Investigative Desk Chief
The University of Houston-Downtown recently released its President's Report, which takes a closer look at the university and its progress over the past year.
"(The report) is to let our community, alumni and friends know what has gone on(at the university), and where we are headed ... to keep people that are very interested in the university informed and engaged," said Milicent Larson, executive assistant to the president.
Included in the report is the expansion of the campus, with the addition of two new buildings to accommodate the growing student population.
Texas Legislature has also approved $7.5 million in tuition revenue bonds. The bonds will allow the campus to complete Phase II of the facilities master plan to enhance the physical environment and expand the student parking area, which is necessary because of increased enrollment. Molly Woods, UH-D's provost and vice president, attributes the increased student population at UH-D to the university's community outreach efforts and the flexible course offerings.
"Part of the increase (in enrollment) is to be attributed to the efforts to deliver courses off campus. We have the Weekend College which allows our evening students to take an extra course. With the new degrees that we are offering ... people are finding out who we are."
Besides the structural changes at the university, there has been a change in the mission statement of the campus.
With permission from the Texas Legislature, the campus has added graduate programs in criminal justice and accounting to its course offerings.
Larson said that it was only logical for the university to begin offering programs in criminal justice, since there is a need for the program locally.
"We're a huge metropolitan city. It seemed logical (to offer the programs), ... there was a need and we already had faculty in place that were teaching these types of courses."
As for the addition of a graduate program in accounting, Larson added, "We're located downtown where a lot of business professionals work who would want to pursue accounting degrees."
The two new graduate programs are expected to further increase diversity of the student population. With several day, evening and weekend courses offered, the school's diversity continues to grow.
In August, U.S. News & World Report named UH-D one the nation's most ethnically diverse institutions of higher learning.
Woods said that the goal is to mirror the population in the area. "We have a nice representation from the African-American, Hispanic and from the Anglo (communities), ... it is very much representative of what you would see downtown. The issue is not changing the mix."
She added, "What we are attempting to do is to make higher education available to all students. We feel that we have created an atmosphere where all can participate."