Skip to main content


College of Humanities and Social Sciences News Archive:
2020 - 2021

ORCA Faculty Recipients - 2021

Dr. Kristin Anderson, Department of Social Sciences. Project Title: Benign Bigotry: Revision & Update. 

Dr. Stephanie Babb, Department of Social Sciences. Project Title: Students’ Initial Perceptions of Professors: Effects of Gender, Ethnicity, and Course Type.

Dr. Travis Crone, Department of Social Sciences. Project Title:Forgiving What? Level of Construal and Religious Content Shifts How One Forgives.

Dr. Sandra Dahlberg, Department of English. Project Title: Richard Traunter, Eno Will and the Indian Slave Trade in the Colonial Southwest. 

Dr. Anthony Foster, Department of Social Sciences. Project Title: Social Contamination: How the “Wise” Manage Associative Stigma

Dr. Chuck Jackson, Department of English. Project Title: Jessie Maple’s Close-Ups: Cinematic, Microscopic, and Legal. 

Dr. Andrew Pavelich, Department of History, Humanities, & Languages. Project Title: The Moral Response to Plagiarism: Taking Honor Seriously in Academic Honor Codes. 

Mr. Daniel Peña, M.F.A., Department of English. Project Title: Snapshots of a Life in Flight. 

Dr. Katrina Rufino, Department of Social Sciences. Project Title: Psychometric Validation of the Disturbing Dreams and Nightmares Scale. 

Dr. David Ryden, Department of History, Humanities, & Languages. Project Title: The British West India Interest in the Age of Emancipation. 

Dr. Danya Serrano, Department of Social Sciences. Project Title: Occupational Stress and Suicide Risk Among Food Service Industry Workers: Examining the Moderating Role of Sleep Disturbance and Alcohol Consumption.

Dr. Saveena Veeramoothoo, Department of English. Project Title: Investigating Twitter Users’ Interactions with Immigration Organizations: Understanding the Role of Social Justice and Technical Communication.

Dr. Stalina Villarreal, Department of English. Project Title: Translating Minerva Reynosa’s Iremos que te pienso entre las filas y el olfato pobre de un paisaje con borrachos o ahorcados [We’ll Go as I Think of You Between the Lines and the poor Sense of Smell of a Landscape with Drunkards or Hanged Humans].   

Dr. Joseph Westfall, Department of History, Humanities, & Languages. Project Title: The Musical Kierkegaard. 

Dr. Gene Pruess Joins Elite Group of Historians

Dr. Gene Pruess Preuss, Associate Professor of History, was named a Fellow by the East Texas Historical Association (ETHA). The longtime educator and popular UHD professor has long been associated with the organization, which is committed to the preservation and documentation of the state’s eastern region.

Read more about Dr. Pruess


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.  Watch the ceremony video


UHD’s Leena Thacker-Kumar Receives International Affairs Fellowship from the Council on Foreign Relations

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


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 Interview 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.


Dr. Hank Roubicek Scholarship Endowment

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 Chism Watch 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 DeFreitas 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

Crystal GulloryCHSS 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".