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Robert H. McPherson
Dean & Elizabeth D. Rockwell Chair
Robert H. McPherson, Ph.D., serves as dean of the University of Houston College of Education and holds the Elizabeth D. Rockwell Chair. He has more than 40 years of leadership-related experience in higher education, K-12 public education and professional psychology.
As dean since 2011, McPherson has led a strategic and successful effort to increase the rigor and relevance of the College of Education’s teaching and research activities. Research expenditures have more than doubled to $5.6 million annually during his tenure, and the college now houses one of only three state-approved Education Research Centers in Texas
Focused on merging research and real-world experiences, McPherson oversaw meaningful changes to the college’s teacher-preparation program to include a yearlong student-teaching residency and a stronger curriculum. The National Council on Teacher Quality ranks the college’s teacher-prep program among the top 1 percent in the nation. U.S. News & World Report ranks the online graduate education program as the nation’s second best.
In 2016 the college became the first in Texas to meet the new, more stringent standards set by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation. The college’s Ph.D. programs in counseling and school psychology have earned accreditation from the American Psychological Association. The college also recently launched two new Ph.D. programs, in higher education leadership and policy studies and in curriculum and instruction.
After starting his career as a guidance counselor and classroom teacher at a high-poverty school in Odessa, Texas, McPherson has dedicated his work to the college’s mission: to help eradicate inequities in education and health in Houston and beyond. The college has partnered with the Houston Independent School District to support six high-need schools in Third Ward. It also spearheads the university’s interdisciplinary HEALTH Research Institute, focused on novel prevention and intervention strategies in underserved communities.
McPherson is a fellow of the American Educational Research Association and the American Psychological Association. He received the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015 from the Texas Psychological Association and is a recipient of the APA’s Karl F. Heiser Award for Advocacy. His board services includes the Council of Academic Deans from Research Education Institutions, the Houston Forensic Science Center, the UH Charter School and the TLC Foundation for Body-Focused Repetitive Disorders. He is a past president of the Texas and Houston Psychological Associations.
McPherson also is co-founder of Psychological Software Solutions, which provides behavioral management and progress monitoring systems for schools.
He received a bachelor’s degree in education with an emphasis in guidance studies from Texas Tech University and a master’s in counseling from the University of Texas of the Permian Basin. He was among the first graduates of the University of Houston’s doctoral program in counseling psychology in 1987. He later served as chair of the Department of Educational Psychology and associate dean of graduate studies at the UH College of Education.
McPherson and his wife, Ann Hodges, a clinical psychologist, are lifetime UH alumni members. They have three children and three grandchildren.
Office of the Dean Contact Information
214 Farish Hall
For more information, please call (713) 743-8630.