Dean\'s Update – Spring 2024
05/16/2024, 04:20:02 PM
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Dean's Update: Information for Faculty and Staff: Image of the UH administration building with a heart border: UH College of Education

May 16, 2024


All — May is a month of celebratory milestones — the end of the academic year, graduation, and the start to summer. Reflecting on the journey that brings us to this place, I simply want to say thank you. Each of you, in countless precious ways, has been an essential part of a collective effort to live our mission. I am grateful.

Amanda Gorman says it better than I can in “Chorus of the Captains,” with only a small adjustment. My appreciation is not for three; it is for all.

Today we honor our three captains
For their actions and impact in
A time of uncertainty and need.
They’ve taken the lead,
Exceeding all expectations and limitations,
Uplifting their communities and neighbors
As leaders, healers, and educators.

Let us walk with these warriors,
Charge on with these champions,
And carry forth the call of our captains!
We celebrate them by acting
With courage and compassion,
By doing what is right and just.
For while we honor them today,
It is they who every day honor us.

Be well,

Banner caption: Spring 2024 Commencement was a success! 


  • Memorial Day (UH closed) – Monday, May 27.
  • Take Your Child to Work Day – Friday, June 7. Register by Tuesday, May 28 at 5 p.m.
  • Emancipation Day (UH closed) – Wednesday, June 19.
  • Independence Day (UH closed) – Thursday, July 4.
  • COE Fall Kickoff Breakfast – Friday, Aug. 16. 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. UH Hilton. Invite to follow.
  • First Day of Fall Classes – Monday, Aug. 19.

Staff Appreciation 2024



  • The Scholarship Committee has awarded the first round of scholarships to students. Need-based scholarships won’t be awarded until this summer due to federal complications with the FAFSA; scholarship applicants have been emailed about the delay.

Associate Dean for Faculty and Staff Belonging and Success

  • Thank you to all the staff and faculty volunteers at commencement! Your dedication made the day seamless and special for our graduates and their families.
  • Congratulations to our UH Teaching Excellence Award winners: Virmarie Correa-Fernández (PHLS), recognized for undergraduate research mentorship; Bulent Dogan (CUIN), recognized for innovation in instructional technology; Allison Master (PHLS), recognized for teaching excellence; and Jahnette Wilson (CUIN), recognized in the instructional/clinical category.

2023-24 UH Teaching Excellence Award Winners: Bulent Dogan, Virmarie Correa-Fernandez, Allison Master and Jahnette Wilson

Associate Dean for Student Belonging and Success

  • Faculty Reminders
    • Help us help students! Navigate allows professors to use “alerts” for positive and negative feedback. Concerned about a student not doing well? Want to give a student kudos? By faculty inputting these alerts in Navigate, the Office of Student Success can pull reports and reach out to students. Contact Laura Lee for a short training session on these important Navigate alerts.
  • Student Success Updates 
    • Kudos to the COE team for earning a No. 15 ranking on the U.S. News & World Report list of best online M.Ed. programs for 2024! The rankings cover the online programs in curriculum and instruction, higher education and special populations.
    • The Undergraduate Success team is preparing for a busy orientation season this summer. For current students, drop-in advising will move to Mondays over the summer; find virtual links via our advising schedules page.
    • Please note the advisor assignments by student last name for Teaching and Learning and the Education Minor: Wendy Berrios (A-Gn), Fernando Hernandez (Go-Ng) and Robert “Swoop” Thomas (Nh-Z).
    • We hosted our first Certification Connection event for student teachers to help them feel more knowledgeable and confident about the process. As we chanted, “Get certified, get hired!”
    • The College saw a growth in FTIC 2022 cohort retention of 3.8 percentage points. Thank you to the wonderful advisors, faculty and staff who support students’ persistence in their academic programs.


  • Kudos to Jenine Cinco on her new role as ELPS department business administrator (DBA)! Jenine transitions from serving with distinction as an assistant business administrator. She’s also a Forever Coog, with a bachelor’s in entrepreneurship and finance. We are excited to have her in this role!
  • Important! All purchases must be made by the following deadlines to close out fiscal year 2024:
    • June 21: Requisitions over $25K
    • July 5: Requisitions below $25K
    • July 12: P-Card purchases
    • July 19: State purchase vouchers/travel cards
    • July 26: Voucher submissions
    • These deadlines are two weeks before the UH purchasing deadlines to allow our team enough time to process all necessary purchases. We appreciate your cooperation!
  • The new International Travel Export Control Assessment form replaces the Export Control and Embargo Form and is required for all international travel requests. Access the form via the new International Travel webpage or launched directly via SharePoint. Travelers must provide a valid “” email address. Questions? Email



  • Please update your email signature using UH’s signature generator if you haven’t already (you may adapt some parts, but try to follow the general intention).
  • Program directors/leads: Updated program handbook covers are on MyCOE.


Nathan Grant Smith Nathan Grant Smith has assumed the position of associate dean for research after serving in the interim role since February. Smith previously led the Department of Psychological, Health, & Learning Sciences for more than five years. A professor of counseling psychology, Smith joined the College faculty in 2013. His research focuses on lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer health disparities.
Milena Keller-Margulis Milena Keller-Margulis has assumed the role of chair of the Department of Psychological, Health, & Learning Sciences after serving as interim since February. A professor of school psychology, she has held various leadership positions, including program director and strategic plan coordinator. Her research focuses on curriculum-based measurement, a tool to help identify students at risk for poor academic outcomes. She joined the faculty in 2009.


Editor’s note: AERA presentations are listed in our feature story. External grants are listed under Office of Research after they are officially logged in the UH system. For publications, additional authors are not included.

Curriculum & Instruction


  • Joanna Batt. “Queer in Plain Sight: Using Everyday Social Studies to Engage in LGBTQ2IA+ Histories,” Social Studies and the Young Learner.
  • Sheng Kuan Chung. “The impact of artificial intelligence on art education: A narrative review,” International Journal of Arts Education.
  • Mikel Cole. “Multilingual teaching and digital tools: the intersections of new media literacies and language learning,” Journal for Multicultural Education. “Why bother translanguaging? Translanguaging pedagogies for equity in elementary and middle school classrooms,” NABE Journal of Research and Practice.
  • Heather Domjan. “Teaching Acid–Base fundamentals and introducing PH using butterfly pea flower tea,” Journal of Chemical Education.
  • Melissa Gallagher. “Teachers’ beliefs about language diversity and multilingual learners: A systematic review of the literature,” Review of Educational Research.
  • Vera Hutchison. “Examining our roles of literacy sponsorship for students’ equitable book access,” English Journal. “Preparation and retention strategies to populate the STEM teaching  profession,” Critical Issues in Teacher Education.
  • Anne Katz. “Bridging literacy theory with practice: Differentiated academic service learning projects with children’s literature,” The Reading Teacher. “Academic Service-Learning: Connecting Pre-Service Teachers with Diverse Children’s Literature,” Dragon Lode (International Literacy Association Children’s Literature and Reading SIG).
  • Miao Li. “Using phoneme discrimination to help emergent bilinguals with reading disabilities acquire new sounds,” Teaching Exceptional Children.
  • Tairan Qiu. “’We have to be everything at a time America tells us that we are nothing’: A collaborative autoethnography on enacting justice as praxis as women of color in education,” International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education.

Book Chapters

  • Carrie Cutler. “An exploratory study of manipulative use in face-to-face, virtual, and hybrid early childhood teacher education mathematics methods courses” in “Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators Professional Book Series, Volume 5.” “Narrative inquiry of teacher educators’ self-directed professional learning spaces: Principles and practices for excellence” in “How Teacher Educators Learn: Profiles in Teacher Educator Professional Learning.” “Creating culturally relevant 3 act tasks” in “Clinically Based Teacher Education in Action: Cases from Mathematics Teacher Educators.”


  • Joanna Batt was the National Council for the Social Studies Member Spotlight for April.
  • Sheng Kuan Chung is serving on the editorial board for Universal Library of Arts and Humanities.
  • Carrie Cutler was selected for the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics early childhood advisory committee, advising on improving engagement and support for EC math.
  • Vera Hutchison was selected as co-chair of the Research Committee for the Association of Teacher Educators.
  • Anne Katz was invited to become a member of the United States Board on Books for Young People’s Hans Christian Anderson nominating committee.
  • Tairan Qiu served as co-chair of the Annual Language and Social Processes SIG mentoring session. She also was invited to serve as the 2024-26 co-chair for the Literacy Research Association’s Multilingual & Transnational Innovative Community Group.


  • Justin Burris presented at the Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators conference on past AMTE presentations on equity, resulting in changes to the conference proposal process.
  • Sheng Kuan Chung spoke on critical issues in Asian art and culture education at a symposium sponsored by the National Art Education Association. He also presented on integrative visual arts and TEKS standards at the 2024 ARTs Connect Houston learning series. And he presented at the National Art Education Association on eco-art education approaches.
  • Mikel Cole presented at the American Association of Applied Linguistics on “Texas voices of hope against necropolitical systemic violence” and “Investigating teachers’ language ideologies and classroom practices with trilingual students.”
  • Carrie Cutler facilitated a nationwide book study for the National Association for the Education of Young Children. She also presented at the Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators conference on culturally responsive teaching and engaging in inter-institutional research. And she presented at the National Association for the Education of Young Children Learning Lab.
  • Melissa Gallagher was invited to give a talk at the Center for Mathematics Education Research Colloquium at the University of Maryland.
  • Susie Gronseth presented at the 2024 annual meeting of the Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics on a panel about what changes in athletics mean to faculty. She also presented on “Using educational technologies to expand learning opportunities for students” at the International Conference on Education Quality.
  • Vera Hutchison presented on themes from awarded dissertations on teacher education at the Association of Teacher Educators annual conference.
  • Xin Li presented on curriculum planning at the Texas Early Childhood Summit.

Community Engagement

  • Sheng Kuan Chung served as an art judge at four community events: the Visual Arts Scholastic Event at three regions in Texas and a student art contest organized by Performing Arts Houston. He also is working with three Houston ISD schools on faculty professional development in art education.
  • Bulent Dogan led the LEADERS STEM Camp, serving 35 students in grades 3-8 from Houston, San Antonio and as far as Los Angeles and Chicago.
  • Heather Domjan hosted the 65th Science and Engineering Fair of Houston, involving 1,300 students in grades 6-12; STEM ZONE Saturdays, connecting 200 students in grades 3-10 with industry experts; and the Mars Rover Celebration, drawing more than 115 participants. She also supported the UH American Society for Mechanical Engineers student organization’s annual event, which engaged nearly 90 students in grades 5-12.
  • Susie Gronseth presented at the Global Issues Summit at Travis High School in Richmond, including giving the keynote on “Addressing food insecurity with emerging technologies.” She also served as a reviewer for the Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching at the University of Cape Town, South Africa.
  • Margaret Hale was invited to give the commencement address for Harmony School of Innovation. She also presented three sessions on teaching grammar in context in Highland Park ISD.
  • Anne Katz presented at the UH Symposium on Community Engagement and Experiential Learning with Pilgrim Academy Principal Diana Castillo about building K-12 partnerships.

Educational Leadership & Policy Studies

Internal Grants

  • Heather Dulas was selected as an Elizabeth D. Rockwell Center Faculty Research Award recipient for 2024-25 for her research project, “Disability Language and Identity: Preferences and Perceptions of Adults with Disabilities.”


  •  Kristi Santi. “The Relationships Between College Interventions and First-Generation College Students’ Academic Success,” Journal of First-generation Student Success.

Books/Book Chapters

  • Monica Martens, Jacqueline Hawkins, Kristen Hassett, Celeste Alba (CUIN), Nancy Reis (CUIN), Hope Rigby-Wills, Amber Thompson (CUIN), Velvette Laurence (CITE). “The evolution of a training program on mental health and dyslexia using micro-lessons to support diverse learning environments” in “Optimizing Education through Micro-Lessons: Engaging and Adaptive Learning Strategies.”


  • Kristi Santi was honored as one of seven “outstanding women” by the Center for First-Generation Excellence for her work on improving educational outcomes for students with disabilities.

Psychological, Health, & Learning Sciences

Internal Grants

  • Virmarie Correa-Fernández received a UH Provost Travel Award to attend the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco global conference; she presented on “Acculturation and Smoking Cessation among Hispanic/Latine Adults: Differences by Sex.”


  • Blake Allan. “The psychology of precarity: A critical framework,” American Psychologist. “Development and validation of the Work Capital Scale,” Journal of Counseling Psychology. “Revisiting Keynesa’s predictions about work and leisure: A roundtable discussion of fundamental questions about the nature of modern work,” Industrial and Organizational Psychology.
  • Ann Chen. “Total versus Partial Workplace Tobacco Use Bans in Texas Behavioral Health Centers: Employees’ Perceptions Related to Best Practices Implementation,” Health Behavior and Policy Review. “Latinx Youth’s Mental Health Needs and Socioeconomic Factors Associated with Service Utilization,” Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved. “Implementing a Tobacco-Free Workplace Program at a Substance Use Treatment Center: A Case Study,” BMC Health Services.
  • Virmarie Correa-Fernández. “Co-action and changes in alcohol use during a smoking cessation attempt,” Addiction.
  • Julie Dunsmore. “Schools as critical settings for mental and behavioral health efforts in the United States: Key initiatives for substantive impact,” Mental Health & Prevention.
  • Elizabeth Jelsma. “Racial/ethnic discrimination and early adolescents’ behavioral problems: The role of parental warmth,” Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. “Multiple forms of discrimination and substance use intention in late childhood: Findings from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study,” Journal of Adolescent Health.
  • Milena Keller-Margulis, Weihua Fan. “A Systematic Review of Early Writing Assessment Tools,” Early Childhood Education Journal.
  • Norma OlveraWeihua FanConsuelo Arbona. “Weight concern and body image dissatisfaction among Hispanic and African American women,” Women. (Corrected title from November DU)
  • Brad Smith. “Religion and spirituality: Integration of religion and spirituality into culturally responsible school psychology practice,” School Psychology Review.
  • Nathan Grant Smith. “Internalized homonegativity is indirectly associated with smoking status through somatic anxiety,” Health Behavior and Policy Review.


  • Leslie Frankel was asked to serve on the Texas Health and Human Services Early Intervention Specialist Credentialing Workgroup.


  • Allison Master presented with Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith (Australia’s Women in STEM Ambassador) for an International Day of Women and Girls in Science special event. Master also gave a guest lecture in Advanced Motivation Seminar at the University of Georgia.

Community Engagement

  • Allison Master served as an advisor on a participatory action research project involving AP language and composition classes at Orange High School in Lewis, Ohio.
  • Norma Olvera hosted the Latino Health Summit, “Salud Para Todos: Latino Health Equity,” a hybrid event that drew nearly 930 attendees with representation from 42 U.S. states and six other countries.


  • Check out the latest media clips, most recently featuring Toni Templeton (ELPS/ERC), Duncan Klussmann (ELPS), Virginia Snodgrass Rangel (ELPS), Cathy Horn (ELPS/ERC), Carrie Cutler (CUIN), Shea Culpepper (CUIN), Sam Brower (CUIN) and Xin Li (CUIN).





  • A First Examination of Academic and Early-Career Outcomes of Refugee and Asylee Students: Evidence from Texas Public Schools. Russel Sage Foundation. $163,395 (incl. 15% IDC). Toni Templeton (ELPS/ERC), PI; Fiza Mairaj (ELPS/ERC), co-PI.
  • Developing STEM Teacher Leaders in Culturally Responsive Classroom Management, Engineering Design, and Induction. National Science Foundation. $2,994,298 (incl. 55% IDC). Virginia Snodgrass Rangel (ELPS), co-PI.
  • Obesity Health Disparities Research PRIDE Program (OHD PRIDE). National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. $260,503 (incl. 8% IDC). Rosenda Murillo Hill (PHLS), co-PI.
  • Advancing Equity in Adolescent Health through Evidence-Based Teen Pregnancy Prevention Programs and Services. The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (pass-through Department of Health & Human Services Office of Population Affairs). $1,762,584 (incl. 55% IDC). Kayce Solari Williams (PHLS), PI; Jennifer Farmer (PHLS), co-PI.
  • Education to Workforce Data. Temple Foundation. $105,855 (incl. 12% IDC). Toni Templeton (ELPS/ERC),  Fiza Mairaj (ELPS/ERC), other personnel.
  • Firefighter Virtual Reality Training. Gforce Animation. $82,411. Laveria Hutchison (CUIN), co-PI.


  • Transformation Arts Initiative, Stage Two Professional Development Proposals. Arts Connect Houston. $12,000 (0% IDC). Sheng Chung (CUIN), PI.
  • Authentic Community Engagement and Scholarship in STEM Education Research. National Science Foundation. $1,221,137 (57% IDC). April Peters-Hawkins (ELPS), co-PI.
  • EMBRACE STEM: Equity, Motivation, and Belonging Research for Advancing Culturally Responsive Education in STEM. National Science Foundation. $1,232,514 (57% IDC). Allison Master (PHLS), PI; Consuelo Arbona (PHLS), Weihua Fan (PHLS), Norma Olvera (PHLS) and Virginia Snodgrass Rangel (ELPS), co-PIs.
  • Early Childhood U-GAIN Center: Using Generative Artificial Intelligence to Augment Teaching and Learning in Early Childhood Classrooms. Department of Education (Institute of Educational Sciences). $10,000,000 (57% IDC). Xin Li (CUIN), PI; Yali Zou (ELPS), co-PI.
  • Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs Family Support & Community Services. Texas Department of State and Health Services. $251,821 (8% IDC). Shelley Townsend (PEP), PI.
  • (Un)learning Language and Literacy Ideologies with Chinese Transnational Parents. International Literacy Association. $5,000 (0% IDC). Tairan Qiu (CUIN), PI.
  • Empowering Educators for Future Generations (EMPOWER-EDU): A Transformative PD Initiative for Multicultural Early Learning and Postsecondary Success in Alief ISD. The Moody Foundation. $2,659,640 (0% IDC). Xin Li (CUIN), PI. Tairan Qiu (CUIN), co-PI. Celeste Alba (CUIN), co-investigator.
  • You Can Sit with Me: Exploring Transnational Girls of Color Language and Literacy Practices in Multiliterate Sista Circles. National Council for Teachers of English. $1,200 (0% IDC). Tairan Qiu (CUIN), PI.
  • Special Educators and Evaluators for Diverse Students (SEEDS). Office of Special Education Projects (U.S. Department of Education). $1,250,000 (8% IDC). Kristi Santi (ELPS), PI; Charlotte Carp (ELPS), co-PI; Kristen Hasset (ELPS), Heather Dulas (ELPS), Jacqueline Hawkins (ELPS), co-investigators.
  • Implementing a culturally appropriate digital health intervention to reduce tobacco-related cancer disparities among Latinos. CDC. $58,655 (57% IDC). Virmarie Correa-Fernández (PHLS), PI.
  • Measuring Feasibility and Acceptability of a Multisensory Workplace Intervention for Stress Management and Well-Being. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NIH). $53,841 (55% IDC). Brad Smith (PHLS), PI.
  • Collaborative Research: Fostering Mathematical Modeling Competencies via Collaborative Learning in Large Language Model-Simulated Virtual Classrooms. National Science Foundation. $171,785 (55% IDC). Melissa Gallagher (CUIN), co-PI.
  • The Center for Underserved and Underrepresented Student Pathways into Engineering: A Research Network to Build and Broaden MSI Capacity. National Science Foundation. $6,970,258 (55% IDC). Virginia Snodgrass Rangel (ELPS), PI; Jeannette Alarcón (CUIN), co-PI.
  • Collaborative Research: Enhancing STEM Teaching and Learning with AI-Driven Content Indexing of Lecture Videos. National Science Foundation. $65,000 (55% IDC). Allison Master (PHLS), co-PI.
  • Building Capacity for a K-12 Research Practice Partnership for Supporting K-12 Critical Data Literacy in Oregon Public Schools. National Science Foundation. $99,740 (incl. 55% IDC). Travis Weiland (CUIN), PI.
  • Collaborative Research: Reenvisioning Measures of Student Learning: From Scores and Levels to Data Visualizations. National Science Foundation. $1,862,244 (incl. 55% IDC). Melissa Gallagher (CUIN), PI.
  • Expanding the capacity of a multicomponent youth program and examining impacts on academic success and well-being. Spencer Foundation. $393,043 (incl. 15% IDC). Brad Smith (PHLS), PI.
  • Transforming Students’ Transfer Aspirations into Reality: A Community College-Research University Partnership Eradicating Educational Disparities in Houston. Spencer Foundation. $398,613 (incl. 15% IDC). Lyle McKinney (ELPS), PI.
  • Educator Diversity Research-Practice Partnership (RPP) Lab. Spencer Foundation. $400,000 (incl. 15% IDC). Conra Gist (CUIN), PI.
  • Project Support to Restructure Teacher Certification Pathways to Support Local Districts. Houston Endowment. $300,000 (incl. 15% IDC). Conra Gist (CUIN), PI.
  • Refugee and Asylee Students’ Enrollment in Advanced Math and Science Courses: How Does Location Matter?. American Educational Research Association (AERA). $24,395 (0% IDC). Fiza Mairaj (ELPS/ERC), PI.
  • Exploring the Outcomes of Four Day School Weeks. American Educational Research Association (AERA). $24,735 (0% IDC). Toni Templeton (ELPS/ERC), co-PI. 

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