update for students, may 20, 2020 - University of Houston
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COVID-19 Communications

May 20, 2020

McGovern College Students:

Congratulations again on finishing the spring semester—again, surely one of the most unusual in the history of higher education.

I write with an update on the subject of the college-specific fees in the McGovern College of the Arts. These are the fees attached to specific courses, programs, or majors. I have received numerous questions on this subject, and it has been a topic of discussion in the administration.

Those discussions have centered mainly on the purposes of these fees, which in every case is to directly support the highly specialized and costly nature of arts instruction. Arts instruction requires specialized facilities; equipment; faculty-student ratios; training by guest professional artists; and an every-day, hands-on, experiential learning of a kind that does not occur in other areas of, say, the liberal arts. The situation is something like what we find in the sciences, for example, where lab fees would support highly specialized and costly instructional needs and instructional spaces necessary in those disciplines.

Even in the environment in which we find ourselves now, these costs do not disappear; they only change, and in fact they often increase. Costs shift to supporting new equipment, new spaces, virtual productions, live streaming, and numerous other items—new needs of all kinds that we must address in order to continue to provide you the highest quality education. For all these reasons, at this time there will be no change in the voluntary fees assessed in the college. These fees will continue to be assessed, and the fees will continue to provide direct support for the costs of your education.

Please know that I understand the enormous difficulties the pandemic is causing. It is imperative that we look forward and stay focused on the main question at hand: how to effectively manage the current environment in order to continue to safely provide the education that you seek and that you need. I remain committed to a responsible use of the resources at our disposal—including those resources provided by you, our students—just as I know you are committed to retaining a focus on advancing your educational careers.

I wish all of you continued health and safety this summer. I will stay in touch with further updates as I have them.

Best wishes,

Andrew Davis