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Mathews Promoted to Associate Dean for College of Sciences

Terri Mathews

Terri M. Mathews, who has managed the undergraduate program of Old Dominion University's College of Sciences for more than a decade as assistant dean, has been promoted to associate dean.

In announcing the promotion, Chris Platsoucas, the college's dean, said, "Dr. Mathews is an administrator who has worked very creatively to improve and promote our undergraduate program, and in her new job she will have the opportunity to expand her good works on behalf of the college."

Mathews, who received a bachelor of science degree in geology from the College of William and Mary and a master's degree in geophysical sciences from ODU in 1983, began work in the college in 1995 as an instructor in geology, meteorology, oceanography and earth sciences. She served as chief adviser for the Department of Ocean, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences from 1998 to 2000 before being appointed the college's assistant dean.

In 2008 she received a Ph.D. in education with a concentration in higher education administration from ODU. Her dissertation focused on a "LADDERS" program she had developed and supervised to help students on academic probation.

Mathews' experience with student success and retention programs led Platsoucas to appoint her three years ago as director of his new Math-Science Resource Center, which has ramped up the tutoring services offered by the college. Students who have used the center have improved their grades, and final grades of D or F have been reduced significantly in target courses, Platsoucas said.

"I really didn't know what I was getting into when I took the job as assistant dean," Mathews said. "But I took to it because I have a passion for student success. When I started, we didn't have a college adviser and now we have four, and students can get individual attention."

As the assistant dean, Mathews took primary responsibility for undergraduate curriculum issues, assessment and recruitment, in addition to advising and retention. She has also been an effective liaison on undergraduate matters between the college and the rest of the university, including the central administration and faculty and staff at ODU's other colleges. In addition, she often represents the college in communication with the parents of students.

"In many ways, I have served as the face of the college in situations involving freshmen through seniors," she said. "This includes my work with the Pre-Health Advisory Committee," which she chairs and which has helped boost pre-med interest in the college.

"One of my favorite stories involves a young man who was struggling with his studies and was suspended from ODU for poor grades. But we stayed in touch with him and he eventually came back to school, first at Tidewater Community College and then he returned to ODU. And last year he graduated from Eastern Virginia Medical School. Student success stories like that make me feel that I have the greatest job in the world."

Mathews said she is still finding her role as associate dean. "We're seeing how it goes day by day. I've sort of passed the baton on advising and tutoring. I am concentrating more on academic assessment. And so far, I can say that I'm spending a lot more time on daily management issues."

This article was posted on: October 19, 2011

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