Academic Affairs

Academic Affairs

The Office of Academic Affairs supports the school’s mission of promoting and maintaining an academic environment conducive to excellence in teaching and learning.

Academic Affairs encourages the development of learning experiences designed to prepare graduates skilled in the diverse disciplines of public health. In addition, the office augments the curriculum offered to students by identifying and developing new educational collaborations and dual degree programs with other schools.

The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs works in concert with the Academic Council to address academic problems and issues, create new academic policy when necessary, and provide oversight for the school s degree programs and curriculum.

Other responsibilities of Academic Affairs includes the general oversight of the academic process, such as:

  • Processing of core course waivers, leave of absence requests and degree progress letters and extensions
  • Preparation and publication of the SPH Catalog
  • Publication of a variety of reports to SPH faculty and students as well as The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth)
  • Management of the process for adjunct and cross-appointed faculty
  • Active involvement in the accreditation process
  • Management and implementation of the academic discipline policies and procedures
  • Assessment and evaluation of the school’ s curriculum, programs and teaching
  • Management of educational collaborations with internal and external institutions.

In addition, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs represents the interests of the school by serving on a variety of committees and working groups at UTHealth and other schools and institutions.

External Agencies


Association of Schools & Programs of Public Health (ASPPH)

Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) – The UTHealth School of Public Health is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health.

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) – The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) to award certificates, and baccalaureate, master and doctoral degrees.

Texas Education Code

Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB)

UT System Regents’ Rules



UTSPH Policy 100, Academic Conflict Resolution
UTSPH Policy 101, Customized MPH Program for Regional Campus, Dual Degree Students and Dietetic Interns
UTSPH Policy 102, Doctoral Committees Structure
UTSPH Policy 103, Drop Date Deadline for Courses
UTSPH Policy 104, MPH and MS Committee Structures
UTSPH Policy 105, Registration Maximum Credits in One Term
UTSPH Policy 106, Thesis Dissertation Data and Publication Authorship
UTSPH Policy 107, Academic Remediation Plan and Probation Steps
UTSPH Policy 108, Test Security Policy 
UTSPH Policy 109, Student Research Thesis/Dissertation Proposal Approval


UTSPH Policy 200, Student Evaluation process
UTSPH Policy 201, Course Grading
UTSPH Policy 202, Maximum Students in a Course
UTSPH Policy 203, Minimum Credit Hours Required for MPH Graduation

Degree Requirements

UTSPH Policy 300, Breadth and Minor Requirements for Doctoral Students
UTSPH Policy 301, Conditional Admission to Doctoral Programs
UTSPH Policy 302, Direct Admission from a Bachelors Degree to the PhD Program
UTSPH Policy 303, Epidemiology Course Requirement
UTSPH Policy 304, Ethics Course Requirement
UTSPH Policy 305, MPH Students and the Core Requirement
UTSPH Policy 306, Practicum waiver
UTSPH Policy 307, Preliminary Exam (formerly Qualifying Exam); Admission to Candidacy and Dissertation Defense
UTSPH Policy 308, Transfer of Credit Hours


UTSPH Policy 400, Auditing Courses
UTSPH Policy 401, Continuous Enrollment
UTSPH Policy 402, Enrollment Requirements, Degree Time Limits, and Leaves of Absence
UTSPH Policy 403, Readmission to a Degree Program
UTSPH Policy 404, Transfer of students between the UTSPH campuses
UTSPH Policy 405, Verification of Degrees for International Applicants
UTHealth/UTSPH Health Insurance Requirement for all Students

UTHealth Handbook of Operating Procedures (HOOP)

HOOP Policy 129, Academic / Educational Records
HOOP Policy 160, Criminal Background Check
HOOP Policy 186, Student Conduct and Discipline


Student Exit Surveys                          Alumni Surveys

Student Exit Survey 2011                           Alumni Survey 2010
Student Exit Survey 2010                           Alumni Survey 2005
Student Exit Survey 2009                           Alumni Survey 2000 
Student Exit Survey 2008                           Alumni Survey 1996
Student Exit Survey 2007 

We are listening…

In February 2013, the Offices of Academic and Student Affairs convened a workgroup, comprised of representatives from the offices of academic affairs, alumni affairs, student affairs, career services, the student association, current students, recent graduates and alumni to discuss and plan for a better way to capture information about the School’s students and graduates.  Specifically, what we wanted to know was how our students and graduates perceived their educational experiences at the School during the student life cycle, at graduation, as an alumni and how alums utilized their education in the workplace.

The outcome of this collaborative process was the development of an innovative approach that was designed to address the problems of maintaining contact with and stimulating feedback from the School’s students and graduates, as well employers of our graduates. The approach we took involves seeking student feedback and opinions from the beginning of an individual’s student life, through graduation and ultimately to their work life beyond UTHealth SPH.  The school now refers to the resulting assessment as The Constituent Survey, evaluating the life span of the individual’s experience with UTHealth SPH.  The rationale for this approach is that if our students and alumni see that we take immediate action by responding to their feedback, then this will demonstrate the School’s desire to make improvements based upon their unique, as well as their collective experiences.

What we hope is that this translates in to a greater willingness on the part of our students and graduates to provide continued feedback to us once they transition to alumni status and enter the workforce.

Alumni Surveys

Alumni Survey 2013

New Student – Admissions and Orientation Surveys

New Student Admissions and Orientation Survey Fall 2013
New Student Admissions and Orientation Survey Spring 2014

Office of Academic Affairs and Student Services

Sylvia Salas, MPH

Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs and Student Services

Mary Ann Smith, PhD

Assistant Dean of Students

John Adams

Coordinator, Student Records

Nesh Aqrawi

Assistant Director, Academic and Faculty Affairs

JR Bright

Academic Advisor

Brenda Brown

Coordinator II, Educational Programs

Brooke Burns

Administrative Coordinator

Tiaresa Carter

Manager, Admissions

Sharon Cummings

Program Manager, Academic Affairs

Kori Gould

Strategic Communications and External Affairs Specialist

Dee Kirksey

Coordinator, Student Services

Leah Merrill

Systems Analyst

Samuel E. Neher

Assistant Director, Student Services

Rebecca Novak

Coordinator I, Research

Peggy Powell

Manager, Educational Technology

Keuchie Reed

Coordinator, Course Scheduling

Silvia Santiago

Office Manager/Scholarships and Traineeship Coordinator

Manny Soto

Coordinator, Educational Programs