09:32 AM

New UHCL dean hopes to be part of students' 'transformative' experience

Glenn Sanford is a first-generation college student who never dreamed of getting a doctorate or having a career in academia. His own college experience changed his life.

He hopes to change the lives of students like him by becoming University of Houston-Clear Lake's new dean of the College of Human Sciences and Humanities.

"I spent 23 years at Sam Houston State University, and I loved it there, but UH-Clear Lake is a regional comprehensive university in the same vein — its mission is about giving students the same transformative life experience I had," Sanford said.

When he entered college, he said his short-term goal had been to study engineering. "Going to college put my life on a completely different path," he said. "It directed me to getting my doctorate, and I got the opportunity to have a university faculty position. Moving to the administrative side gave me the ability to continue the legacy of giving back and helping others."

While at SHSU, Sanford was a professor of philosophy, became director of the Elliot T. Bowers Honors Program, served as associate dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences for five years, and led that college through the beginning of the pandemic as its interim dean last year. He also received his Juris Doctor from University of Houston in 2012.

Sanford said he felt he needed to earn his law degree because so much of his research focuses on the intersection of law and public policy. "Science provides us data and evidence, and public policy is driven by values," he said. "That intersection is where the humanities and social sciences are for me."

He added, "I'm interested in public policy and science — how do we connect our values to decision making?"

Sanford said UHCL's focus on engaging with the community and mixing research with teaching was its main appeal. "I would not be as comfortable at a university where the research is the only thing that matters," he said. "It's that mix of community, teaching and engagement, as well as the student body that this university serves, that is what I identify with closely."

He said his short-term goals for the College included increasing community outreach, reaffirming that the College is known as an inclusive space for everyone, and promoting the College as a community partner ready to offer that transformative opportunity to others.

"I know the power of this kind of university, and how it affects lives," he said.

Go online for more information about the degree programs in UHCL's College of Human Sciences and Humanities.