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Texas school principals feel impact of UHV's involvement in training program

From News Release
Aug. 28, 2010 at 3:28 a.m.

Farhang Niroomand

Farhang Niroomand

University of Houston-Victoria is winding down its involvement in the development of a program that has helped hundreds of Texas school principals develop better business and management skills.

The Texas Principal Excellence Program will end this month, but UHV's legacy for the program will be felt for decades as principals use its training to improve their school districts.

The American Productivity and Quality Center in Houston will continue the professional development program under a different name.

"For the last three years, UHV faculty has worked closely with APQC to develop and deliver a program that helps principals become more effective leaders," said Farhang Niroomand, dean of the UHV School of Business Administration. "The success of the TxPEP program is a testament to the value of this type of collaboration and to the dedication of those involved."

"A third-party evaluator did find significant differences between TxPEP participants, and they found that the vast majority of TxPEP principals were implementing what they learned on their campuses," said Stephanie Solansky, UHV assistant professor of management and program coordinator.

She said the benefits of the program will be felt across the state.

"A lot of principals in smaller schools, particularly those in West Texas, don't have access to the training those in a big city do," Solansky said. "It costs a lot to travel, and we developed this program so that it was pretty much brought to them."

UHV business faculty members developed 10 new webinars during the summer and added 10 more from other presenters with the help of UHV multimedia specialist Chad Abston. This brought the total number of online training offerings to 65.

The webinars from the business faculty offer Master of Business Administration-style training in all aspects of administration from management, to personnel, to budgeting.

The new webinars cover subjects as basic as time management and improving decisions, to leading a demographically diverse organization, ethical reasoning, and internal marketing to improve communication with faculty and staff.

Another summer activity saw a committee of five UHV faculty members evaluate the program "to make sure all the gaps were covered," Solansky said.

The program has proven popular among school administrators. When it began four years ago, 75 to 80 percent of its participants were from low-performing school districts, and the Texas Education Agency mandated their participation.

As word spread about the program, Solansky said those numbers "flip-flopped" and it became more of a voluntary professional development program.

The program also sends a coach to the administrators, "someone who has been in their shoes and can mentor them," Solansky said. Another benefit for principals is a look into other district's best practices and innovations.

The program was created in 2006 with House Bill 1 and a grant from the Texas Education Agency.

UHV and APQC partnered on the initiative.

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