07:18 AM

Akif Uzman Named Dean of the College of Sciences and Technology

akifThe University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) this week named Akif Uzman, Ph.D., professor of biology and biochemistry, as dean of the College of Sciences and Technology (CST).

Uzman joined UHD in 1997 as an assistant professor of biology and biochemistry, became chair of the Department of Natural Sciences in 2003, and has served as interim dean of CST since 2011.

"Dr. Uzman's thorough knowledge of UHD, the University of Houston System and the Greater Houston community uniquely qualify him to lead and grow the College of Sciences and Technology in the years to come," said Ed Hugetz, UHD interim senior vice president of academic affairs and provost.

Over the eight years Uzman served as chair of the Department of Natural Sciences, UHD nearly doubled its natural science majors and increased its natural science graduates by 75 percent. Under his leadership as interim dean of CST, the College increased all majors by 33 percent. His many teaching and administrative contributions have greatly supported UHD's goals for student access and success.

Uzman's commitment to undergraduate education is evidenced by his selection as one of 40 national Vision and Change Leadership Fellows of the Partnership for Undergraduate Life Sciences Education (PULSE), charged with identifying and implementing systemic changes needed to improve undergraduate life sciences education across the country.

Throughout his tenure at UHD, he has championed CST's Scholars Academy as an innovative program - in line with the mission of PULSE - that fosters the creation of tomorrow's computer science, engineering technology, mathematics and natural science leaders. He also helped secure $7 million in grants to support Scholars Academy.

Uzman's research in genomics and developmental biology has included work in microbial genomics with colleagues at Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Houston. He also serves on the editorial board of Biochemical and Molecular Biology Education.

As dean, he will continue working with UHD's Department of Advancement in reaching out to industry - particularly in the energy sector - to develop partnerships, including internships, research opportunities and academic programs, that are relevant to companies' needs and best prepare students for careers and professional success.

Uzman received a doctoral degree in zoology at the University of California, Berkeley, and master's degree in environmental health science and bachelor's degree in zoology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Prior to joining UHD, Uzman served as a visiting assistant professor at the University of Houston and University of California, Berkeley, a research associate and lecturer at The University of Texas at Austin, and a staff scientist in the Division of Cell and Molecular Biology at the Lawrence Berkeley Lab.

"I believe in the fundamental mission of UHD and am honored to accept the role of dean of the College of Sciences and Technology," said Uzman. "I have a passion for the goals of a liberal arts education and for increasing the research, academic and future career opportunities for UHD's diverse student body. Along with my colleagues, I look forward to growing our degree options and high-impact learning available to undergraduate and graduate students at the University."