Joann Olson, an associate professor in the School of Education, Health Professions & Human Development, is the University of Houston Victoria’s new associate provost for research and dean of graduate studies, a role that will help expand the university’s research operations and graduate programs.

Olson’s new position started Monday after the university conducted an internal search.

“We are excited to form this new role at the university and see Dr. Olson take the lead in helping to develop the university in new ways,” said Chance Glenn, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “As UHV plans for the future, it is the best time to strengthen our position in research and scholarship while supporting graduate education. We look forward to what the university will accomplish and develop with Dr. Olson in this new position.”

The associate provost for research and dean of graduate studies is a full-time position with the responsibility of managing and expanding research operations for the university as well as graduate programs.

The university offers graduate programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences, Business Administration, and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. Graduate programs are offered in person and online, with some programs offered online only.

UHV faculty members conduct research in their respective fields through publishing scholarly and professional books; writing peer-reviewed articles and reviews; presenting research at academic and professional meetings, conferences and webinars; writing successful grant proposals to support scholarly research; producing relevant creative works; preparing materials for local scholarly or professional use; and more.

“I am excited and ready for the challenge of this new role,” Olson said. “We have many faculty members doing interesting and important work and research in their fields, and our current graduate programs offer so much for individuals who want to develop new skills for their careers. I look forward to getting to work on these two vital facets of the university and promoting the work that we are doing.”

Olson has worked at UHV since 2012 and has taught graduate courses. Effective Sept. 1, she also will be promoted to full professor. During her time at UHV, Olson has served as the chair of committees, including the Graduate Programs Committee and the Faculty Development and Retention Sub-Committee. She also has been a member of several other university committees, including the Faculty Senate Executive Committee, and has participated in UHV activities, including Jaguar Days and student organizations.

In addition, she has received recognition for her service and scholarly efforts. In 2019, she received the Distinguished Faculty Service Award from her colleagues for her service to both the university and community, and in 2018 she received the Excellence in Teaching Award from the UHV chapter of the National Society of Leadership and Success. In 2015, she was given UHV’s Research and Scholarly Activity Excellence Award, as well as the Outstanding Scholarly Activity Award from the School of Education, Health Professions & Human Development. In 2014, she received the Student’s Choice Faculty Award for her service to UHV students.

She received her Bachelor of Science in employment relations from Michigan State University in 1990 and in 2007 received her Master of Arts in Christian formation and ministry from Wheaton College in Illinois. She also has a doctorate in adult education, which she received in 2010 from Pennsylvania State University.

In her new role, Olson joins the UHV Deans’ Council and will become a member of the UHV President’s Cabinet. She will work with faculty to further develop UHV’s graduate programs while also learning and listening to the needs of each school and advocating on their behalf.

“So many doors can open for people with a graduate degree,” Olson said. “The extent to which our graduate programs help students develop skills and a sense of their own expertise in their field is important because those skills have an impact. We want to better serve our students who are pursuing graduate studies so that they can better serve their communities.”

Olson also will work with university faculty in increasing and promoting their research to the university and surrounding communities. She will explore ways to better support and equip faculty in program building and in their scholarly work. A team has already been working to develop “UHV Discovers: An ongoing speaker series on the research, scholarship, and innovations at UHV,” and Olson will join this initiative. UHV Discovers will be a platform for the faculty to present their research in faculty showcase events to the university and local communities beginning this fall, she said.

“Part of growing as an institution is helping people understand who we are and what we do, and I would love to see faculty members further expand their expertise and share the latest findings in their fields,” she said. “Our faculty members are doing amazing things at UHV, and I look forward to working with them to expand and promote their work.”

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