New Faculty Senate president takes reins for second time

As Keith Akins steps into his role as University of Houston-Victoria Faculty Senate president for the second time, he plans to focus on helping the university and its new administrators improve communication with faculty.

Keith Akins

“This is a very exciting time for UHV in that we have the potential to expand in many different directions,” Akins said. “I hope to get the faculty engaged and involved in the discussions about our future. I’m deeply honored that my colleagues saw fit to elect me to this position and trust me with this responsibility.”

New leadership recently joining the university includes Chance Glenn, provost and vice president for academic affairs and Ken Colwell, dean of the School of Business Administration. In addition, UHV President Bob Glenn started Aug. 1, 2018, and a search for a vice president for enrollment management is underway.

The Faculty Senate advocates for the UHV faculty in the university’s decision-making process. It also serves as a sounding board for faculty members to share their ideas that will be submitted for consideration by the administration. As part of this goal, the Faculty Senate president sits on UHV boards and committees such as the President’s Cabinet and the Academic Council.

Jeffrey Cass

Akins officially transitioned Aug. 12 from his current position as Faculty Senate vice president to the president’s post. He is taking the reins from English professor Jeffrey Cass, who will move into the role of past president.

Akins started working at UHV in 2008 as an assistant professor of criminal studies. Since then, he has served on various committees, as director of the First Year Experience before University College was created, assistant dean of the UHV School of Arts & Sciences and director of the criminal justice graduate program. He has participated in the university’s Faculty Senate for six years and felt being president for a second time would be another opportunity to make a difference on campus.

One of the first topics the Faculty Senate will need to address is improving communication between the faculty and administration, Akins said.

“I want to encourage faculty to get more involved in the recruiting process,” he said. “Another one of my goals is to work with administrators to implement equity raises that will bring faculty in line with the market.”

Akins said the Faculty Senate is the heartbeat of the university, and without the faculty, a university could not exist.

“Everyone at a university is important,” Akins said. “But I really want to stress the importance our faculty has at the university. I also want to work with administrators to ensure the faculty’s voices are heard. Communication recently has improved, and I want to work to ensure that continues to happen.” 

Joining Akins and Cass are:

Executive Committee:

  • Vice President – Ricardo Teixeira, assistant professor of mathematics, and director of the math program, School of Arts & Sciences
  • Secretary – Amy Barnhill, associate professor of literacy studies, School of Education, Health Professions & Human Development
  • Member-at-large – Jeff Blodgett, professor of marketing, School of Business Administration


  • Justin Bell, associate professor of philosophy, School of Arts & Sciences and director of the UHV Honors Program, University College
  • Elise Hendricker, director of school psychology program, School of Arts & Sciences
  • Jang-Woo Park, assistant professor of mathematics, School of Arts & Sciences
  • Casey Akins, lecturer in criminal justice, School of Arts & Sciences
  • Jonathan Du, associate professor of accounting, School of Business Administration
  • Nazif Durmaz, associate professor of economics, School of Business Administration
  • Yong-Gyo Lee, associate professor of accounting, School of Business Administration
  • Qia (Riya) Xu, assistant professor of accounting, School of Business Administration
  • Chang Woock Lee, assistant professor of kinesiology, School of Education, Health Professions & Human Development
  • Michael Wiblishauser, assistant professor of health studies, School of Education, Health Professions & Human Development
  • Lou Lloyd-Zanini, associate professor of educational leadership, School of Education, Health Professions & Human Development
  • Mary Lasater, assistant professor of education, School of Education, Health Professions & Human Development

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.

Ashley Strevel 361-570-4342