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The College of Agricultural Sciences at Oregon State University is pleased to announce Ricardo Dr. Mata-Gonzalez as its new Associate Dean of Academics, following an extensive internal search.
“Dr. Mata-Gonzalez embodies true passion for student success and academic opportunity,” explained Alan Sams, dean of the college. “His leadership has been exemplary in the variety of roles he’s held in his time at OSU and the entire senior administrative team is thrilled to have him step into this important position at a critical time.”
Prior to taking on the role of Associate Dean, Mata-Gonzalez served as the interim department head for Department of Animal and Rangeland Sciences, where he has also served as an Associate Professor since 2014. With 13 years at the college, he has taught 50 for-credit classes and led the modernization of the Animal and Rangeland Sciences curriculum. With experience teaching in both English and Spanish, from high school to graduate-level courses, Mata-Gonzalez brings deep understanding of academics and places high value on the importance of quality instruction.
“The progress of society depends on education,” Mata-Gonzalez explained. “Teachers provide a light that is more than just a passing of knowledge – it is a seed that increases access to opportunity that grows exponentially over time. It’s kind of like magic.”
As the first Latino to assume the role of Associate Dean of Academics for the college, Mata-Gonzalez also recognizes the vital importance of diversity in academics. Noting the value of embracing different points of view and providing opportunities for students to see themselves in agricultural sciences and natural resources, he sees the job of increasing both faculty and student diversity as one of his most important duties.
“Increasing the diversity of our student body and our faculty is one of my highest priorities,” he said. “If I am able to do that, it will mean the world to me.”
In addition to providing leadership for the overarching academic programs at the college, this position also serves as a member of the senior administrative team, which also includes the Dean, Executive Associate Dean, and three other associate deans. Together, they are responsible for executive functions, including policy development, strategic planning and other administrative needs critical to the operations of the college, the Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station, and the agricultural sciences and natural resources program of the OSU Extension Service.
Mata-Gonzalez will be filling the role previously led by Penny Diebel, who held the position for seven years and will be returning to her faculty position in the Department of Applied Economics as well as directing the College’s joint program with Eastern Oregon University in La Grande.
“Dr. Diebel has been an amazing asset to the college,” Sams added. “Her leadership, passion, and tireless work ethic advocating for our students and our faculty has been nothing short of remarkable. We are grateful for all she has done and are pleased she will help assure a smooth transition to our teaching programs during this challenging time.”
Mata-Gonzalez will officially step into the role of Associate Dean of Academics on September 1.