All aboard the Tier I Express

They think they can, they think they can, they think they can.

At the UH’s town hall meeting Tuesday, Strategic Action Group committees summarized their plans to set the University on course for flagship status on the tracks Board of Regents laid in November.

‘(The board’s goals) are like the blueprints. When you go on a journey and have the train tracks laid down, you know where the train will go,’ UH Chancellor and President Renu Khator said.

The board’s six goals for university advancement are National competitiveness/Tier I, Student Success, Community Advancement, Athletic Competitiveness, Local, National and Worldwide Recognition, and Resource Competiveness.

SAG National Competitiveness Tier I committee chair Richard Willson said UH needs to emphasize research, culture and efficiency. He said colleges should hire faculty who are qualified to make UH a Tier I University by Top America Public Research Universities or Carnegie Foundation of Advancement of Teaching standards.

‘The main place we fall short is the level of sponsored research conducted on campus.’ UH doesn’t have a well-developed system of research; it’s a very flat system,’ Willson said.’ ‘The second thing we are going to have to do is grow. Hire a bunch of new faculty.’ Everybody will benefit if UH is a Tier I university’

Willson also said if the University held major conferences, it would draw attention from major media outlets such as the Houston Chronicle. The media attention would improve University recognition, he said.

‘UH could be a wonder,’ Willson said.

SAG Student Success committee co-chair Dan Wells said the committee, which consisted of students, staff and faculty, has identified five objectives for improvement.

‘(The objectives) are directed toward students for progression through their academic life by improving student preparedness, quality and motivation,’ Wells said. ‘For faculty-we need to improve infrastructure so that they can have better facilities to teach with, improve services and enhance experiences critical to student engagement, improve student success to careers and graduate schools after graduation and increase (the number of) graduate and professional students.’

SAG Community Advancement committee chair Lynn Maher, said they have seven aims to achieve their goal.

‘We want to increase activities and collaboration by having a central place on campus where questions can be answered. (We want to) assess and respond to community-workforce needs, support and coordinate community-University partnerships and translate UH discoveries to the marketplace,’ Mayer said. ‘(We want to) connect faculty and students to the community, increase and enhance research, collaborations, activities and projects, and improve visibility and appreciation for the UH community, internally and externally.’

SAG Athletics Competitiveness committee member Joseph Kotarba said the committee has three goals: Meet or exceed national averages for student-athlete academic success, receive recognition, and achieve a position of competitive leadership within Conference USA.

‘Not only do we want to set a high floor, but we also change the height of the ceiling by recruiting higher-quality student athletes. They are students first,’ Kotarba said.

Recognition committee member Betsy Gelb said her committee’s four goals aim at bringing UH worldwide recognition.

‘We want to build a reputation around the quality and accomplishments of (UH) faculty by having pilot projects,’ Gelb said. ‘We can enhance everything that happens on campus.’

State funding is the backbone of the University’s competitive resources, Earl Smith, Resource Competitiveness committee chair, said.

The committee aims to increase total state appropriations per student, along with increasing the number of undergraduate, master’s, doctoral and special professional students.

The committee recognized the importance of health-science formula funding for the UH School of Pharmacy and the College of Optometry, and plans to increase undergraduate semester credit hours, endowment levels, annual giving totals, alumni giving rate and efficiency, effectiveness and innovation.

Although the town hall meeting has ended, the SAG committees remain open to suggestions from the UH community.

The committees’ plans can be found online at .

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