College of Liberal Arts
and Social Sciences

The University of Houston
402 Agnes Arnold Hall
Houston, TX 77204-3000
Phone: 713-743-4002
Fax: 713-743-2990

News & Events

The College congratulates its newest professors emeriti

Board of Regents appoints retired eight CLASS professors to faculty emeriti

The UH System Board of Regents at its May 2013 meeting appointed eight retired College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences professors to the faculty emeriti – a body of scholars willing to assist and advise the university as requested, particularly in their areas of expertise.

The emeritus or emerita title is conferred only upon retired tenured faculty who made a significant contribution to the university through a long and distinguished record of scholarship, teaching and/or service.

Retired full and associate professors honored with emeritus status retain library, computing and parking privileges and other faculty courtesies.

The 2013 CLASS Professors Emeriti are:

Professor Dorothy Baker – Department of English

Dorothy Baker

Baker joined the University of Houston in 1989. She received her B.A. from Wells College, her M.A. from the University of Wisconsin, and her Ph.D. from the University of Maryland.

Professor Baker has contributed to the excellence of the Department of English undergraduate and graduate programs through an exemplary balance of outstanding teaching, nationally-recognized scholarly publications, and administrative and program leadership. Her five books illustrate her wide range of scholarly interests, including early American gothic fiction, poetry and poetics, as well as the theory and practice of translation.

Dr. Baker served as Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of English. She spearheaded the redesign of the department’s doctoral programs in English. As a translator and teacher of translation, she was instrumental in developing a newly approved graduate certificate in translation studies.

Dr. Baker’s commitment to the University of Houston and its mission has also manifested itself in other kinds of support, including, in conjunction with her husband Dr. Lawrence Baker, significant gifts to the library and the creation of a new endowment to recognize excellence in peer-reviewed scholarly publication by a graduate student.

Professor Terrell Dixon – Department of English

Terrell Dixon

Dr. Dixon joined the University of Houston in 1971. He earned his B.A. from the University of Oklahoma and his Ph.D. from Indiana University.

From 1971 to his retirement in 2013, Dr. Dixon has been a catalyst for departmental growth and innovation, and has contributed to significant national initiatives in areas of environmental studies, ecocriticism, and regional studies.

He served as Chair of the Department of English from 1980 – 1995. He saw the intellectual and creative synergy possible through the establishment of a creative writing program that offered a doctoral degree that combined rigorous, advanced training in both literary historical scholarship and creative writing. Working with Donald Barthelme, Dr. Dixon led the Department nationally in forming a Ph.D. in English Literature and Creative Writing that has been the model for other top-tier doctoral programs.

Relatedly, it was his vision that provided the impetus for the Department’s partnerships in the community, resulting in the valued and flourishing relationship with Inprint, which has done much to support the Creative Writing Program and other literary initiatives in Houston.

Dr. Dixon has been a pioneer in the fields of ecocriticism and environmental studies, and in such seminal organizations as the Association for the Study of Literature & Environment (ASLE), the premier organization for environmental studies and ecocriticism. He has two current book projects, each well advanced -  one on “urban nature,” which focuses on Houston, and the other on the Arctic Wildlife Refuge. Both projects reflect the timely nature of his research and his commitment to Houston and its global interests.

Dr. Dixon’s commitment to the University of Houston is complemented by other forms of generosity in support of students.

Professor Merrill Hiscock – Department of Psychology

Merrill Hiscock

Dr. Hiscock has been a key member of the University since 1989. He obtained his B.S. from the United States Air Force Academy and his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin.

Professor Hiscock served as Ph.D. dissertation supervisor to 31 students, M.A. thesis supervisor to 22 students and Honors thesis supervisions to 18 students, as a well as a member of Ph.D. dissertation committees for 58 students and a member of a M.A. thesis committee for 56 students.

He co-authored a book entitled Neuromethods: Neuropsychology. His numerous publications include research articles in refereed journals, chapters and reviews, abstracts and proceedings, technical reports, and invited presentations.

Dr. Hiscock served on a vast array of college, department and university committees, including Promotion and Tenure, Faculty Evaluation, Grievance, Protection of Human Subjects and the Undergraduate Council.

He is a member of several professional and honorary organizations – American Association for the Advancement of Science, Fellow of the American Psychological Association, Fellow of the American Psychological Society, Fellow of the Canadian Psychological Association, Fellow of the International Academy for Research in Learning Disabilities, Phi Kappa Phi Interdisciplinary Honor Society, International Neuropsychological Society and Psi Chi Honorary Psychology Organization.

Professor Donald Lutz – Department of Political Science

Dan Lutz

Dr. Lutz joined the University of Houston in 1968. He earned his B.A. from Georgetown University and his Ph.D. from Indiana University.

Dr. Lutz is an internationally known scholar and expert on American political thought, particularly on the constitutional documents and debates of the colonial and founding eras. He published 11 monographs and other books, in addition to numerous journal articles, book chapters and edited collections.

Professor Lutz is as well-respected teacher at the graduate and undergraduate level. Dr. Lutz served as the graduate director of the Political Science Department and was actively involved in the establishment of the UH Honors College.

Professor Lutz served as director of the University Honors Program (1976 – 1977) and as Faculty Senate President (1978 – 1979).

Professor Dennis Parle – Department of Hispanic Studies

Dennise Parle

Dr. Parle has been a faculty member for 37 years. He received his B.A. from Oakland University, his M.A. from University of Wisconsin at Madison, and his Ph.D. from the University of Kansas.

Dr. Parle served as Department Chair, Undergraduate Director and Adviser and Interim Associate Chair. He is committed to the promotion of Study Abroad Initiatives among our students, leading programs in Spain and Mexico.

As Professor of Spanish, Dr. Parle was responsible for creating, developing and supervising the Business Spanish track in the undergraduate program. He has served as Coordinator for the Spanish course schedule since 1986.

Dr. Parle presented several papers in conferences on languages and communications. He is a highly respected for his dedication to excellence in teaching, his willingness to collaborate in academic service and his commitment to undergraduate students. He is a devoted mentor to his junior colleages and to department chairs who seek his advice.

Dr. Parle played a fundamental role in establishing a sound reputation for the Spanish undergraduate program at the University.

Professor James Pickering – Department of English

James Pickering

Dr. Pickering joined the University of Houston in 1981. He earned his B.A. from Williams College and his Ph.D. from Northwestern University.

As an administrator, scholar and teacher, Dr. Pickering has been a leader in the University and the Department of English. He served as Dean of the former College of Humanities and Fine Arts (1981 – 1990), Provost of the University (1990 – 1992) and UH President (1992 – 1995).

He served the students, faculty, and staff in many ways; worked for the fiscal and academic excellence of the university; and helped to establish the University’s presence in the community. He continues to have contact with friends of the University in and outside of Houston.

Dr. Pickering has been a valued senior colleague in the Department of English and a model for junior faculty. He has been a prolific scholar – publishing 10 books, editing the large and much-used Fiction 100 text that many universities have adopted, and collaborating with arts and other community organizations.

Dr. Pickering is finishing his next book which is scheduled for publication in summer 2013. From his retirement, he assists the Department in community outreach and continues to be a valuable resource and highly-respected representative of the University in the community.

Professor Harry Walsh – Department of Modern and Classical Languages

Dr. Walsh joined the University of Houston in 1970. He received his B.A. and M.A. from the University of Texas at Austin and his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Dr. Walsh directed the Russian program until his retirement in 2006. He developed and taught courses at all levels in the program, ranging from language instruction to advanced courses in Russian literature, culture and history, as well as courses in comparative historical linguistics.

His research is in the fields of historical and applied linguistics, Russian literary studies, East European studies, and comparative literature was published in refereed journals in those disciplines.

He was an active member of several professional organizations, serving on the board of LASSO, Journal of the Linguistics Association of the Southwest; the executive board of the South Central Modern Language Association; president of the Houston Area Teachers of Foreign Language Association; chair of the Education Committee of the Houston-Baku Sister City Association; and on the International Research and Exchanges Board for faculty exchange with the Soviet Union.

Dr. Walsh was a model faculty citizen, serving on served on a vast array of college, department and university committees, including Curriculum, By-Laws, Faculty Evaluation and Grievance. His significant contributions were recognized with the 1988 Service Award from the Office of the Dean of Students. To junior faculty in the department, he was a generous, supportive and caring mentor.

It is unusual to request emeritus status so long after a faculty member’s retirement, but the failure to do so at the time of Dr. Walsh’s retirement in 2006 appears to have been an oversight that the department, College and University are pleased to see corrected.

Professor Linda Westervelt – Department of English

Dr. Westervelt joined the University of Houston in 1976. She received her B.S. from Georgetown University and her Ph.D. from Rice University.

Professor Westervelt has been one of the most influential and successful teachers in the department. Dedicated to the importance of literature and literary studies, Dr. Westervelt developed a reputation as an outstanding teacher and mentor to her students. She was devoted to her students at all levels, including Lower Division and Upper Division. She was a careful and effective mentor to her graduate students, a number of whom have become generous friends of the Department of English.

As a scholar, Dr. Westervelt devoted the same kind of care to her writings about literature and culture. Her scholarship reflects her awareness of how literature reflects important cultural and social attitudes. Her book, Beyond Innocence, or the Altersroman in Modern Fiction, described by one reviewer as a “groundbreaking study, identifies a new subgenre (the “altersroman”), which examines life-narratives surrounding the impact of aging. The new subgenre has become a recognized area of study in literary studies.

Professor Westervelt took her commitment to literature and literary study outside the university context. She as a longtime leader within the project known as The Common Ground, which has been an out-reach program with university faculty and secondary school teachers working together to examine the “common ground” shared by canonical and non-canonical literatures. She has carried connections formed in The Common Ground into the larger community, where she remains an active participant in various literary groups.