Staff ed: The Khator Report
President and Chancellor Renu Khator gave her President’s Fall Address last week and mentioned things ranging from new projects to future plans. She gave a great speech, but we, as a board, thought we might grade a few of the key points she mentioned.
NATIONAL COMPETITIVENESS: B+
Khator said UH has climbed the ranks in terms of national competitiveness, citing UH’s designation as Tier One in 2011 and the Princeton Review’s recognition as one of the “Best Colleges in 2012.” However, there were no rankings for 2013 or 2014, leaving the prospect of UH as a nationally competitive school debatable. Khator did mention the increase in nationally-ranked programs that UH has experienced. Khator mentioned that nine of the graduate programs rank in the top 50, and 27 rank in the top 100, almost double from six years ago. This is a major increase and should definitely not go unnoticed.
RECORD ENROLLMENT: C+
This fall, UH enrolled a record of 42,738 students, with undergraduate enrollment reaching a solid 5 percent increase. The freshmen class currently has 4,189 students with an average SAT score of 1150. Not to mention, 32 percent of those incoming freshmen come from the top 10 percent of their high school class. Khator’s commitment to increasing student success is evident by the rising standards for student admission.
Even though UH has considerably increased enrollment and standards for incoming students, the graduation rate is still lacking. The fact is that in order to up rankings, we need more students to graduate on time as a collective. UH has implemented the UH in 4 program last year in an effort to aid the graduation rate, but the numbers are still low and not enough students are graduating on time.
NATIONAL ATTENTION IN THE NEWS: A+
UH was mentioned in 27 countries and 600 cities across America this year. Matthew McConaughey’s commencement speech created $23 million worth of publicity and was voted one of the top 5 commencement speeches of the year by the Hollywood Reporter.
With the recent news that UH will host the last Republican presidential debate on Feb. 26, the national spotlight will shine on UH once again. As Khator said in her address, this debate will elevate UH and draw much needed attention to the University as we become part of political history.
FUTURE PROJECTS: B-
Khator noted several major projects on the horizon for UH, including a new law center and a new multidisciplinary engineering building. Major plans for a new Biomedical and Health Sciences Building Number 2 will officially break ground next month and is a larger project than TDECU Stadium.
The nine-story Biomedical and Health Sciences Building will be the new home of the school of pharmacy and outpatient clinics. “In terms of the scope of this project, the project is bigger than the stadium, costing $20 million more,” Khator said.
Considering all of the drama and student uproar that accompanied the construction of the stadium, a more expensive project is destined to cause student concerns. News of this new facility and the increased cost made audience members gasp during Khator’s address. It’s clear that funding this project will be a major concern for the UH community. Even though the cost and scope of the building is so large, the potential it has to advance UH is great.
— The Cougar Editorial Board