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Strategic Initiatives

Recruitment and Retention

The Center for ADVANCING UH Faculty Success aims to increase the recruitment and retention of women science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and social/behavioral science (SBS) faculty at senior, mid-career and junior faculty levels, with an emphasis on increasing the percentage of women and women of color ranked faculty in STEM and SBS fields to levels at or above the academia national averages.


  • Developed a Powerhouse Faculty Toolkit to encourage the hiring of diverse faculty members.
  • Formalized a Dual-Career Program between the departments, deans, Provost’s Office and broader community to help dual-career couples find work at UH and in the City of Houston.  
  • Included more positive diversity language in University job postings, as well as encouraged postings to minority-specific job boards.

Committee Chairs:

  • Dr. Mary Ann Ottinger, Associate Vice Chancellor/Vice President, Grand Development, Division of Research
  • Dr. Larry Pinsky, Co-PI, Professor, Physics

Professional Engagement, Development, and Advancement

Women science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and social/behavioral science (SBS) faculty are underrepresented in holding key STEM administrative leadership positions at the dean, associate dean, and department chair levels. Programs that include leadership training and advancement paths provide participants with clear information, a supportive climate, and real-world experience in a leadership position. The Center for ADVANCING UH Faculty Success has and will continue to create programs that provide mentoring relationships and clear pathways for the career development of women and women of color faculty.


  • The percentage of women among those promoted to Full Professor increased to more than 40% in ADVANCE disciplines during the last promotion cycle (which followed mid-career workshops hosted by the Center for ADVANCING UH Faculty Success), representing the highest number of women promoted in any promotion cycle since 2012 (see Figure 1, below).
  • UH has reached our ADVANCE goal for women department chairs. UH now has seven women department chairs, and almost half of all the associate deans in ADVANCE disciplines are women. Furthermore, 33% of President Khator's cabinet members are women, and campus-wide, UH now has 25% female deans. 
  • An ADVANCE subcommittee developed leadership competency maps that describe competencies and developmental suggestions for selected leadership positions that can be used by department chairs, etc. to mentor emerging faculty leaders. Chairs and mentors are encouraged to use Career Path Materials (Department Chair Career Path Info Sheet and Suggested Process).
  • ADVANCE Advocates are assisting departments in the introduction of the mentoring guidelines (from Assistant to Associate Professor and from Associate to Full Professor) to their respective faculty which highlights their role in supporting the implementation of ADVANCE in their colleges and departments. A concept model for a pilot in grants(wo)manship mentoring has been developed and is being refined with the NSM college Associate Dean for Research for roll-out during the summer of 2017.

Figure 1: Percentage of Women Promoted to Full Professor at UH (2014-2017).


Committee Chairs:

  • Dr. Holly Hutchins, Co-PI, Associate Professor, Human Development & Consumer Sciences
  • Dr. Stuart Long, Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Diversity and Inclusion

Expanding gender equity and the diversity of our faculty is a high priority for UH. This will require clearly defined institutional processes and effective on-going training for the UH community. Strategic initiatives have and will continue to focus on issues surrounding diversity, inclusion, and unintentional bias among faculty, while re-engineering institutional processes to promote diversity and inclusiveness.


  • Developed training materials as a result of the diversity search committee training workshop.
  • Noticed a marked increase in the number of female and underrepresented minority applications as a result of the diversity training. See results.

Committee Chair:

  • Dr. Cathy Horn, Associate Professor, Educational Leadership & Policy Studies

Work-Life Infrastructure

Achieving an optimum level of work-life integration is a challenge faced by many people in a wide variety of industries. However, the challenges are compounded for faculty in higher education, as a result of the tenure system, particularly for women faculty who are more likely to be the main care givers for children (and increasingly for the elderly). In addition, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and social/behavioral science (SBS) faculty, particularly women, are more likely to have partners in a STEM or SBS discipline, resulting in the need for dual-career programs that will attract and facilitate the ability to hire both partners. The Center for ADVANCING UH Faculty Success has and will continue to work to positively impact sustainable work-life integration.


  • Created a Women of Color Underrepresented Minority Leadership Subcommittee
  • Developed a Child Care Policy that, at the Provost's discretion, guarantees spots for infant, toddler, and pre-K children of newly hired tenure/tenure-track faculty at the Children's Learning Center at UH.

Committee Chairs:

  • Dr. Mark Clarke, Associate Provost, Faculty Development & Affairs
  • Dr. Elebeoba May, Associate Professor, Biomedical Engineering

Social Science Research

The Center for ADVANCING UH Faculty Success is currently conducting a five-year study investigating the psychological processes that yield institutional effectiveness, particularly the effects of work climate on individual/departmental performance through engagement. The study will focus on the following research questions:

  1. What are the key aspects of a departmental work climate that affect faculty and department engagement and performance-related outcomes?
  2. Is engagement the mediating mechanism in the psychological process through which department climate promotes individual and department level performance?
  3. Is the process through which departments promote individual and department level performance different for men and women, and is it different in departments with small and large percentages of women?


Committee Chairs:

  • Dr. Leanne Atwater, Professor, Management
  • Dr. Alan Witt, Professor, Management and Psychology