Robert Rivas is passionate about becoming a teacher. A Lone Star College transfer student, Rivas is part of the first cohort of the UHD’s DAIR (Diversity, Access, Inclusion, Representation) to Teach program, which helps transfer students from underserved communities take the steps necessary to earn their teaching certificates.

Rivas’s drive to become a teacher is for “future generations and the impact that education will have on their lives,” said Rivas. “Both of my parents are first-generation college students; my father came to Texas from Mexico in pursuit of education and a better future for him and his family. Despite the odds, my father eventually became a teacher. Education has become a pillar in my life.”

Since last August, Rivas and 30 other transfer students have studied and received extra mentoring and academic coaching from UHD professors in their quest to become teachers, a prime example of how UHD creates supportive environments for transfer students to thrive. Rivas will ultimately graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Education and Teacher Certification in EC – 6 w/Bilingual Supplemental Certification and become a teacher in one to two years. 

National Transfer Student Week

National Transfer Student week is Oct. 16-20. As a university where the majority of students began their higher ed journey at a community college, UHD is in a unique position to show current and potential transfer students the benefits of transferring to colleges and universities to pursue academic and professional goals. UHD is a partner in Houston Guided Pathways to Success, helping pave the way for the transition from community college to university. 

“We are excited to be on the forefront of providing a guided pipeline from high school to teaching certification for students who otherwise might not have had this opportunity,” said UHD President Loren J. Blanchard. “With multiple engagement points involving colleges, universities, and school districts, we are creating various pathways for students to become certified teachers in their home districts.”

Funded by an $850,000 grant from the Houston Endowment, the DAIR (Diversity, Access, Inclusion, Representation) to Teach Program aims to dismantle systemic barriers that deter individuals from diverse backgrounds from becoming teachers, offering them the resources and support needed for a successful transition to certified teacher status. This program aligns with Houston Endowment’s mission to foster a vibrant region where everyone has the chance to thrive.

The program is offered at UHD’s Downtown, Northwest, and Lone Star College-Kingwood campuses. All 31 students in the program’s first cohort entered the program in August with a minimum of 45 credits from Houston Community College or Lone Star College.

The DAIR to Teach Program is an innovative initiative developed by a seasoned team of UHD educators in the Urban Education Program of the College of Public Service, including Dr. Christal Burnett Sánchez as Faculty Program Lead; Drs. Tonya D. Jeffery and Lizette Navarrete-Burks as Faculty Mentors; and Ms. Vivian McKelvey as Program Director. The program enhances teaching skills, deepens understanding of diverse student populations, and fosters connections with educational leaders.

The program benefits students in multiple ways:

  • Financial assistance for books and supplies.
  • Mentorship and professional development opportunities.
  • Certification exam preparation and support.
  • Networking events.
  • Personalized academic coaching.
  • Internship opportunities.
  • Laptops with carrying cases.

The DAIR to Teach Program plans to add 10 additional DAIR Scholars in spring 2024 and a second cohort during the 2024-2025 academic year. Interested students transferring to UHD to earn a bachelor’s degree in Education may email for more information.

Source: By Marie Jacinto, originally posted on

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Celebrating Transfer Students: National Transfer Student Week Spotlights Learners Leaping from Community Colleges to Universities

Transfer students have long comprised a significant portion of the learning population at universities across Texas and the U.S. These students begin their higher education journeys at community colleges for myriad reasons, including cost, class sizes, or simply to gain clarity in their career goals.

During the week of Oct. 16 – 20, transfers across the nation will be celebrated during National Transfer Student Week. The initiative is coordinated annually by the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students to spotlight those students matriculating from two-year colleges to four-year universities.

A Tale of Three Transfer Merit Scholars

At UHD, a whopping 66% of degree-seeking undergraduates began as transfer students. No wonder that the third week of October is especially celebrated at the University: National Transfer Student Week!

Certainly, transitions can be challenging for most people, but National Transfer Student Week provides the platform to highlight the thousands of success stories across the UHD campuses, including this year’s 26 Transfer Merit Scholars.

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