Established in 1927, the University of Houston (UH) empowers students in their pursuit of learning, discovery, leadership, and engagement. Located in a sprawling metropolis, as a public, tier one research university, UH provides students with cutting edge undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, distance, and continuing education programs. Ranked among the best colleges in America, UH is home to award-winning faculty, innovative research centers, has one of the most diverse student populations in the nation, and alumni who have become international leaders. Reporting in the division of student affairs and enrollment, the UH Wellness Center serves 46,000 students, 8,000 of whom live on campus.

The Position


Reporting to the assistant vice president for student affairs of health and well-being, the director of UH Wellness provides departmental leadership and maintains primary responsibility including program direction for UH Wellness, including planning, implementing, and evaluating health promotion and prevention strategies, policies, programs, and services campus-wide. UH Wellness offers 15 plus programs and touches approximately 26,000 students annually. This position is a key leader within a strong health and well-being portfolio within the division, focusing on fostering the holistic well-being of all students through coordinated, intentional, and strategic services and programs.

The new director will have an opportunity to help create an integrated healthy campus vision with the new assistant vice president of health and well-being, while supporting the mission and vision of the university. The UH Wellness Center is charged with developing comprehensive multidisciplinary student health and well-being initiatives around several dimension of well-being: physical, emotional, spiritual, professional, and social and encompasses current programs addressing alcohol and other drugs, sexual health and violence prevention, and mental health. The vision for the new director will be to expand the Center’s approach with new initiatives in areas such as resiliency, courageous conversations, sleep, purpose, values, and financial literacy. The director will be a collaborative partner across the institution and provides leadership, supervision, and training for professional staff, graduate assistants and interns, peer educators, and student assistants.

Selected responsibilities include:

  • directs the daily operations of the Wellness Center, including the development of effective outreach, peer initiatives, and activities;
  • develops strategic plans, goals, and measurable outcomes for health promotion and well-being of students through individual, interpersonal, organizational, environmental, and population-level prevention strategies. Designs strategies that address priority student health promotion and well-being issues based on best or emerging practices;
  • interprets and updates comprehensive health promotion and well-being policies, procedures, business plans, and budgets to ensure effective alignment of resources with the operational and strategic goals;
  • directs the development, implementation, and analysis of national and periodic student health promotion and well-being surveys that provide baseline and follow-up data; identify departmental needs and priorities; evaluates effectiveness of interventions; and tracks trends in student health promotion and well-being status and behavior;
  • collaborates with faculty and other key stakeholders, on and off campus, to develop comprehensive, multidisciplinary student health promotion and well-being initiatives;
  • pursues opportunities to secure supplemental funding for innovative health prevention and wellness programming and initiatives from external resources that align with current goals, outcomes, and priorities;
  • promotes utilization of assessment techniques to measure the effects of specific initiatives, and uses outcomes to inform program and policy development and student/staff training and communication;
  • serves on divisional and institutional committees and working groups.


The director position was held previously by Dr. Patrick Lukingbeal who transitioned to another position at UH as the executive director, integrated enrollment services in August of 2019. His five year tenure yielded successes in expanding the campus view on wellness through strong relationship building for the department in the community and on campus, development of a plan to create a food pantry for students, and the addition of Mental Health First Aid training for staff.

This vacancy in the UH Wellness office occurred at the same time that Dr. Suzy Harrington came into her new position at UH as assistant vice president for student affairs for health and well-being. Her vision for this position is to elevate its’ leadership potential within an already strong Health and Well-Being portfolio that will focus on fostering the holistic well-being of all students through coordinated, intentional and strategic services and programs. This director position provides an opportunity to help create an integrated healthy campus vision with the new assistant vice president while supporting the mission and vision of the University of Houston.


  • Celebrate and highlight the newly identified dimensions of well-being through programming, education, assessment, and promotions. This area will become the “front door” of campus for health and well-being.
  • The UH Wellness office has been without two professional staff members for six months. Along with building a strong team within the office, a re-invigoration of the programming and events will need to occur to showcase their important role in the education and awareness of students.
  • Implementation of a student Well-Being Activator ambassador program and a Certified Healthy program, in conjunction with Employee Health, a unit of Human Resources.
  • Provide leadership and operate from a growth mindset for new initiatives within the Student Health and Well-Being portfolio. Harness the energy with other directors to support a coordinated approach to new messaging and outreach.
  • Promote the new Cougar Cupboard food pantry and evaluate practices from the initial opening.
  • Expand an “upstream” approach to education with new initiatives on life skills such as resiliency, courageous conversations, sleep, purpose, values, and financial literacy. This will include identifying academic and community partners to connect with to accomplish these goals.
  • Work in a fast paced environment where creativity is encouraged and there is a sense of urgency to implement new models, resources, and impactful services for students. The director will find support throughout the campus for the student health and well-being agenda.
  • Provide staff training, professional development opportunities, and support for a team that will be redefining its function and role. Market student employment opportunities and training models to promote career readiness goals for students. Identify growth opportunities to increase professional staff, graduate students, and undergraduate students within the department.
  • Promote well-being through effective policy, practice, and process development. Provide a defining mission statement for the office that clearly communicates the purpose. Increase collaboration with partners on campus to promote student health and well-being.
  • Assess utilization and needs for current programs such as alcohol and drug and sexual violence prevention education to stay relevant and responsive to current trends and issues.
  • Evaluate the data from the National College Health Assessment (NCHA), which is being launched in spring of 2020.


At an appropriate interval after joining the University of Houston, the following will initially define success for the director, UH Wellness:

  • The director is a visible and engaged leader throughout campus in health and well-being initiatives. The director is an essential team member and resource with faculty, staff and students who are working towards greater partnerships for improved well-being;
  • The director has a defined budget plan with goals for new initiatives to be implemented;
  • The director has worked with other directors in the Health and Well-Being division to successfully promote the vision and mission for student health and well-being;
  • The director has built a collaborative and high-functioning team, and the purpose of the office is well defined and understood;
  • The director has analyzed, contributed to, and expanded plans that are best practices for the division and the campus moving forward;
  • The director has made substantial contributions to increasing the marketing, brand, and outreach communications of all areas within the student health and well-being portfolio area;
  • The director has assessed the impact of programs and services;
  • The director has expanded the partnerships and the reach of the office to both the campus and the greater community.


Minimum requirements include a master’s degree and five years of managerial or related professional experience. A doctorate is preferred. Other qualifications include: experience with supervision and managing resources; visionary thinking and planning skills; the ability to work collaboratively with students, faculty, and staff in a complex and diverse environment; the ability to build and maintain strong relationships with key partners, with emphasis on dynamic communication and collaboration; demonstrated ability to create a strategic vision and motivate others; and a demonstrated personal and professional commitment to health and well-being.

The UH Wellness director will need to possess a broad and deep understanding of national best practices with regard to the student health and well-being arena that continually broadens and defines itself as new concerns for students present themselves. The University takes pride in being a national leader in innovative and cutting edge practices that support student success. The UH wellness director should be an individual who can increase the marketing and communication outreach of all portfolio areas; expand educational programs for students; promote the 15 plus signature events and programs; assess the impact of programs and services that touch an estimated 26,ooo students; and expand the purpose and vision of the UH Wellness office.


An Overview of the Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Services

Comprised of 30 departments and programs, the Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Services supports the University’s mission by providing a comprehensive array of services, programs, and activities that enhance the learning environment and development of the whole student.

The Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Services is comprised of five major functional areas:

Teaching Students to Stay Healthy

The University offers programs and services that address mind, body, and spirit. Students have many fitness and athletic options to explore and have access to excellent healthcare services.

Leading Students to Get Involved

The division helps students get involved on campus to better develop leadership skills, character, and discipline. Creating global citizens who are ready to contribute to the world.

Providing Ways to Get Support

The division provides opportunities for students to achieve their goals by offering services that complement their academic experiences. Supporting students’ general needs that, when met, provide a foundation for academic and personal success.

Encouraging Students to Live On Campus

Living in a residence hall provides access to many services and resources, as well as the support to focus on academics and the experience of being a part of a diverse community.

Empowering Students to Take Charge

The division supports prospective and admitted students through a variety of resources and touch points throughout their college life-cycle that lead to retention and timely graduation.


The Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Services cultivates an environment that facilitates student success through learning, discovery, and engagement.


The Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Services will provide a nationally acclaimed student experience that results in a valuable impact on persistence and graduation.


The Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Services is committed to an ethic of care, including a commitment to civility and individual growth and learning, while holding firm and true to our core values:

  • Empowerment – We empower students and staff through programs, development, and employment.
  • Transparency – We provide transparency of purpose with honesty and integrity.
  • Accountability – We are accountable in the provision of quality programs and services.
  • Diversity and Inclusion – We celebrate diversity and embrace the intentional inclusion of all experiences and cultures while fostering a welcoming and open community.
  • Innovation – We expect innovation as we develop cutting-edge programs and services that continuously strive for excellence while supporting student success.
  • Collaboration – We embrace the spirit of collaboration through mutually beneficial partnerships on campus and in the surrounding environments fostering the exchange of knowledge, resources and expertise.

Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Services Facts and Figures

  • More than 400 full-time employees
  • Seven campus residence halls
  • Two housing partnership properties
  • Three main campus health and wellness facilities: Campus Recreation and Wellness Center, Health Center, Counseling and Psychological Services
  • Two campus event centers: Student Centers, A.D. Bruce Religion Center

Leadership of the Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Services

Dr. Richard Walker – Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Enrollment Services – UH System
Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Services – University of Houston

Dr. Walker has 37 years of experience in higher education, at both public and private institutions. He currently serves as the vice chancellor for student affairs and enrollment services for the University of Houston System and vice president for student affairs and enrollment services for the University of Houston. He also serves as an instructor for the Higher Education Leadership and Policy Studies program within the department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies in the College of Education at the University of Houston.

Dr. Walker received his Ed.D. in higher education leadership from the University of Miami. He earned a specialist in education, education administration and supervision from Middle Tennessee State University, a master of education in education administration and supervision from Memphis State University, and a bachelor of science in history from Middle Tennessee State University. He is also a graduate of the Harvard Institutes for Higher Education Management Development.

Dr. Walker is involved in several student affairs professional associations and has served as the national president, executive vice president, and conference chairperson for the Association of Fraternity and Sorority Advisors. He is a past treasurer for the AFA Foundation Board of Directors. Currently, he is a member of TACUSPA – the Texas Association of College & University Student Personnel Administrators and previously served on the TACUSPA Foundation Committee. He is a member of TCCSAO – the Texas Council Chief Student Affairs Officers and currently serves as the secretary/treasurer. He is also a member of ACPA – College Student Educators International, Association of College Unions International, and NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. He was a member of the 2015 NASPA national Board of Directors serving as the 2015 NASPA national conference chair. He served NASPA as the chair of the James E. Scott Academy Board and was a member of the NASPA Emergency Resources Advisory Group. He recently rejoined the NASPA Board of Directors as the Member-at-Large serving from March 2019 to March 2021.

NASPA and the NASPA Foundation named Dr. Walker as a 2016 Pillar of the Profession. The award honors sustained professional distinction in higher education recognizing extraordinary excellence and service, significant lifetime contributions, and leadership roles in NASPA. In June 2015 he received the NASPA Region III John Jones Award for Outstanding Performance as a Senior Student Affairs Officer. He is a past recipient of the AFA Distinguished Service Award. Dr. Walker was named the recipient of the 2018 Dr. Kent Gardner Award from the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors. The honor is presented annually to a senior university administrator who exemplifies a commitment to fraternities and sororities through the development of partnerships, creation of positive change, and mentoring of new and seasoned professionals.

He has served Sigma Alpha Epsilon as the chair and member of the Extension Advisory Committee, chair of the New Member Education Committee, Province Archon for Nu-Epsilon, member of the Leadership School Planning Committee, Leadership School Faculty, and member of the search committee for the Eminent Supreme Recorder position.

Dr. Suzy Harrington Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs for Health and Well Being

Suzy Harrington supervises Health and Well-Being for the University of Houston Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Services, managing the Student Health Center, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), Campus Recreation Center, UH Wellness, Center for Students with DisABILITIES, and Cougars in Recovery.  She is an established and respected leader for health promotion and upstream prevention, a published author, and former adjunct faculty.

Dr. Harrington began her career as an Air Force officer and registered nurse, and was in a variety of nursing roles including school health and open heart critical care. She found her passion in promotion and disease prevention and transitioned into leadership roles such as the Air Force health promotion program manager for the 74 Air Force Health and Wellness Centers (HAWCs), the director of customer resources at the National Committee of Quality Assurance (NCQA), director for health, safety, and wellness for the American Nurses Association, representing 2.4 million registered nurses, the first dedicated chief wellness officer in higher education at Oklahoma State, and most recently as the executive director for the office of health and well-being at the Georgia Institute of Technology. During her time at Georgia Tech, she successfully integrated various employee and student services under the office of Health & Well-Being in order to promote the welfare of 29,000 students and 8,000 faculty and staff members.

She earned her bachelor and associate degree of science in nursing as an ROTC Distinguished Graduate with Cum Laude honors from Angelo State University, in San Angelo, Texas. She earned a master of science in health services with a concentration in wellness promotion from Independence University in National City, California and completed her doctor of nurse practice in healthcare business and leadership with a focus on health promotion and population health from Rush University in Chicago, Illinois.

Organizational Listings for Student Affairs

Division Organizational Chart

UH Wellness

The mission of UH Wellness, a campus-wide education and prevention program, is to promote healthy choices and create a healthier, safer learning environment across all dimensions of wellness, including: social, spiritual, intellectual, occupational, physical, and emotional wellness.

Student Health Center

The UH Health Center offers primary care and medical specialty services to UH students by providing affordable and accessible medical care and pharmacy services.


Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) has a mission to provide psychological, educational, and social support services to the university community, which help students to be more successful in their academic, personal, and social pursuits

Campus Recreation

The Department of Campus Recreation is committed to enhance the quality of life and learning for UH students and all we serve through recreational / fitness programs, services and facilities in support of the mission and values of the University of Houston.

Justin Dart Center for Students with disABILITIES

The Justin Dart, Jr., Center for Students with DisABILITIES (CSD) office provides accommodations and support services to University of Houston students who have temporary or permanent health impairments, physical limitations, psychiatric disorders, or learning disabilities.

Cougars in Recovery

Cougars in Recovery, the new collegiate recovery program at the University of Houston, aims to offer incoming students a smooth transition to the University of Houston, both socially and academically; offering opportunities for positive sober social interactions; setting standards that hold recovering students accountable; and providing support, guidance and opportunities to serve the community.

Institution & Location


Institutional Background/History/Traditions

The University of Houston is a public research university and the flagship institution of the University of Houston System. Founded in 1927, it is Texas’ third-largest university with over 45,000 students. Its campus spans 667 acres in southeast Houston. From 1983 to 1991, the school was known as University of Houston–University Park. The Carnegie Foundation classifies UH as a tier one research university.

The University offers 280 degree programs through its 15 academic colleges on campus—including programs leading to professional degrees in law, optometry, and pharmacy. The newest college is the College of Medicine scheduled to admit thirty students in the inaugural class in 2020. The institution boasts $109 million in sponsored funding and $169 million in research expenditures and operates more than 25 research centers on campus. Interdisciplinary research includes superconductivity, space commercialization and exploration, biomedical sciences and engineering, energy and natural resources, and artificial intelligence. The University’s alumni base exceeds 255,000 and the University contributes over $6 billion annually to the Texas economy, generating about 24,000 jobs.

The University of Houston hosts a variety of theatrical performances, concerts, lectures, and events. It has over 500 student organizations and 15 intercollegiate sports teams. Annual UH events and traditions include The Cat’s Back, Homecoming, and Frontier Fiesta. The University’s varsity athletic teams, known as the Houston Cougars, are members of the American Athletic Conference and compete in NCAA Division I. Athletic success at UH is seen through the 17 NCAA team titles, 62 NCAA individual championships, 67 Olympians (with 20 gold medals), 131 conference championships, and over 900 All-Americans.

When the Carnegie Foundation elevated the University of Houston to tier one status in 2011, the designation made the University one of only three public tier one research universities in the state of Texas, along with the University of Texas and Texas A&M.

The city of Houston continues to evolve at a faster pace than other cities in America. As Houston’s namesake university, the institution must keep pace with the momentum of the city. The University seeks to grow in an effort to solidify its position among nationally competitive research universities, including broadening overall excellence and strengthening performance and reputation for student success.

University of Houston Traditions

From a lovable feline to an all-campus fiesta, the University of Houston builds community and generates fun with a variety of time-honored traditions. Most individual colleges have their own traditions as well, ranging from ‘‘The Follies,’’ a generation-old law school tradition where students spend months organizing skits parodying their professors, to the annual Engineering Golf Tournament, where golfers raise money to support the Cullen College of Engineering.

Each year, the University celebrates Frontier Fiesta.

Dating back to 1940, this student-run event features free live concerts, variety shows by student organizations, carnival booths, multicultural performances, and a world-class BBQ cook-off.

Every Friday is declared Cougar Red Friday.

“Wearing red on Friday is more than just a tradition; it is who we are. We wear red to show our pride and passion for the University. It is our visual identity. The color unites us, to live and to celebrate together, and behold our individual achievements as a singular legacy of the pride. We encourage our campus community and those all around the city to wear red on Fridays.”

UH has a long tradition of community service.

Located on the University of Houston campus is the Eternal Flame of Service, erected by the Student Service Center to recognize every organization and individual on, and around, the UH campus who works to serve others. It is a gift from the UH Alpha Phi Omega chapter to the University in 1970. The tradition of service to others is alive and well with students volunteering both on the UH campus and in Houston area communities.

The University of Houston Class Ring

The class ring is presented each semester at a formal ring ceremony. Tradition dictates that current students must wear the ring facing inward, with only alumni wearing the ring facing outward.

Cougar Spirit Cord

The Cougar Spirit Cord is a symbol of student pride. Graduating seniors get a Cougar Spirit Cord to wear at graduation as well as a head start in UH’s proud tradition of alumni giving. All graduating seniors are eligible to receive a Cord with a minimum $15 donation to any UH college, scholarship or program of their choice.

At sporting events, the campus rallies around Shasta, UH’s cougar mascot.

Between 1947 and 1989, five live cougars served as mascots; since Shasta V’s death in 1989, costumed students have carried on the tradition. Before a big game, Cougar fans “rub the paws” of the cougar statues in Cullen Family Plaza. The statues were a gift to the University from John and Rebecca Moores in 2004. The UH Frontiersmen display the Texas flag and the University of Houston flag at football games. The Frontiersmen were established in 1948 to promote Cougar spirit and their primary purpose is to support UH in any and all endeavors.

About Houston, Texas

Houston is the largest city in Texas and the fourth-largest city in the United States. According to 2012 U.S. Census estimates, the city had a population of 2.16 million people within a land area of 599.6 square miles. Houston is the seat of Harris County, and its metropolitan area is the fifth-largest in the U.S., with over six million people.

Houston was founded in 1836 on land near the banks of Buffalo Bayou (now known as Allen’s Landing) and incorporated as a city on June 5, 1837. The city was named after former General Sam Houston, who was president of the Republic of Texas. The burgeoning port and railroad industries, combined with the discovery of oil in 1901, have led to continual surges in the city’s population. In the mid-twentieth century, Houston became the home of the Texas Medical Center—the world’s largest concentration of healthcare and research institutions, and NASA’s Johnson Space Center, where the Mission Control Center is located.

Houston’s economy has a broad industrial base in energy, manufacturing, aeronautics, and transportation. It is also leading in health care sectors and building oil field equipment; only New York City is home to more Fortune 500 headquarters. The Port of Houston ranks first in the United States in the amount of international waterborne tonnage handled and second in total cargo tonnage handled.

The city has a diverse population and a large and growing international community. The metropolitan area is home to an estimated 1.1 million (21.4 percent) residents who were born outside the United States, with nearly two-thirds of the area’s foreign-born population from south of the United States-Mexico border. Additionally, more than one in five foreign-born residents is from Asia. The city is home to the nation’s third-largest concentration of consular offices, representing 86 countries.

Houston is home to many cultural institutions and exhibits, which attract more than seven million visitors a year to the museum district. Houston has an active visual and performing arts scene in the theater district and offers year-round resident companies in all major performing arts.

Many annual events celebrate the diverse cultures of Houston. The largest and longest running is the annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, held over 20 days from late February to early March. The event is the largest annual livestock show and rodeo in the world. Another large celebration is the annual Houston Pride Parade, held at the end of June. Other annual events include the Houston Greek Festival, Art Car Parade, the Houston Auto Show, the Houston International Festival, and the Bayou City Art Festival, which is considered to be one of the top five art festivals in the United States.

For more information visit the Chamber of Commerce website:

Mission, Goals, and Shared Values


The mission of the University of Houston is to offer nationally competitive and internationally recognized opportunities for learning, discovery and engagement to a diverse population of students in a real-world setting. The University of Houston offers a full range of degree programs at the baccalaureate, master’s, doctoral, and professional levels and pursues a broad agenda of research and creative activities.  As a knowledge resource to the public, the University builds partnerships with other educational institutions, community organizations, government agencies, and the private sector to serve the region and impact the world.


National Competitiveness:  UH will strengthen its status as a nationally competitive public research university as measured by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and Top American Public Research Universities (TARU) and will seek to meet the threshold needed for its entry into Association of American Universities (AAU).

Student Success:  UH will have a student profile consistent with a nationally competitive public research university by creating an environment in which student success can be ensured.

Community Advancement:  UH will commit to fulfilling regional and state workforce needs while becoming the primary engine of social, economic, and intellectual development.

Athletic Competitiveness:  UH will provide a comprehensive educational experience to its students and, within this context, it will seek to build the strongest athletic program possible.

Local and National Recognition:  UH will be known for its accomplishments locally and nationally.

Competitive Resources:  UH will build a resource base that enables it to accomplish its mission and realize its vision.

Shared Values

As its primary goal, the University of Houston is dedicated to becoming a nationally recognized institution in the 21st century. The University will anticipate and respond to changing demographics in an increasingly diverse and globally interdependent world. It will use its resources to:

  • meet the challenges of educating a dynamic mix of nontraditional and traditional students;
  • promote excellence within the context of basic and applied research and scholarship;
  • identify and respond to the economic, social and cultural challenges affecting the quality of life in the city of Houston, the state of Texas, and the world through its education, research and service.

Strategic Plan

The 2019 – 2023 Strategic Plan

The Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Services exemplifies its own mission, vision, and values, by undertaking the following strategic initiatives.

Student Success

Champion exceptional opportunities and services to support all UH students.

  • Engage all students to intentionally develop leadership qualities, critical thinking and communication skills, diversity competencies, and personal growth.
  • Expand diverse experiences on exploration and education while identifying and meeting the needs of the student population through supportive, inclusive environments.
  • Foster the holistic well-being of all students through coordinated, intentional services and processes.
  • Enhance assessment of student success by defining measures at the departmental and divisional level with focus on the impact of our programs and services.
  • Enrich the sense of connection, belonging, and shared UH identity among all students.

Division Cohesion

Create and foster a cohesive division identity, culture, and community.

  • Implement staff communication strategies that promote a mutual understanding of who we are and what we do.
  • Strengthen staff connections within the division, both professionally and personally.
  • Invest in staff success through professional development, recognition, and opportunities for broader participation throughout the division.
  • Foster collaborative divisional processes focused on common goals.
  • Promote and create initiatives that support a healthy work/life balance while contributing to division success.


Evaluate, actively pursue, and leverage resources to enhance the UH experience.

  • Evaluate resources to identify opportunities for efficiency, improvement, and transformation.
  • Pursue and develop resources to address identified gaps and needs.
  • Leverage and adapt resources in innovative ways to increase effective utilization.


Forge and strengthen partnerships to expand our reach into the University and greater community.

  • Educate and empower campus partners to be our advocates.
  • Enhance students’ educational experience by expanding partnerships with academic affairs.
  • Create opportunities for students by developing initiatives that support our neighboring communities.
  • Expand strategic partnerships with K-12 schools and other post-secondary institutions.
  • Promote alumni engagement and support for division initiatives in cooperation with the office of institutional advancement.
  • Raise the profile of the division through regional, national, and international involvement.


Dr. Renu Khator – Chancellor, UH System and President, University of Houston

Regarding her own philosophy of higher education, Khator says, “I look at it as a pyramid. You need to have a strong base, with enough affordable, accessible college education for your population to fuel your economy. But at the same time, you must also have the pinnacle of the pyramid, which means the very best in innovation, in research, in scholarship, in the world. At UH, we are committed to those dual goals. We must always take a long, hard look at what we are doing and evaluate our real-world options. But we must always do so while remaining totally committed to the core mission.”

During her first decade of leadership, Renu Khator has guided the remarkable transformation of the University of Houston into a top-tier institution that has become nationally recognized for its unique blend of academic accomplishment, research innovation, athletic achievement, and dedication to the success of a significantly diverse, determined student body.

Today, UH enjoys an enrollment of more than 46,000 students, awards nearly 10,000 degrees annually and has a $6-billion economic impact on the greater Houston area each year.

Since assuming the position of president (and chancellor of the UH System) in 2008, Khator has concentrated on making sure the University reinforces the economic and cultural strengths of the city of Houston. To that end, the University of Houston has focused on energy, the arts, and healthcare while maintaining an overall pursuit of excellence in the higher education arena. Recognizing that a great city deserves a great public university, Khator launched an ambitious program shortly after her arrival to elevate UH’s standing in the academic community. In 2011, in approximately half the predicted time, UH earned Tier One status from the Carnegie Foundation.

That unprecedented success, which both inspired the city of Houston and further motivated the UH community, has been followed by a string of similar feats, including being awarded a Phi Beta Kappa honor society chapter, more than tripling the number of National Academy members on the faculty, and dramatically improving the graduation rates. The University consistently earns accolades for its students’ achievements, such as Princeton Review’s “50 Colleges That Create Futures,” while ranking in the Top 10 in the lowest amount of debt owed by its graduating students.

Staying prepared for that future, Khator has overseen the growth of the campus to nearly 700 acres, with a $1 billion-plus construction program to add and update numerous facilities, including a 40,000-seat football stadium, a completely renovated Student Center, two Health and Biomedical Sciences buildings, a 74-acre Technology Bridge research park, and an unparalleled expansion of residence halls to accommodate as many as 8,000-plus students – among the largest in the state – developing a vibrant residential campus environment that has also enhanced academic performance.

Essential to Khator’s overall objectives has been gaining the financial and civic support of the community for the University, reflected by the steady increase of private donations during her administration, most notably the ongoing “Here, We Go” campaign to raise $1 billion, which has reached nearly 95 percent of its goal. Likewise, UH takes its own community responsibilities seriously and, responding to Khator’s call for increased community engagement, the University has launched its Neighborhood Initiatives program, including an extensive plan to help its neighborhood, the Third Ward, significantly upgrade its economic, educational and healthcare resources.

Khator, who was born in Uttar Pradesh, India, came to the United States without being fluent in English to study at Purdue University, where she earned a master’s degree (1975) and a PhD (1985) in political science. Her alma mater has bestowed a doctor of social sciences, honoris causa, upon her as has Swansea University. She has been inducted into the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame and been awarded the Excellence in Leadership Award by the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. The then-president of India has presented her with the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award, the highest distinction bestowed upon a non-resident Indian, and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services honored her with its Outstanding American By Choice Award, which recognizes the achievements of naturalized American citizens.

Reflecting her keen appreciation of the importance and complexity of college athletics, Khator has been appointed as chair of the board of directors of the American Athletic Conference. Her growing reputation as one of higher education’s most accomplished leaders led to being named chair of the American Council on Education’s board as well as a position on the Association of Governing Boards of Colleges and Universities Council of Presidents. Additionally, she has drawn on her academic training as a policy analyst to serve as chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas board of directors.

Prior to her appointment at UH, she was provost and senior vice president at the University of South Florida, capping a 22-year career at that institution. Khator is the first Indian immigrant to lead a comprehensive research university in the United States and the first female chancellor of a Texas higher education system. She is married to Dr. Suresh Khator, associate dean of the UH Cullen College of Engineering, and they have two married daughters and two grandchildren.

Dr. Paula Myrick Short – Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, University of Houston System
Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, University of Houston

Paula Myrick Short is the senior vice chancellor for academic affairs for the University of Houston System, and senior vice president for academic affairs and provost at the University of Houston.

Since her appointment in June of 2013, she has established the UH Graduate School, the Cougar Chairs Leadership Academy for department chairs, the Foundations of Excellence initiative, and Houston GPS as well as implemented student success initiatives such as UH in 4, Provost Summer Read, Passport for Coogs, and Cub Camp. Prior to joining UH, Dr. Short served 12 years as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs for the Tennessee Board of Regents, the sixth-largest governing board system of higher education in the United States, annually serving more than 200,000 students. In Tennessee, she served as a legislative-appointed Board member of the Tennessee Technology Development Corporation, as a Board member of the Life Sciences Institute-Tennessee Emerging Technologies, and as an Academic Auditor for the Australian Universities Quality Agency.

In her role as senior vice chancellor for the University of Houston System, Dr. Short is responsible for the academic quality and accreditation of all four UH system institutions: UH, UH – Downtown, UH – Clear Lake, and UH – Victoria. She chairs the UH System Provost Council and has served two terms on the Funding Formula Committee of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

As senior vice president and provost of the University of Houston, Dr. Short is responsible for faculty development, strategic enrollment planning, undergraduate student success, graduate education, education innovation and technology, global strategies and partnerships, and UH Arts. She recently led the development of two new colleges at UH–the Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts and the Hobby School for Public Affairs, as well as co-founded the Data Science Institute with vice president for research and technology transfer Amr Elnashai. At UH, the 17 deans report to her including the dean of University libraries and dean of the newly-founded College of Medicine.

Additionally, Dr. Short is the director of the Center for ADVANCING UH Faculty Success, funded by a $3.3 million grant from by the National Science Foundation. Under Dr. Short’s leadership, the Center is addressing gender equity and diversity issues related to moving more women and women of color forward with careers in science, technology, engineering, and math.

Dr. Short has served as a tenured faculty member at Auburn University, The Pennsylvania State University, the University of Missouri – Columbia, and currently is the tenured Distinguished Professor of Education at UH’s College of Education. Dr. Short received her PhD in administration in the department of organizational development and institutional studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Academic Programs and Faculty

The University offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs, as well as several pre-professional programs leading to careers in medicine, law, and pharmacy. UH also offers comprehensive programs leading to teacher certification and a five-year, dual-degree program.

Undergraduates choose from 109 majors and minors and a top- notch Honors College provides special opportunities for exceptionally motivated students.

At the graduate level UH offers 105 masters and doctoral degree programs and three professional degree programs.

Colleges, Schools, and Departments

The University of Houston is comprised of 15 academic colleges and an interdisciplinary Honors College. Each major and graduate program “lives” in one of the academic colleges or schools. The Honors College provides special courses and opportunities for talented undergraduate students of all majors and departments.

UH colleges, schools, and departments are:

  • Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture and Design
  • Katherine G. McGovern College of the Arts
  • T. Bauer College of Business
  • College of Education
  • Cullen College of Engineering
  • Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management
  • UH Law Center
  • College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences
  • College of Medicine
  • College of Natural Sciences & Mathematics
  • College of Nursing
  • College of Optometry
  • College of Pharmacy
  • Graduate College of Social Work
  • College of Technology
  • Hobby School of Public Affairs

The Student Body (fall, 2019)

Undergraduate: 37,689

Post-Baccalaureate: 1,041

Graduate: 5,864

Special Professionals: 1,554

Total Student Enrollment: 46,148

Female                                                               23,465



African American: 9.9%

Asian American: 21.1%

Hawaiian/Pacific Islander: 0.1%

Hispanic: 32.4%

International: 7.5%

Multiracial: 3.0%

Native American: 0.1%

Unknown: 2.2%

White: 23.7%

Organizational Listing for Campus

Benefits Overview

The University of Houston offers the following benefits:

  • Health plans
  • Dental plans
  • Vision plans
  • Retirement plans
  • Supplemental retirement plans
  • Disability plans
  • Flexible spending accounts
  • Life insurance
  • Leave benefits
  • Employee assistance program
  • Workers compensation

Application & Nomination

Review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled. To apply for this position please click on the Apply button, complete the brief application process, and upload your resume and position-specific cover letter. Confidential inquiries and nominations for this position may be emailed to Laura Puckett Boler at Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895.

Visit the University of Houston website at:

The University of Houston is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Institution. Minorities, women, veterans and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply. Additionally, the University prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.