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UHD Fine Arts Alumna Becomes Associate Professor and  Co-Authors Book Chapter

Dr. Becky Black, a UHD Fine Arts alumna and now associate professor at Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, recently published a co-written chapter with co-author Chelsea Shannon titled “Critical Digital Making and Public Pedagogy: Student-Institution Collaboration through Exhibition Making on Google Arts and Culture” in an edited book "Critical Digital Making in Art Education", edited by Aaron D. Knochel, Christina Liao, and Ryan M. Patton.

This chapter features a project she created with her ART 1310 Intro to Visual Arts students in collaboration with the MFAH and Google Arts and Culture while she was teaching as an adjunct faculty member at UHD, prior to earning her Ph.D.  Read the chapter abstract.   She also co-authored a case-study in my co-edited book, Socially Engaged Art History and Beyond that features this project. 

"Voter Engagement in the Design Classroom

Professor Natacha Poggio submitted two posters from her ART 2302 Graphic Design ll class.  Projects created by Taalir Lollis and Maia Revells, respectively a junior and a senior in the Fine Arts program, have been accepted and will be shared at the national event happening October 23, 2020 from Noon to 1:30 pm CST.   Zoom link to this event will be available soon.

This event is sponsored by Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis and the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences at Cleveland State University.  The organizers are hosting a virtual event to contribute to the national collective energy around encouraging college students to vote in the 2020 election. The event, aimed at students participating in voting-themed projects this fall, will give them an opportunity to share their voting and civic engagement creative work with a vast network of peers across the country. This event is a means to draw attention to the collective power of students and stoke enthusiasm for participating in the 2020 election. The event is also an opportunity for faculty who develop civic engagement projects to connect for future support and collaboration.

Play Your Hand Cast Your Vote poster
Maia Revells
vote in different languages with mix and match face parts
 Taalir Lollis

Student Alfredo Maldonado Presents Paper on "Impact of Covid-19 in the MENA Region"

Alfredo MaldonadoUHD student Alfredo Maldanado joined Dr. Leena Thacker-Kumar in presenting a paper on class conducted research for Political Science 4326. The presentation focused on examining the short and long-term impact of COVID 19 on countries in the Middle East and North Africa Region (MENA), most of which are plagued by fragile health care systems, failing economies, and political turmoil. In addition to further exposing and increasing the fragility of the health system, COVID19 has also been a catalyst for increase in State Control, further divisions in society between haves and have-nots, pulling out of U.S. military, and a rise in opportunities for Terrorist organizations to increase and consolidate their power. The presentation further highlighted that the impact of COVID 19, on MENA, is likely to last long after the immediate threat of the virus has been mitigated. The long- term impacts include monopolization of power by the States, increase in power by non-state actors like the terrorist organizations, and a resetting of priorities by larger powers (like the US) with reduced involvement in MENA.


2020-21 CHSS Promotion and Tenure Celebration 

CHSS faculty holding awards 

From left to right: Katharine Jager, Chuck Jackson, Godwin Agboka, Windy Lawrence, Ashley Archiopoli, Elizabeth Hatfield, Stephanie Coleman, Lucas Logan, Kit Cho, Felicia Harris.​
UHD’s Leena Thacker-Kumar Receives International Affairs Fellowship from the Council on Foreign Relations

Dr. Leena Thacker-KumarDr. Leena Thacker Kumar, University of Houston-Downtown Professor of International Politics, has received the International Affairs Fellowship for Tenured International Relations Scholars from the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). This award facilitates practical experience in the foreign policy-making field, providing a 12-month placement at a U.S. federal government agency or with an international organization.​

Thacker-Kumar, the first UHD faculty member to earn this prestigious fellowship, will spend a year working with the Center for Conflict and Violence Prevention within the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

The Fellowship will directly complement here ongoing scholarly activities including recent research efforts addressing COVID-19's impact and subsequent governance issues on fragile nations in the Middle East.  Read more about Dr. Thacker-Kumar's Fellowship

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Graphic Design Professor, Natacha Poggio in the News 

Climaton UNAM 2021 Mentoring
Natacha Poggio is a mentor in Climaton UNAM 2021 organized by the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM is the largest public university in Mexico and one of the largest universities in Latin America). The Climathon seeks innovative and socially impactful solutions to climate change issues to strengthen a sustainable and resilient Mexico. This call invites collaborative work between young people and experts, activists, community organizations, NGOs, and academics.​

Natacha Poggio Inteview with Diseño y Diáspora
Natacha Poggio was interviewed by Diseño y Diáspora, the most popular podcast on social design for the Spanish and Portuguese speaking community with 10,000+ listeners per month. Natacha is a graphic design assistant professor at the University of Houston-Downtown. ​In the interview, she spoke about how design is used to communicate scientific results on climate change, and the importance of today’s medical discoveries dependent on a healthy planet, therefore the urgency to protect marine and land ecosystems.​ Diseño y Diáspora publishes interviews with selected professionals working in the field of design, mostly in the area of social innovation but also covering the contribution of design to education, development, health, sustainability, security, and public administration. This podcast connects designers in the Spanish and Portuguese diaspora interested in social change, while speaking and understanding the same languages, yet living in different parts of the world.  Listen to the podcast (this podcast is in Spanish)​

AIGA Worldstudio Scholarships
Natacha Poggio was invited as a Juror for the prestigious AIGA Worldstudio Scholarships​ (Graphic Design Category) for college and graduate students in the Arts. These scholarships benefit underrepresented and economically disadvantaged students who are studying photography, illustration, and design disciplines in colleges and universities in the United States. Scholarships are awarded annually to encourage social and environmental responsibility and cultural awareness in the next generation of artists and designers. Scholarship recipients are selected not only for their talent and their need but also for their demonstrated commitment to giving back to the larger community through their work. ​

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Dr. Hank RoubicekThe Professor Emeritus—the highest recognition for a retired faculty member—is being honored by fellow colleagues and former students through the Dr. Hank Roubicek Scholarship Endowment in Communication Studies with the hope to recruit future students to the communications program at UHD​. Read More About Dr. Roubicek​​

Houston Newsmakers interview with Jonathan Chism
Dr. Jonathan Chism, Center for Critical Race Studies and Assistant professor on History interviewed on Dr Jonathan ChismWatch the interview

Drs. Katrina Rufino and Danya Serrano Awarded Grant from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Drs. Katrina Rufino and Danya Serrano, Associate and Assistant Professor of Psychology, received a grant award from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Their project will increase relationships between community and campus mental health providers; provide students, faculty, and staff with suicide training; offer mental health, substance use, and sleep screenings across campus; enhance student awareness of mental health resources; reduce mental health stigma; and provide evidence-based mental health services.

Daniel Peña Contributes to Anthology “There’s a Revolution Outside, My Love”

There's A Revolution Outside, My Love book coverhe shared experiences of surviving through troubled times has connected people from all walks of life, and it has only been within the past few months that many have been able to catch their breaths. The new book “There’s a Revolution Outside, My Love,” spotlights the visceral responses to the events of 2020 and 2021 (in particular the tragedy surrounding the late George Floyd) through essays and poems from a collection of writers, including the University of Houston-Downtown's Daniel Peña.

Peña, UHD Assistant Professor of English, contributed the essay “Letter from Houston: Let These Protests Shine a Light on America.” He was among the thousands of Houstonians (and UHD Community members) who took to the streets of Downtown Houston to protest violence against people of color following the death of Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers. Read more about Dr. Peña's contribution.

Dr. Jonathan Chism and Dr. Darius Benton Contribute to NBC News Article on Trump's Influence on Critical Race Studies in Schools

Dr. Jonathan Chism and Dr. Darius Benton.Associate Professor Jonathan Chism and Assistant Professor Darius Benton contribute to NBC new article about Trump's influence on Critical Races studies in schools. Read the NBC article.

Dr. Robin Davidson Take First Place in International Poetry Contest

Dr. Robin Davidson The winning poem in the 2020 International Poetry Competition “A Spell for Becoming Lace” was written by the University of Houston-Downtown's very own Dr. Robin Davidson, Professor Emeritus of English. Winners were recently announced, and Davidson’s first place work will be published in an upcoming edition of the journal. 
“A Spell for Becoming Lace” was applauded by competition judge and poet Lee Ann Roripaugh as “a poem that sings a song of acquiescence and resistance, of dissolution and perdurability in the face of natural disaster.

”A Spell for Becoming Lace” was written last year as Davidson, like most Americans, found herself homebound during the pandemic. While COVID-19 put the brakes on many activities across the nation, artists like Davidson remained particularly productive.
Read more about Dr. Davidson's award.

Dr. Kristin Anderson Publishes Third Book on Social Progress

Dr. Kristin Anderson's bookDr. Kristin Anderson, Professor of Psychology, has published her third book, Enraged, Rattled, and Wronged: Entitlement's Response to Social Progress. This timely, Oxford University Press publication argues that entitlement is a persistent impediment to social progress. The book endeavors to confront psychological entitlement in its many forms or related attributes -- such as narcissism -- to expose the ugly truths at the heart of this phenomenon. It addresses questions such as: What happens to entitled people when they feel pushed aside? How does their inflated sense of deservingness make them vulnerable to manipulation by the demagogues who use them, blinding them to the negative outcomes that are often paradoxical? What are they willing to tear down as they scramble to keep their grip on the status and power they believe are rightfully theirs? How has entitled resentment played out historically, and how do these events lend themselves to both the predictable and unpredictable manifestations of power grabs that we see now? This historically informed book sheds important insights into our present political landscape in America. Order Dr. Anderson's book from Oxford University Press

CHSS Professors Co-Edit Critical Race Studies Across the Disciplines

Book coverThis publication features essays by Black and Africana scholactivists from disciplines such as history, literature, education, religion, and psychology, this text accentuates the expansion of critical race theory beyond legal studies. It posits that scholar-activism or scholactivism, a firm commitment to liberation and social justice, is a central thread that unifies critical race studies scholars across disciplines. Co-edited by CHSS professors: Dr. Jonathan Chism, Dr. Stacie Craft DeFreitas, Dr. Vida Robertson, and Dr. David Ryden. Available April 2021.  Preorder from

Dr. Stacie DeFreitas Earns "2021 Most Promising New Textbook' Award

Interim Associate Dean, Dr. Stacie DeFreit​as earns "2021 Most Promising New Textbook" Award from Textbook and Academic Authors Association (TAA). Dr. DeFreitas' publication is one of nine textbooks received Textbook Excellence Awards, and ten textbooks received Most Promising New Textbook Awards. See the full listing on the TAA siteDr. Stacie DeFreitas

Dr. Daniel Peña Article Published in The New York Times

Daniel Peña, Assistant Professor of English, describes in the latest issue of the New York Times Magazine the therapeutic virtues of cycling. He writes, "Pedaling felt like a celebration of kinetic energy, of blood, cartilage and bone. A reminder that my body was still healthy and functioning despite the pandemic." When not riding his bike or publishing fiction, Mr. Pena teaches a range of courses in Creative Writing at UHD. Read Dr. Peña's New York Times Article, The Joys of Biking at Night.

Assistant Dean, Crystal Guillory Name President of Humanities Education and Associate Research

Photo of Assistant Dean Crystal GuilloryCHSS Assistant Dean, Crystal Guillory has been named Humanities Education and Association Research (HERA). Cultural Divides: Bridging Gaps and Making Connections" will be held this week March 4-6, 2021. More on HERA conference

Dr. Peter Li Publishes book on Animal Welfare in China

Dr. Peter Li book Animal Welfare in China Psychology Today declares Dr. Peter Li's new book offers very unique, timely, and much-needed perspectives. "In the last three decades, animal cruelty in China has attracted much international attention. Several factors may have contributed to this growing attention on the well-being of nonhuman individuals in China. First, it is China's openness to the outside world." - Dr. Peter Li. 

Read Dr. Li's the interview with Psychology Today's Mark Bekoff.
Animal Welfare in China book.

Dr. Antoinette Wilson Publishes New Study in the Journal of Black Psychology

Dr. Antoinette Wilson Her article “How Variations in Behavior and Phenotype Affect In-Group Stereotyping and Belonging Among African American Adolescents and Emerging Adults” featured insights gained from research conducted among 40 Black high school students and 42 Black college students. “This paper looks at how Black people who vary in typicality, in both their behavior and phenotype, ... are perceived by others within their in-group,” said Wilson, Assistant Professor of Psychology and a Fellow in UHD’s Center for Critical Race Studies. Read more about Dr. Wilson's publication.

Dr. Jager's New Book Explored Vernacular Aesthetics in Middle English

Dr. Katharine Jager Dr. Katharine Jager's new book, "“Vernacular Aesthetics in the Later Middle Ages: Politics, Performativity, and Reception From Literature to Music,” was recently published by Palgrave Macmillan for its New Middle Ages Series. Even though it’s her first book, over the years Jager’s poems and essays have appeared in various volumes, anthologies and journals. Per the publisher’s website, the book “explores the formal composition, public performance, and popular reception of vernacular poetry, music and prose within late medieval French and English cultures through a collection of essays…” Read more about Dr. Jager's publication.

Dr. Robin Davidson Translates a Book for Polish Poems

Dr. Robin Davidson recently completed a translation of a book of poems by Polish poet, Ewa Lipska, Dear Ms. Schubert (Princeton University Press Lockert Library of Poetry Translation).  Dear Ms. Schubert was listed in a recent issue of The New York Times as recommended reading in the “At Home” section under “Read Beyond Your Borders”. Read the New York Times Review. Davidson, an esteemed poet herself, has again collaborated with poet Ewa Elżbieta Nowakowska to translate a recent collection of Lipska’s poems for a new book, “Dear Ms. Schubert” (Princeton University Press). Davidson and Nowakowska have translated Lipska’s series of poetic postcards sent to the title character Ms. Schubert from an enigmatic Mr. Schmetterling (or “Mr. Butterfly”). Read more about Dr. Davidson and "Dear Mrs. Schubert".

Dr. Peter Li Interviewed by BBC on China's Wildlife Policy

Dr. Peter being interviewed on BBC World newos UHD’s Associate Professor of Political Science, Dr. Peter Li, was recently interviewed by the BBC World News on the Covid pandemic and China's wildlife policy. Dr. Li is one of a handful of American-based political science and legal scholars who study animal law, policymaking, and their impact on today's globalized society. His recent commentaries and interviews have appeared in many national and international media outlets, including CNN, MSNBC, C-SPAN, FoxNews, China National CCTV, Channel News Asia (Singapore), National Geographic, Independent, the Guardian, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the South China Morning Post, and others. Dr. Li has also commented on U.S. policy towards North Korea and China's military policy in Houston area outlets. Most recently, on October 29, Dr. Li appeared on Singapore’s News Asia to discuss China’s 19th Party Congress.

Professor Natacha Poggio Interviewed by Design Future Now!

Professor Natacha PoggioProfessor Natacha Poggio was interviewed on Instagram Live by AIGA (the Professional Association for Design).  In this interview, Professor Poggio discusses her involvement with AIGA Unidos and the Hispanic Heritage Talks which she has been co-organizing and facilitating. She also discussed the university, UHD students and the role of design in communication.

Listen to the Interview with Professor Poggio

Dr. Felicia Harris Examines "Black Panther" Antagonist in Journal Article

Dr. Felicia HarrisHarris explores Killmonger’s plight in her article and sheds light on how the film’s Afrofuturism (a literary or cinematic vision of a technologically advanced Black society filled with hope and freedom) is solely extended to African characters. The sole Black American character (Killmonger) is excluded from this world.

Read more on Dr. Harris' Article

Dr. Susan Henney Interviewed on KHOU

Dr. Susan HenneyDr. Susan Henney, Professor of Psychology, was interviewed on KHOU regarding Thanksgiving during the “new normal.”  View the interview on KHOU.

Dr. William Flores

Dr. BIll FloresDr. William Flores, Professor of Political Science, was interviewed by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education. Read the article on Diverse Education's website.

Dr. Gene Preuss

Dr. Susan HenneyUHD Associate Professor of History Dr. Gene Preuss was interviewed by KHOU regarding the historical significance of the 2020 election.

UHD’s Dr. Gene Preuss was featured on Fox 26's Isiah Factor on Nov. 6 discussing the presidential election. View the discussion on Fox 26.

Dr. Vida Robertson on Houston Matters and Interview with The Houston Chronicle

Dr. Vida RobertsonDr. Vida Robertson, Director of the college’s Center for Critical Race Studies, participated on a panel hosted by KUHF’s Houston Matters. He discussed important figures in American history worthy of memorializing in public statues in light of their positive influence on U.S. Society. He pointed out that our monuments and memorials are a vehicle of projecting to future generations our present-day aspirations. He underscored how women, in particular, have been woefully under-represented in public installations. He also reflected upon the importance of people who were prominent in the struggle for equal rights. Listen to the Interview

Dr. Vida Robertson, Director of the Center for Critical Race Studies, was interviewed about Kamala Harris by The Houston Chronicle. Read the Interview with Dr. Robertson

Dr. Creshema Murray Interviews and Involvement - Summer and Fall 2020

Dr. Murray was interviewed on KHOU about Kamala Harris become the first woman and first person of color elected Vice President.  View the interview on KHOU.

Dr. Creshema Murray and Dr. Gene Preuss where panelists on Fox26's Isiah Factor discussing the Election 2020. View the panel discussion on Fox26.

Dr. Creshema Murray, a founding Center for Critical Race Studies Fellow and Associate Professor of Communication Studies, was recently interviewed by Houston ABC affiliate, Channel 13. Dr. Murray spoke on how film can be used as a medium for unpacking and rooting-out systematic racism. Her edited book, Leadership through the Lens: Interrogating Production, Presentation, and Power (Lexington, 2017), explores how leadership and social biases are implanted by the media and the entertainment industry.   Dr. Murray's Interview on ABC13

Dr. Murray is interviewed by Fox26.  In this interview Dr. Murray helps identify how to know when your workplace is toxic.  Does working from home impact this situation?  Watch the Interview on Fox26

Dr. Murray appears on Fox26's Isiah Factor to address Chicago protests. Watch the Interview on Fox26

NPR Town Square
Dr. Creshema Murray spoke on NPR Town Square on Sept. 28th to delve into the Breonna Taylor case and the ongoing scrutiny of justice in cases of police violence against Black Americans.  Listen to the NPR Town Square Meeting

Breckinridge Film Festival Panel
Dr. Creshema Murray spoke on a Breckinridge Film Festival panel, Racism Through the Lens: The Value of Media in Addressing Racial Justice, on September 19th. Panelists examined how film portrays the Black experience, and discussed the pros & cons of different types of films in the fight for racial justice. 
Read more about the Breckinridge Film Festival Panel.

Dr. David Branham Joins Panel Discussion News Items on Houston Matters and is Interviewed on Fox26's "The Isiah Factor"

Dr. David Branham

Dr. David Branham a panel of "The Good, the Bad and The Ugly" Houston News broadcast on Houston Public Radio on Nov. 6. Listen to the broadcast.

Dr. David Branham, Professor of Political Science, was interviewed on FOX26’s “The Isiah Factor” regarding Kamala Harris at the Democratic Convention.  Watch the Interview on Fox26

Dr. Branham participates in a panel discucsion on election night results for Texas on Nov. 4th on Fox 26. View the discuss​ion of Fox 26
View another segment of this interview.

Dr. David Branham joins a panel of non-experts as they discuss topics from the week of August 14, 2020.   Listen to the Broadcast

Dr. Kristin Anderson Interviewed by the Houston Chronicle

Dr. Kristin AndersonProfessor of Psychology Dr. Kristin Anderson was interviewed by the Houston Chronicle about the Houston police oversight board.

Listen to the Broadcast

Dr. Michael Lemke Interviewed on ABC13

Dr. Michael LemkeAssistant Professor of Health & Human Behavior Michael Lemke was interviewed on ABC13 regarding COVID-19’s impact on truck drivers.
Watch the Interview on ABC13

Dr. Lemke was also interviewed on Land Line on the impact of Covid-19 on truck drivers.  

Watch Dr. Lemke's interview on Covid-19 and its impact on truck drivers on Fox 26's Isiah Factor.

Dr. Daniel Peña's Novel "Bang" Among the Best Books on Texas

Daniel Peña with necktieDr. Daniel Peña's novel "Bang" (2018) was listed as one of the best books about Texas from the Houston Chronicle's list of the Best Books about Texas

Assistant Dean, Crystal Guillory Interviewed by CapSource

Photo of Assistant Dean Crystal Guillory
"Regardless of the service-project, I see students first hand develop a strong ability to network, speak publicly, write professional proposals, remain organized, collaborate with others, and work within a team."  

Read the interview with CapStone.


CHSS' M.A. in Nonprofit Management Ranked No. 4 in the U.S. and No. 1 in Texas

Beyond COVID-19, however, nonprofits support citizens in a variety of areas. Through effective leadership, these organizations often deliver essential services not offered by government agencies. Credit the University of Houston-Downtown’s Master of Arts in Nonprofit Management Program (MNPM) for preparing those leaders who guide these organizations in meeting the needs of the public. In a short time, the online program (based within UHD’s Department of Social Sciences) has emerged as the region’s leader in grooming nonprofit professionals. According to recent rankings from Best Value Schools, this graduate program is No. 4 in the U.S. and is Texas’ top nonprofit management program. Read more about this recognition.
Learn more about the M.A. in Nonprofit Management Graduate Program

"We Can't Breathe: The Black Lives Matter protests in response to George Floyd"

thumbmail image of the UHD Dateline newletter

Article by By Varah Thornton in UHD Dateline news

A Discussion of "Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in the Digital Age" in the Era of Covid-19

Cover of the book "Reclaiming the Conversation"Professor Daniel Peña interviews Dr. Beth Hatfield, Dr. Felicia Harris, and UHD Students Maddie Lehnert and Maria Solache on the CHSS Spring Read, Sherry Turkle’s Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in the Digital Age.

But what does conversation look like in the era of COVID-19? And how does technology and quarantine change everything moving forward.

Listen to the interview on Soundcloud.

“Hero or Villain: A Deeper Look into Erik Killmonger of Marvel’s Black Panther”

Dr. Darius Benton presents on Erik Killmonger Dr. Darius Benton, Assistant Professor of Communications, presented “Hero or Villain: A Deeper Look into Erik Killmonger of Marvel’s Black Panther” to a capacity crowd as part of UHD’S 2020 Black History Month programming. Dr. Benton illustrated the unique and sophisticated construction of  “villain” in this blockbuster movie.

Last updated 10/22/2021 6:13 AM