Dr. P. Rudolph Mattai has been appointed dean of the School of Education and executive director of the P-16 Educational Collaborative at the University of the Virgin Islands. Dr. Mattai comes to UVI from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo where he served as professor of Educational Foundations for the past 20 years. Prior to that, he served for 10 years as professor or adjunct professor at the University of Tennessee at Martin and at Lane College. During more than 30 years as a faculty member, Dr. Mattai has also held various higher education administrative positions, including: chair of the Division of Social Sciences and chair of the Division of Education, Social and Behavioral Sciences at Lane College; assistant to the dean at the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Tennessee at Martin; director of the U.S. Department of Education, Mid-Career Teacher Preparation Program and director of the Center for Multidisciplinary Applied Research in Urban Issues at SUNY-Buffalo; and interim founding dean at SUNY-Old Westbury.
"I am rather delighted to have been offered the opportunity to work with UVI in its efforts in raising the educational standards of all levels of schooling in the Territory and affording all children to have a sound and functional academic background that will enable them to compete with the rest of the world," Dr. Mattai said. "I am extremely grateful, as a Caribbean person, for the opportunity of returning to the region and contributing to the area of schooling."
One of Dr. Mattai's goals is for the School of Education to gain national professional teacher education accreditation from the National Association for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).
Dr. Mattai has extensive experience in NCATE accreditation, serving on the Steering Committee of SUNY-Buffalo's NCATE Site Visit Team and a member of the Diversity Sub-committee of the NCATE Site Visit Team, also at SUNY - Buffalo. Additionally, Dr. Mattai has over a decade experience serving as chair of numerous NCATE Site Visit Teams, chair of NCATE Continuing - Basic and/or Advanced Teacher Preparation Program Reviews, and invited facilitator of NCATE Institutional Orientations for various public and private institutions.
It is also Dr. Mattai's hope that UVI's School of Education will be instrumental in the professional preparation of P-12 teachers who are both culturally synchronized with the educational needs of all children in the Territory as well as leading in the development of educational materials and curricula that reflect such needs within the Territory.
The P-16 Educational Collaborative is an initiative of UVI President Dr. David Hall, which seeks to improve the quality of education in the Territory. Dr. Mattai said that schooling is grounded in the community. He hopes to engage all essential constituent elements of the Territory in a synchronized, symbiotic and collaborative relationship to optimize the tremendous talents around and within the Territory, resulting in a more desired standard of living for those within the Territory.
Dr. Mattai holds a Ph.D. in Social Foundations of Education from the University of Pittsburgh, an M.A. in Sociology of Religion from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, and an M. Ed. in Social Foundations of Education from the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Mattai's research interests include urban education, multicultural educational issues, sociology of education, race, class and gender issues in schooling, and international and comparative education.
Dr. Mattai will be stationed on the St. Croix campus and will maintain an active presence on the St. Thomas campus. His appointment began on Aug. 1.