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July HEST Talk

Hi all: 

I hope you are all excited about getting started as the new College of Health, Education, and Social Transformation (HEST). We are launching our new website today. We will continue to streamline the pages as we combine the different sources of information. See

We in the dean’s offices and the sociology department have been meeting to understand our strategic initiatives and to get to know each other better. This will continue to happen through the year and for years to come.

The leadership team in HEST is as follows:

  • Interim Dean, Henrietta Williams Pichon
  • Executive Assistant to the Dean, Amanda Romero
  • Interim Associate Deans for Academic Affairs, Teresa Keller and Phil Post
  • Associate Dean for Research, Jill McDonald (sabbatical) and vacant (interim)
  • Research and Business Center, Juanita Hannan and Aida Lopez
  • Anthony Castro, Administrative Assistant
  • Educational Support and Resource Center, Margo Trevino-Torres
  • Program Coordinators, Patrick Mendoza and Samantha Padron 
  • Communication Specialist, vacant

 Academic Unit (schools and departments) leadership is as follows: 

  • Communication Disorders, Heike Lehnert-LeHouillier, Interim Department Head
  • Counseling and Educational Psychology, Elsa Arroyos, Interim Department Head
  • Kinesiology, Phil Post until new Interim Department Head is named
  • Public Health Science, Hector Diaz, Interim Department Head
  • Nursing, Alexa Doig, School Director
  • Social Work, Hector Diaz, School Director
  • Sociology, David LoConto, Interim Department Head
  • Teacher Preparation, Administration, and Leadership, Rick Marlatt, Interim School Director

For July, the Executive Council for HEST will begin meeting collectively as the leadership team for the college. We seek to understand our charge and scope, as well as figure out how to best incorporate College Council, Faculty Senate, and varying other committees/task forces into the meeting structure. Also, the Research and Business Office Team has continued working to combine offices  and procedures; they are in the process of streamlining services and determining how best to communicate any changes to the college as they become available. We want to be informed, mindful, and inclusive as we move forward in the overall conversations of oneness. Please keep your eyes open for calls to serve. We really need you. 

A couple of days ago, we learned about the COVID Performance Funds awarded through the VPRs Office. We submitted 21 proposals and three were funded (i.e., Chris Aiken, Rick Marlatt, Henrietta Williams Pichon), totaling $449,000. (see attached) The VPRs Office will continue working with authors to find other funding sources. Also, I encourage you to use the Research and Business Office with Drs. Juanita Hannan and Aida Lopez, to connect with support here in the college as you seek other funding opportunities.   

As far as the Dean Search is going, it is moving along. Ms. Amanda Romero, Executive Assistant to the Dean, will be assisting Dean Pontelli with the search. Dean Pontelli has collected names of potential committee members and is now focusing on the faculty election which closes on July 7. Additionally, the Provost will be creating her New College Task Force. 

Upcoming events in August:

  • August 2, full campus open
  • August 16, Faculty report to campus
  • August 16-27, Academic Unit Retreats (TBD by unit leaders)
  • August 17, College of Health, Education, and Social Transformation Convocation (O’Donnell Hall, Room 111 and virtual) and Family Welcome Back Extravaganza (family fun, food, games, meet and greet in Preciado Park (next to O’Donnell  Hall)
  • August  18, Classes begin
  • August 20, College of  Health, Education, and Social Transformation New Employee Orientation; 3:00 p.m., O’Donnell Hall 300; light refreshments 

I am looking forward to working with each of you. Let’s have a great year!


Henrietta Williams Pichon, Ph.D.,

Interim Dean

College of Health, Education, and Social Transformation