New dean to lead UHV School of Arts & Sciences
The University of Houston-Victoria School of Arts & Sciences soon will have a new dean with 26 years of higher education experience and a career of excellence in leadership.
Kyoko Amano, dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Education at Lock Haven University in Pennsylvania, will take the reins on Aug. 1 as dean of the school.
“I am pleased to be chosen as the new dean for the UHV School of Arts & Sciences,” Amano said. “I’m looking forward to joining this thriving university and working with the faculty to build and create programs that will meet the needs of 21st-century students.”
Amano has a doctoral degree in English from the State University of New York at Binghamton as well as two master’s degrees in English, one from Indiana State University and another from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo, Japan.
She has held many positions in academia, including a variety of leadership roles from 2003 to 2017 as a faculty member at the University of Indianapolis, including professor of English, chair and acting chair of the Department of English, interim and associate director of the Honors College, and an honors faculty member. She also was on the faculty in 2002 at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and was a Cultural Diversity/Minority Fellow at the University of Pittsburgh-Bradford from 2000 to 2002.
“We are very pleased with the results of this national search,” said Chance Glenn, UHV provost and vice president for academic affairs. “Dr. Amano is impressive, and we are excited to consider what she can mean to the school and to the university. The search committee and the search firm did an outstanding job. Now the work begins.”
The nationwide search for a dean drew more than 50 applicants. The UHV search committee, led by Ken Colwell, dean of the UHV School of Business Administration, spent months narrowing the field to 14 candidates to interview, then presented six to Glenn for review. Glenn chose the top four candidates to do virtual interviews with the UHV community, and Amano was chosen as the top candidate.
“We had a large number of highly qualified candidates from which to choose,” Colwell said. “The search committee worked very hard to narrow the pool and give Provost Glenn a set of excellent potential choices. We ended up with the very best person for the role.”
In addition to her experience in higher education leadership, Amano served from 2009 to 2018 as a member of the National Collegiate Honors Council on the board of directors and as secretary. She has participated in many trainings and conferences, including attending the National Endowment for the Humanities in 2004 and 2013. She also has published several articles in publications, including The Journal of Popular Culture, Glimmer Train Stories, The Dime Novel Round-up, Contemporary Literary Criticism and Notes on Contemporary Literature. Her work has been presented at many national conferences.
Aside from her work as a leader in academia and her writing, Amano is a member of the American Association of University Women, a nonprofit organization that advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education and research. She and her husband, Tom Weller, are looking forward to joining community organizations in Victoria, especially in areas related to the arts, she said.
“As UHV moves forward, I want to have conversations with the school’s faculty to plan and set goals for the future for the School of Arts & Sciences that will match the school’s priorities as well as those of UHV and the community,” Amano said. “In particular, I want to continue to pursue a diverse faculty and staff to serve our students. I want to cultivate an environment where every student can find someone to relate and look up to.”
The previous dean of the UHV School of Arts & Sciences was Jeffrey Di Leo, who stepped down from the post in 2020 after nearly 15 years in the position. Beverly Tomek, associate provost of curriculum and student success, then served as interim dean, followed by Craig Goodman, associate professor of political science.
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.