Dr. Richard Gunasekera, associate professor of biology at the University of Houston-Victoria, was recently appointed president of the University Faculties Executive Committee for the University of Houston System.
UFEC is a governing body that represents faculty from each of the four UHS institutions. The presidency of UFEC is rotated among the schools’ faculty senate presidents, falling to UHV this year.
In regular meetings, UHS Chancellor Jay Gogue and UHS Provost Donald Foss discuss with these faculty senators important information and activities at the system campuses. This forum further presents the opportunity to share information about teaching, service and research and scholarly activities at each of the schools. Gogue also shares information about legislative decisions that will affect UHS, and the faculty senators, in turn, report on these proceedings to their respective faculties.
As president of UFEC, Gunasekera will be responsible for calling meetings and setting the agenda for the year. He hopes to build off projects begun last year that seek to further facilitate globalization and international initiatives being undertaken by UHS schools, including international teaching, research and faculty and scholar exchange programs.
Gunasekera’s other main goal is to raise the research profile of UHS schools. These projects include the development of a research day at each campus that showcases studies being conducted by faculty and students. He hopes highlighting the significant research conducted at the UHS campuses will raise the system’s standing to the status of the first-tier universities in the state. As a member of the UHS Intellectual Property Committee, he noted that the research conducted at UHS schools is outstanding, and these goals are aligned with initiatives UHV has itself undertaken in recent years.
Gunasekera is joined on the UFEC council by UHV Faculty Senate vice president Dr. Nagarajan Ramamoorthy.