UH enrollment worries interim president

The Daily Cougar’s Editor in Chief John Arterbury and News Editor Kim Thai were able to sit down with Interim President John Rudley and discuss his plans for the University’s future.

John Arterbury: We’re here because we want to serve as a forum that students can access. Where do you see the University heading in the next year?

John Rudley: We’ve been monitoring the chief principals. We’ve been building on certain initiatives from ’06 and ’07. Within the strategic principles, we have an incentive to express to the community that we all want to work together. If we all come together, we can become a "Tier 1" institution. We all have to come together. We cannot continue with a fractured approach. We want to improve teaching along with dissemination of knowledge.

Kim Thai: As far as recruiting faculty, is there more of an initiative for either graduate or undergraduate faculty?

JR: It’s targeted. We want to maintain a balance. We’re not trying to send the message that one is more or less important than the other. Whether you’re in (College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences) or business or pharmacy, you need talented people.

KT: Do you have specific goals for your term?

JR: I’m continuing to work on what we as an institution, what we saw as an initiative. What I’m really excited about is creating a health/science center for the University of Houston. And it’s a way to express to the community that we’re going to be partners more so with the Medical Center than we have in the past.

KT: Enrollment seems to be one of your more immediate focuses. Do you have any theories as to why this is happening?

JR: We know we can have an impact on the Northwest side and that will propel our enrollment. They’re citing the fact that traffic is back. We’d like them to understand that this is the best bang for your buck.

JA: What are some of the major challenges facing the University?

JR: We have a major plan that addresses 30 points that expresses the problems and concerns and how we can deliver on some of those problems. The plan talks about initiative and deliverance. Anywhere from enrollment to fundraising, the Legislature, we see how we can deliver those initiatives.

KT: What are your immediate concerns?

JR: Enrollment. My concern with enrollment is that the last three years, it’s not keeping pace with other Texas higher institutions. It’s not as it should be – that doesn’t suit me. We’re, what, the fourth-largest city in the country and we have a flat enrollment. We need to roll up our sleeves and figure out why we have a flat enrollment rate.

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