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UHV education faculty, staff members receive honors

June 8, 2013 at 1:08 a.m.

Deborah Westbrook

Four University of Houston-Victoria employees recently were honored for their dedication to advancing the School of Education & Human Development's presence in Victoria, the state and the nation.

The inaugural faculty and staff awards were introduced earlier this year when Fred Litton, dean of the UHV School of Education and Human Development, organized a committee of faculty and staff members to choose the winners from the school.

The winners are:

Faculty Research - Barba Patton, associate professor of mathematics education

Service - Estella De Los Santos, professor of mathematics education

Teaching - Amy Barnhill, assistant professor of literacy

Staff - Deborah Westbrook, teacher certification coordinator

Patton was chosen for the Faculty Research Award based on her numerous publications, presentations and research achievements. She also is active with several professional organizations to enhance social sciences and math education.

Patton serves on the executive board of the National Social Science Association and previously served as regional director of Texas Council of Teachers of Mathematics. She is the founding newsletter editor and former director for the Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators.

"Being active in different organizations gives me the chance to talk with colleagues who are willing to resolve situations and problems we face in our work," Patton said. "It's not uncommon for me to come home from a conference or meeting with a new perspective and a vast amount of knowledge that resulted from sitting around a table and talking with others."

De Los Santos was honored for her service to the School of Education and Human Development, the university and the community.

De Los Santos has been a UHV faculty member for 20 years and is a member of the Victoria school board.

"I enjoy giving back to the community where I live," she said. "It is a joy to go back to Stroman, where I attended when it was a high school, and work with the teachers and students as a mentor."

Barnhill was honored for her dedication to teaching and motivating UHV students.

Her unique teaching style includes facilitating classes in which students discuss their own questions and thoughts based on a variety of readings.

"We discuss how they can use the same process with important issues when they are teachers," she said. "A lot of self-reflection is accomplished, and I think it motivates them to be the best teachers they can be."

Westbrook was honored with the staff award because of her customer service to education students, potential students, staff and faculty. Her responsibilities range from advising students to compiling important reports to government agencies.

"Deborah completes her tasks with efficiency and personal service, all done with grace and a smile," said Diane Prince, a professor and certification officer for the UHV School of Education and Human Development. "She is an unsung hero for our school."

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