September 18, 2023
Dear Faculty and Staff,
I write today to share exciting news. U.S. News & World Report released the rankings today and the University of Houston is #70 among all public universities in America! Last year, UH ranked #91, which means that the University has moved 21 positions this year! UH’s overall ranking (ranking among all public and private universities) has also improved by 48 positions from #181 to #133. Needless to say, none of it would have been possible without your hard work and dedication.
There are two reasons for this impressive ascent: (1) our relentless focus on increasing the six-year graduation rate for all students but particularly for at–risk students; and (2) a change in methodology by U.S. News & World Report that gives due credit to performance output rather than institutional input. Let’s take a deeper dive into these.
According to the UH Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness, UH’s six-year graduation rate is now two percentage points above the expected graduation rate, which means that we are helping students graduate faster than most universities with a similar profile. What is more impressive is that the graduation rate for at-risk students (students receiving the Pell Grant or students who are first generation) and their peers are roughly the same. First-generation student graduation performance was one of the new measures added by U.S. News & World Report this year.
If you recall, we started to focus on student success, particularly on the success of at-risk students several years ago because we realized that until all students succeed, we could not succeed in meeting our goal. Our demographics dictated our strategy, and that strategy has now resulted in higher rankings. I am proud to see that UH has better success in closing the performance gap for at-risk students than most universities.
Another new variable added this year was the earnings of college graduates. UH has been performing well in this area, and we are glad to see it included.
U.S. News & World Report also introduced four new faculty research factors and all of them shift focus from quantity to quality in research. Our faculty perform well on these measures, and given our recent recruitment, I have no doubt that the numbers will only get better in coming years.
I am confident that we will continue our ascent in future years because we are focused, tactical and dedicated in executing the strategic plan. UH’s success would not have been possible without our individual and common efforts. I thank each one of you for all that you do! We should also be grateful to our state elected officials, alums and donors; without their help we could never have gotten closer to realizing our goals.
Every single one of us, regardless of the position we hold, is connected to students; therefore, we all can share the joy of this new success. Our goal of being a top 50 public university is now 21 steps closer, but there are still 20 more steps to take. Considering the institutions ahead of us, these will be challenging 20 steps, but we can do it! We will need to recommit, “re-strategize” and refocus. I will elaborate further thoughts and strategies on how to realize these goals during my upcoming Fall Address. Achieving our vision is crucial to the people and communities we serve. Our students deserve the best education, our city deserves a top-notch public university and our state needs to add another top-tier university.
Until then, I offer you my deepest gratitude for your work and leadership. I am so proud of what we achieved together.