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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Dean of College of Liberal Arts announces retirement, discusses future plans

Dean of Liberal Arts
via tamu.edu
Dean of Liberal Arts

On Sept. 7, Texas A&M Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, Pamela Matthews, announced her plans to retire on July 31, 2021.
Matthews served at A&M for over 30 years as an English professor and, later in her career, as the, Associate Provost and Dean of the College of Liberal Arts. Matthews said she has too many memories to count from her time at A&M. Some of her favorites range from seeing students excited about learning to helping to get the university reaccredited at her time in the Office of the Provost.
“I loved teaching a class of Regents Scholars,” Matthews said. “It was such a wonderful experience to teach a bunch of first-generation students and see how eager they were to change the world and go back and change their communities and improve the lives of themselves and their families by getting an education. Probably the best memory, though, was the day I came over to be the Dean. It felt like a really huge honor.”
Education is of the utmost importance and is capable of changing the world, Matthews said. For as long as she can remember, she hoped to be an English teacher and eventually a professor.
“It almost seems naive these days to think of any one thing to change the world, but I absolutely think that education changes the world,” Matthew said. “It’s been an amazing career and a wonderful thing to do. I really do think education makes such a difference in how the rest of the world goes.”
After years of service to A&M, Matthews said what she truly desires is to be remembered as someone dedicated to her work.
“I hope to be remembered [at A&M] as someone who really cared — cared about students, cared about my college, cared about doing the right thing, cared about being fair and cared about remembering what we’re here for, which is to create new knowledge and pass that onto students in ways that will help them for the rest of their lives,” Matthews said.
Beyond being remembered as someone who truly cared, Matthews said there is value in the words we use and would like to be remembered as someone who saw that value and communicated effectively.
“I also want to be remembered as a good communicator because I think it’s so important,” Matthew said. “Words matter and language matters and the way you use it matters, and I would like to be remembered as someone who understood that and tried to take advantage of it.”
As Matthews’ time at A&M comes to a close, memories of her first day on campus come back to her. She said no one warned her that the buses were notoriously late and she wasn’t on time to teach her very first class.
“On my very first day of teaching at Texas A&M, I thought I’d take the bus,” Matthews said. “By the time the bus got there, I was so late to class, probably 20 minutes. I was walking across the grass and a bunch of students were coming toward me and they said, ‘Don’t bother, the professors not there.’ I said, ‘Oh, wait, I am the professor, sorry.’ That’s a fun memory.”
Matthews has given to the university in several ways, but she said the university has given to her just as much. Her time at A&M has taught her several skills, such as patience, listening and skepticism.
“It’s hard to tell sometimes what’s just getting older and what is because of my experience, but my time here has certainly helped me be more patient,” Matthews said. “You just learn that if something is important it takes a while, and often that means you have to listen to a lot of people. It has taught me to be skeptical about my first impressions and not to jump to conclusions, to be very deliberate and fair and to hear everyone out.”
Upon retiring, Matthews said she plans to travel, spend time with her husband and read whenever she wants. Matthews said her plans aren’t ambitious, but she is still excited for them.
“My husband is an avid gardener, and our home is a beautiful oasis,” Matthews said. “It’s small and modest, but we have a wonderful yard and I can go into our backyard and feel like I’m away somewhere, so I’m looking forward to spending time with him and in our house. I am a life-long reader and can’t wait to read in the middle of the day if I feel like it.”
Provost Carol Fierke will soon begin the process of identifying a search committee for the next dean of the College of Liberal Arts.

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