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

March 10, 2020

Message from the Dean 


UH leadership continues to monitor the evolving situation with the novel Coronavirus. Please check your email regularly and prepare your files and technology just in case we are asked to move classes online and/or work remotely.

The primary source for UH Coronavirus news is the UH Coronavirus webpage. To provide additional resources, we have created a Coronavirus intranet page for faculty and staff and a public Coronavirus webpage with key information and tips for students. Please review my Monday afternoon email if you missed it.

Faculty & Staff Campaign

To help support the growing financial needs of our students, I ask that you consider joining me in making a campaign donation of any amount. We are striving for 100% participation! The easiest ways to donate is online (select COE General Scholarship Fund).

Events Recap

Our second-annual Red Rhapsody reception raised $2,225 to support LGBTQ+ students! And the Implicit Bias workshops with Bryant Marks reinforced the importance of acknowledging our biases and working to break them. Thank you to all who participated!



  • Spring Break Holiday — Friday, March 13.
  • COE Staff Council Chili Cook-off — Wednesday, March 18. 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. KIVA.
  • Faculty & Staff Giving Campaign — Please donate by March 20.
  • “Transforming Hispanic Serving Institutions: A Workshop with Gina Garcia” — Thursday, March 26. Sessions at 1 – 3 p.m. or 3:30 – 5:30 p.m. KIVA. RSVP and learn more.
  • March of Dimes March for Babies — Saturday, April 25. 9 a.m. UH Stadium Garage, 3874 Holman St.
  • Spring Commencement — Thursday, May 7. 9 a.m. Fertitta Center.


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


  • Please help us promote the new bilingual/ESL specialization for the M.Ed. and the Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.
  • Sheng Kuan Chung is offering an apprenticeship scholarship to school-aged children in the Houston area. Please share with anyone who may be interested.

Internal Grants

  • Bulent Dogan, UH Cougar Initiative to Engage (CITE) award for Innovative Technology Challenges for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (ITECH-STEM). $20,760. Other team members: Susie Gronseth, Sara McNeil, Jie Zhang, Sheng Chung, Dan Li. Advisors: Heather Domjan, Amber Thompson, Jennifer Chauvot, Mimi Lee.

Honors, Awards and Appointments

  • The teacher education program hosted deans and faculty from around the country as a model site as part of a US PREP learning tour. Shea Culpepper, Amber Thompson, Celeste Alba, Carrie Cutler and Jahnette Wilson presented.
  • Jerome Freiberg was elected to the SEL (Social Emotional Learning) Providers Council Steering Committee.

Community Engagement

  • Heather Domjan led the 61st annual Science and Engineering Fair of Houston, with impressive STEM projects from 1,010 middle and high school students.

Educational Leadership & Policy Studies

Honors, Awards and Appointments

  • Detra Johnson has been elected secretary of AERA’s Division A (Administration, Organization and Leadership) and named co-chair for the Diversity Task Force of AERA’s Research on Women in Education Special Interest Group. She also was named to the Board of Directors of Energy Capital Credit Union. 
  • Virginia Snodgrass Rangel was appointed co-chair of AERA’s Division A (Administration, Organization and Leadership) Program Committee and chair of AERA’s Division H (Research, Evaluation and Assessment in Schools) Program Committee. 
  • Vincent Carales was selected as a 2020 faculty fellow of the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education.  
  • Kristi Santi was selected for the UH Academic Women in Leadership Program hosted by Provost Paula Myrick Short through the ADVANCE initiative. 

Media Mentions


  • Virginia Snodgrass Rangel, Elsa Gonzalez and Ruth López are organizing two workshops on transforming Hispanic Serving Institutions with Gina Ann Garcia of the University of Pittsburgh on March 26.

Psychological, Health, & Learning Sciences

Internal Grants

  • Leslie Frankel, Infancy Course Collaboration with First3Years Houston. ACES Institute. $5,000.


  • Zenaida Aguirre-Munoz. “Practices Promoting Engineering Education in the Early Years.” Scentia.​

Honors, Awards and Appointments

  • Zenaida Aguirre-Munoz was elected as chair-elect of the AERA Bilingual Education Research Special Interest Group.
  • Milena Keller-Margulis was selected for the UH Academic Women in Leadership Program hosted by Provost Paula Myrick Short through the ADVANCE initiative.

Community Engagement

  • Ezemenari Obasi and Lorraine Reitzel co-hosted the HEALTH: A Call to Action conference through the HEALTH Research Institute in January.
  • Nathan Smith and Jorge Gonzalez co-hosted the Red Rhapsody LGBTQ+ fundraiser in February.

In Celebration of International Women’s Day


  • Please welcome our new academic advisors! Marshall Miller will join our health advising team. Meggan Gittens will help advise teaching majors and will serve those students at UH at Sugar Land.
  • We have launched a Loaning Library for students that includes some textbooks they can borrow, plus other books donated for student use. The library is in the UGS suite, and students can check out books at our front desk.
  • Please share with students that we’re looking to hire four exceptional students for a summer-long position to serve as peer assistants to help with orientation. Deadline to submit the application to Farish 160 is Friday, March 13.


Grant Awards

  • Advancing Literacy Learning Through University-Engaged Service Learning and Reading Roundup Implementation. Barbara Bush Literacy Foundation. $300,000 (incl. 8% IDC). Anne McClellan (Dean’s Office), PI, and Zenaida Aguirre-Munoz (PHLS), co-PI.
  • Taking Texas Tobacco Free through a Sustainable Education/Training Program Designed for Personnel Addressing Tobacco Control in Behavioral Health Settings. Cancer Prevention Institute of Texas. $299,585 (incl. 5.3% IDC). Lorraine Reitzel, PI (PHLS); Ezemenari Obasi (PHLS), co-I; Virmarie Correa-Fernández (PHLS), co-I; Ann Chen (PHLS) co-I.

Grant Submissions

  • A Mixed Methods Study of a State Funded Grow Your Own Pathway: Investigating Paraeducators’ Educational and Community Impact. Spencer Foundation. $369,635 (incl. 15% IDC). Conra Gist, PI (CUIN).
  • For Us, By Us: A Multi-Site Case Study of Urban Charter School Leadership. Spencer Foundation. $499,710 (incl. 15% IDC). April Peters-Hawkins, PI (ELPS).
  • School Re-entry for Formerly Incarcerated Youth. Spencer Foundation. $298,322 (incl. 15% IDC). Virginia Snodgrass Rangel, PI (ELPS).
  • Taking Texas Tobacco Free among Substance Users within Community-based Healthcare Settings in Rural and Medically Underserved Areas Across Texas. Cancer Prevention Institute of Texas. $1,999,963 (incl. 5.3% IDC). Lorraine Reitzel, PI (PHLS); Virmarie Correa-Fernández, co-I (PHLS); Ezemenari Obasi, co-I (PHLS); Ann Chen, co-I (PHLS).
  • Smoke-free Public Housing in Texas: Improving Compliance and Cessation Support through MAPS and NRT. MD Anderson. $148,612 (incl. 5.3% IDC). Lorraine Reitzel, PI (PHLS).
  • Peer-Based Approaches to Enhance Physical Activity in Dyads of Inactive Women. MD Anderson. $132,269 (incl. 53% IDC). Lorraine Reitzel, PI (PHLS).
  • Allostatic Load and Drug Use in Sexual Minority Adults. NIH. $3,529,819 (incl. 55% IDC). Nathan Smith, PI (PHLS); Ezemenari Obasi, co-I (PHLS).
  • Picking up the Pieces of Your Life: Successful Aging After a Life of Crime. Ryerson University. $14,040. Margit Weisner, PI (PHLS).
  • AI Institute Planning AI in Pediatrics. NSF. $499,932 (incl. 53% IDC). Toni Templeton, PI (ERC).
  • UH College Assistance Migrant Program. Department of Education. $2,121,329 (incl. 8% IDC). Augustina Reyes, PI (ELPS); Elsa Gonzalez, co-PI (ELPS).
  • STEM Engagement through Mentoring (SEM). Department of Defense. $276,052 (incl. 55% IDC). Virginia Snodgrass Rangel, PI (ELPS).
  • Region 4 Professional Service Agreement. Region IV Education Center. $30,000. Jacqueline Hawkins, PI (ELPS).
  • Texas Charter Authorizer Accountability Report. Texas Education Agency. $75,000 (incl. 8% IDC). Cathy Horn, PI (ELPS); Toni Templeton, co-PI (ERC).


  • Faculty and staff, get your team ready! The COE Staff Council is bringing back the annual chili cook-off. For team entry, please email Yonelly Gutierrez ( and Miranda Jasso ( by March 18.


Becky Perez

Becky Perez, program manager for the Department of Curriculum & Instruction, will celebrate her 24th year walking to support March of Dimes this April.

What do you love about your job?

I love what I do. I love my students. Seeing them walk across the stage is my greatest joy because then I know we did everything we could to help. 

Why is the March of Dimes walk important to you?

My good friend’s son was 1 pound, 10 ounces when he was born. He’s doing well now and will turn 11 in April thanks to March of Dimes. The organization helped her with her son so it gives me joy to give back. There’ve been thunderstorms, and I still walk.

How can people support this cause?

You can join the COE team by signing up online. By raising a minimum of $25, you receive a T-shirt and gain access to the UH tent for breakfast, lunch and activities the day of the walk.

Read the full Q&A.

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

Prior newsletters are archived on the College website.

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