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Robert K. “Bob” Glenn has spent more than three decades in higher education, serving students throughout. He became the 10th president of the University of Houston-Victoria on Aug. 1, 2018. Prior to moving to Victoria with his wife, Laurie, he served as the 36th president of Athens State University for 10 years. Glenn also was vice president for student affairs and vice provost for enrollment and academic services at Middle Tennessee State University (1999-2008) and dean of students at Missouri State University (1993-1999). His “A Jaguar Journey” blog is intended to provide members of the UHV faculty, staff and student body, as well as alumni and members of the community, a direct connection to what he is doing as the new UHV president. Readers are encouraged to share their views and ideas by posting to the comments section.  

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What I learned from a child

Posted By Dr. Bob Glenn, Wednesday, February 19, 2020


Many of you may not know that my first job in higher education was as a residence hall director at my alma mater, Birmingham-Southern College. That job led me to a career in student affairs before becoming a university president. Although rising to the position I now hold was the result of several deliberate steps, chance also played a part. One chance event in particular had more impact on me personally and professionally than any other.


One very late night when I was a residence hall director, I was watching TV and saw a commercial about the Big Brothers/Big Sisters volunteer program. It occurred to me that I could volunteer. 


I must confess, I convinced myself to do the right thing but for all the wrong reasons. I thought about all the things that being a Big Brother could do for me. I was working on a graduate counseling degree at the time, and I reasoned that being a Big Brother would be good practice. I had been a resident assistant and was now a hall director, so I had all the training that would make the one-on-one stuff easy. I was single, and I thought about how women love sensitive guys.  


I would like to think that somewhere, deep down inside me, I was motivated to help a child in the same way many others had helped me as I was coming up. But the truth was that I didn’t consciously think of any of these role models. I was self-absorbed and thought only of the benefits to me.


My self-absorbed arrogance led me to tell the Big Brothers/Big Sisters counselor to give me his toughest case when it was time to match me with my Little Brother. My counselor just smiled and said, “Let me tell you about Jim.” Jim was 9 and had patiently waited for a Big Brother for two years. Jim was a slower learner than other children, and others had been reluctant to be matched with him. He lived with his mother, grandmother and younger sister near the college campus where I worked. 


My first meeting with Jim changed me and how I look at the world. The beginning seemed unremarkable. Jim said very little, was intensely shy and just looked at me. A trip to the ice cream store for a treat and a chance to talk about what we would do on our first outing was suggested.


We got into the car and drove off. We were about halfway to the store, and quite suddenly, Jim began to cry. My arrogance, which had given me so much courage, gave way to simple, raw panic. I put my hand on his knee and tried to comfort him. “Jim, are you all right?” I asked.


He grabbed my hand, looked up at me with tearful eyes and said, “Big brudder, I love you.”  Even now, I cannot think of this event without being moved. I had done nothing to deserve this pledge of affection, and I couldn’t fathom how just showing up was worthy of anything.


We began a weekly tradition. I would arrive at Jim’s house, and he would jump into my car, almost before I could get it stopped. We would go for walks, play games, play catch or even just watch TV together.


After a few months, I became convinced that it was time for me start taking some “therapeutic” actions. Surely there were specially designed games or activities I should be engaging in with Jim to “improve him.” Jim’s psychologist sounded a little surprised when I called for advice. “You’re kidding, aren’t you? The difference in his condition now compared with before you two were together is like the difference between night and day. Don’t change a thing,” he told me.


This just didn’t make sense to me. My student affairs training had taught me that I had to be the active ingredient in change. But I wasn’t doing anything. It would be a long time before I learned the simple lesson Jim was teaching. Slowly, during the four years we were together, Jim brought me up to a new level of understanding. I began to understand that you never accomplish anything of real merit or worth when you only think of yourself. When you take yourself out of the picture, it is possible to see the others there. And when you are finally able to see them, you can begin to see what they really need.


I believe that Alexander Astin said it best in “Achieving Educational Excellence.” In essence, he said that the traditional measures we use to judge the merit of a university are just measures of reputation, not excellence. It doesn’t matter how many degrees your faculty possesses, or what kind of buildings you have or how many volumes are in the library. What really denotes a quality institution is whether it can take students from where they are to where they want to be, no matter what it takes. In other words, when a university can look beyond itself, it can see its students. And, when we can really see our students, we can measure their needs. When we take care of their needs, when we help them get to where they want to be, we become a truly great institution.


I encourage all UHV students, faculty and staff to attend the Spring Volunteer Fair from noon to 2 p.m. Thursday in Jaguar Hall Commons. You’ll be able to meet more than 20 of UHV’s community services partners and learn how to get involved. As I can attest, these volunteer opportunities can have a huge impact on your life. 

Tags:  Alexander Astin  Big Brother  Spring Volunteer Fair  UHV  volunteer 

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Grants help improve communities, lives of graduates

Posted By Dr. Bob Glenn, Thursday, October 31, 2019


We recently learned about some great news at the University of Houston-Victoria. The university has received a $2.25 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education that will help us launch new programs to promote undergraduate student success. That good news was followed by an announcement that UHV has received a $50,000 grant from the American Electric Power Foundation to provide tuition assistance for commuter students in a new Summer Bridge Scholars program.


I think this is exceptionally good news, but I also recognize that some people will question whether this is money well spent. Isn’t it a fair question to ask why a student after 12 years of education needs help when coming to a university? Shouldn’t students be prepared, and aren’t programs that provide all these extras a poor use of money needed elsewhere?


Well, in an ideal world, that might be the case, but we don’t live in an ideal world. UHV serves a region in Texas that is rural in nature and underserved by higher education. Many of our schools are working as hard as they can to help our children, but the reality is that they do not have the resources of larger, urban, wealthier school systems. It has been my experience during the last approximately 40 years at six different universities in four different states that sometimes even the valedictorians and salutatorians at smaller, rural high schools still need remedial and/or developmental work when they arrive on campus. Not all students are starting at the same mark.


Additionally, a significant portion of our students are first-generation students, meaning their parents did not go to college, so they come from homes where there is no frame of reference for how to “be ready” to attend a university. Those students will arrive with not only weaker academic backgrounds, but also without a clear notion of what is about to follow.


The positive impact of earning a bachelor’s degree is well documented. Individuals who get a degree will earn, on average, almost $2 million more during their lifetimes than those who do not. There also is significant data to indicate the numerous benefits to society in raising the level of educational attainment. In the simplest of terms, as the percentage of people with a degree increases, so does the per capita income of that community. Degree holders are more likely to be engaged civically, pay more taxes and support community goals in a variety of other ways. They also tend to be healthier and live longer – again, on average.


Part of the reason public higher education exists is to further the goals of society in general. It originally was conceived as an investment by society in its own success. Education always has been seen as a path to improving people’s lives and prospects. There was a time when higher education in particular was available only to wealthy people. Public institutions were meant to be places were people could enhance their futures through their own hard work.


UHV was placed here to serve the best interests of the people of the state of Texas, whose tax dollars support it. We are here to produce graduates. We don’t get partial credit for students who flunk out. We earn our keep by producing graduates. That suggests we are well served by helping all students get over the bar and achieve their degrees. And, notice I said “get over the bar,” not “lower the bar.” We are here to produce graduates who are prepared to be competitive in the workplace and lead lives of significance in their communities.


So to me, the logic is clear and convincing. The more we invest in making our students successful, the better it is for our community, our region and our state. If we can take students with weak backgrounds and help them learn the skills they need to become strong enough to graduate, then we are changing those students’ lives as well as improving the communities they enter after graduation.


The mark of an excellent university is whether it can take a student from wherever they are and move them to where they need to be. I would argue that these programs demonstrate that UHV is a university of excellence. The money we will be spending from these grants is not only money well spent, it is an investment in a brighter future for Victoria and the Coastal Bend.

Tags:  American Electric Power Foundation  grant  U.S. Department of Education  UHV 

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Happy belated new year to UHV faculty, staff

Posted By Dr. Bob Glenn, Thursday, October 3, 2019


I want to start this post with a greeting and then an apology.  The greeting is “Happy New Year!” Many people celebrate the new year on Jan. 1, but on college and university campuses around the country, our new year is the start of school in the fall. So, “Happy New Year” to all of you in Jaguar Nation. The apology is because I should have said this about six weeks ago. In fact, it has been about two months since my last blog post. In my defense, the common denominator here is just exactly how busy it has been at UHV during that time.


Since my last post, we have had a number of new colleagues join us. Ken Colwell, our new dean of the School of Business Administration, joined us July 15. Chance Glenn, our new provost and vice president for academic affairs, joined us Aug. 5. Jose Cantu, our new vice president for enrollment management, joined us Sept. 9. We have had a cadre of new faculty members joining the ranks since mid-August. This includes Esther Cuenca, Aaron Deason, Hardik Gohel, Humberto Hernandez, Rebecca Heron, Tong Kang, Brent Lang, Kwan Lee, Melanie Lemanski, Sneha Nayar-Bhalerao, Emmanuel Quansah, Abran Rodriguez, Brooks Sterritt, Raymond Stricklin and Scheila Wesley Martins. At this point, I want to be sure and acknowledge faculty members Laura Mammina and Woodrow Wagner, who organized a great orientation program for new faculty. We also have the following new staff members: Kevin Farnsworth, Amanda Rathbun, Lance Richardson, Ashley Sanchez and Heidi Shook.


Just like traditional new year celebrations, we are celebrating all of the new things and people in our lives that we will be enjoying during the coming year. I am very excited to have the UHV Executive Committee complete and in place so that we can begin the next part of every new year: deciding how we are going to change ourselves or our circumstances in the new year. Naturally, I say this with some reticence since New Year’s resolutions are notoriously short lived and often abandoned. But there is great energy to viewing our circumstances with new eyes and imagining a future of our own making.


In the coming year, I intend to spend a significant portion of my time engaging my colleagues, new and old, in a conversation about the future of UHV. What do we see for ourselves? I think the logical starting point is to talk about how we see ourselves. Just exactly who are we? What are we here for? If we had to state our mission in just one short sentence, what would that look like? I already have begun the conversation with the vice presidents and deans. I have asked the deans to begin a conversation with their respective faculty members. In due course, I hope to have a number of conversations with focus groups as well as with both the Faculty Senate and the Staff Council. I expect lively conversations.


As I have said before, I do not believe it is the president’s job to decide on and then declare the mission of the university. Rather, I believe it is the job of the president to perceive the consensus of his colleagues in order to clearly articulate what our mission is and then become the chief advocate and tireless communicator of that vision, as well as the primary warrior and champion of that cause. I believe there is a great future in store for UHV. I am excited about the energy being generated by all of our new colleagues. I look forward to what I believe these lively conversations are going to reveal about our future. I invite you to share your views with me directly by email or by participating in a focus group as we move forward. The questions I will be asking are simple: Who are we? What are we here for? Why would any student forego other institutions to come here? How do we best serve our region? How do we build an exceptional university community? I look forward to hearing your thoughts.


In the meantime, Happy New Year!

Tags:  Chance Glenn  Jose Cantu  Ken Colwell  New year  UHV 

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UHV president sets goals for upcoming year

Posted By Dr. Bob Glenn, Monday, July 15, 2019


Part of the annual cycle at the University of Houston-Victoria, and all universities, is setting goals for the coming year. The setting of goals is a process that puts ourselves in control of our lives in order to be proactive instead of reactive. I like the way Stephen Covey puts it in his book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.” In the book, he asserts that we each have “two ways to put ourselves in control of our lives immediately. We can make a promiseand keep it. Or we can set a goal – and work to achieve it.”


The institution has goals that usually appear in a strategic plan, a document I plan to revisit once Chance Glenn, the new UHV provost and vice president for academic affairs, arrives in August. Each of us who is working to move the institution forward, in whatever role we have here, also needs to have goals that allow us to work in a way that achieves positive progress for ourselves and the institution. I also am a proponent of doing everything I can in the most transparent way I can. So I want to share the goals with you so that you can hold me accountable in much the same way as the UH System Chancellor will do at the end of the coming year. Here they are:


1.      Make progress on UHV Progress Card measures.

2.      Develop academic programs that are consistent with UHV’s mission and regional workforce needs, and are in demand by students.

3.      Revise and update UHV Master Plans for academic programs and campus development.

4.      Manage the transition of UHV operations to the new UH System building in Katy, and continue to provide leadership toward a cohesive and effective identity and strategy for the University of Houston-Victoria at Katy.

5.      Complete construction projects in a timely manner and within budget.

6.      Support efforts to start men’s and women’s basketball at UHV in fall 2020.

7.      Prepare for a successful visit by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools – Commission on Colleges for UHV’s fifth-year accreditation review.

8.      Work with community leaders to develop and implement quality of life initiatives that will make Victoria a more attractive destination for college students and young professionals.

9.      Continue to build UHV in Victoria as a destination campus, including supporting fundraising and alumni activities that enhance our development into a destination university.

              10. Create a positive culture where compliance and respect are highly valued.


I also have a list of what I call “Focus Areas.” These are important tasks that will occupy my time and attention but do not rise to the level of goals. I will share those in my next blog post. In the meantime, I encourage you to share your thoughts with me about these goals. And, if there is something that you don’t see on this short list but believe should be there, then speak up and tell me what that is. I look forward to the conversation.

Tags:  basketball  destination campus  goals  Stephen Covey  UHV 

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Young professionals discuss ways to make Victoria ‘destination town’

Posted By Dr. Bob Glenn, Friday, June 21, 2019


My wife, Laurie, and I recently were privileged to host 30 young professionals to begin the conversation about developing a young professionals’ network in Victoria. We had engineers from area plants; faculty and staff from UHV, Victoria College and Victoria Independent School District; lawyers; accountants; entrepreneurs; and nonprofit directors. It was a strong representation of the people who are the lifeblood of Victoria’s future. These people have made a deliberate choice to come here and create a life for themselves. That’s exciting to be around because it will have a tremendous impact on all of us.


I explained to the group that the university is committed to being a catalyst in getting the young professionals’ network up and running. As I have said before, my mission as UHV’s president is to make UHV a destination university. In my view, part of making UHV a destination involves making Victoria a destination. And part of making Victoria a destination means ensuring there is a healthy and nurturing environment for young professionals so that when they come here, they will decide to stay. That led me to invite this exceptional group of professionals to begin the conversation about what is needed and where we go from here.


In terms of what is needed, the group mentioned a number of things that will really help young professionals, as well as everybody else. Interestingly, but not surprisingly, there were a number of things mentioned in this group that have been expressed in other conversations we are having with the community. Among those issues was mention of a reliable and more comprehensive calendar with accurate information about what is happening in Victoria and the region. Gathering spaces, particularly a dog park, were seen as a real need. Making the city a place where people can both walk and bike is seen as a plus by those who want to maintain their fitness. Gatherings to allow young professionals to meet and network with other young professionals are highly desirable. This was especially evident when, during the course of a lively conversation, there were several comments along the lines of “I don’t know any of these people!” and “Where have you people been since I came here?”


In terms of what to do next, it was the clear preference of the group to move forward to build this network. The group has chosen the third Tuesday of the month as the regular meeting time for those interested in connecting with this effort. That means the group will next meet on July 16. We will find a spot where the group can gather, fellowship together and then talk business. If you have an interest in connecting with the group, the best way to do so in the near future is to send me an email at We hope to put together a website or Facebook page soon to allow folks to find us. Keep an eye on this blog for more to come.

Tags:  destination town  destination university  dog park  UHV  young professionals 

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UHV, VC and VISD partner up to provide pathways for students in region

Posted By Dr. Bob Glenn, Wednesday, June 5, 2019


In previous posts, I have mentioned the signs of civic success from the book “Our Towns” by Deborah and James Fallows. The first sign of civic success was that “people work together on practical local possibilities rather than allowing bitter disagreements about national politics to keep them apart.” Second was that “you can pick out the local patriots.” Here is their third sign of success, which I would assert frames an opportunity for UHV and Victoria to think about our future together:


The phrase “public-private partnership” refers to something real. “Through the years, I had heard about ‘public-private partnerships’ but had thought of this as just another slogan. If it meant anything at all, it was probably a euphemism for sweetheart deals between big government and big business – the ‘public-private partnership’ to build the latest fighter plane, for instance. In successful towns, people can point to something specific and say, ‘This is what a partnership means.’ In Greenville, S.C., the public school system includes an ‘Elementary School of Engineering’ in a poor neighborhood. The city runs the school; local industries including GE, BMW and Michelin send in engineers to teach and supervise science fairs at the companies’ expense. In little Holland, Mich., a large family-owned scrap-recycling company works with the state correctional system to hire ex-convicts who would otherwise have trouble re-entering the work force. In Fresno, Calif., a collaboration among the city, county and state governments, the local colleges and universities, and several tech start-ups trains high school dropouts and other unemployed people in computer skills. The details vary, but the more specifically a community can explain what their public-private partnerships mean, the better.”


In my view, UHV has a great opportunity to partner up in our community with both the Victoria Independent School District and Victoria College. Early on in my tenure at UHV, I began meeting with VISD Superintendent Quintin Shepherd and VC President David Hinds. We now meet every month without fail to talk about partnerships.


Soon you will see banners going up around town that declare to Victoria that VISD, VC and UHV are “Partners in Your Education.” By that, we want to proclaim to all children in this region that there are pathways to whatever future they can imagine for themselves. We want people to know we are partners and not competitors to help our students get to that future. We want to put students in the position of choosing for themselves the path that best fits them and know that we will honor and affirm those choices. Higher education as a whole always has been bad at collaboration. Collectively, we tend to wait and see who shows up at our doors. To be successful in the future, I would assert that we need to reach back deliberately and pull students forward. We are already in conversation with VISD and VC about what we can do together. Possibilities like laboratory schools, planning innovative new curriculums, and professional development programs for teachers leap to mind.


UHV is fortunate that Dr. Hinds and Dr. Shepherd see the future as we do and are ready to work with us in blazing new trails. When that happens, I believe we can partner up with private entities like Caterpillar, Dow, Formosa or some of the other exceptional companies in the region to bring the public-private partnership concept to reality. I am optimistic that there will come a time when the Fallows write their next book that they will cite our partnerships in Victoria like they have done with Greenville, Holland and Fresno. There’s more to come. Stay tuned.

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Tags:  James and Deborah Fallows  public-private partnership  UHV  VC  VISD 

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Being busy means great things are happening at UHV

Posted By Dr. Bob Glenn, Monday, April 15, 2019


I recently was searching through a website about quotes, and I came across a section about the subject of being busy. I encountered many expected quotes. Quotes about the difference between being “busy” and being “productive.” Quotes about not being so wrapped up in being busy that we lose sight of the things most important in our lives, like relationships. But the thing I found most interesting was the number of quotes by people from a wide range of fields about the joy of being busy. In some cases, they were from people who waited a long time for the recognition in their fields that now made them busy. In some cases, they were from people who just enjoy doing, rather than being idle. In whatever case, it is worth noting that while being busy can wear you out, it also can be a cause for delight.


As I looked at my calendar for the next two weeks, I am hopeful that I can find the joy in being busy because we have three very important searches coming to fruition all at the same time. This week, we will have three candidates interviewing for our vacant provost position. A committee comprised primarily of faculty has been working since December to advertise the position, receive the applications, sort through the possibilities and pick the best possible candidates to bring to campus. I commend the committee on a job well done. You can read about those finalists here. Looking over the group of finalists, I am excited about the future of this institution. It says a great deal for us that we can attract candidates of this caliber, and it also speaks for our potential when you stop to think about what they can help us accomplish.


At the same time, we also have three candidates coming to campus to interview for our vacant vice president for enrollment management position. An equally dedicated group of campus professionals has been working since December to bring us to this moment in time. And again, when I look at the finalists, I am excited about our potential to grow as a destination university.


And we will have two candidates visiting campus to interview for our vacant dean of the School of Business Administration position. Once again, a focused and dedicated committee worked long hours to bring us to this juncture. The committee has been very successful in identifying exceptional candidates for this opportunity. The committee originally identified three candidates, but one of them already has been snatched away by another university.


So, the next two weeks will be very, very busy! My calendar is full from early in the morning to late each evening. But this is the kind of busy that makes one glad to be alive and engaged in good work. I know that everyone reading this is busy, as well, but I hope UHV faculty, staff and students will take the time to visit with these candidates. In addition, I encourage community members in both Victoria and Katy to attend the public forums for the provost finalists. The public forums are important aspects of this process because they give everyone a chance to see and hear the candidates. Of equal importance, however, is that the forums give the candidates a chance to see and engage with our community. I would encourage you to join in and hear what the candidates have to say.


All of this will be occurring on a campus that already was buzzing like a beehive. With three new buildings going up, it is impossible not to be excited by our future. Just this week, I had the opportunity to tour the University Commons student center as it nears completion. In just a few short weeks, the library will begin moving into the facility, and it should be open to the campus this summer. The framing for the new Don and Mona Smith Hall is going up and should be complete in about six weeks. Once the framing is done, construction on the residence hall will move ahead steadily. And the construction crew is nearly finished putting into place more than 200 foundation piers for the new Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Building. The foundation and vertical structure will not be far behind.


So if being busy makes you happy, we all should be very happy at UHV. We are in an exceptionally dynamic time in our development and history. Great things are in the future for us. I am excited about what lies ahead. I hope you are as well.

Tags:  busy  enrollment management  provost  School of Business Administration  University Commons 

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College admissions scandal also brings good news

Posted By Dr. Bob Glenn, Thursday, March 21, 2019


On March 19, the Advocate printed an editorial from the Los Angeles Times concerning the ongoing college admissions scandal. I do not take issue with any of the views expressed. I would assert, however, that this is a “good news, bad news” situation. The Los Angeles Times ably stated the case for the bad news, but I would like to remind readers of the good news.


The good news is that while there certainly are problems with college admissions, especially at institutions where there is a very high level of competition to get in, the reality is that at the vast majority of public institutions, there are few obstacles for admission, and any student willing to do the work has an opportunity to improve his or her life. I would assert that the University of Houston-Victoria is a clear example of what is good about public education, particularly in the state of Texas.


Let me start by stating my bias clearly. Public higher education is intended to be focused on benefiting society. It is intended to achieve two primary goals. The first goal is to be an economic driver of good for the region it serves by providing access to education that lifts individuals up through their own labor. The link between obtaining a degree and economic prosperity is clearly documented. The individual obtaining the degree is better able to secure a prosperous future, and the region benefits from the growing number of people in better paying jobs. Prosperity can be judged by per capita income, and per capita income rises when the percentage of individuals with degrees increases.


In addition to preparing an individual to be a contributing member of the community, the second goal of public higher education is to better prepare individuals to be active participants in an educated citizenry. A representative democracy such as ours requires that its citizens be engaged. Citizens have choices to make between parties and candidates, and choices to make about issues that affect the common welfare. We all benefit when those choices are made cognitively and logically, rather than emotionally. The framers of our form of government always saw education (from K-12 to higher education) as an avenue to making good decisions. I would argue that education is a vital cornerstone of a democracy.


There are many reasons why so many students want to attend great institutions like the University of Houston, the University of Texas, Texas A&M University and others. There also is the reality that these institutions cannot accept all applicants. The result is that there will be occasions when the system doesn’t work the way it should, and inequities will result. But let me state again the good news. The good news for the people of Texas is that there is a network of regional public institutions clearly focused on helping students get from wherever they are to wherever they need to be in order to better their lives and be full participants in the marketplace of ideas that is our democracy. That’s why UHV is a proud member of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative that works to increase awareness about these regional public institutions and the important role they play in providing a high-quality and accessible education to a diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development. The good news for the people of the Coastal Bend region is that UHV, Victoria College and the Victoria Independent School District all are providing a broad highway to a bright future.

Tags:  AASCU  Opportunities for All  UHV  Victoria College  VISD 

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Local patriots keep Victoria going

Posted By Dr. Bob Glenn, Wednesday, March 13, 2019


I read an article in Tuesday’s Victoria Advocate about Omar Rachid. Omar is an outgoing member of the UHV President’s Regional Advisory Board and is moving from Victoria to the Dallas area.


I was struck by the number of leadership positions he has held during his time here and how much of a void will be left by his departure. It reminded me of Deborah and James Fallows’ second sign of civic success mentioned in their book, “Our Towns.” Their first sign of success is that “people work together on practical local possibilities, rather than allowing bitter disagreements about national politics to keep them apart.” Here is what they have as their second sign of civic success:


You can pick out the local patriots. “A standard question we’d ask soon after arrival was ‘Who makes this town go?’ The range of answers varied widely. Sometimes it was a person in an official position of leadership, a mayor or city council figure. Sometimes it was a local business titan or a real estate developer. Sometimes a university president or professor, or a civic activist, or an artist or saloonkeeper or historian or radio personality. Sometimes a person with no official position but whose influence everyone felt. What mattered was that the question had an answer. In one city in Appalachia, we asked a newspaper editor that question, and he said that no one came to mind, but he would think about it overnight. In another southern city, the answer was the commanding officer at a nearby military base – but since the command rotated frequently, there was no permanent local patriot. The more quickly this question was answered, the better shape a town was in.”


Clearly, Omar Rachid is on the list of Victoria’s “local patriots,” and his departure will be felt by all who know him. But the good news is that Victoria is blessed with many “patriots.” I won’t even try to make a list in this forum of all the folks who deserve such a mantle. At the same time, I would love to hear from you about who the patriot is in your part of Victoria. As we look to bring more voices into the conversation about making Victoria a destination, it will be important to include these powerful voices. I hope you will take a moment to ponder the possibilities and contact me at or @UHVPresident on Twitter.


And here I would like to make note of another great book on improving cities called “For the Love of Cities” by Peter Kageyama. One of the author’s contentions is that cities are improved by people who choose to invest themselves in the process because they love the city and because they are enabled by the city to assume leadership roles. He goes on to suggest that the city where assuming leadership is easy means there is a greater chance to make changes. It has been my experience here in Victoria that folks are open to leadership, and many newcomers have been able to step up and have an impact where it might be more difficult in other places. I see this as a great strength for Victoria.


I certainly am going to miss Omar and what he brought to this great city. But the question I ask myself is this: Who here will step up to assume the mantle? Who will step into this opportunity to become one of Victoria’s patriots?

Tags:  James and Deborah Fallows  local patriots  Omar Rachid  Our Towns  UHV  Victoria 

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UHV students make compelling case to legislators for budget

Posted By Dr. Bob Glenn, Monday, March 4, 2019


During the past month, I have spent quite a bit of time in Austin as we have gone about the business of talking with our state legislators about the university’s budget for the coming biennium.


The first two times, I was there to testify before the budget committees of the House and the Senate. These are formal occasions and are highly structured. Each institution’s president is given three minutes to make his case, and then there is a question-and-answer period. When you stop to think about the number of presidents who come before the committees, it is easy to see right away that these are long and tiresome days for everyone involved. They are long and tiresome but also very, very necessary.


As I watched the hearings, I was impressed by the attention given by legislators to the task and to each institution. The questions asked by legislators reflected their connections to the various institutions and to the issues being faced by higher education. I was encouraged by what I saw. It may not be a perfect process, but I see it as one that is thorough and transparent. That is a good thing for taxpayers and a good thing for UHV.


But my third visit to the Capitol was by the far the best. On Feb. 25, we brought a busload of UHV students to meet with legislators and make the case for the budget. I really cannot say enough positive things about the job our students did for us. They were both enthusiastic and passionate about their university. The students took their job seriously and had studied our budget request so they could answer even difficult questions. It just made my heart warm to watch them go to work on behalf of UHV.


At the end of the day, a university is in the people business. We deliver services to people through our people, and the end product is graduates who are more productive and engaged in making a difference in this state. When I have the opportunity to see our students in action, I am reminded that UHV can stand toe-to-toe with any university in this state or any other. We do great work. Our students are the best example of what we can accomplish. I am very proud to have a chance to work with them. I hope you feel the same way.


I have several more trips to make to Austin before the end of this legislative session. It is not the easiest thing I do, but it is a very important task. The good news for me is that the students have given me the energy to move forward and stay focused. Working for them is important work that gives meaning to what I do.

Tags:  Austin  budget  Capitol  Legislature  UHV 

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