Academic Affairs

Academic Affairs

The Office of Academic Affairs and Student Services 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 Sr. Associate Dean for Academic and Research 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 course waivers, leave of absence requests and degree progress letters and extensions
  • Preparation and publication of the UTHealth School of Public Health Catalog
  • Publication of a variety of reports to UTHealth School of Public Health faculty and students as well as The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth)
  • 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 Sr. 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



Policy 100, Student Academic Grievance Process and Flowchart
Policy 102, Doctoral Committees Structure
Policy 103, Drop Date Deadline for Courses
Policy 104, MPH and MS Committee Structures
Policy 105, Registration Maximum Credits in One Term
Policy 106, Thesis Dissertation Data and Publication Authorship
Policy 107, Academic Remediation Plan and Probation Steps
Policy 108, Test Security Policy
Policy 109, Student Research Thesis/Dissertation Proposal Approval


Policy 200, Student Evaluation Process
Policy 201, Course Grading
Policy 202, Maximum Students in a Course

Degree Requirements

Policy 300, Breadth and Minor Requirements for Doctoral Students
Policy 301, Conditional Admission to Doctoral Programs
Policy 302, Direct Admission from a Bachelors Degree to the PhD Program
Policy 303, Epidemiology Course Requirement
Policy 307, Preliminary Examination; Admission to Candidacy and Dissertation Defense
Policy 308, Transfer of Credit Hours


Policy 400, Auditing Courses
Policy 401, Continuous Enrollment for Students Enrolled in Thesis and Dissertation Research
Policy 402, Enrollment Requirements, Degree Time Limits, and Leaves of Absence
Policy 403, Readmission to a Degree Program
Policy 404, Transfer of Students Between the UTHealth SPH Campuses
Policy 405, Verification of Degrees for International Applicants
Policy 406, Teaching or Graduate Assistant Enrollment Status Requirement

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


Academic Affairs

Nesh Aqrawi
Nesh Aqrawi
Director, Academic Affairs

  • Provides direction for all School of Public Health state-wide academic affairs and student services operations, programs, activities, initiatives and events
  • Serves as the liaison to all external academic and student affairs organizations

Sharon Cummings
Sharon Cummings
Program Manager, Academic Affairs

  • Assists students and faculty with graduate certificate offerings for all students
  • Manages faculty governance, promotion and tenure, six-year review, faculty awards, and adjunct faculty appointments

Kathryn McAdams
Kathryn McMillan
Senior Coordinator, Student Services

  • Responsible for enrollment activities, maintaining course and enrollment data, and for developing the schedule of classes each semester for all School of Public Health campuse
  • Plans, coordinates, and implements the course evaluation process for all degree-seeking students

Student Advocacy and ADA Accommodations

Mary Ann Smith
Mary Ann Smith, PhD
Assistant Dean of Students

  • Manages student grievances, disciplinary matters, academic integrity issues and serves as the faculty advisor for the School of Public Health Student Association
  • Serves as the School of Public Health ADA/504 Coordinator

Academic Advising

Robert Hammarberg
Robert Hammarberg
Manager, Academic Affairs

  • Manages all academic advising and related planning processes across campuses
  • Manages all dual-degree, accelerated masters, certificate and non-degree programs for all campuses

Travis Crook
Coordinator, Student Records

  • Monitors students’ academic progress throughout their tenure at the School of Public Health
  • Manages and assists students with their academic committees

Admissions and Recruitment

Elvis Parada
Elvis Parada
Assistant Director, Admissions and Student Services

  • Responsible for the management and implementation of new student orientations, commencement, student scholarships, and all recruitment events
  • Oversees the admissions and recruitment processes of the School of Public Health (includes new student scholarships)

Career and Alumni Services

Ali Sasha
Sasha Ali
Senior Student Affairs Coordinator, Career and Alumni Services

  • Responsible for services including resume critique, mock interviews, career advising and assessments, and job search assistances
  • Provides support and engagement opportunities to our alumni

Data Reporting

Sarah Donahue
Sarah Donahue
Business Intelligence Analyst

  • Collects, preserves and disseminates institutional data and ensure its integrity and accuracy
  • Assists in providing data to the UTHealth community, external agencies and fulfills state and federally mandated reporting requirements

Educational Technology

Peggy Powell
Peggy Powell
Manager, Educational Technology

  • Responsible for the support, design, development, implementation, delivery, and maintenance of resources used for instructional functions
  • Provides support and assistance for leave of absence requests, the qualifying process, post qualifying issues, and academic integrity issues


Dee Kirksey
Dee Kirksey
Senior Coordinator, Student Services

  • Manages the graduation process for degree-seeking students at all School of Public Health campuses
  • Assists department leadership with development, review and interpretation of academic policies and student research standards

Office Management and Scholarships

Brooke Burns
Brooke Burns
Senior Administrative Coordinator, Student Research 

  • Responsible for the daily business operational and financial management of the office and coordinates the application and selection process for endowed scholarships
  • Ensures that the office is in compliance with the fiscal, budgetary, personnel, and operational systems established by university, departmental, program, and grant guidelines

Practicum and Public Health Practice

Janelle Rios
Janelle Rios, PhD
Director, Public Health Practice

  • Guides students through applied practice experiences
  • Chairs the School of Public Health Practice Council

Laura Rademacher
Laura Rademacher
Coordinator, Educational Programs

  • Guides students through their public health practice experience
  • Supports the overall administrative and operational goals of practicum program

Holly Cieslikowski
Holly Cieslikowski
Project Specialist

  • Supports all practicum and Practice Council activities
  • Supports three NIEHS worker training programs in hazardous materials management, disaster preparedness, and biosafety

Student Research

Patricia Salas
Senior Administrative Coordinator

  • Manages the student research process [culminating experience (CE), thesis and dissertation]
  • Oversees the administrative review and approval of thesis and dissertation proposals