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UH System Highlights November 2011

Latha Ramchand

University of Houston


For the third time in five years, the Cyvia and Melvyn Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship at the C. T. Bauer College of Business has been ranked the best of its kind in the nation. The program again is No. 1 on the list of the Top 25 Undergraduate Schools for Entrepreneurs, released by The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine. The program was ranked No. 1 in 2008 and 2010, and No. 2 in 2007 and 2009. Latha Ramchand is the business college dean.


University of Houston - Clear Lake


UHCL received approval for downward expansion from the Texas Legislature in June, which will allow the upper-level university to move forward on plans to add freshman- and sophomore-level courses to its roster.

Adolfo Santos

University of Houston - Downtown


Adolfo Santos, associate professor and social sciences department chair, was named one of 50 faculty members and administrators in the American Council on Education’s (ACE) newest cohort of ACE Fellows, a program known for identifying senior administrators and future provosts and presidents for the country’s universities.

Farhang Niroomand

University of Houston - Victoria


For the sixth consecutive year, the School of Business Administration was named one of the best business schools in the nation by The Princeton Review. The school is featured in the 2012 edition of the company’s book “The Best 294 Business Schools.” Farhang Niroomand is the dean of the school.


University of HoustonThe University of Houston

The Cullen College of Engineering and FMC Technologies are co-recipients of a 2011 World Oil Award. Presented by World Oil magazine, the award recognizes the industry’s leading innovators and innovations that represent the best technological achievements or contributions. The two won the best outreach program honor for the college’s new subsea engineering program.

The department of health and human performance received a four-year, $4.25 million award from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to create an innovative evaluation method that will examine and compare three comprehensive childhood obesity programs as part of the Affordable Care Act: Childhood Obesity Research Demonstration Initiative.

UH will lead a public-private research team that has been awarded $3.1 million by the U.S. Department of Energy to develop a low-cost superconducting wire that could be used to power future wind turbines.


Andrew Cobos (’11) has been honored as an Outstanding Young Houstonian by the Houston Jaycees and Houston Junior Chamber Foundation.

Andre Ware (’96) and former student Fred Couples were inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame.

President Barack Obama has appointed Philip Zelikow (’81) to the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board.


Michael Ahearne, C.T. Bauer Chaired Professor of Marketing, won the American Marketing Association Sales Special Interest Group 2011 Excellence in Research Award for “Energizing the Reseller’s Sales Force: The Power of Brand Identification,” which he co-wrote. The award recognizes a professional selling and/or sales management article published during the previous year that has made a significant contribution to the sales discipline.

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association has named communication sciences and disorders associate professor Stephanie Daniels to its 2011 class of fellows.

Vincent Donnelly, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, is the 2011 recipient of the American Vacuum Society John A. Thorton Memorial Award. The award honors an individual for outstanding research or technological innovation in areas of interest to the organization.

UH Center for Nuclear Receptors and Cell Signaling Director Dr. Jan-Åke Gustafsson received a Grand Silver Medal from the Karolinska Institutet of Stockholm, Sweden. The award is in recognition of Gustafsson’s contributions in support of the institute mission to improve human health through research and education.

Sandra Guerra Thompson, Law Foundation Professor of Law, has been honored as a Texas Primera by the Hispanic National Bar Association for being the first Latina tenured law professor in the state.

W. Robert Houston, Moores Professor in the College of Education, was recognized by the Texas Association of Educators with its Lifetime Achievement Award.

Rex Du, Hurley Professor of Marketing, won the 2011 Best Paper Award at the American Marketing Association’s Advanced Research Techniques forum. The award recognizes the paper “Quantitative Trendspotting,” which he co-wrote.

Roland Glowinski, Cullen Professor of Mathematics, received the 2011 Computational Fluid Dynamics Award from the U.S. Association for Computational Mechanics. The award recognizes outstanding and sustained contributions to the broad field of computational fluid dynamics.

Mat Johnson, associate professor in the creative writing program, has been named the 2011 Dos Passos Prize recipient. The award honors American authors whose mid-career works focus on American themes and the human experience while embracing an experimental approach to literary form.

Law professor Tracy Hester has been named Houston’s Environmental Lawyer of the Year for 2012 in a survey conducted by the publication Best Lawyers in America.

Lyle McKinney, assistant professor of educational psychology, received the 2011 Research Grant Award for his project “Failure to File: Examining the Characteristics of Persistence Rates of Community College Students Who Do Not File a FAFSA” at the Council for the Study of Community Colleges conference.

Health and human performance faculty members Mark Clarke, Charles Layne, Daniel O’Connor, William Paloski and Adam Thrasher were awarded a $1 million NASA grant to study the modulation of muscle function by lower limb loading during space flight. Paloski is the principal investigator. Health and human performance professor Richard Simpson is the principal investigator of another $1 million NASA grant, which will fund the investigation of the effects of long-term exposure to microgravity on salivary markers of innate immunity.

Ronald Turner, Alumnae Law Center Professor of Law, has been selected as a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.

Margit Wiesner, associate professor in educational psychology, has been named Fellow of the American Psychological Association.

James Richardson, professor emeritus of chemical and biomolecular engineering, was honored with an Excellence in Applied Catalysis Award given by the Southwest Catalysis Society.

Earl L. Smith III, dean of the College of Optometry and Greeman-Petty Professor chair, received the Donald Korb Award for Excellence from the contact lens and cornea section of the American Optometric Association. The award is given in recognition of an individual who has been an innovator and leader in the field of contact lenses and anterior segment disease.


Karl Hearne, assistant to the vice president for community relations and institutional access and UH alumnus, is a recipient of the 2011 Houston Mayor’s Citizen’s Accessibility Resources for Empowerment Award. The award recognizes his commitment to overcome physical challenges and for sharing his talents and abilities with the community. During his undergraduate years, Hearne was a three-term president of the UH Disabilities Student Association.


Architecture students from the Graduate Design Build Studio designed and constructed a solar shade tree for McReynolds Middle School. The studio recently earned the Mayor’s Proud Partner Award given by Keep Houston Beautiful. The award honors projects that enhance and beautify the city. Professor Patrick Peters is the studio’s director.

Geraldine Ong received the Audience Favorite Award in the Houston Symphony Ima Hogg National Young Artist Concert competition. Ong also won first prize in the concerto competition of the New Orleans International Piano Festival.

Staci Passe received the Outstanding Paper Award for “Eating Disorder Symptoms, Self-harm and Alcohol Consumption” at the 2011 Houston Symposium for Research in Education and Psychology.

Joon Park won the 2011 Robert J. Wherry Award for the Best Paper at the Industrial Organizational Psychology, Organizational Behavior conference for “Diversity and Team Performance: A Meta-Analysis.”

Katherine Ramos, educational psychology doctoral student, received the Outstanding Poster Award for her presentation, “Development of a New Measure of Helping at Work,” at the 2011 Houston Symposium for Research in Education and Psychology.

Jonathan Tao and Alfonso Hernandez won first prize and second prize, respectively, in the Texas Music Teachers Association Collegiate Young Artist competition state finals.

University of Houston - Clear LakeUniversity of Houston - Clear Lake

The Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities (CADD) has partnered with the University of Texas Health

Sciences Center, Texas Woman’s University and UH to receive a federal Leadership Education in Neurodevelopment and Other Related Disabilities grant. Dorothea Lerman, CADD director and professor of psychology, will serve as a core faculty member and associate director of training on the fiveyear grant.

The Distinguished Alumni Award honorees were Craig A. Cordola, (’98), Bernard Harris Jr., (’99) Stephen K. Jones Jr., (’96) and E. J. (Joe) King, (’77). Nefertari Brown Mundy, (’06, ’09) and Christa English George (’95) were recognized with the Early Achievement Award. Professor of computer science and computer information systems Kwok- Bun Yue was given the Outstanding Professor Award.


Michael Fincke (’01) was one of the six-member crew on the 25th and final mission for the Space Shuttle Endeavour. He holds the current time in space record for a U.S. astronaut.

Sandy Johnson (’82) was awarded the United Way 2010-2011 Chairman’s Award by the United Way of Greater Houston.

Sandra Rasch (’96) was recognized by Cambridge Who’s Who for demonstrating dedication, leadership and excellence in telecommunications and training. She has been employed with AT&T for the past 13 years.

Victor Rodriguez (’91) was appointed police chief of the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County.

James E. Toups Sr., (’79) was appointed to the Board of Pilot Commissioners for Galveston County ports by Gov. Perry.

James Houston Turner (’76) recently had his latest novel, “Department Thirteen,” published.


Associate professor of health care administration Mary Femi Ayadi has been named a Fulbright Scholar. The award is for both teaching and research. Ayadi will lecture at Covenant University in Sango-Ota, Nigeria, from January through August 2012. Her research project will investigate the interdependencies that exist between health care expenditures and economic growth in Nigeria.

George Guillen, executive director of the Environmental Institute of Houston and associate professor of biology and environmental science, received a $71,807 award from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for his proposal, “Estimation of Blue Crab Fishery Bycatch Mortality and Critical Life History Parameters of the Texas Diamondback Terrapin, Malaclemys Terrapin Littoralis.”

Associate professor of computer science and computer information systems Sharon P. Hall and professor of computer science and computer information systems Kwok-Bun Yue were awarded $600,000 by the National Science Foundation for their proposal, “NSF Scholar Program for Computing and Mathematics Majors.”

Professor of accounting Barry Marks, associate professor of accounting Michael Lacina and assistant professor of accounting  aeyoung Shin co-authored “Earnings Benchmarks and the Information Content of Quarterly Foreign Earnings of U.S. Multinational Companies,” which received the American Accounting Association Southwest Region 2011 Distinguished Paper Award.


Andrew Reitberger, director of student life, received a Tournées Festival grant for the 2011-2012 academic year. The grant will fund five French films on campus as part of the festival.


The Zeta Upsilon Chapter of Beta Alpha Psi has been recognized as a Distinguished Chapter by the Beta Alpha Psi board of directors. The chapter was recognized because it excelled in the areas of academics, professionalism and leadership.

Undergraduate students Tracy Furman, Monique Martinez and Natalie McKenney, as well as graduate student Ambericent Cornett, received scholarships from the M.L. Wismer Scholarship Endowment.

University of Houston - DowntownUniversity of Houston - Downtown

UHD-Noyce Mathematics Teacher Scholarship Program received a five-year, $1.08 million award from the National Science Foundation Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program to prepare future secondary school math teachers to work in Houston-area classrooms.

Excelencia in Education, a national nonprofit organization that promotes Latino education with data-driven analysis, named the Scholars Academy as one of eight baccalaureate level finalists in the country for Examples of Excelencia that increase degree completion. The academy is a science, technology, engineering and mathematics educational program.

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board awarded a $260,000 grant to initiate the program Freshman Achievement Communities to Enhance Student Persistence and Success. The university was one of five schools out of 37 applicants to receive the funding.

UHD was named a military friendly school for the second year by G.I. Jobs magazine, placing it among the top 20 percent of colleges and universities nationwide that are doing the most to embrace U.S. military service members and veterans as students.


Ron Beebe, assistant professor of urban education, and alumna Martina Ramos-Rey were named to the National Association for Professional Development Schools’ next team of editors for its flagship journal, School-University Partnerships.

Utpal Bose, associate professor of computer information systems, will have her paper, “An Exploratory Study of Adoption of  information Technology by Small and Medium Businesses,” published in the journal Issues in Information Systems.

Merrilee Cunningham, associate professor of English, was honored by the U.S. Department of State. The department named its creative writing workshop in Bitola, Macedonia, the Merrilee Cunningham Creative Writing Camp in honor of Cunningham’s years of service in creating the camp.

Robin Davidson, associate professor of English, was the featured poet for the ThoughtCrime Poetry Showcase.

Clete Snell, associate professor of criminal justice, was appointed to the Alternatives to Detention Task Force by the Harris County Juvenile Probation Department.

Leigh Van Horn, associate professor, Carol Bedard, associate professor, and Kim Pinkerton, assistant professor, are coeditors of the state journal, English in Texas, which has just received an honorable mention award from the National Council of Teachers of English.


Jose Cantu, director of admissions and recruitment, was elected president of the Houston Hispanic Forum.

Lisa M. Montgomery has been named vice president for student success and enrollment management. Montgomery comes to UHD from Charlotte, N.C., where she served as vice president, enrollment services/student success, for an urban, private liberal arts university.


Nameera Baig, Stan Barskov, Marlyn Davila, Reihana Elsayed, Cassandra Flores, Valerie Jordan, Jimmy Ngo, Wendy Ramirez, Israel Sierra and Sara Wilder received travel awards to attend the 2011 Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science National Conference. They also made individual research poster presentations at the conference.

University of Houston - VictoriaUniversity of Houston - Victoria

GetEducated.com, a national consumer group that rates online college programs, ranked UHV’s Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in computer information systems No. 4 in affordability and the Bachelor of Business Administration No. 6 in affordability.


Eugenia Blomstrom, assistant clinical professor in the School of Nursing, received an Excellence in Nursing Silver Medal in the faculty category from the Good Samaritan Foundation. Bloomberg BusinessWeek honored three business faculty with cash awards.

Jie Yang was recognized for outstanding performance in research, and Jeffrey Radighieri and Stephanie Solansky were given awards for outstanding teaching.


Selected as employees of the month for June and July, respectively, were Ana Laura Pineda, admissions/records analyst in the Office of Admissions and Records and Mary Borden, online support technician in the School of Business Administration.

Dawn Rose, food services director and executive chef at Jaguar Hall, won the Bronze Award at the Aramark southeast region annual conference, based on her performance providing dining services at the residence hall.


The Jaguars softball team was ranked No. 18 in the 2010- 2011 National Fastpitch Coaches Association/National Association of Intercollegiate Athletes All-Academic team rankings with a 3.333 team grade-point average.