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Leadership

Welcome to the Department of Psychological, Health & Learning Sciences, which houses a multidisciplinary faculty committed to rigorously training the next generation of counseling, school, quantitative and learning scientists and competently educating undergraduate students to prepare them for work in the fields of health and human development & family studies.

As a department, we value excellence, student success, community engagement, diversity, social justice and academic integrity. It is through intentional behavioral execution of these values that we doggedly pursue our mission to advance scientific knowledge, effect real-world change, maximize student potential for global competitiveness and enhance the quality and length of life in all segments of society through our scholarship, teaching and service.

Over the last few years, our faculty has grown at an unprecedented pace both in numbers and in accomplishments. We are a vibrant group: different in disciplines but drawn together through our shared values and a common mission. This is a place where excellence is incarnated, diversity is embraced and change is recognized as vital to growth. Through the tireless efforts of the previous Chairs, Drs. Ezemenari M. Obasi and Lorraine R. Reitzel, we have the privilege of inheriting a department on the cutting edge of best practices that is on a rapid trajectory to achieve national preeminence. It is our goal to facilitate our continued forward movement through the development and refinement of faculty, trainee and student initiatives that will solidify our place among the top departments of psychological, health and learning sciences – whatever their nomenclature – while nurturing and promoting that which makes us unique among them.

Explore our website and learn more about our degree programs, innovative research and teaching initiatives and community-focused work. Feel free to reach out to our faculty if you are interested in learning more. We hope that you will join our dynamic department and become an active part of our commitment to make a positive and meaningful difference in the lives of those we touch. We are the powerhouse - we are the University of Houston - we are where you want to be.

Nathan Grant Smith, Ph.D.

Interim Department Chair

I have been affiliated with the Department of Psychological, Health, & Learning Sciences since 2013 and now proudly serve as its Interim Chair. I am a Counseling Psychologist by training and my research focuses on health disparities among lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer adults; I also focus on HIV prevention and issues facing persons living with HIV. I am committed to training students who are investing in reducing health disparities—especially disparities facing sexual and gender minorities—through conducting innovative research and engaging in culturally-competent practice. As Interim Chair, I am proud to be a part of a Department that values excellence, student success, community engagement, diversity, social justice, and academic integrity, and works to eliminate disparities in health and education.

Sarah S. Mire, Ph.D.

Associate Department Chair

I have been affiliated with the Department of Psychological, Health, & Learning Sciences at the University of Houston since 2013 and now proudly serve as its Associate Chair. As a Licensed Psychologist and a School Psychologist, I have practice background in public schools, community mental health, and specialty clinics. These experiences have informed my primary research in autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and I focus on how children with ASD affect and are affected by important adults in their lives such as parents, school personnel, and health care providers. In particular, I am interested in children with ASD who also have behavioral difficulties, and for children with ASD from underserved or sociodemographically diverse groups. My vision for my time as Associate Chair is to support Dr. Smith and the Leadership Team in advancing science and practice through excellence in research, teaching, and training. I am honored to serve in this role and look forward to supporting both faculty and students!

Erica Jordan, Ph.D., CFLE

Assistant Chair for Student Success

I have been affiliated with the Department of Psychological, Health, & Learning Sciences at the University of Houston since 2015 and now proudly serve as its Assistant Chair for Student Success. Over the course of my time here, I have taught hundreds of undergraduate students, and I am passionate about helping them to understand the connection between scientific inquiry and communities beyond the classroom. I have also served as the inaugural graduate Teaching Assistant Coordinator, charged with delivering training and ongoing professional development to departmental Teaching Assistants and Teaching Fellows. My vision as Assistant Chair in supporting Dr. Smith's vision is to advocate on behalf of students through strategic initiatives that foster a sense of academic community, engage students in a vibrant culture of research, and provide support for graduate and undergraduate students as they progress toward their own future endeavors.