Agency selects UHV again as partner to help principals improve leadership skills

The University of Houston-Victoria will continue to help improve Texas schools for a second year through a partnership program that teaches leadership and management skills to principals across the state.


The 2008-2009 school year will mark the second time UHV and the American Productivity and Quality Center in Houston have partnered to provide the Texas Principal Excellence Program (TxPEP). The program was created in 2006 through the passage of Texas House Bill 1 and is funded each year through a $3.5 million grant from the Texas Education Association.


"We are pleased to have been chosen again to help deliver this Master of Business Administration-style leadership program designed to improve elementary and secondary education statewide," UHV President Tim Hudson said.


UHV got involved with the program in 2006 after TEA staff gave a TxPEP presentation at the Texas School of Business Deans' Association meeting. Charles Bullock, former dean of the School of Business Administration, and John Stansell, dean of the School of Education & Human Development, saw the program as a way UHV could make a difference in elementary and secondary education in the state.


The first 333 principals started the program in September and will finish in August. They received support from a mentor, face-to-face and online leadership training, and two evaluations. The majority of the principals participating were required to be in the program because their schools were rated Academically Unacceptable through the state’s 2006-2007 academic accountability system.


Stephanie Solansky
"The first year went well for a pilot program," said Stephanie Solansky, a UHV assistant professor of management and TxPEP program coordinator. "The principals benefited from working with their mentors, attending online webinars and interacting with other principals in the program. We learned a lot from year one and have made critical improvements to the design of the program for year two."


Changes to the program for 2008-2009 include more online training and opportunities for the principals to customize the program to meet their needs, she said. For example, principals can increase their leadership skills by focusing on topics offered through virtual training. These topics include human resource management, decision making, organizational behavior, strategic management, communication, operations management, financial management, best practices and innovations.


"The principals this past school year enjoyed the convenience of training delivered online, so we're working on increasing those opportunities for them," Solansky said.


Jifu Wang, interim dean of the UHV School of Business Administration, said he was pleased that UHV once again will be helping with the program.


"This is a great opportunity for UHV to help meet Texas' educational needs and increase the quality of life in the state by improving the schools," Wang said.

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