Dean's Update – 3/21/2023
03/20/2023, 09:10:01 PM
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Reginald Dwayne Betts

March 21, 2023


All — I know our UH community is incredibly saddened by news of a second death on campus this semester, both likely by suicide. Fostering healthy and caring relationships is one of our College’s top principles, and I ask that we each take time to check in on one another and our students regularly and especially right now. I want you to know how much I appreciate each of you. And I am here to listen. I encourage you to review the Monday evening memo from UH leadership about mental health resources for faculty, staff, and students and about future operations at Agnes Arnold Hall. Anyone in imminent crisis should call or text 988 for the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.

This month can feel like time speeds up as we race to May and the conclusion of the academic year, all while managing responsibilities outside of work as well. We must give ourselves and others grace, and I hope we’re able to find moments of joy that we need and deserve. 

With so many challenges around us, I take guidance in the opportunity laid out by Francis of Assisi: “Start by doing what is necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”

Thank you for the differences you make daily!


Banner caption: A mural at HISD’s Blackshear Elementary in Third Ward. (Editor’s note: In case you missed it, please see the interim dean’s March 15 memo about the TEA intervention in HISD; and delve deeper into the subject by listening to this Houston Public Media radio show.)


  • Women in Leadership: A Conversation on Health & Wellness — Wednesday, March 22. Noon to 1 p.m. Part of the UH Staff Council DEI Committee Workplace Conversations HERStory Series. Click here to join via Teams.
  • Let’s Talk Grant Applications — Thursday, March 23. Noon to 1 p.m. Meet with Associate Dean Ezemenari Obasi. Click here to join via Zoom.
  • On-campus mammograms —Thursday, Mach 30. 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Lot 19F (near M.D. Anderson Library). Offered by The Rose. Register by Monday, March 27 (code: UH).
  • Revitalizing COE Staff Council — Learn more about getting involved! Hosted by Associate Dean Mimi Lee.
    • Thursday, March 30. 4:30 to 5 p.m. Via Teams.
    • Friday, March 31. 1:30 to 2 p.m. Via Teams.
    • Wednesday, April 5. 3 to 3:30 p.m. In person in Farish.
  • Spring 2023 Commencement — Saturday, May 13. 7 p.m. Fertitta Center. 
  • Memorial Day (UH closed) — Monday, May 29.



  • Thank you for promoting our scholarship opportunities to students (we received more applications than expected based on the early numbers)!

Associate Dean for Faculty and Staff Equity, Belonging, and Success

  • Promotion and Tenure Review
    • For the clinical faculty candidates, the College-level reviews have been completed, and the files are under review at the University level. For the tenure-track candidates, the reviews are nearing completion, if not already completed.
  • COE Staff Council
    • Let’s collaborate to revitalize this important group! Join one of three planning meetings (dates listed above, and links to come).
    • Check out photos from the Staff Appreciation Breakfast!
  • Professional Development
  • Thank you for your great support on UH Giving Day! Gifts from faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends helped us win the participation challenge and earn an extra $2,000 for scholarships.

Associate Dean for Student Equity, Belonging, and Success

  • Student Success Updates 
    • The undergraduate team is offering new drop-in advising sessions specifically for education minors and targeting students interested in applying for formal admission. Information about how to contact any advisor or to see drop-in advising opportunities for students can be found on our scheduling webpage.
    • The summer/fall 2023 course schedule is now available to students, and priority registration begins April 5. Please encourage students to connect with their academic advisors to plan for future enrollment.
  • Faculty Reminders


  • Welcome to Jessica Torres, who joins the team as the new department business administrator for Curriculum & Instruction! Jessica is a COE alum who has served in various administrative and financial roles. Her first day is Wednesday.


  • Please remember that any cloud-based service or storage that houses level-1 data (e.g. information protected by FERPA, student assignments, health-related data, etc.) must go through legal and security reviews that can take up to six weeks. Contact CITE early to discuss.


  • UH has released new social media guidelines and best practices related to profile images, account management, accessibility and more. Please review if your program or research lab has accounts, and look out for an email from Ericka Mellon with action items for April.


Editor’s note: External grant awards are listed under Office of Research. For publications, additional authors are not included. Please email Ericka Mellon with any questions. 

Curriculum & Instruction


  • Jeannette Alarcón. “Circle of success: An interpretative phenomenological analysis of how Black engineering students experience success,” Journal of Engineering Education. Will be the cover feature!
  • Carrie Cutler. “Teacher tools to support calm, self-control, and resilience in preschool,” Dimensions of Early Childhood.

Book Chapters

  • Susie Gronseth with CUIN instructors Haoyue Zhang and Waneta Hebert. “Legacy Building Through a ‘Teaching with Technology’ Open Textbook Project” in “Open Educational Resources in Higher Education.”


  • Mikel Cole was selected to join the Fulbright Specialist Roster.


  • Carrie Cutler presented on “Preservice Elementary Teachers’ Perceptions of Teaching Mathematics: A Metaphorical Approach” at the Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators conference.
  • Anne Katz presented on “Create, Construct, Curate: Fostering Community Literacy around Diverse Children’s Literature” at the Texas Association for Literacy Education conference.

Community Engagement

  • Heather Domjan hosted the 64th Science and Engineering Fair of Houston with nearly 1,000 middle and high school students.

Educational Leadership & Policy Studies

Internal Grants

  • Virginia Snodgrass Rangel was awarded a small research grant from UH to support a study on understanding student motivations and experiences on a geoscience field trip.


  • Honoring Women’s History Month, the publication “Diverse: Issues In Higher Education” recognized Elsa Gonzalez as a leading woman in academia.
  • Ruth López earned a 2023 Texas TRIO Achievers Award, recognized for her success since participating in the college access program, part of the LULAC National Educational Service Centers in Dallas.

Psychological, Health, & Learning Sciences


  • Ann Chen. “Understanding Mental Health Status of Syrian Refugee and Jordanian Women: Novel Insights from a Comparative Study,” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.
  • Ann Chen, Virmarie Correa-Fernández. “Educating Substance Use Treatment Center Providers on Tobacco Use Treatments is Associated with Increased Provision of Counseling and Medication to Patients Who Use Tobacco” and Changes in Substance Use Treatment Providers’ Delivery of the 5A’s for Non-cigarette Tobacco Use in the Context of a Comprehensive Tobacco-Free Workplace Program Implementation,” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.
  • Ann Chen, Ezemenari Obasi. “Exploring COVID-19 Vaccine Attitudes among Racially and Ethnically Minoritized Communities: Community Partners’ and Residents’ Perspectives,” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.
  • Virmarie Correa-Fernández. “Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Wellness Program for Latine Adults Who Smoke and Have Psychological Distress: Research Protocol of a Feasibility Study,” JMRI Research Protocols.
  • Jungeun “Jay” Lee. “Developing and Validating a Process Model of Counselor Burnout: A Serial Mediation Model,” The Professional Counselor.


  • Brad Smith was the guest of honor at the annual gala for LEAD (Letting Everyone Achieve Dreams), a local nonprofit with a research practice partnership with UH, UH-Clear Lake and Texas A&M University.
  • Norma Olvera was selected to receive the Latina Poder Award presented by Latina Power and Poder Hispano for being “a Latina who leads by example with courage, confidence, commitment and integrity.”


  • Norma Olvera presented on “Mentoring and Advocacy in Academia” for Baylor College of Medicine U.S. Biomedical Scholars.

Community Engagement

  • Allison Master was a guest on the Science Journal for Kids Podcast discussing her research on motivation and stereotypes.
  • Nathan Smith, member of the Executive and Professional Association of Houston Community Affairs Committee, is working to coordinate a fundraiser to benefit a local LGBTQ organization.


  • Check out the latest media clips, most recently featuring Cathy Horn (ELPS), Duncan Klussmann (ELPS), Melissa Gallagher (CUIN), Margaret Hale (CUIN) and Jie Zhang (CUIN).




  • None to report this month


  • HSI Implementation and Evaluation Project: FIELDGeo – Field Investigations and Education Leading to Degrees in Geoscience. NSF. $1,000,000 (incl. 55% IDC). Virginia Snodgrass Rangel (ELPS), co-PI; Brad Smith (PHLS), other.
  • NCRED: Resource Development for Policy and Practice Audiences. New Venture Fund. $200,000 (incl. 15% IDC). Conra Gist (CUIN), PI.
  • RaMP: STEGG-INTERACT: Southeast Texas Evolutionary Genetics and Genomics Integrative Research and Collaborative Training. NSF. $2,999,247 (incl. 55% IDC). Virginia Snodgrass Rangel (ELPS), other.
  • Center for the Advancement of Arts Educators (CAAE). National Endowment for the Arts. $172,360 (incl. 55% IDC). Sheng Kuan Chung (CUIN), PI.
  • Supplement: Pilot proof of concept exploring longitudinal links between minority stress, stress physiology dysregulation, and drug use in sexual minority adults. NIH. $154,916 (incl 55% IDC). Nathan Smith (PHLS), PI; Ezemenari Obasi (PHLS), Ann Chen (PHLS), co-investigators.

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