February 26, 2009University of Houston Provost John J. Antel announced that Joe Pratt, Cullen Professor of History and Business, has been appointed interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (CLASS).
Pratt fills the position left vacant after President Renu Khator named Antel senior vice president for academic affairs and provost for UH and senior vice chancellor for academic affairs for the UH System.
“UH has been very good to me,” Pratt said. “It has given me the most interesting students I have ever taught while supporting my research on the history of the oil industry and of the city of Houston. I hope to repay a measure of my debt to UH with a stint as a dean during an important era in its history.
“I also feel a sense of loyalty to one of the best deans I have ever had, my friend John Antel. My goal will be to keep CLASS running smoothly as he makes the transition to the extraordinary challenging job of provost.”
Pratt is a leading historian of the petroleum industry and a historian of the Houston region. He received his undergraduate degree from Rice University and his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University. He taught at the University of California-Berkeley, the Harvard Business School, and Texas A&M University before coming to UH in 1986 as the NEH-Cullen Professor of History and Business, with a joint appointment in history and management.
He has served as chair of the history department and as the executive director of the Scholars’ Community, UH’s largest undergraduate retention program. He has won university teaching awards at both UC-Berkeley and UH. Pratt has been a consultant for the PBS mini-series on the oil industry, “The Prize,” and for the American Experience documentary on the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline. He is the editor of the Oil and Regional History Series for the Texas A&M University Press. He is also the founder of the Houston History Project and editor of “Houston History,” a magazine of popular history.