Academic Success/Student Services
The Student-Athlete Development Program (Academics) at the University of Houston aims to support Houston student-athletes in their primary goal of earning a degree, while also assisting them to prepare for life after college through participation in the Leadership Academy, and broadening their horizons by exposing them to community service opportunities.
Under the direction of the Associate Athletic Director for Student-Athlete Development, Maria Peden, the Student-Athlete Academic Services unit - the Academic Center for Excellence (ACE) runs a comprehensive program. In addition to Peden, the staff includes six full-time academic counselors, a Senior Learning Specialist, two part-time Learning Assistants and a full-time Tutoring Coordinator who assist over 350 UH student-athletes in 17 sports. The Academic Center for Excellence and the Cougar Pride Leadership Academy are located in the Athletics/Alumni Center.
Open from 8:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. weekdays and 2:00 p.m. - 8 p.m. on Sunday, ACE includes a Laptop Library, with over 60 laptops available for check-out, and a Student-Athlete Lounge with 12 IBM-pc stations, two printers, 3 flat-screen TVs and space for quiet study/relaxation.
ACE also offers two 50-person classrooms, five six-person small group study rooms and 16 one-on-one individual tutoring areas.
Study hall hours are designated for each team, and all freshmen student-athletes attend mandatory study halls, monitored by the academic counselors or learning assistants. A staff of twenty part-time tutors are available to assist all student-athletes in a variety of subjects and is required for athletes taking Math, English, Political Science and History.
All student-athletes, coaches and academic services support staff, in conjunction with the UH faculty, share the same commitment of educating and graduating every UH student-athlete who puts on the Red and White Cougar uniform.
The University of Houston student-athletes continue to improve academically. The 2012 fall semester saw several academic records set as the average student-athlete passes 13.9 credit hours per semester with a 2.87 or higher (the highest overall gpa in program history). In addition, 22 percent of student-athletes earned Dean's List honors. In the spring of 2013, UH student-athletes posted a record 2.85 cumulative GPA, the highest ever after a spring semester.
Records continued to fall in the fall of 2013 as Houston student-athletes set the highest cumulative GPA, 2.95, in department history while also hitting a record fall GPA of 2.92.
Academic achievements rolled in again in 2014 as Houston student-athletes set the highest GPA ever after a spring semester, 2.89, and the highest ever GPA ever for a spring term, 2.82. There was no rest in the fall however as a semester GPA of 2.84 ranked as the second-best fall semester in UH history while the 2.89 cumulative GPA ranked as the second-best following a fall semester.
The University of Houston celebrated the graduation of almost 50 student-athletes at its annual Cougar Choice Awards.
Academic Programming (recent changes):
Student-Athlete Development Program: Academic Support Services and Leadership Academy now share the Student-Athlete Development Program suite, which also houses the Tutorial Program, computer lab and study center.
Houston Leadership Academy: Implemented (Fall 2010) a comprehensive Leadership Program that integrates all student-athletes through programming (i.e.; Academic Success, Cougar History and Tradition; Health and Wellness; Financial Management; Athletic Success; Ethics and Leadership; Career Development; Community Outreach; Etiquette) from freshmen though senior year (i.e., freshman and sophomores - mandatory; juniors - emerging leaders; seniors - veteran leaders). Curriculum is based on NCAA and Jeff Janssen Sports Management programs.
Career Development Director:Added a full-time staff person to implement a full Career Planning and Development Program to work in conjunction with the Leadership Academy, Cougar Pride, donors, alumni and other UH career units to maximize opportunities.
Learning Services Program: A Senior Learning Specialist was added in Spring 2012 to implement learning support services for at-risk student-athletes using assessment testing, individual skill building sessions and learning labs in Writing, Reading and Math.