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A Publication of UHD Public Affairs
May 16, 2011
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TopToday and coming up at UHD..... 

Facilities Management will perform semi-annual testing and maintenance of the campus fire safety systems beginning today through June 3. 


The University of Houston-Downtown will hold Spring 2011 Commencement at 4 p.m. Saturday, May 21, at Minute Maid Park.


The University of Houston-Downtown will be closed Monday, May 30, for the Memorial Day holiday.


Facilities Management begins campus fire safety systems testing today   


Facilities Management will perform semi-annual testing and maintenance of the campus fire detection / notification / suppression systems and related elevator fire service re-call, air handler shut-downs, fire-door hold-open devices and stair pressurization controls starting today through June 3 in all campus buildings.


This testing must be performed during normal business hours due to the size of the systems, the contractors involved and the cost of the labor required to perform the work. Please consider this an opportunity for the university community to become familiar with these fire and life safety systems and the campus emergency public address system.


An announcement will be made over the PA system prior to the alarms being sounded to inform the occupants of the test. The alarms and strobe lights will then be engaged briefly and certified by the technicians. An announcement will be made after the conclusion of each segment of the audible and visual alarm testing.


For information, contact Chris McCall, Assistant Vice President - Facilities Management Department, at


Banner and E-Services will be down beginning at 7 p.m. May 25 for maintenance   


Information Technology will perform major maintenance on the Banner Student Records system during the following times/dates.


Start Time/Date: 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 25
Expected End Time/Date/: 
by 7 a.m. Thursday, May 26


The following services will be unavailable during the maintenance period:

  • Banner (Student Records System)
  • Banner Financial Aid
  • Faculty & Staff e-services (payments, personal data and class roster)
  • Student e-services (registration, payments, schedules, personal data and grades)
  • Access to Student Account Info via e-services (usernames and passwords for GatorMail, Network ID and Blackboard Vista)

If you have any questions or need more information, please contact the Help Desk (X3000, 713-221-8031,


P-Chem II students beat national mean/median scores on ACS standardized final exam   


Spring semester Physical Chemistry II (CHEM 3332) students taught by Maria Benavides, assistant professor of Chemistry, scored above the national mean and median on the American Chemical Society standardized exam which represented their final exam.  


The mean score for UHD students was 23.5 vs. a national mean of 20.08 and the UHD students' median score was 24.0 vs. a national median of 19.5.


"This is very significant because Physical Chemistry is considered the most difficult subject in chemistry," Benavides said.


The ACS exams are prepared by an ACS committee of professors from different universities who are considered experts on a given subject: General Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, Organic Chemistry or Physical Chemistry. The ACS tests are used by many universities as a form of standardized final exam.


"These exams are considered among the most difficult and challenging in chemistry," Benavides said. The national median for each exam is based on 40 multiple choice questions and the scores are representative of the results from a wide array of universities across the United States. "The final exam that my students took for Physical Chemistry II was the Physical Chemistry (Quantum Mechanics) because it is representative of the course content, which consists of quantum chemistry and spectroscopy," she said.


Benavides also teaches Physical Chemistry I, and the final exam corresponds to Physical Chemistry (Thermodynamics) because the class consists of a one semester course in thermodynamics. UHD students in those classes also have always outperformed the national mean/median scores, she said. 


Commencement will require guest tickets; ceremony can be viewed live via the internet  


UHD's 50th Commencement exercises will be held at Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros at 4 p.m. Saturday, May 21, and approximately 1,150 students will receive bachelor's and master's degrees.


The ceremony can be viewed live via the internet at


For the first time, guests and visitors will need tickets for admission. Tickets are free and can be picked up from the Office of Student Activities, Room S-204, One Main Building until Friday, May 20. Tickets will also be available at the door.


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Stories from previous Skylines

Political science students donate to homeless


Political Science class (POLS 2304) students recently donated 132 pairs of socks to the homeless via the Way Station at Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church, 6221 Main St.


The Way Station will distribute the socks to the homeless population they serve, said Adolfo Santos, social sciences department chair and class instructor.


"It turns out that socks are one of the many things the homeless population needs. After a discussion with a volunteer at the Way Station a few years ago, I learned that socks are an important but inexpensive need that the homeless have," Santos said. "The heat and humidity quickly turn socks into items that can contribute to foot problems if they are not changed frequently. As a result, I asked my students to donate socks to the homeless."


In recent years, studies conducted by Sara Konrath, a researcher at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, have shown that university students do not have as much empathy as they once did. While UHD students received some extra credit for the exercise, the project led to discussions about the needs of the homeless and increased awareness about those less fortunate.



Career clothing
Student Monica Flores checks out proper attire for interviews in the Career Services Office.

J.C. Penney's donation helps Career Services     

Career Services has a new set of "visual aids" thanks to J. C. Penney Co., the national retail chain. J.C. Penney donated two sets of dress-for-success clothing to Career Services so staff members could show students and alumni the appropriate way to dress for interviews. The outfits are on display in the Career Services office so students can see them on their own time and the staff uses them in career and interview workshops.


IT training for Faculty/Staff/Alumni 

Register for IT training opportunities at the links below.  To schedule a one-on-one appointment or other assistance, please call 713-221-8200.


Blackboard Vista

Wednesday, May 18

1 - 2 p.m. - Blackboard Vista: Assignments

Thursday, May 19

3:30 - 4:30 p.m. - Blackboard Vista: Mail, Calendar, & Who's Online

Monday, May 23

2 - 3 p.m.- Blackboard Vista: Communication Tools

Tuesday, May 24

1 - 2 p.m. - Wimba Classroom

Wednesday, May 25 

10 - 11 a.m. - Blackboard Vista: Customizing your Blackboard Course

Thursday, May 26

10 - 11 a.m. - Blackboard Vista: Gradebook Setup

Tuesday, May 31

2 - 3 p.m. - Turnitin


Blackboard Learn

Tuesday, May 17

9 - 10 a.m. - Adopters Converting Early (A.C.E)

Thursday, May 19

11 - 12 p.m. - Adopters Converting Early (A.C.E.)

Friday, May 20

11 - 12 p.m. - Blackboard Learn - Getting Started

Monday, May 23

2 - 3 p.m. - Adopters Converting Early (A.C.E.)

Wednesday, May 25

1 - 2 p.m. - Adopters Converting Early (A.C.E.)

Thursday, May 26

1 - 2 p.m. - Blackboard Learn - Getting Started

Tuesday, May 31

10 - 11 a.m. - Adopters Converting Early (A.C.E.)


Microsoft Office

Wednesday, May 18

10 - 11 a.m. - Transitioning to Office 2010

Tuesday, May 24

10 - 11 a.m. -  Excel: Pivot Tables

Friday, May 27

10 - 11 a.m. - Transitioning to Office 2010


Windows 7


 2 - 3 p.m. - Transitioning to Windows 7


See all current IT training available

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The Offiice of Public Affairs produces the Skyline eNews Monday, Wednesday and Friday during the school year, and you will receive the Skyline eNews via email while you are a UHD employee. We update our email list weekly. The eNews is a University faculty and staff newsletter and is designed to keep employees informed of university activities, policy changes, human resources issues, business office information and security information.

The deadline for submitting items is 9 a.m. the day before publication. Past issues are archived on UHD's website. The archive link is in the lower right column.   

We are always interested in your activities. Let us know at least 24 hours in advance so we can include your event in the Skyline eNews. We also try to photograph University activities, but we need to know when and where your event is taking place. Email or call Public Affairs at 713-221-8010.
In this issue
Facilities Management announces campus safety testing
Banner and E-Services will be down for maintenance
P-Chem II students beat national test scores
Commencement can be viewed via the internet
Political science students donate to the homeless
J.C. Penney donates to Career Services
IT offers training classes
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