Graduate programs join under one roof
Graduate programs are a one-stop shopping experience at UH since the Office of Academic Affairs created the UH Graduate School, which assembles all doctoral- and master-level programs in one college where students can find support outside their individual specifications.
After a semester of operation, the UH Graduate School officially opened the doors to its new office in Room 102 of the Ezekiel W. Cullen Building at 10 a.m. Monday during the school’s ribbon-cutting ceremony, celebrating a new facility for a new era of graduate education.
“This is actually much more special than it would suggest as a ribbon-cutting, because it isn’t just about opening a space or shifting offices. It’s really about creating a totally different type of culture,” said President and Chancellor Renu Khator.
Khator tasked Provost Paula Short with creating a Universitywide graduate school that would better centralize the admissions process and be a place for graduate students to access more resources.
For the dean of the UH Graduate School, Dmitri Litvinov, establishing the school’s office was providing a home for all graduate students who accomplish so much of the Tier One research at the University.
“For the longest time, they didn’t have a true home,” Litvinov said. “They have homes in their individual schools, but they didn’t have an overarching home where they could get support.”
The biggest goal for the school is to digitize and centralize the application process to make it easier for applicants. For the Fall 2014 application process, all but two schools — the College of Technology and the C.T. Bauer College of Business, which both had pre-existing online applications and decided to continue with that process — have moved to a single central application.
The online application asks for potential students to submit everything — applications, transcripts, letters of recommendation — online instead of in paper form. This makes the reviewing process for each graduate program as easy as a few clicks.
“The graduate school is really trying to streamline the admissions process across all of the colleges. All of them use the online process, but we are trying to build in more features that make it more convenient for the students and the staff to make it a quicker turnaround for everybody involved,” said Irene Abercrombie, assistant director of graduate admissions.
“We just want to make it a process that’s more centralized and accessible to both future applicants and staff.”
In addition to a campuswide application, Litvinov hopes to bring more professional development opportunities, he said, as students in graduate school are looking for a job after their degree completion.
The graduate school is just one of the many things Khator has asked the Office of Academic Affairs to achieve in order to better the University.
“The establishment of this graduate school really moves us forward in advancing the goals that the chancellor has set for this University for student success and national competitiveness,” Short said. “Without a productive and cutting-edge graduate school that supports cutting-edge graduate education, we can’t achieve the goals she’s set before us.”