Special Task Forces and Committees - University of Houston
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Special Task Forces and Committees

New Normal Task Force

The New Normal Task Force is charged with examining and offering ideas and solutions that will help the University of Houston fulfill its mission, remain relevant, and become sustainable after the crisis has passed and the economy starts to resume normalcy under the new normal. The Task Force is tasked with offering solutions to mitigate the impact of financial losses over summer and fall as well as to adopt new realities in the future.

The Task Force will be co-chaired by Chief Energy Officer Ramanan Krishnamoorti and Associate Provost, Faculty Development and Faculty Affairs Mark Clarke.


  • Ramanan Krishnamoorti, Chief Energy Officer
  • Mark Clarke, Associate Provost, Faculty Development and Faculty Affairs
  • Lisa Holdeman, Vice President for Marketing and Communications
  • Cathy Horn, Professor and Chair, Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, College of Education
  • Sara Larsen, Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School, Professor of Chemistry
  • Amaury Lendasse, Associate Professor of Information and Logistics Technology, College of Technology
  • Jim McShan, Senior Vice President of Administration and Finance
  • Claudia Neuhauser, Associate Vice President for Research and Technology Transfer and Director of HPE Data Science Institute
  • David Oliver, Associate Vice President, Facilities
  • Ioannis Pavlidis, Professor of Computer Science, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics
  • Paul Pavlou, Professor and Dean, Bauer College of Business
  • Chris Pezman, Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics
  • Raul Ramos, Associate Professor of History, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences
  • Steve Spann, Vice President for Medical Affairs and Founding Dean of the College of Medicine
  • Michael Twa, Professor and Dean, College of Optometry
  • Richard Walker, Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Services
  • Kirk Watson, Founding Dean of the Hobby School of Public Affairs

Racial Equity and Social Justice Committee

This is a university-wide group of faculty, staff, students and alumni tasked with helping to bring meaningful change to race relations. Members of the group will draw on their varied expertise and experience to facilitate our understanding of racism, its systemic roots and how to address these issues in a substantive manner. It is being co-chaired by Vice President Elwyn Lee and Dean Robert McPherson.


  • Elwyn Lee, Vice President, Neighborhood and Strategic Initiatives
  • Robert McPherson, Dean, College of Education
  • Cedric Bandoh, Chief of Staff/Manager - Strategy, Business Planning & Operations, Hewlett Packard
  • Jeronimo Cortina, Associate Professor, Political Science, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences
  • Varselles Cummings, Director, Diversity and Inclusion
  • Kenneth Davis III – SGA Senator-at-Large and President, The Collegiate 100
  • April-Peters Hawkins, Associate Professor, College of Education
  • Erika Henderson, Associate Provost, Faculty Recruitment, Retention, Equity and Diversity
  • Jerrod Henderson, Instructional Associate Professor, Undergraduate Programs & Student Success, Cullen College of Engineering
  • Charlene Johnson, President of University of Houston Black Alumni Association
  • Dennis Kennedy, Founder & CEO of National Diversity Council
  • Brian Kirksey, Vice President, Black Student Union
  • Charles Lea, Assistant Professor, Graduate College of Social Work
  • Stephani-Nicole Leota, Graduate Student, Graduate College of Social Work
  • Rick Lowe, Professor, Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts
  • Ceaser Moore, Jr., Assistant Vice Chancellor of Police Operations / Chief of Police
  • Brian Reed, Clinical Professor, Chair of the Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Medicine
  • Debora Rodrigues, Associate Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Cullen College of Engineering
  • Lisa Shumate, Associate Vice President, Houston Public Media
  • Jason Smith, Vice Chancellor/Vice President, Governmental and Community Relations
  • Asha Sowell, Director of Career Development
  • Donna Stokes, Professor, Department of Physics, College of Natural Science and Mathematics
  • Joseph Tedesco, Dean and Professor, Cullen College of Engineering
  • Sondra Tennessee, Associate Dean, Law Center
  • Rheeda Walker, Professor, Department of Psychology, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences

Resource Members

  • Valerie Coleman-Ferguson, Associate General Counsel
  • Rebecca Gentry, Assistant Vice President, Strategic Initiatives
  • Mardell Maxwell, Executive Director of Admission
  • Benjamin Mull, Director, Office of Contracts and Grants
  • Mike Rosen, Associate Vice Chancellor/Associate Vice President for Strategic Communications