Search committee names three finalists for UHV provost

Three educators with experience in Texas higher education were named this week as finalists for the position of provost and vice president for academic affairs at the University of Houston-Victoria.

“We are pleased that all three finalists previously worked in Texas institutions of higher education and can bring that background to UHV if they are selected,” said Jane Fry, chairwoman of the UHV Provost Search Committee and an associate professor in the School of Education & Human Development.

The finalists are as follows:

Lisa AbneyLisa Abney, provost and vice president of academic and student affairs, and an English professor at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, La. Abney earned both her bachelor’s degree in modern languages (Spanish) and her master’s degree in English from Texas A&M University. Her doctorate in English is from the University of Houston. She served as a lecturer in English and an academic adviser and coordinator at UH-Downtown. She has worked at Northwestern State since 1997 in various positions including head of the Language and Communication Department, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and director of the Louisiana Folklife Center based at the university.
Jeffrey CassJeffrey Cass, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences and an English professor at the University of Louisiana in Monroe. Cass earned a bachelor’s degree in English and German from the University of Dallas. Both his master’s and doctorate in comparative literature are from the University of California at San Diego. From 1991 to 2007, he worked in various positions at Texas A&M International University in Laredo including English professor, assistant to the provost, Advanced Placement Faculty Fellows director and associate provost. He has held his current position since 2007.
James McDonaldJames McDonald, dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and an anthropology professor at Southern Utah University in Cedar City. McDonald earned a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from the University of Arizona in Tucson; a master’s degree in anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; and a doctorate, also in anthropology, from Arizona State University in Phoenix. He worked in various positions from 1999 to 2008 at the University of Texas at San Antonio. These positions included chairman of the Anthropology Department, senior associate dean for faculty affairs in the College of Sciences and associate vice provost for academic and faculty support. He has worked in his current position at Southern Utah University since 2008.

The finalists, who were selected after a national search, will now come to UHV for interviews and meetings with the campus community. To view each finalist’s résumé, go to

Don Smith, who was UHV’s provost and vice president for academic affairs from 1995 to 2006, currently is serving as the interim provost and special assistant to the president through the fall semester.

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.

Paula Cobler