Dr. Juan Sánchez Muñoz, President of the University of Houston, Downtown

Dr. Juan Sánchez Muñoz

Keynote: The Wisdom of Inclusion

Understanding the imperativeness of deliberate and sustained structural change in higher education that inspires measurable inclusion, representation, justice and ultimately wisdom driven personal agency.


Dr. Juan Sánchez Muñoz was appointed the seventh president of the University of Houston-Downtown on Feb. 23, 2017. During his first year at UHD, Dr. Muñoz kicked off the university’s largest capital campaign; led the institution’s recovery efforts during Hurricane Harvey; and presided over six commencement ceremonies with nearly 5,000 graduates. Since then, President Muñoz has continued to preside over the continued improvement of UHD’s student success. Including increases in enrollment, retention and graduation; the addition of new degree programs including a BS in Nursing and Data Science; awards from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board for the university’s model success programs, and a one million dollar grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute- the only such university in Texas to receive the award in 2018.


Prior to arriving at UHD, Dr. Muñoz served Texas Tech University (TTU) as a vice provost for undergraduate education and student affairs and senior vice president for diversity, equity and community engagement. At TTU, he supervised more than 40 units and departments, including oversight of academic degrees, the TTU Ethics Center, the Military Veterans Program Office, the Teaching, Learning and Professional Development Center, and the Office of Academic Engagement. There, Dr. Muñoz served on the President's Administrative Council, President's Executive Cabinet, Provost's Staff, Provost Council, Dean's Council, Academic Council, and the TTU Strategic Planning Committee. He arrived at Texas Tech University in 2004 as an associate professor and was later promoted to full professor in the College of Education. At Texas Tech, he also was inducted into the university’s prestigious Teaching Academy. His research interests examine the issues of educational access, equity and the advancement of public school students, and particularly those from under-represented and under-served communities.


Dr. Muñoz has served on the Association of Public and Land Grant University's (APLU) Commission on Access, Diversity and Excellence, and currently serves on the board of directors for the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) and the American Council on Education (ACE). He is a graduate of the Academy for Innovative Higher Education Leadership offered jointly by Arizona State and Georgetown Universities, ACE’s Spectrum Executive Leadership Program, AASCU’s Millennium Leadership Initiative, Harvard’s Institute for Management and Leadership, the University of California, Berkeley’s Executive Leadership Academy, and the University of Texas, Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Policy, Governor’s Executive Development Program.


Before joining Texas Tech, Dr. Muñoz was an assistant professor at California State University, Fullerton in the Department of Secondary Education. He earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a Master of Arts in Mexican-American Studies from California State University, Los Angeles. Dr. Muñoz was then awarded a Doctorate of Philosophy from the University of California, Los Angeles where he studied curriculum and instruction in the Division of Urban Schooling. Dr. Muñoz's scholarship has appeared in academic journals, books, encyclopedias, and at national conferences. In 2010, Dr. Muñoz was among the contributing editors of the seminal compilation, Handbook of Latinos and Education, Routledge. The Handbook received the coveted American Association of Educational Studies' prestigious Critic's Choice Book Award. His more recent co-edited volume, Perspectives in Interdisciplinary and Integrative Studies, explores disciplinary responses and emerging academic offerings that foster interdisciplinary learning.


In Texas, Dr. Muñoz served on the Board of Directors for the Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts, the South Plains Workforce Development Board and Boys & Girls Club of America Alumni Board. Dr. Muñoz is also a past Board Member of Covenant Health System and Director in the Texas Lyceum. He is past president of the Lubbock Boys and Girls Club, past board member and vice president of the South Plains Boy Scout Council, former commissioner of the Lubbock Housing Authority and Civil Services Commission. He was a member of both American State Bank and Happy State Bank Advisory Boards. In 2008, Dr. Muñoz was appointed by Texas Governor Rick Perry to the Board of Directors for the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, where he served as Vice Chairman until the completion of his term in 2017. In Houston, Dr. Muñoz serves on the boards of the Miller Outdoor Theater Advisory Board, Houston Parks Board, Central Houston Board, Discovery Green Conservancy and he recently accepted an appointment by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner to the North Houston Highway Improvement Project Advisory. His community service has been recognized through certificates of commendation from local, state, and congressional offices.


Prior to his career in higher education, Muñoz was a secondary school teacher, community college advisor and instructor in California, and was discharged a sergeant from the U.S. Marine Corps. President Muñoz is married to Dr. Zenaida Aguirre-Muñoz an associate professor at the University of Houston and the couple has three sons; Joaquin Diego Muñoz who attends the United States Merchant Marine Academy, Cruz Santos Muñoz a freshman at Texas State University San Marcos and Juan Amado Muñoz an eighth grader at Hamilton Middle School in HISD.