Four University of Houston-Victoria School of Education, Health Professions and Human Development faculty and staff recently received recognition from their peers for their outstanding teaching, scholarship, service and work.
The 2018-2019 honorees were:
- Outstanding Faculty Member in Teaching –
- Hsin-Hui Lin
- , professor of curriculum and instruction
- Outstanding Faculty Member in Scholarship –
- Barba Patton
- , professor of curriculum and instruction
- Outstanding Faculty Member in Service –
- Mary Lasater
- , assistant professor of curriculum and instruction, and coordinator of the VOICE and graduate curriculum and instruction programs
- Outstanding Staff Member –
- Sheryl De La Garza
- , senior secretary
The awards have been presented every year since 2013 to recognize outstanding accomplishments by the school’s faculty and staff. A faculty and staff committee chooses the recipients.
“Each of these employees have shown a commitment to excellence and a love for the university’s students,” said Fred Litton, dean of the school. “I am proud to recognize their achievements and efforts. Their positive attitudes and stellar work make them truly outstanding members of the education school and UHV family.”
For Lin, teaching is a way to help people as well as an opportunity for her to continue learning. Although she has worked elsewhere, she said she always comes back to teaching. She loves assisting students as they work to achieve their dreams and enjoys seeing their passion for helping others the same way she is helping them. Lin joined the school in 2003.
“Teaching is not just a way to make a paycheck,” Lin said. “It’s a way for people to make a difference through the lives of others. I am flattered that the school chose to give me this award. It is encouraging to know the school places value on hard work, and I hope these awards continue to encourage our younger faculty to keep pushing for excellence, as well.
Patton was acknowledged for her large volume of research into the learning difficulties students face, as well as her presentations at education conferences, including the Canadian International Conference. She received a grant to attend the 2019 conference. Much of Patton’s recent research focuses on how language difficulties or a lack of strong language skills impact every area of learning, from reading to math. Part of the inspiration for her research came from her early teaching experiences with middle school students in Port Lavaca. Many of her students came from low-income families, did not have a lot of support at home and had weak language skills, so they had a more difficult time learning, she said.
“I’ve always known people have the capability to learn, and my own family always pushed me to do better,” Patton said. “I try to focus on what causes confusion in learning, and it all boils down to language. It is wonderful to receive this award. I am grateful to the education school and the university for supporting my research and encouraging faculty members to pursue research opportunities.”
Lasater was recognized for her service to the school, the university and her students. During the previous year, she has been part of the university’s provost search committee, helped hire a new faculty member, served on the Faculty Senate and spent countless hours helping students interested in the school’s VOICE program, which helps students with a bachelor’s degree outside education get a teaching certificate. She also coordinated with other faculty to rework the VOICE program to make it more competitive for students.
“UHV is a special place for me because I grew up in Victoria, and I watched this place develop into what it is today,” she said. “I even chose to get my master’s degree here. I enjoy giving back and helping students find their way to a better future. It’s been fun to be part of the university’s growth, and I am grateful to receive this award.”
De La Garza first joined the school in November 2016. As senior secretary, she spends her days working in the school’s main office. Her duties include helping students who come to the office, handling phone calls, making travel arrangements, processing credit card invoices, scheduling new employee interviews and completing other tasks to help the education school run smoothly.
Her favorite aspects of the job include working with the school’s professors and greeting students who come into the office. Because she usually is the first face students see when they come in, she always tries to greet them with a smile and a friendly attitude, she said.
“I have really enjoyed working for the School of Education, Health Professions and Human Development,” De La Garza said. “Personal growth and knowledge have been progressive since my first day, and I have learned so much in the process. This has been a great opportunity and such a blessing. I really enjoy being a part of the UHV family, and I will continue to work hard for the school of education and will hold dear everything I have learned.”