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New CLASS leaders

Dean Roberts appoints three department chairs and directors

Dr. Rex Koontz

Dr. Susan Scarrow

Dr. Lois Zamora

Dean John Roberts has appointed three faculty members to leadership positions within the College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences.

Effective September 1, Dr. Rex Koontz is the Director of the School of Art, Dr. Susan Scarrow is Chair of the Department of Political Science and Dr Lois Zamora is Chair of CLASS’ newest academic unit, the Department of Comparative Cultural Studies.

“We are very fortunate to have these three outstanding scholars join the leadership team in CLASS,” Roberts said. “They bring to the leadership of their units their own example of scholarly excellence, as well as new ideas for enhancing the intellectual environment and increasing student success—all keys to realizing the University of Houston’s Tier One vision.”

Zamora takes on the leadership of the Department of Comparative Cultural Studies. This new academic unit will build on the inherent critical and comparative stance towards culture found in a number of CLASS programs including Anthropology, Liberal Studies, and Religious Studies, which will be housed in the department.

A Moores Distinguished Professor, Zamora is a tenured professor in three CLASS departments – English, History and Art. She earned her Ph.D. in comparative literature at the University of California, Berkeley and joined the UH faculty in 1978.

Zamora brings to the chair’s post extensive administrative experience, including service from 1996 to 1999 as interim dean of a CLASS predecessor, the College of Humanities, Fine Arts and Communication. A noted scholar of Latin American culture, Zamora is also a director of the university’s Center for the Americas.

Scarrow, the Senator Don Henderson Scholar, served as the Political Science department’s director of graduate studies for three years before becoming its chair. Her teaching and research focuses primarily on comparing European parliamentary democracies. She joined the UH faculty in 1991 after earning her Ph.D. in political science at Yale University.

Current Political Science chair Gregory Weiher returns to his research and teaching duties on the faculty after serving as the academic unit’s chief administrator for three years.

Koontz wraps up a stint as interim Associate Dean for Graduate Studies this summer before moving into the position of head of the School of Art. An art historian with a research interest in Ancient Mesoamerican culture, Koontz takes on the challenge of leading the School of Art as it beings a new chapter in its history with the inauguration of the new Master of Arts degree in History of Art.

Koontz succeeds John Reed, who served as director for the past six years and will resume teaching in spring 2012 following a faculty professional leave this fall.

- Shannon Buggs