Faculty Senate discusses admissions
In preparation for the future, UH leaders gathered at Wednesday’s Faculty Senate meeting and took a moment to reflect on the school’s recent successes and the challenges that lie ahead.
Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost John Antel first addressed the audience of faculty senators with stories of the University’s recent achievements, which includes the graduate student program exceeding expectations and churning out over 210 doctorates, well surpassing the goal set in 2010.
“We are hatching a lot of other good plans about continuing to build support for the doctoral programs and other master’s programs, and continuing professional education programs,” Antel said. “I feel really positive about where we are going.”
With the momentum of success behind graduate programs on campus, Antel sees this as a valuable opportunity to expand the University’s focus in this area.
Antel said the school would try to make a “return to where we started, when we were much more a graduate institution and much less an undergraduate institution.”
But he stressed that though the school has shifted some of its focus, it will have no negative effects on the number of undergraduates the school will be willing to accept.
“This does not mean we will take fewer undergraduates; we will take in more graduates,” Antel said.
“We will probably grow the graduate programs faster than the undergraduate programs, but the undergraduate programs will grow too.”
Turning the discussion toward the future of the undergraduate program at UH, Antel recognized the progress the school is making toward new freshman admission standards that will be implemented beginning Fall 2012.
These standards, which were unanimously approved by the UHS Board of Regents in May of 2010, will automatically accept freshmen that graduate in the top 15 percent of their class — currently UH automatically accepts students in the top 20 percent — as well as raising the SAT and ACT requirements for students who do not graduate in the top 15 percent.
“Things are looking up,” Antel said. “ We have received a lot more applications and a lot more quality applications. We are looking forward to serving everybody, but we want to attract students that can actually finish our program.”
With these new freshman admission standards, the hope is that the University will be able to enhance its lagging graduation rate — which stands at 46 percent, 7 percent behind the national average — by attracting students who are better prepared for its programs.
According to UH Chancellor and President Renu Khator, the school is taking steps in the right direction by implementing this program.
“I am happy to graduate more students,” Khator said to the faculty senators.
“I am happy to start honing our enrollment so we have the right profile to find the students who should be in your classrooms, not those who do not come prepared.
“It matters that they (students) are academically prepared and that they are motivated to get a degree from the University of Houston.”
The goal, Khator said, is to “own the city by becoming the first choice school for any Houstonian seeking higher education.
“We have an enormous opportunity,” Khator said. “To be the model of a modern university where you will have in the system one university which is truly, truly globally and nationally competitive.”