After a 52-year career working in and promoting education, including eight at the University of Houston-Victoria, Fred Litton is preparing to enjoy his retirement.
Litton, dean of the UHV School of Education, Health Professions & Human Development, will retire at the end of July. He and his wife, Beverly, who worked in special education at Howell Middle School, decided to retire together. They plan to move to Arkansas to be closer to their children and grandchildren.
“UHV and the Victoria community have been very good to us,” Litton said. “Every day, I worked with people who were committed to achieving great things and helping our students become outstanding educators and professionals.”
Litton took the reins in July 2012 of what was then the UHV School of Education & Human Development. He previously worked in education as a dean, department chair or faculty member at several institutions, including Louisiana State University at Alexandria, Southern University in Baton Rouge, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, University of Central Arkansas, Delta State University in Cleveland, Miss., and University of New Orleans. In his eight years at UHV, he led the school through important growth and development, including adding new programs, earning major grants, achieving and maintaining state and national accreditations, and starting new community initiatives.
“The UHV School of Education, Health Professions & Human Development is fortunate to have had Fred Litton at the helm,” UHV President Bob Glenn said. “He has gone above and beyond time and time again for the university and its students. He has made a lasting impact on the university and its community. He leaves behind a legacy of excellence and value in education that will continue for years to come.”
During his time at UHV, Litton presided over many positive changes in the school, including the addition of a Bachelor of Science in kinesiology with concentrations in exercise sports science, pre-allied health, sports management and K-12 teaching certification; Bachelor of Science in health studies; Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing; Master of Education in educational technology; and the Master of Science in sport management. The school also added certification preparation programs in areas that included autism, dyslexia, English as a Second Language/Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, emotional intelligence and Applied Behavior Analysis. Under his guidance, the school also is changing the undergraduate education program this fall from a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies to a Bachelor of Arts in Education. The name change was significant because it involved the passage of a new Texas law and all universities in Texas that have teacher education programs.
In addition, the school achieved and maintained several state and national accreditations and certifications under his leadership. These included accreditations from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, State Board of Education Certification and the National Strength and Conditioning Association Education Recognition Program.
“It takes a lot of work and commitment to make new programs happen,” Litton said. “I was fortunate to have an outstanding group of faculty and staff who always were looking for ways to move the school and the university forward. Their dedication to helping students and offering quality programs are what makes the school great.”
Litton also made it a priority to establish and expand partnerships and events that served the university’s communities. Whether that meant working with area school districts in order to offer student teaching opportunities to education students or offering symposia about homelessness in Victoria, community involvement was a high priority, he said.
That focus on partnerships and supporting others also extended to Litton’s interactions with the school’s faculty and staff, said Rachel Martinez, associate dean of the school, who will be stepping in as interim dean after Litton’s retirement. Whether it was through supporting students who wanted to become educators, counselors or other professionals, or working with the school’s employees, Litton always put the needs of others above himself.
“We’re in the business of helping people, and he is passionate about that,” Martinez said. “He is a good leader who focused on equipping his faculty members to make sure we were able to offer the best education to our students. If any of us needed special training or credentials, he supported us and helped us find resources to make that happen so we could pass that knowledge on to our students. He was an outstanding mentor, and he taught me well.”
In addition to supporting the growth of the school’s programs and community partnerships, Litton also supported the faculty’s efforts to bring in grants and contracts for research and projects. Under his leadership, the school received several major grants totaling $4.75 million.
Throughout his career, Litton also has presented his own research in special education, including nine books, 13 book chapters, 31 refereed professional journal articles and more than 100 international, national and state professional presentations.
“Every step of the way, it’s been challenging and exciting to see UHV grow,” Litton said. “I’ve loved watching the faculty and staff grow and develop and to see students come in, learn and leave to become excellent professionals. The education school was already a good place when I came, and I am glad to know that it will continue to be a strong educational institution after I retire.”