Lisa Joyner, Debra McGaughey and Dr. Divya Bhati Join UHD in Leadership Positions

Lisa Joyner, Debra McGaughey and Dr. Divya Bhati Join UHD in Leadership Positions

The University of Houston-Downtown announces recent additions to its leadership team:  Lisa Joyner as Vice President of Student Success and Student Life (3SL); Debra McGaughey as Assistant Vice President, University Relations; and Dr. Divya Bhati as Associate Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness, Strategic Planning, and Assessment.


As Vice President of 3SL, Lisa Joyner leads UHD’s continued development of strategies to enhance access, optimize learning, improve student life, and increase retention and graduation rates. She works collaboratively across campus to implement innovative and holistic approaches to student success that cultivate dynamic academic environments and nurture students to their full potential.   Joyner came to UHD from Arizona State University where she was Dean of Students.


She has more than 16 years of experience in health and well-being, student engagement, and student conduct across public and private universities. Throughout her career, Ms. Joyner has focused on the holistic well-being of underrepresented populations with an emphasis on affinity building, engagement and access. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Community Health and a Bachelor of Science in Health Education. She is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Southern California.


Debra McGaughey joined UHD as Assistant Vice President, University Relations, after an 18-plus year career at Houston Community College (HCC). McGaughey is providing strategic direction for UHD’s marketing, communications and brand and website management as the University approaches its 50th anniversary in 2024.


During her tenure at HCC, McGaughey provided strong leadership in communications and marketing for program and building launches, developed an award-winning Stories of Success Annual Report, and created strategies to improve student enrollment, event participation and retention, and many other activities. McGaughey’s work also included a long collaboration with the HCC Foundation on its annual Black History scholarship gala, as well as the supervision of college level community outreach staff and serving as the general manager of HCC’s cable television station, which produced more than 20 original 30-minute shows during her tenure.


McGaughey also brings more than 15 years of experience in broadcast and print journalism to UHD, as she worked in Dallas and Houston as both a newspaper and on-air television reporter for the Dallas Morning News and KHOU-TV/Ch. 11. McGaughey remains active in the community. She has served as president of the National Council for Marketing & Public Relations (NCMPR) and has held leadership roles with the Houston Association of Black Journalists (HABJ), National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), the Midtown Management District, and other organizations. McGaughey earned a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from Boston University and a Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications from West Virginia University.


Dr. Divya Bhati joined UHD as Associate Vice President, Institutional Effectiveness, Strategic Planning, and Assessment, following directing College of Charleston’s Office of Institutional Effectiveness. She provided leadership and guidance to the College’s Board of Trustees, executive team, faculty, and staff in support of accreditation, assessment, and strategic planning. She served as the institutional liaison for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and as Associate Professor, Higher Education Administration. Bhati holds a Ph.D. in Education with a specialization in Human Performance Technology from the University of Central Florida and has extensive experience in accreditation, assessment, strategic planning, and funded research programs.


In her role at UHD, she leads the development of a strategic vision and plan for academic innovation to enhance UHD’s identity and commitments and align with institutional priorities. Bhati is responsible for administering and overseeing efforts related to SACSCOC and program accreditation, strategic planning, assessment, partnerships, student retention, and student completion efforts, as well as new academic affairs data-driven planning and assessment initiatives.   For more on UHD, visit


Latest Articles


Search our archive of past issues Receive our Latest Updates
* indicates required

October 16, 2023, HOUSTON, TX – Congressional Candidate Amanda Edwards has raised over $1 million in less than 4 months, a substantial sum that helps bolster the frontrunner status of the former At-Large Houston City Council Member in her bid for U.S. Congress. Edwards raised over $433,000 in Q3 of 2023. This strong Q3 report expands on a successful Q2 where Edwards announced just 11 days after declaring her candidacy that she had raised over $600,000. With over $829,000 in cash-on-hand at the end of the September 30th financial reporting period, Edwards proves again that she is the clear frontrunner in the race. “I am beyond grateful for the strong outpouring of support that will help me to win this race and serve the incredible people of the 18th Congressional District,” said Edwards. “We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s trajectory, and we need to send servant leaders to Congress who can deliver the results the community deserves. The strong support from our supporters will help us to cultivate an 18th Congressional District where everyone in it can thrive.” Edwards said. “Amanda understands the challenges that the hard-working folks of the 18th Congressional District face because she has never lost sight of who she is or where she comes from; she was born and raised right here in the 18th Congressional District of Houston,” said Kathryn McNiel, spokesperson for Edwards’ campaign. Edwards has been endorsed by Higher Heights PAC, Collective PAC, Krimson PAC, and the Brady PAC. She has also been supported by Beto O’Rourke, among many others. About Amanda: Amanda is a native Houstonian, attorney and former At-Large Houston City Council Member. Amanda is a graduate of Eisenhower High School in Aldine ISD. Edwards earned a B.A. from Emory University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Edwards practiced law at Vinson & Elkins LLP and Bracewell LLP before entering public service. Edwards is a life-long member of St. Monica Catholic Church in Acres Homes. For more information, please visit

As September 13th rolls around, we extend our warmest birthday wishes to the creative powerhouse, Tyler Perry, a man whose indomitable spirit and groundbreaking work have left an indelible mark on the world of entertainment. With his multifaceted talents as an actor, playwright, screenwriter, producer, and director, Tyler Perry has not only entertained but also inspired audiences worldwide, particularly within the African-American community, where his influence and role have been nothing short of powerful. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1969, Tyler Perry’s journey to stardom was a path riddled with adversity. Raised in a turbulent household, he found refuge in writing, using it as a therapeutic outlet. This period of introspection gave rise to one of his most iconic creations, Madea, a vivacious, no-nonsense grandmother who would later become a beloved figure in Perry’s works, offering a unique blend of humor and profound life lessons. Despite facing numerous challenges, including rejection and financial struggles, Perry’s determination and unwavering belief in his abilities propelled him forward. In 1992, he staged his first play, “I Know I’ve Been Changed,” which, although met with limited success, was a pivotal moment in his career. Unfazed by initial setbacks, Perry continued to hone his craft, and by 1998, he had successfully produced a string of stage plays that showcased his storytelling prowess.

Calling all teenage student-athletes! If you have dreams of playing college soccer and wish to represent an HBCU, the HBCU ID Camp is your golden opportunity. From 8 am to 5 pm on November 11-12, Houston Sports Park will transform into a hub for aspiring male and female soccer players. Coaches from HBCUs across the nation will be present to evaluate, scout, and offer valuable feedback. Moreover, they might even spot the next soccer prodigy to join their collegiate soccer programs. This camp is not just about honing your soccer skills but also a chance to connect with the HBCU soccer community. You’ll learn the ins and outs of what it takes to excel on the field and in the classroom, which is crucial for a college athlete. The HBCU ID Camp is an excellent platform to network with coaches, learn from experienced athletes, and take the first steps toward your college soccer journey. To secure your spot at this incredible event, don’t forget to register [here](insert registration link). Space is limited to 120 participants, so make sure to reserve your place before it’s too late. It’s time to turn your dreams of playing college soccer into a reality.

Scroll to Top