The University of Houston (UH) invites nominations and applications in the search for the next dean of the Honors College. The Honors College creates a community where motivated students learn and grow together. It provides students the best of both worlds – the personal support and advantages of a small liberal arts college together with the rich resources and diversity of a large metropolitan university. The Honors College offers each student rigorous academic opportunities through the Honors curriculum and an opportunity to be part of a close-knit community by way of informal gatherings, social activities and cultural events.

The University of Houston

Founded in 1927 and currently led by President Renu Khator, the University of Houston is the largest public research university in Houston and the third largest university in Texas offering undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs. Located in Houston’s historic Third Ward and dedicated to serving as an impactful partner within its community, UH is the oldest of the four UHS universities and recognized as an R1 institution by the Carnegie Foundation for its high level of research activity and home to a Phi Beta Kappa chapter. With a University footprint that encompasses its main campus in Houston and significant instructional sites in Katy and Sugar Land that further UH’s learning, research, and community engagement endeavors, the University is home to more than 3,000 tenured, tenure-track, instructional, clinical and research faculty; distinguished faculty members include a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Tony Award winners as well as 20 members of the National Academies of Science and Engineering. As a complement to its traditional academic offerings, UH’s institutional presence also extends well beyond its campuses and into its students’ communities through thriving extended education and online programs.

Emblematic of its commitment to fostering a university environment dedicated to the success of students from diverse backgrounds, UH is proudly designated as a Hispanic-serving Institution (HSI) and Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-serving (AANAPISI) institution. In Fall 2021, UH enrolled more than 47,000 students in more than 275 undergraduate and graduate academic programs with approximately 8,400 students housed in nine residential communities. With more than 445 registered student organizations and 17 NCAA Division 1 intercollegiate sports teams, campus life at UH is vibrant and engaging. UH’s student body ranks second in the nation among research universities for its ethnic diversity, with no majority race on campus, while also being very international in character with students from more than 130 nations. Students choose from 114 majors and more than 150 graduate and professional programs housed in 16 academic colleges and schools and an interdisciplinary Honors College. UH’s programs are nationally recognized, including 17 ranked among the Top 50 in the country.

With more than $203 million in research expenditures in FY 2020, UH’s research enterprise includes eight national research centers, 25 university research centers and institutes, and the newly launched Presidential Frontier Faculty program to hire 100 university-wide integrated interdisciplinary faculty. As an institution that ranks amongst the top 100 global universities for patents, UH fosters a research environment that enables scholars to explore emerging areas and work more effectively with industry, other research organizations, and the community. With this goal in mind, the University has established five interdisciplinary research areas – Cyber and Physical Security, Drug Discovery and Development, Sustainable Communities and Infrastructure, Accessible Health Care, and Energy Security and Transition – creating powerful hubs of creativity where teams of researchers from a wide range of disciplines collaborate across traditional boundaries to bring research knowledge to bear on issues of intellectual, scientific, social, economic, environmental and cultural importance.

Exemplifying its commitment to improving the lives of those it serves, in 2017 UH had an annual economic impact of $6.4 billion on the Greater Houston area – and $7.7 billion on Texas – awards more than 11,000 degrees annually, and has nearly 306,900 alumni, many of whom live and work in Texas. Moreover, UH is a member of the Texas Medical Center, whose member institutions strive to advance patient care, research, and education in Houston and the founding partner of the Houston GPS initiative driven by a coalition of community colleges and universities dedicated to closing equity gaps in student success.

The Honors College

More than 80 gifted, interdisciplinary staff and faculty of the Honors College serve over 2,600 undergraduates with courses and programming designed to keep them engaged throughout their academic experience. The Honors College curriculum is anchored by the Human Situation course, a two-semester first-year experience in which students develop innovative and deep thinking, as well as excellent speaking and writing. The College takes the unusual approach of serving students who can have any undergraduate major in the university. While not a degree-granting unit, the College offers Honors thesis opportunities and hosts curricular programs that focus on law, business, global studies, engineering, health professions, public policy, nursing, philosophy, literary and creative arts, social and political theory, and history. It also provides minors in Medicine and Society, Phronêsis: Politics and Ethics, Creative Work, Energy and Sustainability, Leadership Studies, Data and Society, and Global Engagement and Research, as well as co-curricular programs that engage students in leadership, development, research, and community and international activities. The Honors College also houses the university’s Office of Undergraduate Research and Major Awards, which serves the entire campus community. The college provides an individualized, timely, and catered approach to academic advising. The College is located in the university’s main library in the center of campus and has space in Moody Towers, one of the residence halls. The Honors College Mission and Vision are available on the web at https://www.uh.edu/honors/about/mission-vision/.

UH Strategic Plan – “Together, We Rise. Together, We Soar.”

UH’s bold plan for the future, “Together, We Rise. Together, We Soar” pursues the University’s vision to build a top 50 public university by pursuing five over-arching goals:

  • Goal 1 – Student Success – Provide a top tier, inclusive educational experience to all.
  • Goal 2 – Nationally Competitive Research – Build a research powerhouse that impacts our region and the world.
  • Goal 3 – Social Responsibility – Serve as an exemplar for equitable and inclusive community engagement.
  • Goal 4 – Nationally Relevant Athletics – Build a competitive athletics program.
  • Goal 5 – Competitive Funding – Build a sustainable funding base to support vision and goals.

Houston, Texas

Houston is one of the world’s great global cities, the nation’s fourth largest, and its community is one of the youngest, fastest growing, and most diverse populations in the country with one in four of the region’s 7 million residents being foreign born and where more than 145 languages are spoken. Reflective of its position as the Energy Capital of the World and a hub for global trade, 44 out of 113 U.S. publicly traded oil and gas companies are headquartered here, ranking Houston #3 among U.S. metro areas in Fortune 500 headquarters. In addition, Houston is at the vanguard of the clean energy revolution and continues to grow with the energy transition. Houston is also home to the Texas Medical Center, the largest medical center in the world, over 500 digital technology companies, and an aerospace community that is flourishing because of a close partnership between NASA and private space companies transforming its connection to space exploration.

With an incredibly rich quality of life with winning sports teams, world renowned cuisine, one of the largest collections of top-rated museums and cultural activities in the nation, and a low cost of living in addition to no state income tax—Houston is truly a great place to call home.

Position Summary

Reporting directly to the provost, the dean is the chief executive officer of the Honors College and is responsible for providing the academic leadership and vision necessary for setting strategic, operational and financial directions. This includes strategic planning, personnel hiring and evaluation, student success, academic program development, professional accreditations, interdisciplinary collaborations, building and maintaining partnerships and integrated programming with the other colleges, and fiscal management and efficiency. The dean has overall responsibility for developing an effective, collegial environment that supports excellence in research, teaching and service.

Preferred Qualifications

It is required the successful candidate possesses an earned doctorate or other terminal degree with qualifications that merit appointment at the rank of full professor with tenure in a department at UH. The dean must embrace diversity and foster a climate in which students, faculty and staff from all backgrounds are supported in reaching their full potential. In addition, it is preferred the successful candidate demonstrates:

  • The ability to engage the entire campus community in maintaining the highest standards of academic excellence
  • A commitment to the liberal arts as foundational for undergraduate education
  • A demonstrated appreciation for interdisciplinary curriculum
  • An appreciation for Honors education and the distinctive qualities it brings to the university at large
  • A proven track-record of initiative and creativity in the development of new programs
  • Evidence of successful advocacy to garner support for a robust four-year Honors curriculum across all disciplines
  • Passion and values that embrace a holistic and student-centered approach to education
  • A commitment to preparing students to be critical thinkers and engaged global citizens
  • An appreciation for the mission of UH and the university’s demonstrated commitment to diversity and access 
  • A proven ability to work effectively to secure support in a resource limited environment
  • Experience working with donors and a comfortability with sharing the fundraising vision of the College (in partnership with the Development Director) to external constituents
  • Effective communication skills and the ability to engage all Honors constituents (students, faculty, staff, administrators, and community partners)
  • Commitment to maintaining a professional environment characterized by mutual respect, dialogue, and productive disagreement
  • Experience developing and administering interdisciplinary courses and curricular programs
  • Knowledge of best practices in developing and administering academic programs
  • A vision for the growth and continued success of the Honors College and experience developing and implementing a strategic plan

Application Process

The Search Committee invites letters of nomination, applications (with a letter of interest, a complete CV, and a list of at least five references that includes contact information), or expressions of interest to be submitted to the search firm assisting UH. Review of materials will begin immediately and continue until appointment is made. For full consideration, please submit applications by October 1, 2022. Applications received after this date may be considered at the discretion of the committee and/or hiring authority.

Laurie C. Wilder, President
Porsha L. Williams, Vice President
Jacob C. Anderson, Senior Principal
Parker Executive Search
Five Concourse Parkway, Suite 2875
Atlanta, GA 30328
Tel: (678) 775-4564 || Fax: (770) 804-1917
pwilliams@parkersearch.com || janderson@parkersearch.com

The University of Houston is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.
Minorities, women, veterans and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply.
The University of Houston is responsive to the needs of dual career couples.

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