There is a bit more chatter in the hallways of the University of Houston at Sugar Land.
There are more students, many sporting red shirts or UH hats, eagerly opening books and laptops at the tables in the Albert and Mamie George building. Students are lining up to get student IDs and parking permits (free this year). Food trucks are a mainstay, and on pretty (read: not as humid) days, the umbrella-shaded tables outside are filled. In short, the Coogs are in the house.
Enrollment at UH Sugar Land from fall 2016 to fall 2017 has increased from 1,645 students to 2,365, respectively.
“The numbers tell us what we’ve already known — that students are glad to have an option to pursue their UH classes closer to home,” said Jay Neal, Assistant Provost for Academic Affairs and Operations at UH Sugar Land. “We have had a great responses from students and great support from stakeholders in Fort Bend County.”
The strong enrollment numbers are led by College of Technology students, specifically those pursuing studies in supply chain logistics technology. In fall 2016, the program boasted 240 students majoring in supply chain logistics technology; one year later there are 378.
“Globalization drives specialization. For students wanting to be workforce ready in a regional economy that is driven by trade at Port of Freeport and Port of Houston, they must develop core competencies such as procurement, customer service/sales, transportation economics, inventory control, demand planning, and warehousing,” said Margaret Kidd, instructional assistant professor in the College of Technology’s department of information and logistics technology.
“As our regional economy has several billion dollars invested in new resin producing plants coming online, the opportunities are quite abundant. As a result of the growth of Sugar Land campus we will be moving our student organization — SIDO — to the campus this spring,” Kidd added.
UH Sugar Land is an institute of the University of Houston, which means its students are UH students, participate in UH commencement exercises, receive diplomas from UH and wear red on Fridays. Home to the College of Nursing – twice honored with the national Higher Education Excellence in Diversity award – UH Sugar Land offers courses for 10 undergraduate and 11 graduate programs, including digital media (one of its inaugural programs) and biotechnology.
Students may pursue classes from the colleges of technology, nursing, education, social work, liberal arts and social sciences and arts. In fact, some programs have harnessed the student interest in UH Sugar Land by increasing opportunities. The master’s in social work program, which incorporates an all-day Saturday class at UH Sugar Land, has seen a 53.3 percent increase from fall 2016 to fall 2017. The first cohort of Sugar Land students will graduate in May 2018.
“We’re very pleased with the progress of this program at UH Sugar Land,” said Ginger Lucas, clinical assistant professor and director of the college’s online MSW program.
The steady growth means the landscape of the UH Sugar Land campus soon will change with the construction of an approximately 100,000-square-foot building scheduled for ground breaking in spring 2018. The facility will house programs from the colleges of technology.
“Great things are happening at UH Sugar Land,” said Bob McPherson, UH Sugar Land interim associate provost for academic affairs and operations.