A Message From President Loren J. Blanchard Announcing New Vice President for Student Success and Student Life
Dear UHD Community,
The University of Houston-Downtown engaged in a national search for the Vice President of Student Success and Student Life, often referred to as 3SL. Today, I am pleased to announce that Dr. Dakota Doman has accepted this position and will officially join our UHD family on Monday, July 3, 2023.
In this position, Dr. Doman will lead the University’s continued development of student success and engagement strategies to enhance access, optimize learning, improve student life, and increase retention and graduation rates. The Vice President for Student Success and Student Life will work collaboratively across campus to implement innovative and holistic approaches that remove barriers to student success, cultivate dynamic academic environments, and nurture students to their full potential.
Dr. Doman will join us from Texas Southern University where he currently serves as the Chief of Staff to the President and Acting Chief Governmental Affairs Officer. Before his current role, he served as the Senior Director for Strategy and Policy for College Completion at the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management at Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas, and Assistant Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs at West Virginia State University. Dr. Doman has roots within the University of Houston System as the former Director of Student Life and Services at the University of Houston-Victoria. Prior to that he was the Student Activities and Civic Engagement Director at Lamar University. He holds a doctoral degree in Higher Education Administration from Texas Tech University and two degrees from Lamar University: a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Entrepreneurial Behavior and Leadership, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Ms. Lynette Cook-Francis for serving as the Interim Vice President of Student Success and Student Life for the past eleven months. Under her leadership, we made tremendous strides toward strengthening our foundation for student success. Among the accomplishments, UHD received substantial funding to establish the University’s Center for Basic Needs. The grant award of $943,724 over three years supports our student success priority by securing and training staff to support students’ basic needs, collecting data through a case management process that tracks students’ access to various resources, and directly providing for students’ emergency needs. The Center opened in mid-March, but services were available to students before then, evidencing Ms. Cook-Francis’s commitment to enhancing student success. In addition to establishing UHD’s Center for Basic Needs, Ms. Cook-Francis led the restructuring of our Division of Student Success and Student Life and secured a $50,000 Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) Accelerate Student Success Planning Grant. I am deeply appreciative of her commitment to UHD and the excellence with which she has served our institution. Ms. Cook-Francis’s last day will be on Wednesday, May 31, 2023. We will soon announce a going-away celebration in her honor.
As we bid farewell to Ms. Lynette Cook-Francis and prepare to welcome Dr. Dakota Doman, Dr. Liza Alonzo will temporarily lead the Division of Student Success and Student Life from June 1 through July 2, 2023. Dr. Alonzo’s vast experience in student affairs and student life, along with her demonstrated history of excellence in project management and university initiatives will no doubt prove an asset to 3SL during this period of transition. I thank Dr. Alonzo, in advance, for her service and commitment to the University of Houston-Downtown.
I would like to conclude this message by extending my gratitude to Ms. Lynette Cook-Francis and Dr. Daniel Villanueva for co-chairing this national Vice President for Student Success and Student Life search, along with each of the search committee members for their dedication to this process and support of the University’s mission and commitment to student success.
Loren J. Blanchard, Ph.D.
President, University of Houston-Downtown