UHCL The Signal
The official student newspaper of the University of Houston-Clear Lake

New faces and places at UHCL


UPDATE 7/30/2017: This article has been updated to add Dorothy Kirkman and Staples Crossing. 

CORRECTION 7/5/2017: This article has been updated to reflect that Iliana Melendez will become the associate dean of students. 


The UHCL community will soon see new faces on campus, along with the familiar faces in different positions and new buildings being constructed.

Ira Blake

William Staples announced his retirement in 2016 after serving 22 years as UHCL’s president. A national presidency search was conducted, and the UHCL Presidential Search Committee chose four candidates to hold an open forum on campus. It was announced June 9 that Ira Blake was the sole finalist and will become the first woman to be UHCL’s president.

Blake’s number one priority as president is to focus on one of UHCL’s newest change; becoming a four-year university with the new Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Classroom Building and the new Recreation and Wellness Center.

“My first priority is to continue UHCL’s evolution into a comprehensive four-year university, mission-focused on the delivery of high-quality educational experiences by outstanding faculty as we prepare all students for meaningful roles and satisfying careers in the Houston-Galveston metropolitan region, state, nation and beyond,” Blake said.

Blake’s main objective is to involve the whole UHCL community in conversation about the university’s progress and future.

Amy Snyder

Student housing will also be a part of UHCL’s future in Fall 2018 and the university has named Amy Snyder as the new Director of Residence Life.

Snyder said she is excited to come to UHCL and plans on establishing a community at the new residence hall. She wants to ensure the residence hall feels like a home away from home for all students.

“UHCL has authentic people on campus and that is exactly what I look for in a university community,” Snyder said. “It’s a unique opportunity to be able to bring the best from all of my experiences at other campuses together to develop a new residence life program. I’m excited to be the lucky person who will be helping to lead that effort.”

Brian Mills

The new Recreation and Wellness Center is bringing in Brian Mills as the new Director for Campus Recreation and Wellness. After spending six years at Stephen F. Austin State University and five years at UH Main Campus, Mills is excited to join UHCL’s close knit setting and plans to work with UHCL’s mission of continuing to provide students with the tools they will need for after graduation.

“By creating increased awareness and opportunities for recreation and leisure activities along with new wellness programs, we will also be adding to the UHCL mission by increasing student development opportunities, employment opportunities, intentional learning opportunities, and a stronger sense of UHCL pride,” Mills said.

Mills said he plans on bringing one or two new staff members to help create his vision of multi-week team sports and individual/dual events.

Iliana Melendez

Iliana Melendez will be taking on the new position at UHCL as the Associate Dean of Students (ADOS). Melendez will officially start the new position July 17.

David Rachita, Dean of Students (DOS), states that the ultimate goal of this position is to support the DOS and serve as his/her designee with student conduct, complaints, welfare concerns, and general concerns/requests from faculty, staff and parents. In addition, the ADOS will research, recommend, develop, and implement a variety of educationally proactive-prevention student programs and resources focusing on student issues involving welfare, behavior and wellness.

Edward Waller

One face that is in a different position is Edward Waller. Waller has been the Associate Dean of the College of Business since 2010. Starting Sept. 1, Waller will become the Dean of the College of Business.

Waller is both honored and excited to continue working with the college in his new role.

“It’s exciting to be able to work with all the stakeholders, including our community partners, to help continue the success of everyone associated with the college and for that matter, the university,” Waller said. “It’s an honor to help continue to fulfill our mission and to assure our accreditation status with the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.”

Corey Benson

While Nichole Eslinger was the university’s Title IX’s human resource executive director, Corey Benson will be UHCL’s first Title IX coordinator and already has plans to sponsor programs over the next year.

“In this new role, I will help develop a Title IX program that ensures the university is a safe and supportive environment for all community members,” Benson said. “Our office will sponsor a variety of programs and initiatives to educate the campus community about our Title IX process and on issues of sexual misconduct, sexual violence, interpersonal violence and bystander intervention. These programs include outreach initiatives in partnership with Bay Area Turning Point, the Houston Area Women’s Center and the Bridge Over Troubled Waters.”

Dorothy Kirkman

Dorothy Kirkman has been named UHCL Interim Associate Dean of the College of Business, effective Sept. 1. Kirkman was previously the Associate Professor of Management in the College of Business. Kirkman said she is excited to help bring Dean Waller’s vision to reality.

“My intention is to support Dean Waller; actualize his vision for the College of Business by serving on committees and participating in initiatives that enhance curriculum development, our students’ experience and support faculty development and engagement whenever and wherever needed,” Kirkman said.

Staples Crossing

UHCL will create an outdoor gathering place to recognize William Staples’ influence as the longest-tenured president.

The gathering place, Staples Crossing, will be in the middle of the three new buildings at UHCL; the STEM building, recreation and wellness center and new student housing.

Also published on Medium.