Dean's Update - University of Houston
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Dean's Update

Jan. 21, 2020

Message from the Dean 

I hope everyone had an excellent break! We started off the semester strong with the announcement of our No. 8 ranking from U.S. News & World Report on the 2020 list of best online master’s programs in the field of education. We improved from No. 19 last year.

If you teach online, I encourage you to become familiar with the methodology, and reach out to our Institutional Effectiveness team to review specific data points.

As we work to increase our national competitiveness, grow graduate enrollment and become more innovative in all areas, your ideas are crucial. Please try to attend the UH100: Dare to Dream strategic planning session Monday, Feb. 3 at 1:30 p.m. in the KIVA.



  • Celebrate the Career of Kimberly Zainfeld — Thursday, Jan. 30. 1 p.m. Student Center South, Skyline Room.
  • UH100: Dare to Dream SOAR meeting — Monday, Feb. 3. 1:30 p.m. KIVA.
  • Red Rhapsody LQBTQ+ Fundraiser — Monday, Feb. 24. 5 p.m. Rockwell Pavilion, M.D. Anderson Library. RSVP by Feb. 6.
  • March of Dimes March for Babies — Saturday, April 25. 9 a.m. UH. Register to walk or donate.


Editor’s note: External grant awards typically are listed under Office of Research. For publications, additional authors are not included. Please email Ericka Mellon with any questions.

Curriculum & Instruction


  • Laveria Hutchison, “Assisting preservice teacher candidates in accepting the need for using instructional strategies in content-area instruction.” Critical Issues in Teacher Education.
  • Miao Li, “The Componential Model of Reading in Bilingual Learners.” Journal of Educational Psychology.

Book Chapters

  • Laveria Hutchison, “What do I need to know to become a teacher in today’s schools?” Teacher Education and the Intersection of Race and Poverty in Today’s Schools.


  • Cameron White and Laveria Hutchison, “Integrating Culturally Responsive Social Justice Pedagogy: A Case Study of an Online Ed.D. for Instructional/Professional Leadership,” at the International Conference on Education
  • Laveria Hutchison, “I Thought I Was Doing My Best: Addressing the Needs of At-Risk Students,” at the International Literacy Association annual conference
  • Carrie Cutler presented a webinar, sponsored by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, on “Growing a Child’s Mind without Losing Yours,” with 750 people registered.


  • Margaret Hale was interviewed on Fox 26 about the College’s online graduate education programs in light of the U.S. News ranking.

Other Kudos

  • Laveria Hutchison conducted an evaluation of graduate programs in education for the Southern Illinois University System. Also, she will represent the Faculty Senate at NCAA’s Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics at Louisiana State University in February.

Educational Leadership & Policy Studies


  • We’re happy to welcome Dwayne Morrow, who joins us, along with Yonelly Gutierrez, to manage the department.


  • April Peters-Hawkins, “Desegregation and the (dis)integration of Black school leaders: Reflections on the impact of Brown v. Board of Education on Black education.” Peabody Journal of Education.


Psychological, Health, & Learning Sciences

Editor’s note: PHLS will report information next month due to the timing of winter break.



  • If you plan to post photos of students on social media, please have them fill out photo release forms (found on the intranet) at the start of each semester. Write your name, course/program, semester and “social media” at the top of the form and turn in to Kathy Patnaude (room 438).


  • Supervisors: Please remember that the deadline to complete ePerformance is Feb. 3.


  • Many thanks and kudos to our undergraduate advisors for going above and beyond to help students enroll successfully for spring. It was a challenge, and the team has achieved amazing results for our students!
  • Congrats to Kimberly Zainfeld, who will retire at the end of January with 36 years at UH and 30 years with the College of Education.
  • Please share with interested students: The deadline to submit an application to participate in Undergraduate Research Day is Monday, March 2. The event is Thursday, April 2 from 4 to 6 p.m. at Rockwell Pavilion.


  • The College has finished up the Curriculog course and catalog updates.
  • Our office held a successful new student orientation Saturday for the spring 2020 students. Thanks to all involved!

Important Dates for Undergraduate and Graduate Students

  • Monday, Feb. 17COE scholarship application deadline
  • Tuesday, Jan. 21 — last day for students to add a course
  • Wednesday, Jan. 29 — last day to drop a course without a grade
  • Thursday, April 2 — last day to drop a course with a “W” grade



  • We are excited that Thessalenuere Bernard has joined our team as the new research liaison. She’s served as director and assistant director of large research grants (i.e., NSF, CDC) at Rutgers University, University of Arkansas and University of the Virgin Islands. Most recently, at Texas A&M University’s College of Education and Human Development, she assisted faculty in preparing budgets and developing research proposals. She will manage our pre-award, grant identification/development and other OOR programming responsibilities. She has a Ph.D. in human development and family studies.
  • Program manager Mary Fisher-Warrick is stepping away to join her husband in Santa Fe, New Mexico. We’re searching for our next program manager and will keep you posted as we move through that process.


  • Deeper Learning And Technology Integration: Implications For Writing Assignments And Quality Student Work. American Educational Research/William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. $25,000. Lanette Jimerson (CUIN), PI.
  • Regional Early Childhood Education Support Specialists (RECESS). Region IV Educational Service Center/Texas Education Agency. $85,716 (incl. 8% IDC). Cathy Horn (CUIN), PI.
  • Aldine ISD Lewis Middle School FY2020. Aldine Independent School District. $61,135 (incl. 31% IDC). Jerome Freiberg (CUIN), PI.

Grant Submissions

  • Collaborative Proposal: Developing And Testing Innovations: Reading To Code. National Science Foundation. $975,227 (incl. 53% IDC). Anne McClellan (Dean’s Office), PI, and Zenaida Aguirre-Munoz (PHLS), co-PI.
  • Culturally Responsive Peer-Led Team Learning Engineering Workshops. National Science Foundation. $2,500,000 (incl. 53% IDC). Tiffany Davis (ELPS) and Virginia Rangel (ELPS), co-PIs.
  • Development Of An Intelligent Tutoring System For Statistics (STAT-ITS). Institute of Education Sciences. $1,369,368 (incl. 53% IDC). Han Joe Kim (PHLS), PI.
  • Design And Development Of A Competency-Based Student Support System To Enhance Student Retention And Improve Student Educational Outcomes. Institute of Education Sciences. $1,397,988 (incl. 53% IDC). Sara McNeil (CUIN), PI.
  • Understanding Digital Tool Use In The Shakespeare Classroom. (incl. 53% IDC). Laura Turchi (CUIN), PI.
  • Iterative Development Of The Student Check-Up Into An Acceptable And Feasible Motivational Interviewing Intervention For Middle School Students. (incl. 53% IDC). Bradley Smith (PHLS), PI; Han Joe Kim (PHLS), co-I; Jorge Gonzalez (PHLS), other key personnel.
  • University of Houston - Advancing Cultural And Computational Engagement In STEM Scholars (UH-ACCESS). National Science Foundation.
  • Project World Retrospective. Institute of Education Sciences.
  • Helping Everyone Achieve A Lifetime Of Health - Future Addiction Scientist Training. National Institutes of Health. Ezemenari Obasi (PHLS) and Lorraine Reitzel (PHLS), MPIs.
  • Elucidating Sex-Hormone, Adiposity, And Inflammation Contributions To Cognitive-Sensorimotor Deficits And Dysfunctional Cortical Activation In Persons With Type II Diabetes Ahead Of Conversion To Dementia. National Institutes of Health.
  • Novice Teaches’ Learning In Formative Assessment And Classroom Discussion In Middle School Mathematics. Rice University/James S. McDonnell Foundation. $123,013. Weihua Fan, PI.
  • A Peer-Based Approach To Enhance Physical Activity In Inactive Women. University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center/American Cancer Society. $92,024 (incl. 20% IDC). Lorraine Reitzel (PHLS), PI.
  • Regional Early Childhood Education Support Specialists (RECESS). Region IV Educational Service Center/Texas Education Agency. $107,145 (incl. 8% IDC). Cathy Horn (CUIN), PI.
  • Deeper Learning And Technology Integration: Implications For Writing Assignments And Quality Student Work. American Educational Research/William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. $25,000. Lanette Jimerson (CUIN), PI.
  • Telehealth Behavioral Self-Management Intervention For Teens With Type 2 Diabetes. Baylor College of Medicine/Health Resources and Services. $40,938. Norma Olvera (PHLS), PI.
  • Collaborative Research: Engineering Everywhere (E2): Advancing Science Learning With Engineering Practices In Early Elementary. National Science Foundation. $2,447,100 (incl. 53% IDC). Zenaida Aguirre-Munoz (PHLS), PI, and Ruth López (ELPS), co-PI.
  • Centering Design-Thinking: Building Capacity For Integration With Intermediate-Grade STEM Teachers. National Science Foundation. $278,940. Jeannette Alarcon (CUIN), PI.
  • Empowering Novice Elementary Teachers: Contextualizing Ambitious Science Teaching For English Language And Literacy Acquisition (CESTELLA). National Science Foundation. $2,350,088 (incl. 53% IDC). Sissy Wong (CUIN), PI, and Jie Zhang (CUIN), co-PI.
  • Contextualizing Science Inquiry: Leveraging Emergent Bilingual Students’ Funds Of Knowledge To Investigate Community-Based Problems. National Science Foundation. $1,903,744 (incl. 53% IDC). Jie Zhang (CUIN), PI, and Sissy Wong (CUIN), co-PI.
  • Dissemination And Implementation Of The Taking Texas Tobacco Free Program In School Settings To Prevent Future Tobacco-Related Cancers Among Our Youth. Cancer Prevention and Research Institute. $299,899 (incl. 5.26% IDC). Lorraine Reitzel (PHLS), PI, and Ezemenari Obasi (PHLS), Virmarie Correa-Fernandez (PHLS), and Tzu-An Chen (PHLS), co-Is.
  • Taking Texas Tobacco Free Through A Sustainable Education/Training Program Designed For Personnel Addressing Tobacco Control In Behavioral Health Settings. Cancer Prevention and Research Institute. $299,953 (incl. 5.26% IDC). Lorraine Reitzel (PHLS), PI, and Ezemenari Obasi (PHLS), Virmarie Correa-Fernandez (PHLS), and Tzu-An Chen (PHLS), co-Is.
  • RaceB4Race And Teacher Professional Learning: Compassion And Capacity In High School Classrooms. Spencer Foundation. $48,670. Laura Turchi (CUIN), PI.
  • Aldine ISD Lewis Middle School FY2020. Aldine Independent School District. $61,135 (incl. 31% IDC). Jerome Freiberg (CUIN), PI.


Clinical Faculty Celebrations

  • Carrie Culter (CUIN): Teaching students created 3 Act Tasks, short video clips with mathematical scenarios. They’re shared via our YouTube channel, UHouston Math.
  • Saira Rab (PHLS): Human Development and Family Studies students enrolled in Culture and Diversity courses recently completed their service learning project, volunteering at food banks, homeless shelters and other sites. The helping nature of our students is truly motivating and it prepares our students to address the needs of the Houston population.


Ashley Schwartz

Ashley Schwartz, program coordinator for the BOUNCE healthy living program, is quick to think on her feet. Years of project management experience prepared her for the role.

“I think it’s important to take a holistic approach to health; it’s not just about counting your calories,” she said. “The work we do empowers people to take charge of their life.”

What are your day-to-day responsibilities?

I write proposals, coordinate staff and conduct administrative duties like budgeting. Our programs are not only outreach programs but also research. Right now, we’re in the process of data collection, so I’m doing a lot of staff scheduling and coordinating people.

What kind of data does BOUNCE collect?

We take clinical measurements, body measurements and participants’ height, weight and blood pressure. We also have surveys that address questions about anxiety, self-image and sleeping patterns. 

What’s been most rewarding about working with the program?

We have such positive feedback from our participants. It can be really motivating to see kids asking questions or telling us things like, “My mom and I looked up a 10-minute yoga class on YouTube and did it together.” Making personal connections with participants was a part of research I hadn’t considered before.

Read the full Q&A.

Dean’s Update typically publishes on the second Tuesday of each month.

Prior newsletters are archived on the College website.

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