Dean\'s Update – 11/9/2021
11/09/2021, 08:45:01 PM
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Nov. 9, 2021


During a rehearsal today for the upcoming Navigating Crises webinar, our alumna speaker mentioned the value of collaboration, perseverance and self-care in persisting through uncertain times. Principal Diana Castillo’s words were a good reminder as we head into the crunch time of the semester amid the ongoing pandemic and the recent tragedy at Astroworld.

Making time to decompress amid the demands remains important, whether it’s a walk outside during this stretch of wonderful weather or cheering on the Coogs!

I hope you can join the webinar next week as well as the FEC’s Racial Justice, Equity and Well-being Lecture tomorrow, Nov. 10 at noon.

Onward with thankfulness,

Banner: As President Khator recently tweeted, Cougar football and men’s basketball are ranked simultaneously for the first time since 1973. (Photo from UH Football)


  • Racial Justice, Equity and Well-being Lecture — Wednesday, Nov. 10. Noon – 1:30 p.m. Join via Zoom. Featuring Menah Pratt-Clarke, a professor of education and vice provost for inclusion and diversity at Virginia Tech. Hosted by FEC. Co-sponsored by the COE Committee to Advance Equity, Justice, and Belonging and the UH Racial Equity and Social Justice Committee.
  • Navigating Crises: Tips for Managing Uncertainty — Tuesday, Nov. 16. 6 – 7:30 p.m. RSVP now! Zoom link to follow. Featuring panelists Blake Allan (PHLS), Ruth López (ELPS) and April Peters-Hawkins (ELPS) and spotlighting alumna Diana Castillo. Emceed by Geralyn Stevens (Advancement) and with a mindfulness activity led by Brad Smith (PHLS). Co-sponsored by the UH Alumni Association.
  • Thanksgiving Break — Thursday, Nov. 25 – Friday, Nov. 26
  • Winter Break — Friday, Dec. 24 – Friday, Dec. 31



  • Please complete your mandatory HR trainings by Friday, Nov. 19. The College is striving for completion by Friday, Nov. 12. You can find them via AccessUH under T.A.P. Employee Training.


  • Branded backgrounds for Microsoft Forms: Upgrade your event RSVP forms or surveys with our new UH branded backgrounds. View via the COE intranet under “Office of Communications/Design Templates.” Just duplicate the one you like for easy use.


  • Anitra Wright and Oluwasade Orebiyi will be leaving their academic advisor positions and moving on to new roles. We thank them for their years of service and wish them all the best!
  • Welcome two new advisors! Anna Cadriel joins us after serving as an advisor for four years at Texas State University, where she was also an alum. But she’s ready to eat ’em up as a new Coog! Karen Coker is a Coog alum who comes to us most recently from Lone Star College – North Harris. She also served in the HCC system and brings many years of experience with secondary and post-secondary students in career-related services.
  • Our office will offer group advising opportunities to teaching and learning majors as our new advisors are being trained. Students can find updated advisor contact info here and may email 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


  • Carrie Cutler. “Differentiation through Small-Group Instruction and Learning Centers,” The Bannerker Banner – Maryland Council of Teachers of Mathematics official journal.

Book Chapters

  • Jeannette Alarcón, Jen Chauvot, Susie Gronseth, Carrie Cutler. “An Interdisciplinary approach to collaborative professional development for teacher educators: Number talks as culturally responsive online teaching,” Online Learning in Mathematics Education.

Community Engagement

  • Melissa Gallagher partnered with Children’s Museum Houston to have her preservice teachers design math learning stations to engage visitors.


  • Carrie Cutler presented with two former students on movement-infused math at the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics fall virtual conference.
  • AERA proposal acceptances are rolling in! Stay tuned for the list before the April conference.

Educational Leadership & Policy Studies


  • Tiffany J. Davis. “On Black mattering and (un)framing the preparation of higher education/student affairs administrators,” Journal of Effective Teaching in Higher Education.

Community Engagement

  • Ruth López served as a panelist for Memorial Hermann Health System’s panel for Hispanic Heritage Month for their staff.


  • Dave Louis presented at the virtual Bravely Confronting Racism in Higher Education institute on “Systems of Oppression in Higher Education.”
  • Ruth López conducted a workshop for the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning at UH titled, “Centering Issues of Race, Equity and Social Justice in Teaching.”

Psychological, Health, & Learning Sciences


  • Ann Chen. “Discrimination and PTSD among Latinx immigrant youth: The moderating effects of gender,” Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice and Policy.
  • Ann Chen, Lorraine Reitzel, Ezemenari Obasi. “Did school meal programs and SNAP participation improve US youth’s diet quality? Evidence from NHANES 2013-2014,” Nutrients.
  • Lorraine Reitzel, Ann Chen. “Perceived social support attenuates the association between stress and health-related quality of life among adults experiencing homelessness,” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.
  • Lorraine Reitzel, Ann Chen, Isabel Martinez Leal, Virmarie Correa-Fernández, Ezemenari Obasi. “Organizational factors moderating changes in tobacco use dependence care delivery following a comprehensive tobacco-free workplace intervention in non-profit substance use treatment centers,” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.
  • Hanjoe Kim. “Effects of genetic risk for alcohol dependence and onset of regular drinking on the progression to alcohol dependence: A polygenic risk score approach,” Drug and Alcohol Dependence.


  • HDFS is now a Provisional Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE) approved program. Huge congratulations to Toya Conston and HDFS faculty for their hard work!

Community Engagement

  • Sarah Mire and Milena Keller-Margulis presented on collaborating with your child’s school as part of the Texas Children’s Hospital Autism Center’s Parent Education Series.
  • Sarah Mire presented on cultural responsivity and considerations for evaluations for autism at a Mansfield ISD workshop.


  • Allison Master presented on girls and STEM at the Human Development, Culture, and Learning Sciences Colloquium at the University of Texas.


Keith Butcher

Keith Butcher (ELPS), winner of a 2021 COE Teaching Excellence Award, served as a K-12 teacher, principal and superintendent before taking on his current role as director of the M.Ed. in administration and supervision and principal certification programs.

What makes a great teacher?
I think the best teachers are lifelong learners. It is waking up every single day and thinking, “How can I improve my teaching? How can I improve learning from my students? How can I achieve better results for the students I have the opportunity to teach?”

What is your favorite assignment and subject to teach?
Assignments that cause them to engage with each other and their school. Every single course we have in our program has applied tasks and assignments. This program is not about learning about leadership; it’s doing leadership.

What is a fun fact about yourself that not many people know?
I had the opportunity to perform in “Madame Butterfly” with the West Virginia Symphony as an adult. It was opening night, and my fifth grade teacher was standing by the curtain, watching. I went over to her and said, “It is impossible for me to express the thanks that I have for the difference that you made in my life.” And she just kind of shared, “I always knew that you were going to do great things.”

Read the full Q&A.



  • Welcome to our newest team members! Marianne Burns, research liaison officer, is responsible for pre-award operations and assisting with progress reports for the College. A COE alum, she has been working in research administration since 2009. Kelley Christopher, research administrator, is responsible for post-award operations, primarily with PHLS. She has been working in research administration at UH since 2018.
  • Miranda Jasso, previously of the COE finance team, joined in June as a research administrator responsible for post-award operations, primarily for the Dean’s Office, CUIN and ELPS. They join program manager Kristin Jones, whose responsibilities include overall management of PI monthly reconciliations, data analytics, customer service tracking and more.


  • Health Center for Addictions Research and Cancer Prevention. NIH. $325,401 (incl. 55% IDC). Chakema Carmack (PHLS), NOSI PI (submitted under PI Ezemenari Obasi’s U54 NIMHD-RCMI).
  • Training Early Career Investigators in Using the FAIR Guiding Principles. NIH. $74,998 (incl. 8% IDC). Susie Gronseth (CUIN), co-investigator.
  • Assessing the Simple View of Writing in School-Age Students with ADHD. Woodcock Institute. $15,000. Michael Matta (PHLS), PI.
  • Doctoral Training for Academic and Computer Science Research Careers in Cybersecurity. U.S. Department of Education. $606,792. Cathy Horn (ELPS), Jerome Freiberg (CUIN), co-investigators.


  • Mind the Gap: Facilitating Early Access to Public School Services for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder via Pediatric Primary Care. NIH. $148,276 (incl. 55% IDC). Sarah Mire (PHLS), multi-PI; Hanjoe Kim (PHLS), co-investigator.
  • Sociocultural Determinants of Cervical Cancer Prevention among African American Women in Houston, Texas. NCI. $100,000 (incl. 55% IDC). Chakema Carmack (PHLS), PI.
  • Collaborative Research: STEM Identity - A mixed-methods examination of its development, determinants and impacts across three diverse institutions (STEM3-ID). NSF. $2,500,000 (incl. 55% IDC). Weihua Fan (PHLS), PI.
  • Playgroups For Toddler Health Promotion: A Randomized Control Trial. NIH. $3,336,000 (incl. 55% IDC). Norma Olvera (PHLS), co-investigator.
  • Grandmothers’ role in emotion socialization: Mixed-methods measure development with African American, Appalachian, and Hispanic/Latina grandmothers. NIH. $3,875,165 (incl. 55% IDC). Julie Dunsmore (PHLS), PI; Hanjoe Kim, Norma Olvera (PHLS), co-investigator.
  • NCRED Community Teacher Equity Development Program. Houston Endowment, Inc. $460,000 (incl. 15% IDC). Conra Gist (CUIN), PI.
  • Training Parents to Use Less Nonresponsive Feeding Practices Regardless of Parent Weight Status. NIH. $422,314 (incl. 55% IDC). Leslie Frankel (PHLS), PI; Hanjoe Kim (PHLS), co-investigator.


Meggan Gittens

Undergraduate advisor Megan Gittens, who joined the College in March 2020 as UH switched to remote operations, said she enjoys “being an extra support system for students.”

What is one of the most common questions students ask you?
“What job can I get with this degree?” And it’s not really your degree that’s going to determine your job; it’s the experience you’ve put in, it’s the internships you’ve done. I try to encourage them to look at the job postings of their dreams to see the requirements, so they can work toward that.

What advice do you have for students?
It’s not over until it’s 100% over. There’re always ways to improve; there’re always ways to move forward; and there’re always ways to work hard for what you really want.

What do you do in your spare time?
I’m a freelance makeup artist for events, weddings, birthdays, things like that. I also dabble in photography, trying to perfect my craft. Makeup and photography give me a chance to be creative and dip into my journalistic and media arts background.

Read the full Q&A.

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