07:18 AM

UHD Names Julie Norton Executive Director of Strategic Partnerships

Julie Norton_UHDThe University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) this week named Julie Norton executive director of strategic partnerships.

In this newly created role, Norton will oversee and establish University-wide partnerships with key institutions, organizations, agencies and employers, and manage the creation and overall strategic plan for campus community engagement efforts, including raising awareness of UHD and its initiatives in the local community. She also will build support and seek funding for community-based initiatives in partnership with campus and community stakeholders.

"A key tenet of the UHD mission is to 'engage with the community to address the needs and advance the development of the region,'" said UHD President Bill Flores, Ph.D. "This position will allow UHD to build on existing partnerships and develop strategy for future ones in coordination with our various University centers and campus stakeholders. Julie brings great strength and experience to this position and I look forward to working with her."

For its priority on community engagement initiatives and partnerships, UHD was one of five universities in Texas to receive the 2015 Community Engagement Classification from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Prior to joining UHD, Norton was director of communications at Harmony Public Schools, a high-performing K-12 college preparatory charter school in Houston. In this role, she managed internal and external communications for the institution, secured funding through corporate, nonprofit, college and university partnerships, and led collaborations among departments to expand opportunities for students. Prior to this position, Norton gained extensive experience in education as both a classroom teacher and an administrator.

"Having partnered with the University of Houston-Downtown on several community engagement efforts over the past two years, I am delighted to join the University in a role that will enable me to engage my passion for community service and extend the University's reach in the community moving forward," said Norton.

During her tenure at Harmony Public Schools, Norton orchestrated and collaborated on bringing hundreds of Harmony students to the UHD campus for Houston's Big Read initiative and - in collaboration with Global Youth Service Day and Environmental Education Day - for the University's annual Buffalo Bayou Service Project, a day of service and learning that exposes young students to the flora and fauna of Buffalo Bayou. After gathering water samples and learning about invasive species in the bayou, the students joined UHD undergraduates to gather recyclable materials near the bayou to clean the campus and protect the surrounding environment.

Norton also facilitated Harmony's participation with Houston's Citizenship Month literacy contest with thousands of Harmony School partners across the Texas region.

Norton earned a Master of Education degree in reading from the University of St. Thomas and a Bachelor of Science degree in anthropology, with a minor in sociology, from the University of Houston.