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

Dean's update

Nov. 13, 2018

Message from the Dean

I continue to be inspired by your generosity. The College received a total of 866 donated items for PEEPS Pantry from the Homecoming Throne contest (also, congrats to the honorees, pictured above!). What a great service to our students, particularly as the holidays approach. Thank you!

From traditional events to new ones, we’ve had a packed November. At a capital campaign event last week, we shared with community and business leaders the importance of a high-quality teacher education program. This built on last year’s event highlighting our health disparities work.

This week we’re hosting faculty from around the country for a research convening on teachers of color and sponsoring several events at the University Council for Educational Administration conference in Houston.

I’m pleased to see the College’s work getting noticed locally and nationally and look forward to greater recognition as we reach toward our “50 in 5” research goals.

Also, in honor of our superb staff, please enjoy the new “Staff Spotlight” feature below.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends!



  • Thanksgiving holiday – Thursday, Nov. 22 - Friday, Nov. 23
  • Staff Stop and Share – Wednesday, Nov. 28, 10 - 11 a.m. Farish 214.
  • COE Faculty and Staff Holiday Lunch: Wednesday, Dec. 12, noon - 1:30 p.m. KIVA.
  • Fall graduation – Friday, Dec. 14, 3 p.m. NRG Arena.
  • Winter break – Monday, Dec. 24 - Tuesday, Jan. 1
  • MLK holiday – Monday, Jan. 21


Curriculum & Instruction


  • Please stop by our Little Free Library (on the second floor, near the soda machine) to share or take a book!


  • Celeste Alba’s presentation proposal focused on reading aloud has been accepted for the Texas Association for Literacy Education conference in March.
  • Sam Brower has been selected to serve on the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s History Field of Study Advisory Committee.
  • Carrie Cutler is holding a free webinar on integrating math and children’s literature on Nov. 14 at 6 p.m. Email her to participate.
  • Conra Gist recently participated in a panel on teachers of color at the Education Writers Association conference in Chicago. She also led a two-day research convening on the topic this week at the UH Hilton.
  • Susie Gronseth and graduate student Leila Mahmoud had a chapter on video-based discussion published in the book “Ubiquitous Inclusive Learning in a Digital Era.”
  • Miao Li has received a William T. Grant Family Foundation grant for $46,229 for her project on English Language Learners.
  • Amber Thompson and Shea Culpepper opened the Houston Area Teacher Center conference and job fair, which drew 600 student teachers last week.

Educational Leadership & Policy Studies


  • Several of our faculty are presenting or participating at the University Council for Educational Administration conference in Houston this week: Keith Butcher, Bradley Carpenter, Detra Johnson, Ruth López, April Peters-Hawkins and Virginia Snodgrass Rangel. Carpenter also served on the planning committee, and Peters-Hawkins is UCEA’s secretary/treasurer and immediate past president.
  • Provost Paula Myrick Short, a former UCEA president and recipient of UCEA’s Jack Culbertson Award and the Master Professor Award, also is participating in several conference panels, including a mentoring session for faculty seeking promotion and tenure.
  • In addition, our faculty are presenting this week at the Association for the Study of Higher Education conference in Florida: Vincent Carales, Tiffany J. Davis, Frank Fernandez, Cathy Horn, Ruth López and Lyle McKinney.

Psychological, Health & Learning Sciences


  • Kayce Solari Williams won the “New and Innovative Program Abroad” Award from the Delta Iota Chapter of the Phi Beta Delta Honor Society for International Scholars. The award recognizes her launch of a public health study abroad trip to the Dominican Republic.
  • Tayma Machkhas, a research intern mentored by Lorraine Reitzel, won an Audience Favorite award at the 2018 Undergraduate Research Day in October. Machkhas presented on physical activity and homeless individuals.


Emily Miller and James Johnson

Meet the new co-chairs of the College’s Staff Council: James Johnson, an office assistant, and Emily Miller, an advisor, both in the Office of Undergraduate Studies.

Q: How has your time at the College of Education been?

Miller: I love this department and advising students who are in the same major [public health] as me. I can tell them what classes are like, sort of like a spy.

Johnson: I love this job and my co-workers. People are so nice in Houston, especially here at the University of Houston. I’ve never been happier.

Q: Favorite hobbies?

Miller: I am a runner and I am currently working on the half marathon in January. I also like to travel. I’ve visited New Hampshire, the Philippines, Japan, France and England.

Johnson: I’m a software designer. I’m self taught and I’ve been doing it since I was 12 years old. I find the psychology of it really interesting because a lot of software design is more about the psychology than it is entertainment.

Read the full Q&A.

COE Initiative Committee

The new committee, established by Dean McPherson, held its first meeting Sept. 27 and plans to meet weekly. As previously shared, members are Jerome Freiberg, Margaret Hale, Cathy Horn, Ezemenari Obasi and Jonathan Schwartz.

The committee’s charge is the development of college policy, with procedures established by each department. The committee’s key focus is the interconnectedness between annual performance review evaluations, post-tenure review and graduate faculty status. Draft policy will be provided to the faculty for discussion and feedback.



  • Don’t forget to complete the mandatory HR trainings by this Thursday, Nov. 15.

Faculty Executive Committee

  • We would like to remind faculty to attend the Faculty Development Workshops held at the Faculty Café each week. If you have any questions or suggestions, please speak with your FEC representative. We are thankful for all our wonderful colleagues!

Staff Council

  • We look forward to seeing all faculty and staff at our annual holiday party on Wednesday, Dec. 12 at noon in the KIVA!

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


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