UH System Sugar Land campus to literally meet higher education
By Elsa Maxey
With the spring semester about to wrap up, there’s a lot of excitement on what’s to take place at the University of Houston (UH) Sugar Land campus this upcoming fall. As announced, expansion is in the horizon for the local campus. Reports indicate that of all the students from the Fort Bend area that attend a public university in Texas, the percentage is quickly approaching numbers that in the near future may show half of them enrolled in the UH System.
That number is presently 41 percent with 56 percent of them earning a UH degree, a 22 percent jump from what was the case five years ago. “Quite simply the University of Houston System does more to enroll and graduate students and produce cutting edge research than any other university in our region,” UH Board of Regents Chairman Jarvis Hollingsworth told Fort Bend County Commissioners earlier this month. Of special note is that Hollingsworth lives in Fort Bend.
Recent action of the UH System Board of Regents authorized the overhaul of programs at the UH-Sugar Land campus in business administration, education and technology. The announcement includes UH becoming the exclusive provider of baccalaureate and graduate programs at the Sugar Land campus.
Twenty-two programs to be launched and/or expanded include bachelor’s and master’s programs in business administration, 12 in the College of Education and eight in the College of Technology, the latter of which also represents a relocation of “a large part of a segment of the College of Technology to the University of Houston Sugar Land campus,” Hollingsworth told commissioners.
As part of program restructuring, the UH-Victoria School of Nursing’s program in Sugar Land will be transferred and become part of a newly organized Health Science Center, which is closer to the Texas Medical Center. The existing relationship between Wharton Junior College and UH locally will remain in place for freshmen and sophomores. UH Sugar Land will teach juniors and seniors in bachelor degree programs, and also students enrolled in master’s and doctorate degree programs, said Hollingsworth.
Fort Bend County Judge Bob Hebert and Sugar Land Mayor James Thompson along with university officials participated on a task force involved with the recent changes. The status of the local university is now Tier One, confirmed Hollingsworth in response to Commissioner Richard Morrison’s question during Hollingsworth’s presentation to commissioners court. In 2011, the University of Houston was elevated to Tier One status by the Carnegie Foundation making UH one of only three public Tier One research universities in Texas, along with the University of Texas and Texas A&M.
Richard “Dick” Phillips is the UH Associate Vice Chancellor at Sugar Land and oversees the administration of the local campus. The UH System has four campuses; six multi-institutional campuses, including Sugar Land; and other programs offered at facilities of the Texas Medical Center.
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