Dean\'s Update -6/8/2021
06/08/2021, 04:00:01 PM
View web version

June 8, 2021


Commencement last month brought feelings of familiarity and joy as hundreds of our students crossed the stage to applause from family and friends. I was delighted to see rows of faculty in the audience. I especially want to thank each staff member who pivoted in the final hours to move the ceremony indoors to create this memory for our students.

In the coming weeks, we will experience more familiar moments, although I understand the transition back to campus may not feel entirely normal. The world has changed. We have changed. Yet we can carry forward the empathy and innovation displayed over the last 15 months as we continue to fulfill our mission to end inequities in education and health. I’m excited about the conversations and collaborations to come as we reconnect in person.

If you haven’t talked to your supervisor about your summer transition to campus, please do so this week. I look forward to seeing you soon!

Onward with anticipation,


Banner: Maria Esther Estrada Campos, one of Houston ISD’s first bilingual teachers and a former school board trustee known for her advocacy for underserved students, earned an honorary doctorate from the College. Learn more about her legacy.


  • “George Floyd: Where Are We After One Year?” — Virtual forum hosted by the UH Racial Equity and Social Justice Committee. Wednesday, June 9. Noon – 1:30 p.m. Register here.
  • NSF Funding Opportunities — A virtual conversation with National Science Foundation Program Director Erika Tatiana Camacho. Hosted by the COE Research Committee. Wednesday, June 16. Noon – 1 p.m. Join via Zoom.
  • Commencement for 2020 Graduates — Aug. 11, 12 or 13. Specific date and time pending. Fertitta Center.

 Editor’s note: Dean’s Update will not publish in July.


  • In the short term, advising continues to be remote as advisors return physically to campus. Remote advising has been extraordinarily popular and effective during the last year and will continue to be available to students. Beginning June 15, the physical office will be open and staffed during business hours to serve student inquiries, but appointments remain online until further updates.
  • Welcome to Jane Sidwell, who will join the staff June 14 as the HDFS advisor! She most recently worked as a college and career counselor and IB psychology teacher at the British International School of Houston. She previously has worked in the Pasadena and Spring Branch school districts and abroad in Dubai and Kuwait. She has a bachelor’s from the University of St. Thomas and a master’s in teaching from UH-Downtown.


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


  • Laveria Hutchison received the 2021 UH Faculty Senate Award for Excellence in Service.

Educational Leadership & Policy Studies


  • Frank Fernandez, Hilary Coulson, Yali Zou. “Leading in the eye of a storm: how one team of administrators exercised disaster resilience,” Higher Education.

Book Chapter

  • Elsa Gonzalez. “Analyzing and Coding Interviews and Focus Groups Considering Cross-Cultural and Cross-Language Data,” Analyzing and Interpreting Qualitative Research: After the Interview.


  • Congratulations to Associate Professor Bradley Davis for being awarded tenure and to Elsa Gonzalez for being promoted to associate professor with tenure!

Psychological, Health, & Learning Sciences


  • Anastasia Rogova has joined Professor Lorraine Reitzel’s research team as a post-doctoral research fellow. Rogova earned a Ph.D. in anthropology from University of British Columbia and will be working on several externally-funded studies needing qualitative expertise. Latricia Wallace also has joined Reitzel’s research team as a program director 2. Wallace earned a B.S. in psychology from Washington University and will be managing the day-to-day operations of several of the externally-funded studies. 


  • Congratulations to Virmarie Correa-Fernández and Leslie Frankel for being promoted to associate professor with tenure and to Kelli Drenner, Erica Jordan and Kayce Solari Williams for being promoted to clinical associate professor!


  • Check out the latest media clips, featuring Carrie Cutler (CUIN), April Peters-Hawkins (ELPS), Duncan Klussmann (ELPS) and an op-ed on health disparities by Ezemenari Obasi (OOR/PHLS).



  • PATH (Providing Advanced Training in Health) Internship Program. National Institute of Food and Agriculture. $500,000 (incl. 33% IDC). Norma Olvera (PHLS), PI; Consuelo Arbona (PHLS), co-investigator.
  • Investigating SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine Hesitancy in Houston. NIH/Minority Health and Health Disparities. $360,606 (incl. 55% IDC). Ezemenari Obasi (PHLS), PI; Ann Chen (PHLS), co-investigator.
  • Helping Everyone Achieve a Life-time of Health – Future Addiction Scientist Training. National Institute on Drug Abuse. $202,475 (incl. 8% IDC). Ezemenari Obasi (PHLS), Lorraine Reitzel (PHLS), multi-PIs; Ann Chen (PHLS), co-investigator.
  • Peer-Based Approaches to Enhance Physical Activity in Dyads of Inactive Women. University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. $132,270 (incl. 55% IDC). Lorraine Reitzel (PHLS), PI.
  • Developing Research-Based Practices for Coaching in Virtual Environments. University of Texas Austin. $24,500. Samuel Brower (CUIN), PI.


  • SCC-Civic-FA Track B: Artificial-Intelligence-based Decision Support for Equitable and Resilient Food Distribution during Pandemics and Extreme Weather Events. National Science Foundation. $1,000,000 (incl. 55% IDC). Susie Gronseth (CUIN), other.
  • Training Early Career Investigators in Using the FAIR Guiding Principles. National Institutes of Health, University of Mississippi Medical Center. $74,998 (incl. 55% IDC). Susie Gronseth (CUIN), co-PI.
  • Strategies to promote lung health and improve health outcomes among Black/African American current and former cigarette smokers. NIH. $4,529,844 (incl. 55% IDC). Lorraine Reitzel (PHLS), PI; Ezemenari Obasi (PHLS), co-investigator.
  • A research-informed digital fullness scaffolding tool for parents. NIH (NICHD). $155,000. Leslie Frankel (PHLS), PI; Hanjoe Kim (PHLS), co-investigator.
  • Reducing secondhand smoke exposure in African American/Black Public Housing Communities. CPRIT. $229,904 (incl. 5% IDC). Lorraine Reitzel (PHLS), PI.
  • Assessing the Home Literacy Environment: A cross-cultural mixed methods study. Spencer Foundation. $49,962. Miao Li (CUIN), PI; Mimi Lee (CUIN), co-PI; Jorge Gonzalez (PHLS), co-investigator.
  • Extending emotion coaching to early adolescence: Pathways leading to behavior problems. NIH. $155,000 (incl. 55% IDC). Julie Dunsmore (PHLS), PI.
  • Mapping Teachers’ Emotional Literacy Associated with STEM Activities. Spencer Foundation. $49,990. Alberto Rodriguez (CUIN), PI; Julie Dunsmore (PHLS), co-investigator.

Questions about the Dean’s Update? Email and

This is an official message sent by the University of Houston. To verify the validity of this message, email