Egret nameplate   The magazine of University of Houston-Clear Lake
Spring/Summer 2013 | volume 19 | number 2


Partners in our Success
From Intern to Employee
Learning in the Middle
Donor Honor Roll


Be the Change
Welcoming the Future
From Intern to Employee
Learning in the Middle


For the Record
What's Online
Faculty Bookshelf
Alumni Association
Class Notes



For the Record

  • News Highlights
  • |
  • In Memory
  • |
  • Awards and Appointments
  • |
  • Research and Grants
  • UHCL creates Cyber Security Institute

    Pictured (l to r) are Associate Professor of Computer Science and Computer Information Systems Andrew Yang and School of Science and Computer Engineering Dean Zbigniew Czajkiewicz.

    Pictured (l to r) are Associate Professor of Computer Science and Computer Information Systems Andrew Yang and School of Science and Computer Engineering Dean Zbigniew Czajkiewicz.

    University of Houston-Clear Lake will be doing its part to protect Internet users from the effects of cyber threats through the creation of the Cyber Security Institute. The new institute opened this spring to provide workshops and certification programs for local business owners, manufacturers, government employees, teachers, school administrators and non-profit organizations, as well as opportunities for collaborative research projects with high-tech companies and other colleges and universities in the area.

    “UHCL’s faculty has worked closely with several local groups throughout the years in educational research activities related to cyber security,” says School of Science and Computer Engineering Dean Zbigniew Czajkiewicz.

    Building on these past relationships, Czajkiewicz and Associate Professor of Computer Science and Computer Information Systems Andrew Yang, met with entities such as NASA Johnson Space Center and the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership to create the center. The Cyber Security Institute will serve as a focal point of collaborations with area businesses and organizations in research and development, education and cyber security-related services.

    The institute hosted a day-long Cyber Security Collaboration Forum in April with more than 160 security experts and industry leaders, who discussed and made presentations regarding cyber security issues in government and the private sectors.

    “In addition to the traditional research and education functions, the UHCL Cyber Security Institute will offer free and fee-based services to organizations and companies in the region, including public seminars for small business owners and summer camps for high school and college students,” says Yang, who serves as executive director of the institute.

    Planned activities include cyber security workshops for business owners and managers, certification programs for professionals in the computing and networking fields, advanced cyber security testing for research, and summer camps for high school students.

    “In the future, we’d like to add an undergraduate degree in cyber security through the School of Science and Computer Engineering,” says Czajkiewicz adding that no other university in the area offers a degree in the field of study. “The degree would answer a need by local companies and organizations by providing prepared graduates to secure their company’s cyber systems.”

    $1 million grant awarded for four-year initiative

    Houston Endowment awarded UHCL a $1 million grant for UHCL’s Four-Year Initiative, which will help create new and expanded programs and activities related to the university’s plan to welcome freshmen and sophomores beginning fall 2014. The payments will be presented in two $500,000 increments in March 2013 and 2014. Student services and enrollment management will benefit the most from the award.

    “We are always happy to hear when a grant is funded, but this grant came at a special time in our university’s history making the news even more exciting for us,” says UHCL President William A. Staples. “This grant will allow UHCL to provide the valuable programming and activities necessary to welcome and sustain our new students.”

    The grant proposal requested funds for adding new activities and expanding existing programs in enrollment management and student services. It included academic advising, transition services and tutoring needs. Specifically, the grant explained the need for a centralized academic advising structure to allow for freshman and sophomore students to meet regularly with advisers.

    Components of the transition services include orientation, which is now optional for upper-level students but would be mandatory for first-year students and would include a parent/family program. Other portions of the transition services would be the addition of a mandatory first-year seminar course that provides skills for student success.

    In recent years, Houston Endowment has provided UHCL with a $400,000 grant to expand art audiences and opportunities at the university, and $200,000 for the UHCL Archives and NASA Johnson Space Center History Collection that are housed in the UHCL Alfred R. Neumann Library.

    Faculty and staff honored at award ceremony

    Pictured are award winners (l to r) Terri Culbert, David Benz, Nichole Eslinger and Jerry Jones.

    Pictured are award winners (l To r) Naveed Saleem, Pat Cuchens and Laurie Weaver. Not pictured are Carl Zhang and Paule Anne Lewis.

    Pictured are award winners (l To r) Naveed Saleem, Pat Cuchens and Laurie Weaver. Not pictured are Carl Zhang and Paule Anne Lewis.

    Honoring the hard work of many employees, UHCL recognized the achievements of faculty and staff during the 35th Annual Faculty & Staff Awards Presentation in early April. President William A. Staples, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Carl A. Stockton and Vice President for Administration and Finance Michelle Dotter presented 128 faculty and staff members with service awards.

    In addition to presenting five-, 10-, 15-, 20-, 25- and 30-year service awards, Staples, with the help of Stockton and Dotter, also honored 18 faculty and staff who are retiring or have retired this year.

    “The 18 faculty and staff retirees recognized represent more than 437 years of service to UH-Clear Lake,” noted Staples.

    School of Education Director of Student Relations David Benz received the 2013 Hugh P. Avery Prize – The President’s Distinguished Staff Service Award. Named after a long-time UHCL employee, the award and the Staff Merit Awards are the highest honors that the university can bestow on staff members. Recipients of the 2013 Staff Merit Awards included School of Human Sciences and Humanities Senior Secretary Terri Culbert, Coordinator of Work/Life Services Nichole Eslinger and Director of Technical Services Jerry Jones.

    Staples awarded the President’s Distinguished Service Award to Professor of Bilingual and Multicultural Education Laurie Weaver, while the President’s Distinguished Research Award was presented to Professor of Environmental Science, Environmental Chemistry and Program Chair of Environmental Science Carl Zhang. Professor and Program Coordinator of Management Information Systems Naveed Saleem received the President’s Distinguished Teaching Award. The Outstanding Lecturer Award was presented to Senior Lecturer in Writing Pat Cuchens, while the Outstanding Adjunct Award was presented to School of Business Adjunct Paule Anne Lewis.

    Costumed mascot introduced

    Costumed Hawk  Mascot

    UHCL unveiled its new costumed mascot, the UHCL Hawk, on April 6 at the university’s Chili Cook-Off. “UH-Clear Lake’s Chili Cook-Off is a popular tradition that attracts students, faculty, staff, alumni and area residents, so it offered the perfect opportunity to present the Hawk costumed character to the university community,” says Mascot Leadership Team member and interim Dean of Students David Rachita. UHCL University Police Department officers provided a police escort for the Hawk’s arrival, and students and alumni served as the event’s “flight crew,” guiding the Hawk through its first official appearance. View the Hawk’s arrival at The Hawk was named as the official mascot in 2012 after a five-phase mascot search process that began in 2010.

    University accreditation approved

    The Board of Trustees of the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools voted to reaffirm UHCL’s accreditation in December 2012. The accreditation process required a Compliance Report and led to the creation of a Quality Enhancement Plan. The QEP committee and subcommittees included representatives from UHCL’s faculty, staff and administration.

    Physics for minorities

    UHCL’s School of Science and Computer Engineering physics program was accepted as an American Physical Society Bridge Program Member Institution. The membership invitation was based on the commitment of faculty members of graduating underrepresented minorities from UHCL’s Master of Science in Physics program, which is chaired by Associate Professor of Physics David Garrison.

    Houston’s top social worker is a UHCL professor

    Professor of Social Work Stephen “Arch” Erich

    Professor of Social Work Stephen “Arch” Erich was selected as Social Worker of the Year by the National Social Work Association’s Houston Chapter. The chapter has also nominated Erich for Social Worker of the Year at the state level. Erich is a licensed social worker and teaches ethics, human behavior and practice skills for individuals, families and groups at UHCL. He is also the Bachelor of Social Work program director. He was nominated for the chapter award by UHCL Associate Professor of Psychology and Women’s Studies Kim Case and by community members and students he currently instructs. <<Top

    In Memory

    The UHCL community mourns the passing of Jan Simonds, professor emerita. Simonds joined the university in 1997 and retired in 2007. In addition to teaching at UHCL, she held the titles of director of humanities and division chair for humanities and fine arts. Simonds passed away in April 2013. <<Top

    Awards and Appointments

    • Columbia Scholastic Press Association awarded gold medals to The Signal, UHCL’s student newspaper, for fall 2011 and spring 2012, and the 2012 edition of The Signal Relay. Editors for the award-winning publications were Ashley Smith (fall 2011), Jessica Brossack (spring 2012) and Lakeisha Moore (2012 Relay). Students taking COMM 4565 Media Production produce The Signal and COMM 4536 Magazine Publication students produce The Signal Relay magazine.
    • William Hoston, assistant professor of political science in the School of Human Sciences and Humanities, received the university’s 2012-13 Piper Award nomination for outstanding teaching. Professors are nominated for the award by students, and the final nominee selection is made by the UHCL Piper Award Committee composed of four students and four faculty members. As UHCL’s nominee, Hoston represents the university in the Minnie Stevens Piper Award competition, which honors Texas college and university professors.
    • Professor of Instructional Technology Kathryn Ley, School of Education, will serve as division president of Distance Learning within the Association for Educational Communications and Technology, an international professional association whose activities are directed toward improving instruction through technology.
    • School of Education student Evelyn Aaron and School of Education alumni Jehovanissi “Jo” Solis and Martha Pacheco were named Exceptional Teacher Candidates by the Texas Quest for Quality program. Quest for Quality is the first phase of a three-part program that partners with Texas universities to identify and highlight exceptional students and faculty, exemplary instructional and programmatic practices, and applicable research.
    • Interim Associate Dean for the School of Education and Professor of Reading and Language Arts Kathryn Matthew was named as a 2014 Odyssey Award Committee Member. The Odyssey Award is presented to the producer of the most notable audiobook recorded in the United States each year for children birth to age 18.
    • Emeritus Associate Professor of Literacy, Language and Library Science Maureen White, School of Education, was named chair of the 2014 Mildred Batchelder Award Committee. The committee selects the most outstanding translated children’s book published each year in the United States. <<Top

    Research and Grants

    • The National Science Foundation awarded $1,117,769 to co-principals Thomas Fox, program chair of mathematics and associate professor of mathematics education for the School of Science and Computer Engineering, and Jana Willis, associate professor of instructional technology and curriculum and instruction for the School of Education. The grant, based on their proposal “Robert Noyce Program in Mathematics at the University of Houston-Clear Lake,” is for a five-year scholarship program that will capitalize on local resources and programs while allowing UHCL to provide academic and financial support for 15 future secondary mathematics teachers.
    • School of Education doctoral student Sundie Dahlkamp was awarded a Public School Research Scholars Program grant by the Center for Research, Evaluation and Advancement of Teacher Education, a consortium of four Texas universities dedicated to exploring quality and effectiveness issues related to teacher preparation, retention and student achievement. Dahlkamp’s dissertation research explores “Principal Efficacy and School Climate – A Recipe for Retention.” She received a Master of Science in Educational Management from UHCL in 2007 and is now pursuing a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership.
    • The School of Education has received a $200,000 Texas Teacher Quality grant from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to fund an additional year of the UHCL Mathematics Institute. The funding extends the current grant through May 2014 and will be used to enhance teaching techniques among 16 middle school teachers within the Goose Creek Consolidated, Dickinson, and Pasadena Independent School Districts. The focus is on teaching fifth- through eighth-grade algebraic critical thinking skills. The Mathematics Institute, under the guidance of UHCL Associate Professor of Curriculum and Instruction Sue Brown, has been continuously renewed since 1995. Previous grants have included teaching techniques for such topics as fractions, probability, geometry and measurement. <<Top

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    Last Updated: June 2013
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