University College Dean Chris Birchak Retiring

Dear UHD Community:

For more than 30 years, Dr. Chris Birchak has served the University of Houston-Downtown in many roles, including her current position as Dean of the University College—a position she has held since 2004. Recently, she informed the Provost and myself of her intent to retire in the near future, which will indeed leave a void at UHD.

As Dean of the University College, Dr. Birchak supported the development of the Honors Program, the Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence and Supplemental Instruction Program. She also has served as an advocate for enhanced advising at UHD to provide students guidance on their academic journeys.

Her energy and enthusiasm for teaching, advising and academic excellence have long benefited UHD and its students. During my time as UHD President, I have been impressed by her accomplishments and those of the University College under her leadership. UHD is indeed a better place thanks to her hard work, and I applaud her service to our students and our University.

Fortunately, Dr. Birchak has agreed to remain as University College Dean until a candidate for this role is identified. A search committee soon will be formed, and I am pleased to announce that College of Public Service Interim Dean Dr. Leigh Van Horn will chair this group. I am confident that Dr. Van Horn’s experience and leadership at UHD will play an integral role in identifying top candidates for the Deanship of University College. The University community will be notified once the balance of committee members are finalized.

In the meantime, please join me in recognizing Dr. Birchak. She’s been a model member of the UHD community and leaves a lasting legacy to current and future students.

A native Houstonian, Dr. Birchak arrived at UHD in spring 1985 as an adjunct lecturer of English. She would soon become a full-time faculty member and later served the University in a variety of roles. During her time at UHD, she has served as Assistant Chair of the English Department; Director of UHD’s Professional Writing Program; and Associate Dean of the College of Humanities & Social Sciences.

Thank you, Dr. Birchak for your commitment to our University. Your contributions to UHD have been invaluable, and I wish you the best of luck on future endeavors.

Sincerely,

Dr. Juan Sánchez Muñoz, UHD President