Interim provost aims to 'maximize this year,' assure student success
As the new interim provost and senior vice president of Academic Affairs at University of Houston-Clear Lake, Christopher Maynard said he's passionate about ensuring students and faculty have a robust experience in spite of the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The pandemic cut across all institutions of higher education, and the challenges at UH-Clear Lake to create safe, healthy learning environments are the same everywhere," said Maynard, who most recently served as interim provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at Sam Houston State University. He began his term at UHCL on Sept. 7.
Maynard said the last year he spent as interim provost at SHSU during the pandemic positioned him to come to UHCL and make an impact. "There are many of the same challenges here, and I believe I can hit the ground running and work together with leadership to make sure we have a successful year while remaining safe," he said. "This is a very important year for our students."
He said that despite the circumstances, this needed to be a year of learning and developing, just as any other year. "For freshmen, this is their one year to be a freshman. And faculty have to be successful with teaching and research. Education is transformative, so we have to maximize this year and not lose any more to the pandemic," he said.
After finding out that the previous provost had left UHCL, Maynard said he applied because there are many similarities in the student populations of the two universities.
"There are a lot of first-generation students here and although I am not a first-gen student, I knew my two grandmothers, who were the first in our family to go to college," he explained. "They both became teachers. Because of them, my parents went to college and became teachers, and I did the same. I saw through my grandparents and parents the transformative power of education, and how it changes the trajectory of the entire family."
He said he became a high school history teacher, then worked his way through graduate school and became a college history professor. "I decided early on to become an administrator because I found out through administration that I could have an even bigger impact on faculty and students and put them in a position to be successful," he said.
"We are pleased to have Dr. Maynard join the leadership team at UH-Clear Lake and look forward to his contributions in supporting the University's mission in service to our students, faculty, and the city of Houston," said UHCL President Ira K. Blake.
Maynard earned his Master of Arts in History and his doctorate in U.S. Political and Diplomatic History from Louisiana State University.
He said his immediate goals were to meet as many people as possible on campus and in the community, understand the university's culture, and find out what's working and not working.
"Especially around COVID communications, we want to establish immediate goals and clear policies and procedures," he said. "I have always enjoyed working with people from across all disciplines, and I'm looking forward to that at UHCL as well."
For more information about the Office of the Provost, go online.