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UHV certification coordinator helps students become teachers

In her 15 years working at the University of Houston-Victoria, Deborah Westbrook has seen countless upgrades.

Deborah Westbrook

“The changes have been huge,” she said. “Back then, we had paper applications. Nothing was electronic; everything was paper files. “Plus, the number of people who work here now has grown vastly.”

Westbrook works in the UHV School of Education, Health Professions & Human Development, where she is the coordinator for teacher certification. It is her job to work closely with students who want to become educators.

One of her roles is ensuring students who apply for the teacher education program meet the necessary requirements. She and the other certification analysts also follow up with students, surveying how they are doing throughout the program.

Westbrook’s approach is simple.

“I try to have open communication with staff,” she said. “And, of course, I do the best to help our students.”

Prior to working for UHV, Westbrook was employed by the state of Texas in regulating long-term care. However, when her position was transferred to San Antonio, she decided she didn’t want to transfer with the job.

“Victoria is pretty much home,” she said. “It’s where my husband and I raised our three children.”

She was initially hired to work in the UHV Office of Admission. After two years, she switched to the education school. In 2013, Westbrook was honored with the School of Education, Health Professions & Human Development staff award for her customer service skills.

“I appreciated that honor so much,” Westbrook said. “Whenever your peers recognize you, then you know you’re doing your job.”

Westbrook also serves on the UHV Student Enrollment Committee. The committee is made up of advisors across all departments. They discuss different issues they have for admissions and other ways they can help departments run smoothly.

When not working, Westbrook enjoys spending time with her family. She has twin daughters, as well as a son who has special needs.

Westbrook became involved years ago in Special Olympics and still volunteers today. She’s also devoted a lot of time to the Victoria Association for Citizens with Disabilities.

“We probably have about 200-plus members, and we do monthly activities,” she said. “It’s a support group for the physically and mentally challenged adults. It’s purely social.”

Staff Feature is an online profile highlighting staff members at the University of Houston-Victoria. To nominate a staff member, contact Jeremy Shapiro, UHV communications manager, or call 361-570-4296.

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973, offers courses leading to 70 bachelor’s, master’s and specialist degree programs and concentrations 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, 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.