Growth, Goals Cited During President's Address

September 20, 2007

The University of Houston enjoyed several successes during the past fiscal year, but to grow, it must focus on the future.

This was the message delivered by John Rudley, interim president of UH, during the State of the University Address.

Speaking at the Fall Faculty Assembly, Rudley acknowledged the consistent faculty support he has received.

“I want to thank the faculty for its confidence in my abilities to lead this institution as we continue to search for a new president,” Rudley said.

In his overview of UH’s accomplishments during FY2007, Rudley cited progress in several areas.

The university experienced increased state support in 2007, receiving $20.7 million in general revenue funding and $11.7 million in Higher Education Assistance Funding.

UH also saw growth in its academic efforts, as it hired 32 tenure/tenure track professors and approved four new academic programs: undergraduate programs in Chinese studies and pharmaceutical sciences and graduate programs in atmospheric sciences and pharmacy administration.

“For a university to grow its enrollment, it needs to have a sufficient number of academic programs,” Rudley said.

Rudley added that discussions among faculty are ongoing regarding the possibility of developing a medical degree. UH’s increased presence in the Texas Medical Center is developing key alliances as evidenced by the Institute for Biomedical Imaging Sciences (IBIS), a research partnership among UH, Cornell University and Methodist Hospital.

In addition to the growth of faculty and curriculum, UH also is expanding the campus facilities. Rudley cited the many construction projects at UH including Michael J. Cemo Hall and the Calhoun Lofts.

Even with the year’s successes, there is still room for improvement, Rudley said. Among the areas the university must focus are its enrollment growth, which has remained flat for two years, and completing work on the Science and Engineering Research and Classroom Complex. Additionally, research funding has reached a plateau, he said.

Looking to the current FY2008, Rudley cited the university’s goals, which include strengthened enrollment management, developing a UHS Health Science Center, expanding UH academic offerings to off-campus locations, enhancing research efforts and facilities and developing a legislative agenda for the next session in 2009.

His address was briefly interrupted at the outset by two protesters carrying a large placard critical of the administration’s policies toward fair trade and labor issues. Order was quickly restored and Rudley’s presentation continued.

Mike Emery