Dean\'s Update - 4/13/2021
04/13/2021, 02:50:01 PM
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April 13, 2021


I’m thrilled to see the recent recognition of several members of our outstanding COE community! Five of our faculty members earned University-wide awards, at least nine of our graduates won Teacher of the Year awards, and stories about our staff have been highlighted in UH Today. Faculty also have been asked to share their expertise in a growing number of media interviews.

We continue to build a culture of excellence in the College in line with the motto of UH’s strategic plan: “Together, we rise. Together, we soar.” As you know, UH’s vision is to become a top 50 public university.

The latest U.S. News & World Report ranking of graduate education programs places us as a College at No. 69 compared with other public institutions and at No. 91 overall. As a College, our ranking is the third-highest in the state, tied with Texas Tech and behind UT and A&M. Our overall ranking is up from No. 110 on the 2016 list.

Together, we must continue to work to increase our research expenditures and improve our national reputation among deans to accelerate our rise in the rankings.

Onward we soar,

Banner: Congrats to the Coogs for making it to the Final Four!


  • FEC Research Expert Talk — “The Spencer Foundation Programs Overview.” Thursday, April 15. Noon – 1 p.m. Via Microsoft Teams.
  • March of Dimes March for Babies Virtual Walk — Saturday, May 15. Any time. Donate here to support the COE team.
  • Spring Graduation Ceremony — Tuesday, May 18. 10 a.m. TDECU Stadium. Please email Paula Canada if you can volunteer.
  • Memorial Day Holiday — Monday, May 31



  • For the 2021 performance appraisal process, employees must submit their responsibilities and goals to their manager by Friday, April 30 using the PDF form (be sure to download it before typing). Please see the April 5 email from Sandra Armstrong for details.

Staff Awards

  • The deadline to submit nominations for the COE Staff Spirit Award, Staff Excellence Award and Staff Distinguished Service Award is Friday, April 30. See Tracy Markovich’s March 4 email for details.


  • Schedules for summer and fall 2021 are visible to students. Please note that UH courses have been revised for fall 2021 to align with the Texas Common Course Numbering System (TCCNS). See updated course numbers here. The changes in COE are relatively few, but please direct students with questions to their advisor for help.


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


  • Melissa Gallagher. “Engineering students’ perceptions of mathematical modeling in an online module,” International Journal for Research in Undergraduate Mathematics Education.
  • Travis Weiland. “Framing a robust understanding of proportional reasoning for teachers,” Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education.


  • Justin Burris has won a 2020-21 UH Teaching Excellence Award in the clinical category and Susie Gronseth has won a UH Teaching Excellence Award for innovation in instructional technology.
  • Kudos to the teacher education program! Eight graduates won Beginning/Rookie Teacher of the Year awards from their schools, and another earned Teacher of the Year for 2020-21. Hussein Pacha, who earned a bachelor’s in teaching in 2018 and a master’s in administration and supervision in 2020, said this of his win at HISD’s Arabic Immersion Magnet School: “Definitely I could not have not achieved this without the support, guidance, teaching, and mentorship of my amazing professors during my undergrad and grad program at UH!”

Educational Leadership & Policy Studies


  • Ruth M. López. “The (Mis)Treatment and (Non)Education of Unaccompanied Immigrant Children in the United States,” National Education Policy Center.
  • Tiffany J. Davis. “Who cares?: (Re)visioning labor justice for Black women contingent faculty,” Journal of African American Women and Girls in Education.


  • Ruth M. López received a 2020-21 UH Teaching Excellence Award.  
  • Detra Johnson has been elected to serve as the 2021 chair-elect of the Research on Women and Education Special Interest Group of the American Educational Research Association (AERA).  
  • Keith Butcher and the K-12 program are launching a principal residency program with Houston ISD to start in summer 2021 thanks to a TEA grant.

Psychological, Health, & Learning Sciences


  • Blake Allan. “Are work well-being variables distinct? A bifactor model of fulfilling work,” Journal of Counseling Psychology. “Classism, work volition, life satisfaction, and academic satisfaction in college students: A longitudinal study,” Journal of Diversity in Higher Education.
  • Consuelo Arbona, Weihua Fan, Norma Olvera, Marcel de Dios. “Intolerance of uncertainty, anxiety, and career indecision: A mediation model,” Journal of Career Assessment.
  • Nathan Grant Smith. “The impact of provider biphobia and microaffirmations on bisexual individuals’ treatment-seeking intentions,” Journal of Bisexuality. “Interactions between blending and identity concealment: Effects on non-binary people’s distress and experiences of victimization,” PLOS ONE.
  • Bradley Smith. “The unique effects of hope, optimism, and self-efficacy on subjective well-being and depression in German adults,” Journal of Well-Being Assessment.
  • Milena Keller-Margulis. “Validity of Automated Text Evaluation: A Comparison Study,” Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal.
  • Hanjoe Kim, Virmarie Correa-Fernández. “Validity of the 15-item five-facet mindfulness questionnaire among an ethnically diverse sample of university students," Journal of American College Health.
  • Sarah Mire. “Cognitions and perceptions underlying stress among parents of adolescents with autism spectrum disorder,” Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders.
  • Rosenda Murillo, Yu Liu. “Evaluation of the Role of Leisure Time Physical Activity and Sedentary Behavior Simultaneously on the Income-Overweight/Obesity Relationship,” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.  
  • Norma Olvera, Ann Chen. “Perspectives of Black/African American and Hispanic parents and children living in under-resourced communities regarding factors that influence food choices and decisions: A qualitative investigation,” Children.


  • Rosie Murillo won a 2020-21 UH Undergraduate Research Mentor Award (part of the Teaching Excellence Awards).
  • Ezemenari Obasi won a 2020-21 UH Excellence in Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity Award for tenured faculty.
  • Norma Olvera won a 2021 Hispanic Health Professionals Leadership Network Award from the National Hispanic Medical Association.

Community Engagement

  • Blake Allan has teamed with a group of psychologists to develop the Work Interventions Network, a mental health intervention for people who are unemployed.
  • Sarah Mire delivered an invited presentation, “Adolescence and Puberty on the Spectrum,” for The Westview School virtual parents series.
  • Lorraine Reitzel and Taking Texas Tobacco Free published an implementation guide for cascade training of behavioral health treatment center staff on tobacco interventions. The community resource is available online.
  • Norma Olvera delivered an invited talk, “BOUNCE Across the World,” for the UH STEM Center outreach program, which drew local Houston students and others from central and south America and Africa.



  • Check out the latest media clips, including Nathan Smith (PHLS), Jorge Gonzalez (PHLS), Anne McClellan (ACES), Shea Culpepper (CUIN), Justin Burris (CUIN), Yali Zou (ELPS), Rhoda Freelon (ELPS), Miguel Burgess Monroy (CUIN) and Ruth López (ELPS).



  • Teaching Reading and New Strategic Language Approaches to Emergent Bilinguals. Spencer Foundation (Vanderbilt University). $40,226 (incl. 15% IDC). Mikel Cole, PI (CUIN).
  • Building Capacity for Equity-Focused Student-Centered Coaching in Teacher Education: Exploring the usefulness of Mursion simulation experiences. Texas Tech University. $100,000 (incl. 10% IDC). Jeannette Alarcón, PI (CUIN); Amber Thompson (CUIN), Shea Culpepper (CUIN), Jahnette Wilson, co-PIs (CUIN).
  • A Cultural Growth-Mindset Approach to Interest: Implications for gender GAPS in computer science participation. National Science Foundation (University of Washington). $32,032 (incl. 55% IDC). Allison Master, PI (PHLS).
  • Collaborative Researching: Improving student learning in hydrology & water resources engineering by enabling the development, sharing and interoperability of active learning resources. National Science Foundation (University of Louisiana at Lafayette). $19,116 (incl. 55% IDC). Melissa Gallagher, PI (CUIN).


  • Self-Report Study to Understand Adequacy of and Barriers to Psychosocial Support for Adult Cancer Patients and Survivors of Color During COVID-19. NCI. $7,500. Virmarie Correa-Fernández, PI (PHLS).
  • The Role of Myeloid Cell Reprogramming and Sex Disparity Determinants in Radiation-Induced Cardiovascular Disease in Thoracic Cancer Patients. American Heart Association. $58,084 (incl. 10% IDC). Lorraine Reitzel, PI (PHLS).
  • Rice Tapia Center. Rice University/Google. $12,029. Allison Master, co-investigator (PHLS).
  • Center for the Advancement of Arts Educators (CAAE): Innovating Pedagogy for Children with Special Needs. U.S. Department of Education. $2,647,431 (incl. 55% IDC). Sheng Kuan Chung, PI (CUIN); Miao Li, co-PI (CUIN).
  • Investigating SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine Hesitancy in Houston. NIH/NMHD. $765,575 (incl. 55% IDC). Ezemenari Obasi, PI (PHLS); Ann Chen, co-investigator (PHLS).
  • Doctoral Training for Academic and Research Careers in Cybersecurity. U.S. Department of Education. $608,760. Cathy Horn, (ELPS), Jerome Freiberg, co-investigators (CUIN).
  • Doctoral Education in Smart Energy-Efficient Civil Infrastructure. U.S. Department of Education. $608,760. Jerome Freiberg, co-PI (CUIN).
  • Community Teacher Equity Development. The Student Experience Research. $65,000 (incl. 15% IDC). Conra Gist, PI (CUIN).


Raymond Miller

After earning degrees in business and law, Raymond “Marshall” Miller realized he wanted to pursue a career in higher education. He began working as an academic advisor, serving the College’s health majors and minors, in February.

What advice do you have for students?
It’s really important to not just plan for next semester but for your academic career. Thinking out several steps ahead is a really good way to avoid finding yourself in a bind toward the end of your academic career at UH.

What are your hobbies?
I enjoy trying new restaurants and traveling with friends. I travel for football games and like to explore Houston since it has a lot to offer.

What are you looking forward to most, post-pandemic?
I look forward to meeting my students that I’ve been talking to and emailing for over a year and getting involved on campus and in college-wide events and staff organizations. I’d like to participate in Cougar Ally Training and resume traveling.

Read the full Q&A.

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