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

Sept. 11, 2018

Message from the Dean

I hope you all had a chance to read the memo I sent last Thursday about our initiatives for the year. To recap a few points:

  • To meet Chancellor Khator’s bold “50 in 5” research goal, we will establish new policies and a strategic framework to set clear expectations around such topics as graduate faculty status, post-tenure review and scholarship for tenure/tenure-track faculty.
  • I have asked Cathy Horn, Jerry Freiberg, Margaret Hale, Ezemenari Obasi and Jon Schwartz to serve as a working committee to draft proposals.
  • Regarding the quality of dissertation and thesis proposals and final submissions, I have asked the College’s Graduate and Professional Studies Committee to make recommendations for an internal audit system. The committee will work with the UH Graduate School to establish an external audit system as well.
  • The targeted implementation for these changes is January.

I’m confident we can accelerate the progress we have made over the last several years, increasing our research productivity, delivering a high-quality education and serving the greater Houston community. I invite you to share your ideas and questions at upcoming meetings.



  • UH Farmers Market – Wednesday, Sept. 26, noon to 4 p.m. Butler Plaza. (more)
  • COE Budget 101 – Friday, Oct. 26, 9:30  - 10:30 a.m. KIVA.
  • FEC Faculty Meeting – Friday, Oct. 26, 10:30 a.m. KIVA.
  • Homecoming – Monday, Nov. 5  - Saturday, Nov. 10
  • Houston Area Teacher Center Conference & Job Fair – Friday, Nov. 9, 8 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. UH Hilton and Farish.
  • Thanksgiving holiday – Thursday, Nov. 22  - Friday, Nov. 23
  • Fall graduation – Friday, Dec. 14, 3 p.m. NRG Arena.

Chats with the Dean

Coffee and Conversation (218 Farish)

  • Monday, Sept. 17, 10 - 11 a.m. (for professors)
  • Monday, Oct. 8, 10:30 - 11:30 a.m. (for associate professors)
  • Monday, Nov. 5, 10 - 11 a.m. (for assistant professors)

Staff Stop and Share (214 Farish)

  • Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2 - 3 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 28, 10 - 11 a.m.

Faculty Stop and Share (214 Farish)

  • Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2 - 3 p.m.

Charitable Campaign

I encourage you to show support for the State Employee Charitable Campaign. Please know, it’s not the amount you’re able to give, but we’d like to show full support from the College. UH’s goal is 100 percent participation. Please look out for an email from Paula Canada with more information.


  • Our probation and retention stats are improving! From fall 2016 to fall 2018, the number of students placed on probation at the end of the term dropped 3.4 percent. Retention rates since the inception of our PEEPS (Personal Early Educational Performance Support) Program have risen 2.4 percent. For the first time, every student on academic probation is participating in the PEEPS Program growth plan.
  • Please be aware of the University’s academic honesty policy. If you have questions or concerns that an infraction has occurred in your course, contact your department’s associate chair for more information about the process.
  • Last day students may drop a course: Nov. 1. They will receive a grade of “W.” Please communicate with students about their potential grades so they can make informed decisions. No students may be added to courses at this time.


  • Check out our latest OGS newsletter, sent to students this week. It highlights numerous student publications and presentations.
  • Reminder: The last day students may drop a course is Nov. 1.


  • Let’s talk about your big ideas! The National Science Foundation is looking to set the federal research agenda for the next decade. To spur submissions, the UH Division of Research will give up to five awards ($2,000) for the top ideas. Contact Ezemenari Obasi to discuss.
  • NSF Fall 2018 Grants Conference: Nov. 8-9. New Orleans.
  • We want your input: As we begin the grand challenge of “50 in 5,” the COE Office of Research would like to enlist your help. Our primary goal remains providing Tier One research support grounded in excellent customer service. We want to know where we are excelling and where we are falling short. Each time we resolve a question or assist with a process, we’ll email you a very brief Qualtrics survey. We’d greatly appreciate if you’d let us know how we’re doing.


Curriculum & Instruction

We’re celebrating many accomplishments of our faculty over the last several months:

  • Carrie Cutler presented almost 40 workshops over the summer. In November she will present a webinar through the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. She is currently in the final editing stage for her forthcoming book, “Math-Positive Mindset: Empowering Parents and Teachers to Help Children Succeed in Mathematics.”
  • Sheng Chung has five paintings on exhibit in the Rotunda Gallery at St. Luke’s Methodist Church. He also has three articles that will be published this fall in the International Journal of Arts Education.
  • Heather Domjan has received a $125,000 grant from Chevron to support the 2019 Science and Engineering Fair of Houston.
  • Miao Li will present this fall at the International Mind, Brain and Education Society Conference.
  • Sara McNeil submitted an Institute of Education Science grant this summer regarding a student-support system to enhance student retention, with Jie Zhang listed as the methodologist.
  • Lee Mountain has co-authored two articles with doctoral graduates: one with Kayla Logan to be published in the Journal of Chemical Education, and one with Jessica Tovar-Hilbert to be published in the Journal of Latinos and Education.
  • Laura Turchi has an article in Ubiquity: The Journal of Literature, Literacy, and the Arts (Praxis).

Educational Leadership & Policy Studies

  • ELPS is co-sponsoring an early child development and policy symposium Oct. 19 at UH. “Better Brains, Better Policies, Better Futures” will explore how the science of early-child brain development can inform policy-making and aims to identify the most cost-effective and successful policies for supporting young children’s healthy growth.
  • Lyle McKinney and co-principal investigator Mimi Lee were awarded a $316,404 grant from the Greater Texas Foundation. They will study how Houston Community College’s “15 to Finish” program affects degree complete and transfer rates, in hopes of developing a national model.

Psychological, Health & Learning Sciences

Honors and Awards

  • Roberta Nutt received a presidential citation in August from the Council of Counseling Psychology Training Programs for “her long-standing, unwavering devotion and commitment to counseling psychology education and training.”
  • Kayce Solari Williams received the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Distinguished Alumni Award from the Sugar Valley Chapter of Top Ladies of Distinction, Inc. in June for her service in the community.

Grants Awarded

  • Rosenda Murillo (submitted as supplement under Lorraine Reitzel), “The Role of Perceptions and Barriers to Physical Activity in Cancer Risk Among Mexican Immigrants: A U-HAND (University of Houston/MD Anderson) Program to Reduce Cancer Disparities,” NIH/National Cancer Institute. $286,549.
  • Sara Jones, “UH AMPED & Cullen Middle School Social Emotional Learning Collaborative,” Menninger Foundation. $140,000.
  • Lorraine Reitzel, “A Patient-Centered Approach to Exploring Breast Reconstruction in African American Women,” UH/UHD Synergy Grants. $59,117 ($35,441 to UH/Reitzel).
  • Toya Conston, “EPSY 3300 Service Learning Component,” UH Advancing Community Engagement & Service Institute. Up to $5,000.
  • Rachael Whitaker, “Growing Together Project: The Nutrition and Mental Health Connection.” Association for Creativity in Counseling. $250.

Select Publications*

  • Correa-Fernández, V., Wilson, W. T., Kyburz, B., O’Connor, D., Stacey, T., Williams, T., Lam, C. Y., & Reitzel, L. R.  (in press). Evaluation of the Taking Texas Tobacco Free Workplace Program within behavioral health centers. Translational Behavioral Medicine.
  • Keller-Margulis, M. A., Ochs, S., Reid, E. K., Faith, E., Schanding, G. T. (in press). Validity and diagnostic accuracy of early written expression screeners in kindergarten. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment.
  • Murillo, R., Katic, B., Gonzalez, T., Vasquez, E., Echeverria, S. (in press). The Association of Diabetes and Prediabetes Risk Perception with Leisure-time Physical Activity and Weight Loss. American Journal of Health Promotion.

Select Book Chapters*

  • Aguirre-Muñoz, Z. & Gregory. M. O. (in press, 2018). Concept-based teaching in dual science classrooms: Using oral language routines to develop scientific descriptions and arguments. In P. Spycher and E. Haynes (Eds.), Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners and STEAM: Teachers and Researchers Working in Partnership to Build a Better Path Forward, Information Age Publishing & West-Ed.
  • Gonzalez, J. E., & Anderson, J. (2018). [Review of the Social Language Development Test-Elementary: Normative Update]. In K. F. Geisinger (Ed.). The 23 mental measurements yearbook. Lincoln, NE: Buros Center for Testing.
  • Gonzalez, J. E., & Anderson, J. (2018). [Review of the BEST Plus 2.0]. In K. F. Geisinger (Ed.). The 23 mental measurements yearbook. Lincoln, NE: Buros Center for Testing.

*faculty bolded, students underlined


Advancing Community Engagement & Service Institute

To help us facilitate support for service learning, we’d appreciate if you’d complete this short survey on your current service activities and partnerships across the Houston community. As you may know, the Advancing Community Engagement and Service Institute is a university institute, led by Anne McClellan and Jon Schwartz, that reports to the Provost’s Office. Our goal is to identify current projects and new areas of need.


  • Love Houston? Let’s show it off to prospective students. Snap a photo while you’re out and about and email for possible posting on Instagram. #CoogsInTheCity
  • Speaking of photos, we’d like to show off interesting moments in class, too. Email with ideas.
  • Friendly reminder about branding rules: Almost all designed materials must be submitted to UH Branding for approval. Even if you believe you followed the rules, UH Branding must sign off. Jaime Questell, Ericka Mellon and Daniel Huron are the approved representatives to email UH Branding for approval (entities with branding exemptions may email UH Branding directly).
  • UH seal: We cannot use the seal on any materials. This is reserved for the president and provost.

Faculty Executive Committee

  • The FEC has posted the faculty committee list and the eligible voter list in the SharePoint folder labeled “COE Faculty Folder.” Please let the FEC know if you have any questions or concerns that we may address before the Oct. 26 faculty meeting (held after the College’s Budget 101 meeting).

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


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