Faculty Senate meets, discusses U.S. News ranking

At the Faculty Senate meeting Wednesday UH President Renu Khator and the four vice chancellors discussed the progress the University of Houston has made in several national-ranking categories and the work that still needs to be done to endorse UH in the national spotlight.

Khator began her address to the Senate by calling attention to the recent release of the U.S. News & World Report college rankings. UH made the rankings for the first time.

“Rice is number 17 and we’re 184, but at least we’re ranked,” Khator said.

She continued by pointing out several areas in which UH needs to improve in order to boost its ranking. First and foremost, she said, UH needs to address graduation rates.

We have rankings on the national scene, but now we have to focus on the graduation rate, Khator said.

The area UH can most improve in, according to Khator, is the difference between real and expected graduation rates. There is a 12-point gap between UH’s college completion rate and the national average, something Khator feel will level out with time.

“The U.S. News & World Report uses a four-year average, so every time you take a better freshman class the four-year rates go up,” Khator said.

Khator also addressed a phenomenon unique to UH: its affordability.

“UH is great value, and UH is affordable. College affordability is an important factor in student success,” she said.

UH has increased tuition by only 10.3 percent, while the national average is 15 percent, she said.

Students who graduate in four years leave college after having paid $10,000 or less for their education.

Carl Carlucci, vice president of Administration and Finance, delivered an update on campus construction.

He pointed out that the deconstruction of the Y Building will provide 138 temporary parking spots for students beginning in October, and the absence of the trailer village will create an additional 114 parking spots around the same time.

Overall, Khator was optimistic about UH’s future as a nationally ranked research university.

“While the measures used by the Carnegie Foundation and the Center for University Performance are sometimes a moving target, we could be ranked in as many as six categories in 2012.”

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