New Faculty Senate president wants to promote involvement

In recent years, the 2017-2018 president of the Faculty Senate has seen a few shifts in trends that characterize the University of Houston-Victoria.

Joseph Ben-Ur

The university’s recruitment of traditional freshman students; the growing number of social, student-led activities on campus; the rising standards and motivations of students; and the university’s focus on providing a hybrid face-to-face and online education are just a few of the major changes Joseph Ben-Ur has seen. He wants to support those shifts through continued and increased faculty involvement.

“These developments create a pleasing and encouraging picture of UHV,” Ben-Ur said. “UHV needs to move forward, and what can be better than using the creativity of its well-qualified faculty members to help the university excel?”

The UHV marketing professor has been involved in the university’s Faculty Senate for years. The Faculty Senate is an elected body that listens to the collective voice of faculty members and provides a forum for discussion about academic and curricular matters. Senators are elected by faculty from their respective schools, while members of the Executive Committee are elected by the entire UHV faculty.

One of the major focuses of the year will be the process of selecting a new university president, Ben-Ur said. UHV President Vic Morgan will step down by fall 2018.

Jim Higgins

“We want to bring in a new president who will keep UHV moving forward,” Ben-Ur said. “Our current president has done a good job of promoting and supporting the university, and we hope the next leader will continue that.”

Jim Higgins, an assistant professor of history and the previous Faculty Senate president, will serve as past president. He is looking forward to seeing Ben-Ur take over leadership of the faculty governing body.

“Joseph has been at UHV for decades and has the respect of the faculty, the deans and the staff,” Higgins said. “He knows all the ins and outs of how the university works. He will be an outstanding leader for the UHV Faculty Senate during this pivotal time in UHV’s shift in leadership.”

Joining Ben-Ur and Higgins on the Faculty Senate are:

Executive Committee

  • Vice President – Jeffrey Cass, School of Arts & Sciences professor
  • Secretary – Keith Akins, School of Arts & Sciences associate professor
  • School of Education, Health Professions & Human Development representative – Paul Carlson, professor


  • Jennifer Ortiz-Garza, School of Arts & Sciences lecturer
  • Jang Woo Park, School of Arts & Sciences assistant professor
  • Mark Ward, School of Arts & Sciences associate professor
  • Massomeh Hajilee, School of Business Administration associate professor
  • John Kagochi, School of Business Administration associate professor
  • June Lu, School of Business Administration professor
  • Lou Lloyd-Zannini, School of Education, Health Professions & Human Development associate professor
  • Barba Patton, School of Education, Health Professions & Human Development professor

Sherry Vafa, School of Education, Health Professions & Human Development assistant professor

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.