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

Dec. 10, 2019

Message from the Dean 

As I’ve been meeting with faculty candidates in recent weeks, it’s been wonderful hearing their enthusiasm for UH and ideas for research collaborations. Talent attracts talent, so it’s no surprise they’re drawn to work with this strong team. A special thank you to those serving on search committees.

I also appreciate everyone helping with graduation this Saturday. We’ll hear from one of our graduate students whose story of persistence will remind us of the challenges our students face and the power of your support.

But first, let’s celebrate Thursday at our annual holiday lunch. Thank you to Staff Council for coordinating.

Please enjoy your winter break with family and friends!


Editor’s note: The next Dean’s Update will publish Jan. 21.


  • Holiday lunch for faculty and staff hosted by Staff Council – Thursday, Dec. 12. Noon. KIVA.
  • Graduation – Saturday, Dec. 14. 6 p.m. Fertitta Center.
  • Winter Break – Monday, Dec. 23 – Wednesday, Jan. 1
  • MLK Holiday – Monday, Jan. 20



  • Please share story ideas with communications coordinator Natalie Thayer at We’re looking for students and alumni to profile, community partnerships and research to highlight and any newsworthy updates.


  • Due to the upcoming winter break, the last day to submit purchase requests to the COE Business Office will be Friday, Dec. 13, 2019. Any requests submitted after this date will be processed on Jan. 2.

State Employee Charitable Campaign

  • The College raised $1,275 for the 2019 SECC, contributing to UH’s total of $81,734. Thank you to those who donated and to Paula Canada and Sesa Edgar for coordinating.


  • We look forward to seeing everyone at the annual Holiday Celebration Luncheon this Thursday, Dec. 12 at noon in the KIVA. And we’d appreciate any donations for Star of Hope Houston. See the Nov. 25 email from James Johnson for a list of requested items.


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

Internal Grant Awards

  • Jie Zhang received a “50-in-5 Award” from the Office of the Provost.

Book Chapters

  • Jeannette Alarcon, “Unpacking the messiness in critical elementary education.” Mistakes We Have Made: Implications for Social Justice Educators. 
  • Jane Cooper, “A Relational Approach to Collaborative Research and Practice among Teacher Educators in Urban Contexts.” Mindful and Relational Approaches to Social Justice, Equity and Diversity in Teacher Education.
  • Jerry Freiberg, “Classroom Management and Student Achievement.” Visible Learning: Guide to Student Achievement.


  • Eulises Avellaneda, “Preparing Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Teachers in the Era of Online, Asynchronous Instruction: Theory, Practice and Research,” at the Innovative Teaching and Learning at a Distance Conference at UH
  • Carrie Cutler, on math for preschoolers, at the National Association for the Education of Young Children conference

Honors & Awards

  • Sheng Kuan Chung won honorable mention for abstract painting for his work “Urbanization” at the Texas Art Education Association conference.

Educational Leadership & Policy Studies


  • Several ELPS faculty presented at the 2019 Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) conference: Vincent Carales, Tiffany J. Davis, Cathy Horn, Elsa Gonzalez, Ruth López, Lyle McKinney, Virginia Snodgrass Rangel and Toni Templeton.
  • Several faculty presented and/or facilitated at the 2019 UCEA conference: Vincent Carales, Cathy Horn, Detra Johnson, Ruth López, Paula Myrick Short, April Peters-Hawkins and Toni Templeton.

Honors & Awards

  • April Peters-Hawkins was awarded “Reviewer of the Year” for the journal Educational Administration Quarterly at the University Council for Educational Administration conference in November.

Community Involvement

  • Kristen Hassett was selected as one of the LeadSBISD cohort members, a new Spring Branch Board of Trustees program to engage and develop community leaders.

Psychological, Health, & Learning Sciences


  • Rosenda Murillo, “Frequency of seeing people walk and aerobic physical activity among Latino adults.” Journal of Physical Activity and Health.
  • Lorraine Reitzel, “Health literacy and self-rated health among homeless adults.” Health Behavior Research.
  • Ezemenari Obasi, Lorraine Reitzel, “Association of fear and mistrust with stress among sheltered homeless adults, and the moderating effects of race and sex.” Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities.

Honors & Awards

  • Lorraine Reitzel has been appointed a fellow of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco for her “outstanding contributions to advancing research … in addition to [her] leadership and service to the field.”


Grant Support

Here’s an article you may be interested in: Expanding NIH’s Definition of Socio-Economic Disadvantaged to be More Inclusive and Diversify the Workforce.

New awards and submissions will be included next semester.


Stephanie Martinez

As an undergraduate advisor, Stephanie Martinez encourages students to remain determined, especially if they’re struggling. She understands the challenges firsthand.

What do you love about academic advising?

My favorite thing is helping students who didn’t think they could ever get help. I’ll have some students come in and I can pick up something is wrong. I’ll walk the problem through with them, step-by-step, telling them what to do and how to get around it. I try to be of aid as much as possible.

Were you ever that student yourself?

Yes. I flunked out of my first university. I was on academic probation and lost my scholarship. The next year, I went back home and enrolled in a community college while I tried to figure my life out. The following semester, I came here and told myself I was going to make it.

Was there an advisor who helped you navigate those difficulties?

I would try to reach out and it seemed like there wasn’t opportunity for help. That all changed when I got here. My advisor, Laura Lee, who is now my co-worker, helped me get through a lot and opened so many doors for me.

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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