University Of Houston-Victoria
Phil Castille became the eighth president of the University of Houston-Victoria in 2011. He immediately took up UHVs most pressing challenge – transitioning from a commuter institution offering junior-, senior- and graduate-level courses into a four-year residential university. This process of admitting freshmen and sophomores to a senior-level institution is called downward expansion, and it has led to record enrollments and expansion for UHV. In a little more than three years, the number of students in Victoria nearly tripled to more than 1,200. Yet thanks to new faculty hiring, UHV still has among the best student/teacher ratios in Texas at 17:1, which means that class sizes remain small.
Dr. Castille also is leading the celebration of UHVs 40th anniversary, from1973 to 2013. Through the decades, UHV has developed into a multisite university with about 4,500 students – a new record – taking classes in Victoria, Greater Houston and online. UHV offers more than 60 degree programs and concentrations, and Dr. Castille has overseen the development of a new Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner degree, Master of Biomedical Sciences – Professional Science degree and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. UHV expanded in 2012 into the Lone Star College University Center at Montgomery in The Woodlands and the Houston Community College Katy campus. UHV already offers courses at the University of Houston Sugar Land and the University of Houston System at Cinco Ranch.
The focal points of his presidency are student recruitment and retention, and these efforts have led to the $25 million development of Jaguar Village in Victoria. This residential complex consists of three student housing facilities, including Jaguar Suites, which opened in August 2013. Campus infrastructure is a high priority, with an additional $13 million budgeted for the Academic & Regional Economic Development Building. This project, set to break ground in late 2013, will be UHVs first new academic facility in Victoria since the late 1990s; the building is scheduled to open in January 2015.
Before coming to UHV, Dr. Castille served as vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Hawaii-Hilo, where he oversaw all academic programs, including the founding of a College of Pharmacy. Before that, he served as founding dean of the College of Arts & Letters at Eastern Washington University and founding director of the School of Literature & Language at Louisiana Tech University.
President Castille earned his Bachelor of Arts from Tulane University and made Phi Beta Kappa. He received his Master of Arts from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his doctorate from Tulane.
Before becoming a full-time administrator in 1994 as head of the English Department at Louisiana Tech, he was a professor at Tulane, the University of Memphis and the University of Houston-Downtown. There he earned the University Teaching Award, taught in the Texas London Consortium at University College London, and was a finalist for the Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation Texas University Teaching Award. He also served as president of the Phi Beta Kappa Alumni Association of Greater Houston, which set national fundraising records for scholarships for top high school graduates.
Dr. Castille has been a tenured professor at five universities. His scholarship has centered on American literature, film and culture. His published work on William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Robert Penn Warren, Mari Sandoz, Erskine Caldwell, Jack London, Dashiell Hammett, James M. Cain and other authors has appeared in numerous books and journals. His most recent article, Lower Tuition, Higher First-Year Salaries: The Unsung Value of Texas Regional Universities, appeared in the summer 2013 issue of Public Purpose: The Magazine of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.
He is married to Shannon Amidon Castille. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing and has published widely, winning a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prize for 2009. They are the parents of two sons, Edward (Ned) Castille, who attends kindergarten in Victoria, and an infant, Philip.