Bob Glenn has a huge job ahead of him, and he knows it.
Glenn, who started work in early August as the new president of the University of Houston-Victoria, knows he needs to continue on the growth path established by retiring President Vic Morgan – grow enrollment, get classrooms and dorms built, develop athletics, get the support of the Victoria area as well as keep the support of the university’s system, and the list goes on.
He also knows he has to gain the support and trust of the faculty for him be successful in making the university a destination campus with 6,000 students by 2025.
Some people may look at his long to-do list and run away from the job, but not Glenn. He, instead, has hit the ground running and is not looking back.
He is using his more than three decades in higher education where he has served as university president, vice president and vice provost to develop plans to accomplish the goals.
Developing the university as a destination campus will take the support of the system, faculty, students, alumni and community.
Glenn is already working with the Victoria school district and Victoria College to form a partnership to encourage students to want to attend college locally. They will also work with the parents to show them the benefits of their children getting a four-year degree and being able to stay in Victoria to have a successful career.
He and others know the children and the parents have to have the desire to gain higher education as early as elementary school so the students will want to learn.
He also knows that by the nature of the community, a large percentage of their students will be older non-traditional learners who are working on their degrees after years in the workforce.
To make the campus a destination campus, Glenn said the city must become a college town offering entertainment and businesses that will attract students. While he doesn’t promote only opening more bars to attract students, he does believe more microbreweries in Victoria would go a long way in starting the college town atmosphere.
A larger alumni base and its support is also needed to help market the university to local and out-of-area students.
The new buildings under construction and planned as well as a growing athletics program will also help increase the on-campus population.
Recently the university received 65 acres of land near the airport to develop baseball, softball and soccer fields. The university is also talking with Victoria school district officials to lease a facility to start basketball and volleyball programs.
The university also has a golf program.
This is in addition to building the university commons student center and modern library and Smith hall complex, the renovations at the former Town Plaza Mall and the project to establish Ben Wilson Street as the grand entry to the university.
Ground should be breaking soon on the future science, technology engineering and math building. Officials are also considering building a health and wellness center near the STEM building.
All of which, when complete, will help give the small university a big-campus identity.
It all of this weren’t enough, Glenn is also dealing with fast growth at the UHV Katy campus and future construction there.
As Glenn gets to know the community, he will learn we want the best for our children and the students who choose to attend college here. We want them to succeed and grow to their fullest potential.
We have a vested interest in the university’s success because with this success, the Crossroads will grow.
Glenn understands this connection and appears ready to put it to work.
We, as the community, need to make sure we are ready to help when he comes calling on us or, better yet, volunteer before he makes the call.