HOUSTON – On the heels of gaining Tier One recognition from the prestigious Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, the University of Houston has been named one of the nation’s best institutions for undergraduate education, according to The Princeton Review, the widely-known education services company.
The Princeton Review has chosen UH for inclusion in the forthcoming edition of its popular annual guidebook, "The Best 376 Colleges: 2012 Edition," which will be available in bookstores in early August 2011.
"Since we are striving to achieve overall excellence, this recognition by the Princeton Review is one more important indication that we’re making great progress," said UH President Renu Khator. "This is the first time our school has been included, so it’s gratifying to know our efforts at improving student success are starting to show real results."
Robert Franek, senior vice president-publishing for The Princeton Review, said UH was chosen as one of the "best" undergraduate colleges based on several criteria the publication considers when reviewing schools for the book.
"First, we must have a high regard for their academic programs and other offerings," said Franek. "Second, our selections take into account institutional data we collect from the schools and the opinions of more than 122,000 students who we survey. We also greatly value the feedback we get about schools from our college-savvy staff across the country as well as from students, educators and parents who use our services and books."
So impressed was Franek with UH’s profile, he and a team of Princeton Review executives flew to Houston recently to visit the campus. "You have much to be proud of and much to brag about," he said. "We’re delighted to share in it with you."
During the tour, Joe Guerra, vice president of educational partnerships for The Princeton Review, said, "UH students are energetic. I was particularly impressed to see how much diversity the campus offers, as well as the variety of languages being spoken."
Khator cited a number of factors she believes have contributed to an improved undergraduate experience at UH, including:
Implementing an ambitious construction program to provide new academic, research and housing facilities for students, with approved projects to double campus building square footage from 6 million square feet in 2000 to more than 12 million square feet.
Adding state-of-the-art residence halls such as Cougar Village, Calhoun Lofts and the planned Cougar Place sophomore housing complex, which continue to grow the community of more than 3,900 students who now live on campus.
Providing world-class dining facilities, such as the addition of the cooked-to-order Fresh Food Co. at Moody Towers – the first-of-its-kind facility in the Southwest and the largest in the nation.
Creating a living-learning environment on campus, where the Faculty-in Residence program allows faculty and their families to live in the residence halls and interact with students.
Enhancing scholastic performance by raising admission standards and increasing the number of academic advisors.
Rewarding academic progress with the Graduation Pledge, which provides grants that can total $3,000 for students who complete at least 30 credit hours a year toward their degrees.
Providing incoming freshmen with Personal Assistance Liaisons (PALs) – faculty and staff members who stay in touch with their assigned students throughout the semester, informing them about upcoming events and offering a human connection to the university.
Only about 15 percent of the nation’s colleges reviewed by Princeton Review – and only 8 percent of all colleges nationwide – are included in this widely-known college guide.
"It includes public and private schools, traditional and non-traditional colleges, historically black colleges and universities, and science and technology-focused institutions," Franek said. "However, each one is an outstanding institution we highly recommend to college applicants and their parents. In our opinion, these are ‘the cream of the crop’ institutions for undergraduates in America."
"Student success is a top priority at UH, and this recognition by Princeton Review shows that we’re making great strides," Khator said.