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

Feb. 12, 2019

Message from the Dean 

I’m pleased to report progress on three of our priority decisions for the year:

*Teacher education/possible reorganization of the College: The FEC has scheduled a faculty meeting for March 4 at 3 p.m. to review survey findings and prior discussion points and to facilitate a conversation on next steps.

*Name of the College: I encourage all faculty and staff to submit ideas for possible new names for the College and any comments. The online survey closes this Friday, Feb. 15, at 5 p.m. You will have an opportunity to provide feedback again after the committee reviews the results.

*Professional development school: A working group of faculty has met several times and continues to discuss possible models that may benefit our students as well as K-12 students. I look forward to a draft report in coming weeks.

Our strategic planning committees – focused on partnerships, diversity and inclusion, and communications – also are making progress. Please read the updates below.

I want to express my appreciation to everyone for committing to doing this hard but important work.

In case you missed the recent emails, I’m sorry to share that former colleagues Steven Busch, Bob Williams and Joe Carbonari recently passed away. They were part of our College of Education family and will be missed dearly.



  • Red Dinner wine reception – Thursday, Feb. 28, 5-6:30 p.m. The College of Education is sponsoring this first-time event benefiting UH LGBTQ students. The $25 ticket includes wine and light bites. Nathan Smith and Jorge Gonzalez of PHLS are co-organizers.
  • Star Awards – Wednesday, April 24, 6 p.m. UH Hilton.
  • Spring 2019 Commencement – Thursday, May 9, 6 p.m. Fertitta Center.

Editor’s note: The next Dean’s Update will publish on March 19.

Chat with the Dean

Staff Stop and Share (Farish 214)

  • March 13, 2-3 p.m.
  • May 16, 10-11 a.m.

Faculty Stop and Share (Farish 214)

  • March 26, 10-11 a.m.
  • April 24, 2-3 p.m.

Coffee and Conversation (Farish 211)

  • Professors: Feb. 18, 10-11 a.m.
  • Associate Professors: Feb. 25, 10-11 a.m.
  • Assistant Professors: March 4, 10-11 a.m.


Editor’s note: Faculty and staff are encouraged to share announcements or accomplishments with their department chairs or supervisors for possible inclusion in Dean’s Update.

Curriculum & Instruction


  • The Science and Engineering Fair of Houston, organized by Heather Domjan, is seeking volunteers to help with the following at the George R. Brown Convention Center:
    • Display and safety – Friday, Feb. 22. Interact with students and make sure their projects are safe. Training provided.
    • Judging – Saturday, Feb. 23
  • Attend a free talk and book signing with award-winning illustrator Christian Robinson. Tuesday, March 5, 9:30 a.m. UH Charter School.


  • Shontoria Walker, a doctoral candidate in the literacy specialization, was named to the International Literacy Association’s 2019 “30 Under 30” list. Her work focuses on culturally relevant pedagogy.

Educational Leadership & Policy Studies


  • April Peters-Hawkins has been accepted into the Women in Educational Leadership Program offered by the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. She will attend a two-day program in Cambridge in March.
  • Kristi Santi organized a training with the Texas Chapter of the Council for Learning Disabilities that brought Wrightslaw founder and special education expert Pete Wright to campus this month.

Psychological, Health & Learning Sciences


Grant Awarded

  • Han Joe Kim received a New Faculty Research Award for $6,000 for his study of a college-level statistics intelligent tutoring system on psychological attributes.

Manuscripts Accepted for Publication

  • Lorraine Reitzel, “Cumulative risk factors associated with food insecurity among adults who experience homelessness,” Health Behavior Research.
  • Milena Keller-Margulis, “Predicting Kindergarten writing achievement using early written expression and behavior screening,” Journal of Applied School Psychology.
  • Sascha Hein and Sarah Mire, “Criminal behavior patterns and school discipline in juvenile justice-involved youth with autism,” Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.
  • Rosenda Murillo, “Neighborhood social cohesion and walking limitations in ethnically diverse Latinos in the United States,” Ethnicity & Disease.
  • Han Joe Kim, “Motivation for educational attainment in grade 9 predicts high school completion,” Educational Measurement: Issues and Practices.
  • Lorraine Reitzel and Ezemenari Obasi, “Characterizing discrimination experiences by race among homeless adults,” American Journal of Health Behavior.


  • As part of Black History Month, graduate students Ewune Ewane, Temara Holt, Krystal Christopher, Ashley Ramclam and Kimberly Smoots organized a panel of local African-American psychologists on “Representation Matters: I do not want a seat at the table. I want to change the table.”


Our PEEPS – Personal Early Educational Performance Support – Program is going strong.

  • PEEPS Pantry had 22 visits from students from Jan. 14-31. We’re averaging about three visits per day.
  • The Student Government Association donated 555 pounds of food to PEEPS Pantry during a recent drive where students who donated food were given an allowance toward parking tickets.
  • PEEPS mentors Annie Brogdon and Tia Davis will showcase the PEEPS Program in the NACADA (academic advising) Region 7 conference in San Antonio with a poster presentation.


Updates from the three committees:


  • We are exploring the use of a UH-Downtown data collection tool to help identify faculty-community partnerships in a way that does not increase a reporting burden for faculty.
  • We are working with the communications office to highlight the College’s ongoing community partnerships.
  • We’re also looking at ways to increase student involvement in community engagement and are exploring funding mechanisms to pay them.

Diversity and Inclusion

  • We are working to organize a lunch and learn event for March and April and to develop a possible symposium for next school year.


  • Our work this semester has focused on crafting a process for considering a new name for the College. Please complete the online survey by 5 p.m. this Friday, Feb. 15.


Patricia SillerCongrats to Patricia “Paty” Siller, who earned an Ed.D. in curriculum and instruction from the College in December. She juggled her classes along with a new baby and her job as field placement coordinator and program operations manager for teacher education.

Q:  What is the most fun part of the day?

A: I have the most fun when we have orientations or events with students. I love meeting with them and getting to know them. Also, the people I work with are incredible and make my job all the more enjoyable.

Q: Can you tell us a little about your background?

A: I was born and raised in Monterrey, Mexico . . . Both my parents had to work really hard to provide for us, and they have been the best examples of perseverance and drive I have ever had. . . I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 2007 and worked with school-aged children until I came to Houston in 2011 for my master’s degree.

Read the full Q&A.

Next month: Read about Britney Ikner, who also earned her graduate degree in December.



  • The College has raised more than $12.2 million in the capital campaign so far – topping our initial goal of $10 million and setting our sights on $15 million. Thank you to all who have supported the campaign! We’ve been able to offer more scholarships for students and are working to create endowed professorships.
  • Thank you to the Scholarship Committee – Sam Brower, Ruth López, Lee Mountain and Kayce Solari Williams – and Dianca Chase and Kevin Pham for streamlining the application process. Please encourage students to apply by the Feb. 28 deadline.


  • Don’t forget, employee goals for ePerformance must be submitted by Feb. 21. Supervisors must complete edits to the “Responsibilities” and “Competencies” sections by March 21.

Faculty Executive Committee

  • Save the date:
    • Faculty meeting on teacher education/possible College reorganization: March 4, 3-4:30 p.m.
    • End-of-year faculty meeting: April 12, 1:30-3 p.m.
  • The promotion and tenure and non-tenure track policies are going through final editing based on feedback from the Provost’s Office. They will be posted on the College website and intranet.
  • CITE has emailed the associate dean evaluations. The FEC thanks everyone in advance for taking time to provide constructive feedback. We hope you enjoy your tea and chocolate while completing the evaluations!

Staff Council

  • Staff Council is working to establish annual awards to honor outstanding College of Education staff. Stay tuned for details on the criteria and nomination process.

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

Prior newsletters are archived on the College website.



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