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Faculty Spotlight

Dr. Andrew Pavelich, Associate Professor of Philosophy

Photograph of Andrew Pavelich Winner of UHD's award for Excellence in Teaching 2014
Courses: The Meaning of Life, Philosophy of Death, and The Philosophy of Religion.

"When I’m teaching, I try to think about what my students will remember in 10 years from now. This means that I am less concerned with the details of a text than I am with the big picture. Ultimately, I hope they take from my classes an appreciation for inquisitiveness and careful, deliberative thought that is the hallmark of the best philosophy."


Dr. Vida Robertson, Associate Professor, Center for Critical Race Studies Director

Photo of Dr. Vida Robertson As a famed philosopher once observed, "The influence of a vital person vitalizes." Dr. Vida Robertson vitalizes. He is Director of the Center for Critical Race Studies. He has led the effort to assess core courses, develop the Quality Enhancement Plan, and organize the Men of LEGACI, a student success program for Hispanic and African American male UHD students. He is a UHD faculty senator and a coordinator for the Ghana, West Africa Study Abroad Trip. Due to the exceptional caliber and extent of his work, Dr. Robertson is a Finalist for the 2018 Faculty Award in Excellence in Service. He shares his teaching philosophy: “By innovatively, strategically and passionately cultivating the lives of the often marginalized and disempowered, we, as educators, not only dismantle systems of poverty and oppression but we are liberated from the shame of our consigned task as academic wardens. Together we become coconspirators in the powerfully emancipatory work of learning.


Dr. Raquel Chiquillo, Associate Professor of Spanish Coordinator, Spanish Program

Program Leader for Study Abroad Trip to Costa Rica: 2013, 2015, 2017 Courses include: Introduction to Hispanic Literature, Neighbors & Trading Partners: Trade, Culture & People in Spanish-America, and Survey of Spanish-American Lit: Columbus to Independence Program Leader for Study Abroad Trip to Costa Rica: 2013, 2015, 2017 Courses include: Introduction to Hispanic Literature, Neighbors & Trading Partners: Trade, Culture & People in Spanish-America, and Survey of Spanish-American Lit: Columbus to Independence Photograph of Dr. Raquel Chiquillo

Courses include: Introduction to Hispanic Literature, Neighbors & Trading Partners: Trade, Culture & People in Spanish-America, and Survey of Spanish-American Lit: Columbus to Independence

Learning a foreign language, or perfecting one you already speak, is not just about vocabulary lists and grammar and proficiency. Foreign languages are doors that take you into another culture; they are keys to understanding others through their cultural and literary heritage, and learning about the rich variety of the human experience. Luckily for us, being bilingual in today’s world also has a practical dividend: you are more highly valued in any discipline you choose to work in. As an old Spanish proverb states: ‘One who knows two languages is worth as much as two.’”


Dr. José E. Alvarez, Professor of History

Certificate-Holder in Military History from the Photograph of Dr. AlvarezUnited States Military Academy at West Point Courses: US History Before & After 1877, Introduction to World History I and II, Twentieth Century Europe, Middle East History

When I’m in the classroom, I want to take the students back in time to the period we are studying by setting the mood of the time. I try to make History a story that is not only informative/educational but exciting as well as entertaining. Sometimes the students get so caught up in the narrative that they stop taking notes! I also like to incorporate what the students call “fun facts” into my lectures where I introduce material they will not find in their textbooks. In addition, as a faculty advisor to the Webb Historical Society and Phi Alpha Theta (PAT), I enjoy taking students on field trips to visit historical sites and tour museums. Along with Dr. Lopez, I take PAT students on our annual Spring Break camping trip to places like Goliad, Jasper, and Austin, where we learn more about the Texas past. Hands on History.


Dr. Jonathan Chism, Assistant Professor of History, Organizer

Urban Enrichment Institute Community Outreach Courses:
History of the Civil Rights Movement, African American History, History of Religion in the US, History of Race and Sports UHD students mentor and  encourage Urban Enrichment Institute participants

UHD students mentor and encourage Urban Enrichment Institute participants For the past four years, Dr. Chism has facilitated service learning at the Urban Enrichment Institute (UEI), an after-school program in 5th Ward Houston that serves at-risk minority young men, primarily blacks and Hispanics, from ages twelve to nineteen. Modeled after Septima Clark’s citizenship schools, this initiative allows UHD students to develop a long-term mentoring relationship with UEI youth and inspires in them the confidence to excel academically. Under Dr. Chism’s direction, students facilitate reading circles with the youth on seminal figures and classic texts in African American history, such as The Autobiography of Malcolm X, James Baldwin’s Go Tell It on the Mountain, and John Lewis’s graphic novel, March. UHD students also help participants improve their writing skills through mini writing workshops and an essay competition. Dr. Chism states, “I have been delighted to see several of the young men at the Urban Enrichment Institute blossom over the past four years. I look forward to some of them joining us at UHD in the future.”

Last updated 9/24/2020 6:07 AM