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

April 9, 2019

Message from the Dean 

Please join me in congratulating ELPS Chair Cathy Horn on receiving an ACE Fellowship. I will work with the department on naming an acting chair while she spends a semester at another institution (yet to be decided). For those unfamiliar, the fellowship is a prestigious leadership and mentorship program.

I’d also like to congratulate our 2019 AERA award winners: Conra Gist (CUIN), Detra Johnson (ELPS) and Yali Zou (ELPS). We had a strong showing of faculty and student presenters at the Toronto conference last week.

Later this month, I look forward to celebrating our 70 student scholarship recipients, as well as our donors, alumni award winners and friends of education at Star Awards. Thank you to those who submitted award nominations.

2019 Star Award Winners

Distinguished Alumni

  • Diane Elmore Borbon, policy program director of the UCLA-Duke University National Center for Child Traumatic Stress and past president of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies
  • Stephanie Knight, dean of the Simmons School of Education & Human Development at Southern Methodist University
  • Charles Dupre, superintendent of Fort Bend ISD

Rising Star

  • Amy Poerschke, principal of Durham Elementary, Houston ISD 2019 Elementary Principal of the Year and ELPS adjunct professor

Friends of Education

  • Harry and Antje Gee, education advocates and supporters of the UH Asian American Studies Center
  • Giulio Draetta, Ernest Hawk and Lorna McNeill of MD Anderson Cancer Center, partners with UH in UHAND



  • Faculty Stop and Share – Wednesday, April 24, 2-3 p.m. Farish 214.
  • FEC Faculty Meeting – Friday, April 26, 1:30 - 2:30 p.m. KIVA. (The April 12 meeting is canceled).
  • “Finding Grant Funding” – Panel discussion hosted by the COE Research Committee. Friday, May 3, 2:30 - 4 p.m. Room TBD.
  • Spring 2019 Commencement – Thursday, May 9, 6 p.m. Fertitta Center.
  • Staff Stop and Share Thursday, May 16, 10 - 11 a.m. Farish 214.

March of Dimes

Thank you to those who have joined the College’s March for Babies Team. There’s still time to join or donate. We appreciate your support!

  • Event details: Sunday, April 28 at UH. Registration at 8 a.m. Start time at 9 a.m. Distance is 4.5 miles. Walkers welcome!
  • Those who raise a minimum of $25 receive a T-shirt, can enjoy breakfast and lunch, and win prizes in the team tent.


  • Full-time tenured or tenure-track faculty are encouraged to apply for our Fall 2019 Grant Writing Boot Camp. The application deadline is April 15. Please see the intranet for details.


Curriculum & Instruction


Math education candidates presenting next week:

  • Teruni Lamberg – Monday, April 15, 11 a.m. to noon, room TBD
  • Theodore Chao – Wednesday, April 17, 11 a.m. to noon, room TBD


  • Clinical Associate Professor Susie Gronseth was re-elected as co-chair of the Universal Design for Learning Special Interest Group of the Society for Information Technology in Teacher Education. She also had four presentations during the SITE conference in March.

Educational Leadership & Policy Studies


  • Assistant Professor Ruth M. López was elected to a new position in the Critical Educators for Social Justice Special Interest Group of the American Educational Research Association.
  • Kenya Ayers, who earned a doctorate in educational leadership from the College in 1999, was named president of Tarrant County College Northeast, effective July 1. Ayers served as an ACE Fellow under President Khator in 2015-16.

Psychological, Health & Learning Sciences


Grant Awarded

  • Associate Professor Milena Keller-Margulis and Associate Chair Sarah Mire received a $50,000 grant from the Spencer Foundation to study academic skill development among students with autism.


  • Sarah Mire, “Using latent class analysis to identify treatment-use subgroups among parents of children with autism spectrum disorder” (accepted). Autism Research.

Honors & Awards

  • Clinical Assistant Professor Kayce Solari Williams was honored by Midtown Arts & Theater Center Houston and KMAZ 102.5 FM for her “conscious efforts to become a way-maker and productive community partner in Houston.”

Community Engagement

  • Chair Nathan Smith and Professor Jorge Gonzalez recently hosted Red Dinner Rhapsody. The event raised $1,590 for Red Dinner 4, which provides scholarships and emergency financial aid for LGBTQ UH students.


Robert Peralta

Roberth Peralta joined the CITE team in August after working for HP. An Ecuadorian native, he’s currently pursuing a bachelor’s in computer science at UH. Learn more:

Q: When did you realize you liked working with computers?

A: When I was in high school, my father bought a very old and cheap computer with a bunch of old games that required you to type in commands. I tried to create my own games.

Q: Can you describe the differences between the corporate and customer service ends of technology?

A: At HP, I had the possibility to interact and see many aspects with these new technologies on an assembly line. In the College, I have been able to talk to people face-to-face. The people here are so friendly and I get support from the staff and faculty. I get to learn from them.

Q: Does it get frustrating?

A: It’s part of the job. In the position of tech support, the main concern is that you try to understand the person more than the technology you know.

Read the full Q&A.



  • Key audit: Please stop by the dean’s suite and verify your UH keys with Amy Garcia (a Bauer graduate who joined our team in March). The deadline is April 30.
  • Budget presentation: The preliminary FY 2020 budget presentation is posted on the intranet under “Budget.”


Rosenda Murillo

Rosenda “Rosie” Murillo, assistant professor in PHLS, discussed her recent article in Health Behavior and Policy Review.

Title: “The Association of Seeing People Walk and Neighborhood Social Cohesion”

Co-authors: Darleesa Doss, Jocelyn Yanez, Lily Ortega

Q: What was the main question you were trying to answer?

A: We wanted to see if there was an association between frequency of seeing people walk and neighborhood social cohesion, and whether it varies between race and ethnicity. 

Q: What were your most significant or interesting findings?

A: Individuals who reported a higher frequency of seeing people walk within their neighborhood were significantly more likely to report higher levels of neighborhood social cohesion. Our findings also showed that this association varies by race/ethnicity.

Q: How would you improve neighborhoods with low levels of social cohesion?

A: In order to see greater social cohesion, we would need to promote safe, walkable neighborhoods through physical and social aspects.

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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