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About the ADVANCE Center


UH has one of the most diverse student bodies in the nation, while women and especially women of color continue to be underrepresented in tenured and tenure track faculty roles in STEM and Social/Behavioral Science fields. The Center for ADVANCING UH Faculty Success, created with a $3.3 million grant from the National Science Foundation, is working to increase the number of women/women-of-color faculty members in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Behavioral Science fields; as well as to make sure they have opportunities to move into leadership roles. The five-year ADVANCE grant supports sustainable activities and programs that are part of a systemic effort that will shape what UH scientists look like.


The University of Houston ADVANCE grant is headed by President Renu Khator, who serves as the grant's Principal Investigator. Dr. Paula Short, University of Houston Provost, serves as the Director for the UH Center for ADVANCING Faculty Success. Faculty Co-Investigators, Strategic Initiative Leaders and Faculty ADVANCE Advocates support ADVANCE programming and projects at the department and collegiate levels. Dr. Christiane Spitzmueller, Professor for Psychology, serves as the ADVANCE office Managing Director and can be contacted by email. The UH Center for ADVANCING Faculty Success is a component of the Office of the Provost, and successful ADVANCE initiatives have been institutionalized through the Office of the Provost.

STEM Departments

The UH Center for ADVANCING Faculty Success serves the grant's goal to substantially diversify ranked faculty at the University. However, STEM and Social/Behavioral Science departments where women and women of color are currently underrepresented are the focus of grant initiatives. Twenty four departments from five colleges constitute the ADVANCE STEM fields at UH:


The individuals below support the ADVANCE Center as the investigator team, the external advisory board, the internal advisory committee, advocates, and staff. 

Name ADVANCE Affiliation University Affiliation
Renu Khator Principal Investigator Chancellor and President, University of Houston System, University of Houston
Paula Myrick Short Center Director Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, University of Houston System, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, University of Houston
Christiane Spitzmueller Managing Director Professor of Psychology, University of Houston
Larry Pinsky Faculty Co-Investigator Professor of Physics, University of Houston
Holly Hutchins Faculty Co-Investigator Associate Professor of Human Development and Consumer Sciences, University of Houston
Joseph Tedesco Faculty Co-Investigator Dean, College of Engineering, University of Houston
Stella Vasquez Executive Administrative Assistant Executive Administrative Assistant, Center for ADVANCING UH Faculty Success, University of Houston
Maura Pereira-De Leon Senior Researcher Senior Researcher, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Center for ADVANCING UH Faculty Success, University of Houston
Christine Klocke Communications Director Director of Marketing and Communication, Office of the Provost, University of Houston
Erika Henderson Institutionalized Co-Leader Assistant Provost, Faculty Recruitment, Retention, Equity and Diversity, Office of the Provost, University of Houston
Mark Clarke Institutionalized Co-Leader Associate Provost, Faculty Development and Faculty Affairs, Office of the Provost, University of Houston
Consuelo Arbona ADVANCE Advocate Professor of Psychological Health and Learning Sciences, University of Houston
Haleh Ardebili ADVANCE Advocate Bill D. Cook Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, University of Houston
Christine Economides ADVANCE Advocate Professor of Petroleum Engineering, University of Houston
Preethi Gunaratne ADVANCE Advocate Associate Professor of Biology & Biochemistry, University of Houston
Arturo Hernandez ADVANCE Advocate Professor of Psychology, University of Houston
Chinhui Juhn ADVANCE Advocate Professor of Economics, University of Houston
Jamison V. Kovach ADVANCE Advocate Associate Professor of Information Logistics, University of Houston
Donna Stokes ADVANCE Advocate Associate Professor of Physics, University of Houston
George Zouridakis ADVANCE Advocate Professor of Engineering Technology, University of Houston
Gilda Barabino External Advisory Board Member Dean, Grove School of Engineering, The City College, New York
Antonio Cepeda-Benito External Advisory Board Member Professor, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Vermont
Candis Claiborn External Advisory Board Member Dean, College of Engineering and Architecture, Washington State University
Yolanda Comedy External Advisory Board Member Director, Center for Advancing Science and Engineering, American Association for the Advancement of Science
Jack Finney External Advisory Board Member Vice Provost of Faculty Affairs, Virginia Tech
Peter Glick External Advisory Board Member Professor of Psychology, Henry Merritt Wriston Professor of the Social Sciences, Lawrence University
Laura Kramer External Advisory Board Member Higher Education Consultant
Elizabeth Travis External Advisory Board Member Associate Vice President of Women Faculty Programs, MD Anderson Cancer Center