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

Sept. 10, 2019

Message from the Dean 

It was wonderful reconnecting at the Faculty & Staff Breakfast. Congrats again to all our honorees! I’d like to reiterate our big rocks for the year and share some updates:

Stay tuned for details about a mentoring opportunity in Houston ISD. I encourage each of you to participate as we answer the call from HISD to help.

Diversity and Inclusion
I’m proud the College has renewed its status as a Pride Partner, recognized by the UH LGBTQ Resource Center for our inclusivity efforts. I’m also pleased our teaching students this semester will read First Lecture speaker Nic Stone’s novel “Dear Martin,” which addresses racial inequities though the eyes of a black high school student.

50 in 5
Our research expenditures rose 9% last year, and our grant submissions increased 24%. Thank you for your continued dedication as we march toward our 2023 goal.

National Prominence
As UH continues to become more nationally competitive, we as a College are striving higher too. I’m working with the leadership team to benchmark us against the top 75 public colleges of education and to draft plans for steady progress.

In addition, as announced at the breakfast, we are moving forward with a request to expand the name of the College to the College of Education, Health and Human Development. The proposal stems from our strategic planning process, as you know, and is a result of surveys, analysis and collaboration across other academic units. I will keep you updated on the approval process.



  • State Employee Charitable Campaign – Tuesday, Sept. 10 – Thursday, Oct. 31. Stay tuned for details about donating.
  • Latino Health Summit – Thursday, Sept. 19. 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Rice University’s Glasscock School of Continuing Studies.

With hurricane season still in swing, please be sure you have an emergency kit stocked.



  • Swag: If you plan to order swag with a UH or College of Education logo, it must be purchased from an approved vendor. Jaime Questell and the finance team can work with you to verify.
  • Social media ads: Please work with Ericka Mellon if you want to place an ad on Facebook or other social media for research recruitment or other purposes. UH requires a contract.
  • Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and help us spread good news by sharing posts!


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

Internal Grant Awards

  • Eulises Avellaneda, Laura Turchi and Jane Cooper received UH Alternative Textbook Incentive Program Awards for 2019-20.


  • Erwin Handoko, Susie Gronseth, Sara McNeil, Bernard Robin, “Goal Setting and MOOC Completion.” The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning.

Book Chapter

  • Bulent Dogan, Susie Gronseth, “Bringing out the ‘T’ in STEM Education,” STEM Education 2.0: Myths and truths - What has K-12 STEM education research taught us?”


  • Susie Gronseth received an outstanding presentation award from the International Association of Special Education for her presentation on Universal Design for Learning, the subject of her forthcoming book.

Other Kudos

  • Justin Burris presented on “The Color of Math: Issues of Race, Culture and Whiteness” at the Advancement of Mathematics Teaching conference.
  • Carrie Cutler presented 20 workshops over the summer for practicing teachers.
  • Sheng Chung’s artwork was selected into the 2019 annual Juried Exhibition of Archway Gallery in Houston to benefit New Hope Housing.
  • Bulent Dogan directed the ITECH-STEM Summer Technology Camp, which drew 60 students from Fort Bend, and the Cyber Security Camp.
  • Sara McNeil’s group received approval for their proposal for space to house the UH Health Care Education Global Institute in the UH pharmacy building in the Texas Medical Center.
  • Laura Turchi has been asked by the Fulbright Specialist Program to travel to the University of Jordan to work with their teacher education program on CAEP accreditation.

Educational Leadership & Policy Studies

Internal Grant Awards

  • Detra Johnson (PI) and Augustina Reyes (co-PI) received a Women of Color Coalition Stimulus Grant from the UH Office of the Provost for their study “Where are they now? The contemporary trends of Black teachers in Texas.”
  • Kristen Hassett received a UH Alternative Textbook Incentive Program Award for 2019-20.


  • Elsa Gonzalez was named co-chair for the Nominations and Elections Committee for 2019-20 for AERA’s Hispanic Research Issues Special Interest Group.
  • Our Special Populations M.Ed. online program was named one of the top 10 best in the country by Value Colleges.
  • UH is a finalist to host the University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA). A site visit to the College will take place in coming weeks.


  • Tiffany J. Davis, “Practicing self-care is a radical notion in student affairs and it shouldn’t be.” Contested Issues In Troubled Times: Dialogues about Equity, Civility, and Safety. ... “Understanding the urban-serving institution.” Student Affairs in Urban-Serving institutions: Voices from Senior Leaders. ... “Second to none: Contingent women of Color faculty in the classroom.” Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity in Contemporary Higher Education.
  • Elsa Gonzalez, “Why Universities Voluntarily Pursue US Accreditation: The Case of Mexico.” Higher Education.
  • Detra Johnson, “Photovoices of urban educational leadership students abroad in Peru.” Frontier: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad.

Book Chapters

  • Detra Johnson, “A proposition for a holistic approach to adaptation and a unified sense of self: A conceptual framework of resiliency and sell-determination in educational settings.” Beyond Marginality: Understanding the Value of the Intersection of Race, Gender, and Ethnicity in Studying Educational Leadership.”

Psychological, Health, & Learning Sciences


  • Weihua Fan, “An Empirical Study of the Multidimensionality of the Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching Construct.” Journal of Teacher Education.
  • Weihua Fan, Consuelo Arbona, “Secure attachment and career indecision: The mediating role of emotional intelligence.” Journal of Career Development. … “Self-efficacy and subjective task values in relation to choice, effort, persistence, and continuation in engineering: An expectancy-Value theory perspective.” European Journal of Engineering Education.
  • Leslie Frankel, “The Moderating role of parental gender on the relationship between restrictive feeding and a child’s self-regulation of eating: results from mother-only samples may not apply to both parents.” Appetite.
  • Han Joe Kim, “When conflict escalates into intimate partner violence: The delicate nature of observed coercion in adolescent romantic relationships.” Development and Psychopathology. … Propensity score analysis in non-randomized experimental designs: An overview and a tutorial using R software.” New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development. … “Using the tidyverse package in R for simulation studies in SEM.” Structural Equation Modeling: A Multidisciplinary Journal.
  • Yu Liu, “Evaluation of model fit in structural equation models with ordinal missing data: An examination of the D2 method.” Structural Equation Modeling: A Multidisciplinary Journal. … “Probing curvilinear-by-linear interactions when the predictors are randomly sampled.” Behavior Research Methods.
  • Sarah Mire, “The Family Adjustment Measure: Identifying stress in parents of youth with autism.” Journal of Child and Family Studies. … “Parents’ gesture adaptations to children with autism spectrum disorder.” Journal of Child Language.
  • Rosenda Murillo, “The Association between neighborhood social cohesion and sleep duration in Latinos.” Ethnicity & Health. … “The association between family social network size and healthy lifestyle factors: results from the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos.” Journal of Behavioral Medicine. … “Moderate-vigorous physical activity and health-related quality of life among Hispanic/Latino adults in the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos.” Journal of Patient-Reported Outcomes.
  • Rosenda Murillo, Lorraine Reitzel. “Physical activity and sleep problems in homeless adults.” PLoS One.
  • Ezemenari Obasi, Lorraine Reitzel. “Depression, Perceived Social Control, and Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis Function in African-American Adults.” Health Psychology. … “The buffering effect of social support on the relationship between discrimination and psychological distress among church-going African-American adults.” Behaviour Research and Therapy.
  • Lorraine Reitzel, “Exposure to Violence and Sleep Inadequacies among Men and Women Living in a Shelter Setting.” Health Behavior Research. … “Advancing Health Behavior Research and Scholarship through Mentorship of First Generation, Underrepresented Undergraduate Students.” Health Behavior Research.
  • Nathan Smith, “Reflections on a mentoring partnership journey.” Health Behavior Research.

Book Chapters

  • Han Joe Kim, “Translational research on evidence-based parenting support within public schools.” Establishing Family-School Partnerships in School Psychology: Critical Skills.”
  • Nathan Smith, “Sexual health interventions for HIV-negative sexual minority men.” Handbook of evidence-based mental health practice with LGBT clients.”
  • Milena Keller-Margulis, Sarah Mire, “Role of the school-based professional: Linking systems of care.” Pediatric health conditions in schools: A clinician’s guide for working with children, families, and educators.
  • Sarah Mire, “Legal and policy issues relevant to working with students with pediatric health conditions.” Pediatric health conditions in schools: A clinician’s guide for working with children, families, and educators.


  • Please remind students:
    • The regular deadline to apply for graduation is Sept. 27. The late deadline is Oct. 25; after this date, students cannot apply. Direct students with questions to their academic advisor.
    • A student can withdraw, under some circumstances, with a “W” grade until Oct. 31. Direct students considering this to speak with their advisor about some of the consequences.
  • Thanks to a food drive Saturday by Souper Bowl of Caring and UH Athletics, PEEPS Pantry received 400 pounds in food and $203 in cash. Please continue to spread the word about the pantry and check out the new website with ways to donate and frequently requested items.


  • Spring admissions deadlines are approaching for the Curriculum and Instruction M.Ed., Administration and Supervision M.Ed. and Special Populations M.Ed.
  • For any MyAdvisor changes, updates or questions, contact Bernice Roberts at
  • Curriculog is now open for the 2020-21 cycle. Please refer to the email sent on Sept. 3 for more details. Submission schedule:
    • Nov. 1 – Faculty CBM submission deadline to Curriculog
    • Nov. 8 – Department Committee CBM review deadline
    • Nov. 22 – College Graduate Studies Committee CBM deadline
    • Dec. 6 – Office of Graduate Studies CBM review deadline
  • The online Training Library for Dissertation/Thesis Resources is under construction. We are working with CITE to update information in regard to the front matter for dissertations.


Grant Support

  • Virmarie Correa-Fernandez (PHLS), Sara McNeil (CUIN), Lyle McKinney (ELPS) and Virginia Rangel (ELPS) were selected to participate in our Grant Writing Boot Camp this semester. Each will receive weekly support to develop a competitive grant proposal to submit this academic year.
  • Customer service update: 95% of faculty receiving support during the past year reported being “very satisfied.”

Grant Awards

  • Otken Elementary – CMCD Implementation Year 1. McComb School District. $29,835 (incl. 9.01% IDC). H. Jerome Freiberg (CUIN).
  • Denman Jr. High – CMCD Implementation Year 1. McComb School District. $21,063 (incl. 9.01% IDC). H. Jerome Freiberg (CUIN).
  • Kennedy Early Childhood Center – CMCD Implementation Year 1. McComb School District. $9,589 (incl. 9.01% IDC). H. Jerome Freiberg (CUIN).
  • Summit Elementary – CMCD Implementation Year 1. McComb School District. $12,088 (incl. 9.01% IDC). H. Jerome Freiberg (CUIN).
  • McComb High School – CMCD Implementation Year 1. McComb School District. $36,311 (incl. 9.01% IDC). H. Jerome Freiberg (CUIN).
  • Higgins Middle School – CMCD Implementation Year 1. McComb School District. $29,580 (incl. 9.01% IDC). H. Jerome Freiberg (CUIN).
  • Minority Health Research and Education Grant Program – Establishing Academic-Clinical Partnerships with Federally Qualified Health Clinics. Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. $500,000. M. Nicole Coleman, co-investigator (PHLS).
  • 60x30TX Plan. Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. $60,000. Cathy Horn (ELPS).
  • Evaluation of LEAD Phase III - Pilot testing measures and procedures. Annie E. Casey Foundation. $180,844 (incl. 10% IDC). Bradley Smith, PI (PHLS); Jorge Gonzalez (PHLS), co-investigator; Han Joe Kim (PHLS).
  • SATC-EDU: Network Design for Security Using Protocol Trust Boundary Observations. National Science Foundation. $292,446. (incl. 53% IDC). Jennifer Chauvot (CUIN), co-PI; Cathy Horn (ELPS), co-PI.

Grant Submissions

  • Collaborative Proposal: Developing and Testing Innovations: Reading to Code. UH Downtown/National Science Foundation. $975,227 (incl. 53% IDC). Anne McClellan, PI (Dean’s Office); Zenaida Aguirre-Munoz, co-PI (PHLS).
  • Development of an Intelligent Tutoring System for Statistics (STAT-ITS). Institute of Education Sciences. $1,369,368 (incl. 53% IDC). Han Joe Kim (PHLS).
  • Project WORLD Retrospective. Institute of Education Sciences. $720,387 (incl. 53% IDC). Jorge Gonzalez, PI (PHLS); Yu Liu, co-PI (PHLS).
  • Understanding Digital Tool Use in the Shakespeare Classroom. $1,339,533 (incl. 53% IDC). Laura Turchi (CUIN).
  • Design and Development of a Competency-based Student Support System to Enhance Student Retention and Improve Student Educational Outcomes. Institute of Education Sciences. $1,397,988 (incl. 53% IDC). Sara McNeil (CUIN).
  • Iterative Development of the Student Check-up into an Acceptable and Feasible Motivational Interviewing Intervention for Middle School Students. Institute of Education Sciences. $1,057,260 (incl. 53% IDC). Bradley Smith, PI (PHLS); Han Joe Kim (PHLS); Jorge Gonzalez (PHLS).


Welcome to our new staff members! Read the full Q&As here.

Daniela Arenas

Daniela Arenas recently joined the College as the research coordinator for the Latino & Behavioral Health Research Team, led by PHLS Assistant Professor Virmarie Correa-Fernández. Arenas most recently worked as a clinical research coordinator at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis

Q: What drew you to UH?

A: As an alum, I have always admired the University’s diverse and welcoming culture. I am proud to be a part of the University’s mosaic of different backgrounds and languages.

Q: What are your research interests/areas of expertise?

A: My research interests include educating the Latinx community about mental and behavioral health issues. As a research coordinator, I want to be able to participate in community outreach events and help in engaging Latinx adults with limited resources into effective tobacco-cessation treatments.

Q: Can you share a little about your background?

A: I am a native Mexican, first-generation college graduate with 10 years of experience in the clinical field and health research. In my spare time, I enjoy meditating, journaling and spending time with my family and my four dogs.

Q: What’s your dream job?

A: My dream job would consist of helping people, a 10-minute commute, free Chipotle and “puppy” breaks.

Q: Currently watching on Netflix and/or reading?

A: I enjoy watching psychology-based documentaries on Netflix. And episodes of “The Office.”

Follow her on Twitter @daniromodiaz9.

Michael Matta

Michael Matta has joined the College as a postdoctoral fellow in school psychology. He previously served as a postdoctoral research associate at Northeastern University.

Q: What drew you to UH?

A: A job interview that went really well!

Q: What are your research interests/areas of expertise?

A: Psychological assessment, test development and psychometrics

Q: Can you share a little about your background?

A: I am from Milan, Italy, and a first-generation college student. Still trying to explain what a Ph.D. is for to my mom. In the last two and a half years, I have worked in four different American universities, but this is my first time in this part of the country. I almost wrote South, but I changed it because I want to get along with all Texans.

Q: What’s your dream job?

A: College professor. As a child, I used to play with my stuffed animals pretending to be their teacher. So I can say that it has always been my dream job.

Q: Currently watching on Netflix and/or reading?

A: “13 Reasons Why” (third season), and I have just bought “21 Lessons for the 21st Century” by Yuval Harari.

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

Prior newsletters are archived on the College website.

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