edward Sheridan stepped into the role with his first official duty of addressing the Spring Faculty Assembly.

Sheridan, a former provost at the University of Missouri, introduced his plan to restructure UH as a research university. As the son of immigrant parents, he recalled how almost none of the parents in his neighborhood attended high school.

"While they themselves did not have the best education, they wanted the best for their children," he said. "That is why almost all the kids in the neighborhood, including myself, went to college."

Sheridan attributed much of his good fortune to affordable public universities.

"If universities like UH become research institutions, it will allow many underprivileged kids to go to college," he said.

Sheridan said he believed that UH is well on its way to accomplishing this task.

"It will prove to be worthwhile for both UH and the surrounding community, our ultimate goal being to have education in Houston comparable to that of top level universities." Sheridan also listed the restructuring of the Faculty Senate and the budget finance plan as projects while as provost.

"By listening to the (Faculty Senate) I hope to promote the goals and aspirations of UH. By working with the deans and the vice-president of finance I hope to help move UH into the future with a new budget plan," Sheridan said.

Arthur K. Smith also celebrated his one year anniversary as UH President/UH-System Chancellor. To celebrate, Faculty Senate President Robert Palmer presented Smith with a cupcake holding a single candle. After laughs and thanks, Smith reviewed past accomplishments and future plans for the university.

Smith complimented the move of senior administration from UH Downtown to the main campus.

"We are all now campus people, close to the lives of the staff and students."

Smith also praised the hiring practices at UH and spoke of creating a committee to conduct national searches for new faculty members.

"We take pride in the quality of the faculty that we've hired," he said.

Within the next two years, Smith said, there will be a 6 percent total increase in faculty wages.

Smith said he hoped the renovation of Hofheinz Pavilion and Robertson Stadium, as well as the recent addition of Clyde Drexler as basketball coach, would bolster community involvement at UH.

"We want to increase the support of the alumni in sports, which will spill over into academic areas and public service," he said.

In an effort to attract local social, business and political leaders in Houston and across Texas, Smith announced the possibility of a statewide fund-raising campaign.

"(Garnering) the support of the state legislature is part of our long term goals."

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