The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) has faculty members who can offer perspectives on a variety of topics. Members of the media should contact Media Relations to coordinate interviews or to request an expert faculty member on a topic not listed below.
Faculty members who are interested in being listed on this page should contact
Dr. Kevin Buckler, Professor of Criminal Justice and Interim Department Chair, can be consulted on criminal court cases, criminal justice agency policy, legislative policy on crime and justice, public opinion on crime and justice issues, and criminal procedure and evidence-related issues. He teaches courses in criminal court systems, criminal justice statistics, famous American crimes and trials, correctional programming, and landmark Supreme Court criminal justice decisions. Buckler has contributed articles to the Journal of Criminal Justice and Popular Culture, the Journal of Qualitative Criminal Justice & Criminology, and Qualitative Criminology, among other publications.
Dr. Michael Cavanaugh, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice, is available to discuss gun control, Campus Carry, the death penalty, drug use/abuse, and juvenile delinquency. He’s contributed articles to the Journal of Interpersonal Violence, the Criminal Justice Review, and the Journal of Criminal Justice Education, among others.
Dr. Krista Gehring, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice, is available to discuss issues related to incarceration, women offenders, gender-responsive policies, criminological theory, correctional rehabilitation, public policy, and other topics. She’s the author of CrimComics, a graphic novel textbook series used in her criminology classes.
Dr. Jace Valcore, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice, is available to discuss criminal and social justice policies related to LGTBQ issues and queer criminology, trans issues in the field of criminal justice, political hate speech, LGBTQ police officers, and the 2016 mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, FL. He serves on the Criminal Justice Training Center Advisory Board and the Houston Independent Police Oversight Board and has contributed to Critical Criminology, the International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, Criminal Justice Studies, and other publications.
Politics & History
Dr. David Branham, Professor of Political Science, is available to discuss local, state, and national politics; public administration and policy; and the U.S. presidency. He teaches courses in U.S. government, public policy and opinion, research methods, and education policy.
Dr. Anita Chadha, Associate Professor of Political Science, is available to discuss state and national politics, electoral reform, and issues on civic engagement. She teaches courses focused on American government, public administration, public policy, participating in American politics, urban politics, and U.S. and Texas governments. Chadha has contributed to State Politics & Policy Quarterly, the Journal of Educators Online, and the Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, among other publications.
Dr. Jonathan Chism, Assistant Professor of History, is available to discuss African American religious history from the antebellum period to the present, the Civil Rights Movement, the Transatlantic slave trade, hip-hop culture, black power, and religious groups’ involvement in social concerns, including minorities in U.S. prisons. He’s a contributing author to the book, Breaking Bread, Breaking Beats: Churches and Hip-Hop—A Basic Guide to Key Issues.
Dr. Peter Li, Associate Professor of Political Science, can be consulted on China’s domestic, foreign, environmental, and wildlife policies; contemporary China; and political and social transformation under conditions of economic modernization. He also has expertise in East Asian politics, politics and animal rights, environmental politics, the international political economy, and post-WWII U.S. foreign policy. His scholarly work has been included in Environmental Policy and Law, East Asia, and Animal Sentience, among other publications.
Dr. John Linantud, Associate Professor of Political Science, can address international dictatorships, U.S.–Asia relations, national and international politics, and the U.S. government. He's published articles in the Journal of Political Science Education, Contemporary Southeast Asia (Singapore), Geopolitics, the International Journal of Heritage Studies, and the International Social Science Review.
Dr. Gene Preuss, Associate Professor of History, is available to discuss U.S. history, Texas history, education, and Mexican American history and politics. He is co-author of the book, A Kineño’s Journey: On Family, Learning and Public Service (the autobiography of former Secretary of Education Dr. Lauro Cavazos). Preuss has authored numerous journal articles and texts focused on American history, published in the Southwestern Historical Quarterly and Politics and the History Curriculum, among other publications.
Humanities / Social Sciences
Dr. Kristin J. Anderson, Professor of Psychology, is available to discuss issues related to racial and gender discrimination, including subtle forms of prejudice (e.g., implicit bias and microaggressions). Her scholarly work also examines the U.S. criminal justice system, sexism and feminism, popular culture and pop psychology, and education. She's a fellow at UHD’s Center for Critical Race Studies and author of three books, most recently, Enraged, Rattled, and Wronged: Entitlement’s Response to Social Progress. Her research has been published in Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, Sex Roles, and the Journal of Applied Social Psychology.
Dr. Lizette Burks, Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership, can address topics related to K-12 school leadership for educational equity, advancing equity-focused innovations for K-12 STEM education, and creating K-12 education systems and structures to promote equity with a focus on historically marginalized communities. She is a contributing author and committee co-chair for the K-12 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Standards for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.
Dr. Mike Duncan, Associate Professor of English, is available to discuss writing, argumentation, logic, style, and rhetoric in public and political arenas (particularly U.S. presidential rhetoric) as well as business communication, ethics, and usability. He may also be consulted about the history of the New Testament and early Christianity. His scholarly research has been published in College English, Rhetoric Society Quarterly, Philosophy & Rhetoric, Informal Logic, Rhetorica, and Technical Communication Quarterly, among other publications. He's also co-edited a collection on style and composition titled, The Centrality of Style.
Dr. Adam Ellwanger, Professor of English, can address media studies, rhetorical theory and history, political philosophy, and mass communication. His book, Metanoia: Rhetoric, Authenticity, and the Transformation of the Self focuses on the ways that individuals use language and rhetoric to convince public audiences of the authenticity of personal transformations of identity. Ellwanger frequently writes political commentary for publications, including Quillette, The American Conservative, Human Events, The Federalist, New Discourses, The American Spectator, American Greatness, Minding the Campus, and more. He is a member of Heterodox Academy — a non-profit advocacy group of academics working to counteract what they see as a lack of viewpoint diversity on college campuses, especially political diversity.
Dr. Felicia Harris, Assistant Professor of Communication, is available to discuss issues related to mass media, social media, technology, health, and higher education. As a fellow with UHD’s Center for Critical Race Studies, she explores the intersections of her focus areas with race, gender, power, and privilege. Harris has contributed articles to the popular press, including HuffPost, and is published in academic news outlets and journals, including Chronicle Vitae, The Black Scholar, and FIRE!!! The Multimedia Journal of Black Studies.
Dr. Elizabeth Hatfield, Assistant Professor of Communication, can address topics related to family, gender, and culture in mass media. In particular, she considers how mediated parenting messages impact the lived experience of parents, including work/life balance and gender roles. Her dissertation addressed how celebrity media shapes the experience of pregnancy and parenthood for audience members, including issues of identity, body image, and social comparison.
Dr. Susan Henney, Professor of Psychology, can address topics related to parenting, volunteerism, adoption, and foster care. She teaches courses in adolescent psychology, abnormal psychology, child and adolescent development, and theories of personality. She has co-authored articles in the Journal of Family Issues, Journal of Family Psychology, and Families in Society, among other publications.
Dr. Lucas Logan, Assistant Professor of Communication, can discuss topics related to social media; media studies; international communication policy; and telecommunication. He has contributed chapters to books, including Piracy: Leakages from Modernity and International Companion to Media Studies.
Dr. Dawn McCarty, Professor of Social Work and Director of the Social Work Program, can discuss topics related to homeless populations, immigrant populations, and immigration policies. Her current research is focused on the conditions and experiences of new immigrants living in Houston. She lives part-time in community at Casa Juan Diego, where she works directly with Houston's refugee, asylum-seeking, and new immigrant communities. She is the author of Solidarity Social Work Practice: Serving New Immigrant Populations.
Natacha Poggio, M.F.A., Assistant Professor of Graphic Design in the Department of Arts + Communication, is an expert in social impact design. Her work focuses on designing planet-centered solutions to address global health and environmental and social justice problems. She has over two decades of professional design practice, and her work has reached hundreds of communities in Latin America, Africa, and Asia, garnering recognition as a three-time recipient of a Sappi “Ideas that Matter” award. A TEDx speaker and US Fulbright Scholar, Poggio is also available to discuss transdisciplinary partnerships that bring positive change to local and international communities, with a focus on global health, climate change, biodiversity loss in land, and marine ecosystems.
Dr. Kevin Barksdale, Professor and Associate Dean of Graduate Studies, can address organizational learning, leadership, compensation, employee commitment, and management education.
Dr. Charles Gengler, Dean of the Marilyn Davies College of Business, can address topics related to marketing, branding, mass communication, social media, advertising, and strategic communication.
Dr. Whitney Botsford Morgan, Professor of Management, can address work-life balance; the impact of gender and family status in the workplace; workplace behaviors; diversity and inclusion; leadership; and performance management.
Dietrich von Biedenfeld, J.D., Assistant Professor in the Marilyn Davies College of Business, can address topics related to land development (particularly as they relate to regulations and agencies), disaster and emergency management, and immigration law and policy.
Priscilla Oehlert, Director of UHD’s Insurance and Risk Management and Lecturer, can address topics related to insurance (health, auto, flood, life, etc.).
Kurt Stanberry, J.D., PLM Endowed Professor in the Marilyn Davies College of Business (2010-2020), has been a licensed attorney since 1977 and also has an MBA. He can address legal topics, including business law, government regulation and ethics, international law, and energy/environmental law. He has co-authored two textbooks, Business Ethics (2018) and Business Entrepreneurship (2020).
Dr. Candace TenBrink, Assistant Professor of Management, can address organizational turnarounds and corporate strategy, including integrating academic concepts with business needs via her experiential learning and service-learning projects. These projects, sponsored by external organizations, offer students the ability to amplify their strategy skills while providing actionable output for our sponsoring partners. As a Fulbright Scholar, she can also address the need for global awareness and understanding as a foundation for social and economic growth.
Sciences & Technology
Dr. Lisa Morano, Professor of Biology and Microbiology, can address topics related to environmental microbiology, the bacterial inhabitants of plants (both beneficial and plant pathogens), and the principles of and practices of sustainable agriculture. She teaches a range of courses, including Environmental Biology, Environmental Microbiology, Fundamentals of Sustainability, and Seminar in Sustainability. As the Director of the UHD Center for Urban Agriculture and Sustainability, Morano is knowledgeable on issues of climate change, biodiversity loss, and feeding a growing population through the creation of stable and sustainable social and economic systems.
Dr. Akif Uzman, Professor of Biology and Biochemistry, Dean of the College of Sciences & Technology, has expertise primarily in developmental biology with additional expertise in biochemistry, embryology, genetics, genomics, molecular biology, and their applications in human health and environmental issues. He is also part of a nationwide effort to study and impact departmental-level change in undergraduate science education.
Dr. Mary Jo Parker is the Executive Director of the Scholars Academy and lecturer in the Natural Sciences Department. Her expertise includes online learning, science curriculum development, supervision and leadership at K-12 and higher education, K-16 outreach and STEM recruitment, and closing the achievement gap for minority STEM students. Parker has incorporated service learning into the University Seminar (Transfers) course and piloted service learning in her online non-majors biology course. Her research focuses primarily on understanding mentoring of underrepresented STEM undergraduates, best practices in supporting undergraduate research, building connections to advanced graduate and professional programs of study, and effective learning in online environments.