Juan Sanchez Muñoz has been named the sole finalist for the presidency of University of Houston-Downtown (UHD). Muñoz currently serves as vice provost for undergraduate education and student affairs, and senior vice president for institutional diversity, equity, and community engagement at Texas Tech University.
“University of Houston-Downtown plays a vital role in our UH System’s overall delivery of higher education resources to this region, so we are fortunate to have an experienced educator and inspiring administrator of Dr. Muñoz’s caliber lead this institution,” said UH System Chancellor Renu Khator.
A national search was conducted to fill the UHD presidency, chaired by UH-Clear Lake President William Staples. Muñoz is expected to join UHD in April. Texas law requires that 21 days must pass before the UH System Board of Regents can formalize the appointment. The Board will meet Feb. 23.
“Dr. Juan Munoz is an excellent selection as the next President of the University of Houston-Downtown,” said President Staples. “He has extensive academic and administrative experience as well as a commitment to student success and community engagement that will enable him to successfully lead UHD.”
Muñoz will take the reins from UHD Interim President Michael Olivas, who was appointed to the position by Chancellor Khator in February. Olivas is the William B. Bates Distinguished Chair in Law at the University of Houston Law Center and Director of the Institute of Higher Education Law and Governance at the University of Houston.
“The University of Houston-Downtown community is pleased to welcome Dr. Juan Sanchez Muñoz as its next president. He will bring energy and passion to this role, as well as the leadership experience necessary to help UHD continue on our upward trajectory,” said Olivas. “I have had the good fortune of serving as UHD’s interim president and have learned first-hand that this is a very special university. I have come to love this institution, especially its remarkable students, as he will. I look forward to his arrival and all of us will support him during this transition.”
UHD has grown both in size and reputation. The institution has managed to increase its admissions standards while maintaining its diversity, which is reflective of Houston’s population. The institution serves more than 14,000 students, offering bachelor's and master's degrees in five colleges.
"I am very grateful to the Board of Regents and Chancellor Khator for this remarkable opportunity to be part of this dynamic institution and system to further set a standard of educational excellence that will serve as a model for the country," Muñoz said.
Muñoz has held leadership positions that reach all facets of higher education. He joined Texas Tech as an associate professor in the College of Education in 2004 and served as a special assistant to the president, advising leadership on policies, programs and initiatives to enhance the quality and diversity of university faculty, staff and students. He joined the Provost’s office in 2006 and has held a number of leadership positions including becoming senior vice president for institutional diversity, equity, and community engagement in 2009 and being named a vice provost in 2010. As the senior vice president and vice provost, Muñoz supervises more than 40 units and departments, including the TTU Ethics Center and the Teaching, Learning and Professional Development Center, and the Office of Academic Engagement.
Muñoz’s academic research interests include educational access, equity and the advancement of public school students. Before joining Texas Tech, Muñoz was an assistant professor at California State University, Fullerton in the Department of Secondary Education. He earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a Master of Arts in Mexican- American Studies with an emphasis in literature from California State University, Los Angeles. Muñoz was awarded a Doctorate of Philosophy at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he studied curriculum and instruction in the Division of Urban Schooling.
Prior to his career in higher education, Muñoz was a secondary school teacher and also served as a sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps. Muñoz is married to Dr. Zenaida Aguirre- Muñoz, and the couple has three sons, Joaquin Diego Muñoz, Cruz Santos Muñoz and Juan Amado Muñoz.