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May 18, 2011
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TopToday and coming up at UHD..... 

The Student Life Center will have special hours during the semester break effective from May 16 - May 20 and May 31 - June 3. See story below. 


The University of Houston-Downtown will hold its 50th 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 will perform semi-annual testing and maintenance of the campus fire safety systems beginning today through June 3.


Student Life Center announces semester break hours  


The Student Life Center will have special hours during the semester break effective from May 16 - May 20 and May 31 - June 3.


The semester break hours are:

  • Monday - Thursday: 9 a.m. - 9 p.m.
  • Friday: 9 a.m. - 7 p.m.
  • Saturday and Sunday: Closed

The Student Life Center East and West Gyms are scheduled for floor resurfacing for two weeks from May 23 - June 5. As a result, the entire facility will be closed for workouts, classes, personal training and massages from May 23 - May 30.The Student Life Center second floor fitness center is scheduled to reopen on May 31. Personal training and massages will also be available again starting May 31. 


The Sports and Fitness member services counter will remain open for business from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 23 - June 5.


Sports and Fitness will resume fitness classes for summer on June 6.  Please go to for the summer fitness class schedule.


SheriffCriminal justice honor society inducts new members; hosts Sheriff Adrian Garcia    


UHD's Alpha Phi Chapter of Alpha Phi Sigma, the national honor society for criminal justice, held its Spring 2011 Induction and Honors Ceremony on May 12 for criminal justice majors who meet the organization's academic requirements. Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia was the guest speaker. Alpha Phi members included in the photo above, from left, Nolan Manuel, Dua Quraishi, Diana Nguyen, Ernesto Hurtado, Keith Green, Sheriff Garcia, Michael Hebert, Traqina Emeka - assistant professor and advisor, Guadalupe Mendiola-Washington, Brian Rizzo and Monica De La Rosa. Inductees received personalized membership certificates and lapel pins. Graduating seniors received honor cords, medallions and stoles.


Register now for the Summer UHD Biggest Loser Competition in Sports and Fitness


Sports and Fitness is registering participants now for the Summer UHD Biggest Loser Competition which will be held June 6 to Aug. 12, so sign up now and you could be the biggest loser.


Staff members encourage participants to exercise and eat properly during the 10-week program and measure their progress at weekly weigh-ins in the Student Life Center.  Students, faculty and staff are eligible for the individual competition. Teams from the various departments are also welcome to participate but must include at least five people from the same department. Some exceptions may apply.


Prizes will be awarded to the first and second place individual winners as well as the first place team with the greatest percentage of weight loss. The $5 registration fee includes weekly challenges, weigh-ins, emails and new to this year's competition - weekly training sessions led by the Sports and Fitness personal trainers. Training dates and times are scheduled for Fridays but will be offered based on interest. A registration form is available here along with more information about the program. People interested in participating should register in person in the Student Life Center by June 10. Motivation and accountability help improve weight loss and the Summer UHD Biggest Loser Competition offers both.


Sports and Fitness posts aerobics summer class list; try some exercise classes for free 


Summer aerobics classes in the Student Life Center are now posted and can be viewed here


Sports and Fitness offers the classes up to eight times a day for students, faculty and staff free of charge. Participants need an ID card to enter the facility. Sports and Fitness offers several exercise classes to help participants get into shape. Individuals who have never taken pilates or yoga can try them out for free this summer. The center has also added a new program where trainers will work with interested members in a circuit format on Fridays.  For information, email  sports&


UHD Veterans Services seeks support for 5k event benefiting disabled veterans   


UHD's Offices of Admissions, Student Activities and Veterans Services have partnered to participate in the seventh annual Impact a Hero 5k Run/Walk/Wheel at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, June 4, at Mercer Stadium in Sugar Land.


The event raises money for severely wounded and disabled U.S. Veterans who have served in the War on Terror and their families. The University community can support the effort by making a donation, registering to participate or sponsoring the UHD team. Please use the links below to donate or join online quickly and securely.  Participants will receive email confirmations of donations and registrations.


Donate here:


Register and join the UHD team here:


Michael Records, UHD manager of Veterans Services, said he encourages everyone to support this worthwhile event on behalf of veterans and to send the information to their friends. Contact the Veterans Services Office at 713-221-8622 for more information.


Stories from previous Skylines

Facilities Management fire safety systems testing will continue through June 3   


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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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



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


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



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


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.   

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In this issue
Student Life Center announces semester break hours
Criminal justice honor society inducts members
Register for UHD Biggest Loser competition
Sports and Fitness posts aerobics class schedule
Veterans Services seeks support for 5k event
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
IT offers training classes
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