John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education

Greg Heileman

August 23, 2017Julie HellerInsights0


Gregory (Greg) L. Heileman currently serves as the Associate Provost for Student & Academic Life at the University of Kentucky.  From 2011 until 2017, he served as the Associate Provost for Curriculum and then as the Vice Provost for Teaching, Learning and Innovation at the University of New Mexico (UNM).  During that time he led campus-wide student academic success initiatives, and worked with key stakeholders on campus, to produce all-time record retention and graduation rates.  In 1990 he joined the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) at UNM where he advanced through the academic ranks to Professor.  From 2005-2011 he served as Associate Chair (Director of Undergraduate Programs), and led the department through two ABET accreditation visits.  In 2011 he became an ABET program evaluator.  In 2009 he was also awarded the IEEE Albuquerque Section Outstanding Educator Award. He was the recipient of ECE’s Lawton-Ellis Award for combined excellence in teaching, research, and student/community involvement in 2001 and again 2009.  He held ECE’s Gardner Zemke Professorship from 2005-08.  He received the School of Engineering’s Teaching Excellence award in 1995, and the ECE Department Distinguished Teacher Award in 2000. During 1998 he held a research fellowship at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, and in 2005 he held a similar position at the Universidad Politénica de Madrid. He earned the BA degree in Biology from Wake Forest University in 1982, the MS degree in Biomedical Engineering and Mathematics from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in 1986, and the PhD degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Central Florida in 1989.


Gardner Institute Advisor Peterson-Veatch Named Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean at Southwestern College

Peterson-Veatch Named Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College at Southwestern College

May 17, 2017

Southwestern College President Brad Andrews has announced that Ross Peterson-Veatch will be the next vice president for academic affairs and dean of the college.  Dr. Peterson-Veatch will begin his duties July 1.

The new vice president will have responsibility for the academic vision and execution of academic programs at the college, including both the main campus and Professional Studies. During the past year’s national search to fill the position these duties have been performed by Tracy Frederick, interim provost, after former provost Andy Sheppard accepted a college presidency in Georgia.

“I am so pleased to be chosen as Southwestern’s new vice president for academic affairs,” Peterson-Veatch says.  “I am excited to join the Moundbuilder community and I look forward to working with faculty and administrators to continue Southwestern’s strong traditions of student engagement and academic excellence.”  

Peterson-Veatch has served as interim vice president for academic affairs and academic dean at Goshen College (Ind.) since 2015.  In that role he was responsible for providing leadership and oversight for all academic and student life programs and departments.  He served Goshen previously as associate vice president for academic affairs, primarily focused on adult and graduate programs. Before that, as associate academic dean, his duties included service on the college team developing strategic academic priorities. 

Prior to his tenure at Goshen, Peterson-Veatch was a faculty member at Indiana University in the liberal arts and management program, and has also held faculty appointments at Earlham College, Goucher College, and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. From 2001 to 2007 he served Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business as an instructional consultant focused on improvement of classroom teaching practice.

 “Southwestern is a college with a clear focus on students and their success and a commitment to developing students as leaders.  I am honored and humbled to be able to be a part of those efforts and to help extend them to a growing student body both in Winfield and beyond,” Peterson-Veatch adds.

Peterson-Veatch received his bachelor’s degree from Earlham College in Spanish and sociology/anthropology and holds master’s and doctorate degrees in folklore from Indiana University. He has published numerous articles and book chapters on professional learning communities and other topics.

His academic interests include leadership studies, folklore, history of ethnography and Colonial Latin American literature.  

“I look forward to partnering with him and am excited about the leadership and service he will provide Southwestern in the years to come,” Andrews says. 

Peterson-Veatch has been involved in college pedagogy initiatives since 1992 and served on the program committee for the 2009 annual meeting of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.  He is a member of the International Leadership Association, the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, the Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education, the American Conference of Academic Deans, and the American Folklore Society.

Peterson-Veatch and his wife, Erika, plan to move to Winfield this summer along with their sons, Oscar and Arthur.  

UHD Honored with UHS Board of Regents Academic Excellence Award for Faculty Work on Improving Student Success in Gateway Courses

UHD Honored with UHS Board of Regents Academic Excellence Awardfor Faculty Work on Improving Student Success in Gateway Courses

Undergraduate success in higher education is often dependent on a student’s performance in gateway courses – or those required entry-level classes that provide the academic foundations for selected majors.

Recognizing the importance of gateway courses to students’ long-term academic success, faculty at the University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) began efforts to improve student performance in these courses nearly two decades ago. This multiyear initiative has addressed numerous gateway courses on campus and is yielding positive results. The ongoing efforts in recent years have been housed in the Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence (CTLE) as part of a program called the Course Innovation Initiative (CI2).

For its efforts in helping students succeed in these necessary classes, UHD was awarded the University of Houston-System Board of Regents Academic Excellence Award. UHD was formally recognized with this honor during the Board’s May 18 meeting on the University of Houston campus.

“This award is a validation of UHD’s commitment to its students,” said UHD President Dr. Juan Sánchez Muñoz. “Success in gateway courses is essential to a student’s progression in a university setting. Too often, those who transition from high school to an institution of higher learning are challenged by a new academic standard and new ways of learning. Our faculty and staff have worked diligently to help students overcome these challenges and stay on the right path toward finishing UHD strong.”

Examples of strategies used by faculty in gateway courses include:

  • Reading guides or interactive online video lectures that help students prepare prior to attending class.
  • Team environments in which students collaborate with each other and supplemental instruction leaders (peer tutors).
  • Classroom problem solving activities.

Improved student engagement and learning was the primary goal of course redesign efforts. This was measured in a variety of ways, but is reflected most prominently by the percentage of students earning a C or better in selected courses. At the conclusion of the fall 2016 semester, students’ grades in gateway courses had improved significantly.

Some of the most marked improvements included scores in College Algebra with 64 percent of students earning A’s, B’s or C’s. Previously, 42 percent earned a C or better in this course.

Another leap was made in General Biology. By the conclusion of fall 2016, 65 percent of students earned A’s, B’s or C’s. Prior to that semester, 38 percent of students scored a C or higher.


Additional program outcomes are detailed in this chart:

Course Name 2016/17 Enrollment Baseline % ABC Current % ABC
English Composition I 1050 54 74
English Composition II 1044 56 69
Integrated Reading & Writing 213 70 83
US History I 1294 52 71
College Algebra 1120 42 64
College Math for Liberal Arts 246 53 65
Beginning Algebra 77 54 70
Intermediate Algebra 251 49 66
General Biology I 390 38 65
General Chemistry I 385 44 56
Federal Government 1145 59 75


These impressive academic results have helped students overcome trepidations regarding the leap from high school classrooms to university learning spaces. Faculty confidence also was bolstered as professors collaborated together on course design strategies and observed positive outcomes in the classroom.

“I began seeing a level of engagement I had never seen before in any of my other classes,” said Dr. Lisa Morano, professor of biology and microbiology. “I began to realize that influence from peers was an incredibly motivating factor for students.”

Faculty efforts to improve student success in gateway courses through the support of the CTLE are complemented by other initiatives aimed at supporting First Time in College students (FITCs). These include Supplemental Instruction, freshman seminar courses, Gator Gateway, an expanded orientation program for freshmen, faculty mentoring, and Gator Ready, which is aimed at simplifying the registration process for FTICs.

A video titled Active Learning and Gateway Courses was created to document faculty and staff efforts to improve student learning in gateway courses at UHD. The video, featuring faculty and student testimonials, can be viewed here.

About The University of Houston-Downtown

The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD)—the second largest university in Houston—has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. UHD is one of four distinct public universities within the University of Houston System. As a comprehensive four-year university, UHD —led by Dr. Juan Sánchez Muñoz —offers 44 bachelor’s and eight master’s degree programs within five colleges (Business; Humanities and Social Science; Public Service, Sciences and Technology; and University College). Annually, UHD educates more than 14,000 students; boasts over 44,000 alumni and is noted nationally as both a Hispanic-Serving Institution and a Minority-Serving Institution. For more on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit