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

Nov. 12, 2019

Message from the Dean 

Amid the flurry of grant deadlines, classes and conferences, I’m glad many of you were able to enjoy the Homecoming Ice Cream Social this afternoon. I know the UH Charter School students never disappoint!

As we continue marching toward “50 in 5,” let’s also celebrate another strong round of grant submissions. The recent list is below.

Finally, I encourage you to fill out this short survey this week if you coordinate any community partnerships as we work to expand our collective impact.

Please have a restful, enjoyable Thanksgiving!

With gratitude,


  • Thanksgiving holiday – Thursday, Nov. 28 and Friday, Nov. 29.
  • Holiday lunch 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

Coffee and Conversations with the Dean

All are from 10 to 11 a.m. in Farish 214.

  • Assistant professors: Thursday, Nov. 14
  • Associate professors: Tuesday, Nov. 19
  • Professors: Wednesday, Nov. 20

Staff Stop and Shares with the Dean

Both are in Farish 214.

  • Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2 – 3 p.m.
  • Thursday, Dec. 5, 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.



  • Have a newsworthy update? Send details to communications coordinator Natalie Thayer at We love to hear success stories about our students, faculty, staff and alumni! We’re looking for stories of impact and human interest.


  • All faculty and staff MUST complete their mandatory trainings by Nov. 22, 2019. We highly recommend completion by Nov. 15. Those who miss the deadline will not be eligible for FY21 merit, if there is a merit pool. This is an HR rule, and there are no exceptions.


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


  • Miao Li, “Effect of READ1 on latent profiles of reading disorder and comorbid attention and language.” Child Neuropsychology.
  • Miao Li, “Vocabulary: Breadth vs. Depth.” English Teaching Professional.

Honors & Awards

  • Heather Domjan was awarded the President’s Volunteer Service Award during the Energy Day festival in downtown Houston in October.
  • Laura Turchi completed a two-week Fulbright Specialist appointment at the University of Jordan, coaching the School of Educational Sciences on CAEP accreditation.

Educational Leadership & Policy Studies

Internal Grant Awards

  • The College of Education and Asian American Studies Center, led by Yali Zou, have received a $400,000 award of state funds through the Provost’s Multicultural Success Initiative to expand cultural and diversity programs.
  • Vincent Carales and Ruth López received a “50-in-5 Award” for $5,000 from the Office of the Provost.
  • Elsa Gonzalez received a “50-in-5 Award” for $5,000 from the Office of the Provost.


  • Vincent Carales was awarded an American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education Faculty Fellowship for 2020.


  • Several ELPS faculty and students plan to present at the Association for the Study of Higher Education conference in Portland this week.
  • ELPS recently hosted the 2019 Texas Challenge to Reach Higher Convening with counseling directors, higher education professionals and other experts to improve postsecondary outcomes for students. Jacqueline Hawkins helped lead the effort, and Cathy Horn helped coordinate.


  • Vincent Carales, “Finding where I belong: How community colleges can transform their institutional environments to facilitate student’s sense of belonging on campus.” Journal of Applied Research in the Community College.

Psychological, Health, & Learning Sciences


  • Jorge Gonzalez, “Latina/o high school students' perceptions and experiences obtaining information about going to college: A qualitative study for understanding.” Journal of Latinos and Education.
  • Jorge Gonzalez, “Native Mexican parents’ beliefs about children’s literacy and language development. A mixed-methods study.” Early Education and Development.
  • Milena Keller-Margulis, “Cognitive and academic performance of preschool-age children born preterm.” Early Childhood Education Journal.

Book Chapters

  • Sarah Mire, “Criminality, interactions with law enforcement, and potential correlates of juvenile justice-involvement among youth with autism.” Encyclopedia of Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Honors & Awards

  • Kayce Solari Williams: Elected president of the American School Health Association beginning January 2020. Also awarded the association’s presidential citation in October in honor of commitment and service to the organization and the field.


  • Our office hosted “FAFSA Frenzy” in late October, bringing in a financial aid representative to help students work out any barriers to their application. Some students learned immediately they were receiving aid! Reminder to students: The FAFSA priority deadline is Jan. 15, 2020.


  • The College has a new email address for prospective graduate students seeking information: Current graduate students should continue to use for general questions.
    • If you plan to hold any program information sessions or be around prospective students, feel free to ask Jennifer Hay for business cards with the email address and other key information.


Grant Support

  • The UH Office of Contracts and Grants recently announced an online tracking system for tasks submitted to the Division of Research. This change will only minimally affect our faculty; the new functionality was designed for faculty elsewhere on campus. The College of Education is unique in that our Office of Research team provides in-house post-award support (while others submit to the DOR queue). You will continue to receive the same one-on-one support to which you’re accustomed. The only change you’ll see is system-generated emails providing status updates on requests that Lena or Amy have submitted to DOR on your behalf.


  • The College’s OOR Honor Roll fulfills one of our strategic plan objectives: “to publicly recognize/reward examples of high quality and impactful research projects.” We are pleased to announce that two names have been added this month: Please join us in congratulating Kristi Santi (ELPS) and Jacqueline Hawkins (ELPS)!

Grant Submissions

  • Promoting STEM Persistence through Culturally and Community Relevant Research Experiences. Spencer Foundation. $499,298 (incl. 15% IDC). Norma Olvera (PHLS), co-PI and Jeannette Alarcon (CUIN), co-PI.
  • Assessing the Home Literacy Environment: A Cross-Cultural Mixed Methods Study. Spencer Foundation. $49,829. Mimi Lee (CUIN), co-PI and Miao Li (CUIN), co-PI; Jorge Gonzalez (PHLS), consultant.
  • Leveraging Asian Ethnic-Racial Socialization Practices to Support Asian Children’s Literacy and Language Learning in the Classroom: A Mixed-Method Study. Spencer Foundation. $50,000. Jorge Gonzalez (PHLS).
  • HEALTH-ACTS: Advancing Cancer Translational Science. National Cancer Institute. $3,725,242 (incl. 53% IDC). Ezemenari Obasi (PHLS), MPI and Lorraine Reitzel (PHLS), MPI.
  • Examination of Model Fit When There Are Missing Data on Ordinal Measures in Education Research. National Academy of Education. $70,000. Yu Liu (PHLS).
  • Sociocultural Determinants of Cervical Cancer Prevention among African American Women. National Cancer Institute. $150,738 (incl. 53% IDC). Chakema Carmack (PHLS).
  • Latina Women Studying and Researching in STEM: An Asset-Based Approach to Increasing Resilience and Retention. National Endowment for the Humanities. $6,000. Elsa Gonzalez (ELPS).
  • Reducing Depression for Bisexual Clients via Psychotherapy Targeting Internalized Stigma: Intervention Development. National Institute of Health. $176,103 (incl. 53% IDC). Nathan Smith (PHLS).
  • Innovative Technology Challenges for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (ITEC-STEM). National Science Foundation. $300,000 (incl. 53% IDC). Bulent Dogan (CUIN), PI; Sara McNeil (CUIN), Susie Gronseth (CUIN) and Jie Zhang (CUIN), co-investigators.
  • BOUNCE into the STEM Zone. National Science Foundation. $2,999,987 (incl. 53% IDC). Norma Olvera (PHLS), PI; Consuelo Arbona (PHLS), Heather Domjan (CUIN) and Zenaida Aguirre-Munoz (PHLS), co-investigators.


Yonelly Gutierrez

When faculty or students have a question about something in ELPS department, they turn to program manager Yonelly Gutierrez — the “go-to” person with the answer for just about everything.

How did your journey with the ELPS department begin?

During my first year of graduate school, I gained experience in student affairs and wanted to gain new experiences in academic affairs during my second year. I started as the graduate assistant in the ELPS department and then had the opportunity to continue working as a full-time program manager after I graduated.

What is it about being a program manager that you enjoy?

I’m a really detailed oriented person so it’s fun for me to put together this big puzzle that is managing the course lists and event planning.

What else do you love about your job?

I love the department and the people I work with! I believe you should be in a place where you like to work and I’m fortunate the people I work with make it feel like home.

Read the full Q&A.


We hope to see all faculty and staff at our annual Holiday Celebration Luncheon Thursday, Dec. 12 at noon in the KIVA.

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

Prior newsletters are archived on the College website.

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