Achieving excellence ultimately its own reward

Flagship status is an acknowledged goal of the University and its leadership, but few years have been heralded with as much immediate progress toward that goal as 2009. There have been many honors tendered to the University, including being awarded highest honors by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching for a community-engaged institution, making us the only university in Texas with that designation. We have a natural advantage in this city, a metropolis containing some of the foremost research facilities in the nation, and are again, building bridges to the community via cross-disciplinary work and research.

Houston was integral to the execution of one of the most elegant pieces of biological work – the sequencing of the human genetic code, otherwise known as the Human Genome Project. The knowledge yielded by understanding our genome is the key to additional fields of research, such as gene therapy, cancer research and other key fields, with application and cross disciplinary work only a few miles down the road at the Houston Medical Center. Our new gene sequencer is an important investment in making our institution a further part of our larger academic community, as is our new biomedical engineering department.

We also have a new donation for engineering, research and other hard science programs from British Petroleum, including a solar powered Sport buggy. The official award occurred at the men’s basketball game Wednesday and the solar buggy will be displayed in the concourse of Hofheinz Pavilion. We have active research on pollution, on easing the pain of the chronically bedridden, and our social sciences are also making a splash across the state and nation.

There is a renewed focus on undergraduate research and a streamlining of basic University bureaucracy that will ultimately help all students focus on academic details.

We are actively in the process of research, and are working with other disciplines and institutions across the city to accomplish our goals. Although flagship status establishes the University’s designation, it is ultimately a reflection of the innate thirst for excellence that drives our programs.

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