Dean\'s Update – 8/15/2023
08/15/2023, 03:00:01 PM
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Dean's Update: Information for Faculty and Staff: Image of three women at the graduate student orientation

Aug. 15, 2023


All — I hope you’re feeling the fall semester excitement too! Over the summer, I had the privilege of welcoming our new undergraduate and graduate students at the college-wide orientation events. Across all opportunities, I was reminded of three important realities. First, our students are amazing — their strengths, hopes, and the difference they want to make. Second, the team of staff and faculty who work tirelessly to set up our students for success — your generosity of time and talent is deeply appreciated. Finally, I’m grateful to be part of a community collectively committed to our mission to lead and inspire generative transformations for an increasingly diverse world.

I’m ready to keep the momentum going at our COE Breakfast this Friday at 8:30 a.m. We’ll celebrate our new hires, strengthen connections, set annual priorities, and honor our service, staff, teaching, and research award winners; see the list below, and join me in wishing them an early congratulations!


Banner caption: The graduate student success team (from left: Britney Womble, Tiffany J. Davis and Bernice Roberts) shared important advice with new students at orientation Saturday.


  • COE Breakfast Friday, Aug. 18. 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. UH Hilton – Waldorf Astoria Ballroom (second floor). Please RSVP if you have not already. And wear your Cougar red!
  • Fall Kickoff Activities — Please encourage students to stop by! And faculty and staff are encouraged to greet students and take some back-to-school pics for social media too!
    • Monday, Aug. 21: Swag and Selfies. 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. (ice cream: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.). Farish Hall, first floor foyer.
    • Tuesday, Aug. 22: Swag and Selfies. 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. (ice cream: 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.). Farish Hall, first floor foyer.
    • Week of Aug. 28: Social Media Scavenger Hunt. Follow @UHCOE on Instagram for details.
    • Wednesday, Sept. 6: Evening Snack Break. 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Dean’s Suite.
    • Thursday, Sept. 7: Evening Snack Break. 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Dean’s Suite.
  • Labor Day (UH closed) — Monday, Sept. 4
  • Save the Date: COE “Perspectives” Event – Wednesday, Oct. 25. 3 to 4:30 p.m. On campus. Learn from the diverse experiences and expertise of our students, faculty, staff and alumni.

Starting Strong at Graduate Student Orientation

Group of several faculty members at the graduate student orientation

Thank you to the program representatives who attended! Back row (from left): Sam Brower (CUIN), Detra Johnson (ELPS), Travis Weiland (CUIN), Erica Jordan (PHLS), Jacquie Hawkins (ELPS), Vincent Carales (ELPS); middle: Xin Li (CUIN), Jie Zhang (CUIN), Kara Hurt (PHLS), Rachael Whitaker (PHLS), Margaret Hale (CUIN); front: Sheng Chung (CUIN), Keith Butcher (ELPS), Mikel Cole (CUIN), Dave Louis (ELPS).



  • The College of Education Alumni Association has relaunched! We welcome employee alums and encourage everyone to invite former students to join an Alumni Association committee. Kudos to Geralyn Stevens for overseeing the effort! Plus, check out photos from the relaunch event on MyCOE.

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

  • At the COE Breakfast on Friday, we’ll welcome our seven newest faculty members, as well as the 20 employees who have joined us since last August. Hope to see you all there! 
    • Reminder: COE New Faculty Orientation — Wednesday, Aug. 16. 9:30 a.m. to noon. Farish Hall, KIVA (1st floor). 
  • Also at the Breakfast, hear from FEC Chair Bradley Davis and CITE Director Tim Rosas, who will discuss the relaunch of the COE Staff Council. 
  • Faculty: Updated timelines for the 2023-24 P&T review process (tenure track) and promotion process (non-tenure track) have been posted on the COE Policies & Procedures webpage

Associate Dean for Student Equity, Belonging, and Success

  • Student Success Celebrations  
    • A huge kudos to the Undergraduate Student Success Team for serving over 700 students at orientations this summer! Your commitment to supporting students from day one to graduation is difference-making to students and their families. Thank you!
  • Staff Updates
    • We are excited to welcome two new undergraduate student success advisors! Health advisor Alex Vela joins us from the College of Health Care Professions, where she served as a career counselor and student ambassador manager. Teacher Education advisor Wendy Berrios brings a wealth of experience as a college and career readiness counselor for Houston ISD.   
  • Faculty Reminders
    • All Faculty: Please access the fall 2023 syllabus template that contains both required and recommended language: Syllabus - F2F or Hyflex (100% synchronous); Syllabus - Hybrid or Online (50-100% of class sessions are asynchronous).
    • Graduate Program Leads: Every graduate program should have an updated handbook for 2023-24 on file with the Office of Graduate Studies no later than Aug. 31 (ideally Aug. 15).


  • If you regularly use SPSS/AMOS or SAS (PC only), please see Daniel Pineda’s Aug. 12 email about identifying your operating system and how to request additional licenses.
  • Please register your SharePoint sites with our CITE team to limit duplication, ensure the security and continuity of content, and allow for better support.


  • Find letterhead and templates for PowerPoints, certificates and MS Forms on the MyCOE Intranet. See the College Quick Links section/ Shared Files tile / Communications folder. Please read the guidance documents first.
  • Please have students sign photo release and FERPA forms. Find guidance and forms on MyCOE (College Quick Links / Shared Files / Communications). For professors who plan to post regularly on social media, ask students to fill out both forms each semester.

Welcome to Our New Faculty!

Pictured (top row, from left): Bernadette M. Castillo (CUIN); Heather Dulas (ELPS), Elizabeth Jelsma (PHLS); bottom: Joanna Batt (CUIN), Xin Li (CUIN), Michael Matta (PHLS), Tairan Qiu (CUIN). Learn more about them in our Q&A.  

Pictures of UH College of Education New Faculty for 2023


Editor’s note: Reporting will resume in September.


  • Check out the latest media clips, most recently featuring Duncan Klussmann (ELPS), Jorge Gonzalez (PHLS), Margaret Hale (CUIN) and Leslie Frankel (PHLS).




  • Agenda Setting for Systems Transformation: Applying Lessons Learned from the Handbook of Research on Teachers of Color and Indigenous Teachers in Policy and Practice. New Venture Fund. $200,000 (incl. 15% IDC). Conra Gist (CUIN), PI.
  • A Team-Based Model for Co-Adapting Existing Middle School Science Curricula for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners. NSF. $1,906,352 (incl. 55% IDC). Jie Zhang (CUIN), PI; Sissy Wong (CUIN), Alberto J. Rodriguez (CUIN), co-PIs.


  • Supplement For Region 14 Comprehensive Centers Program. Westat. $100,000 (incl. 8% IDC). Anne McClellan (ACES), PI.
  • Understanding Refugee Health Disparities and Breast Cancer Risk Through a Psychological, Behavioral, and Biochemical Lens. NSF. $3,761,727 (incl. 55% IDC). Ann Chen (PHLS), Ezemenari Obasi (PHLS), other.
  • Grandmothers’ Role in Emotion Socialization: Mixed-Methods Measure Development with African American, Appalachian, and Mexican American Grandmothers. NIH. $3,856,209 (incl. 55% IDC). Julie Dunsmore (PHLS), PI; Norma Olvera (PHLS), Margit Wiesner (PHLS), co-investigators.
  • Playgroups for Toddler Health Promotion: A Randomized Control Trial. NIH. $3,215,346 (incl. 55% IDC). Norma Olvera (PHLS), Margit Wiesner (PHLS), co-investigators.
  • Firefighter Virtual Reality Training. Gforce Animation. $82,411. Laveria Hutchison (CUIN), co-PI.


Staff Awards

Staff Excellence Award
Kaitlyn “Katie” Dempsey (CUIN); Daniel Pineda (CITE)

Staff Distinguished Service Award
Velvette Laurence (CITE)

Faculty Awards

Teaching Excellence Award
Bulent Dogan (CUIN); Alberto J. Rodriguez (CUIN)

Faculty Research Excellence Award 
Allison Master (PHLS); Sissy Wong (CUIN)

Collaborative Research Excellence Award 
Jie Zhang (CUIN); Yali Zou (ELPS/AASC)

Service Awards

Five Years
Jeannette Alarcón (CUIN); Kaitlyn “Katie” Dempsey (CUIN); Haley Ford (CUIN); Conra Gist (CUIN); Detra Johnson (ELPS); Duncan Klussmann (ELPS); Jungeun “Jay” Lee (PHLS); Roberth Peralta (CITE); Nancy Reis (CUIN)

10 Years
Chakema Carmack (PHLS); Leslie Frankel (PHLS); Tracy Markovich (Dean’s Office); Brad Smith (PHLS); Nathan Grant Smith (PHLS); Britney Womble (Student Success)

15 Years
Kevin Pham (CITE)

20 Years
Michael Ahlf (CITE); Timothy “Tim” Rosas (CITE)

25 Years
Bernice Roberts (Student Success)

50 Years
H. Jerome “Jerry” Freiberg (CUIN)

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