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Center for Public Service & Community Outreach’s vitalvoices Spring Series Continues March 7

In this vitalvoices forum, “Engaging Families & Communities in the Education Process” will feature University of Houston faculty members Dr. Ruth M. Lopez and Dr. Rhoda Freelon from 5:30 to 7 p.m., Monday, March 7, College of Public Service, Room C100 or via Zoom.

For this March 7 event, Lopez and Freelon will share their approaches to teaching education leadership courses that aim to prepare educators to develop a strong sense of community in their schools and districts in a way that honors the assets of their students and families, particularly those from groups who have historically been disenfranchised in education.

Crop LopezDr. Ruth M. Lopez is an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Studies in UH’s College of Education.  Her research agenda centers on examining the educational experiences, opportunities and outcomes of students of color along the P-20 pipeline—specifically focusing on Latinx and immigrant students and families.Freelon faculty photo

UH Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership & Policy Studies Dr. Rhoda Freelon’s research connects to two specific areas—the exploration of educational inequality rooted in various forms of systemic oppression and the democratic engagement of families and community members in the life of schools and district governance. Her work engages multiple methodological approaches with a focus on research that explores the possibilities of educational equity for historically marginalized populations. 

“This approach to family engagement is critical in a time of intersecting societal crises—namely the COVID-19 pandemic, which has disproportionally impacted communities of color, and amid heightened instances of racial injustice,” said Steven Villano, Director of the Center for Public Service & Community Outreach. “We argue these events and other inequities impact the local issues and everyday practices of education leaders in communities, schools and districts. As a result, educators and other providers need to consider these issues to fully engage minoritized families and communities.”

To attend this event in person or via zoom, register online.



About the University of Houston-Downtown

The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.

U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.