At the beginning of the year, Dr. Tanya Zlateva—an associate professor of computer science who served as associate dean of academic programs from 2006—assumed the role of dean ad interim for Metropolitan College & Extended Education.
Dean Zlateva, who earned her doctorate in information technology from the Dresden Institute of Technology, has been in the MET family for more than twenty years. She started as a part-time instructor in 1986, transitioning to full time in 1990. While her research interests have encompassed computational modeling of visual perception, parallel and distributed processing, and pattern recognition, for the past ten years Zlateva has focused on information security as well as educational technologies. She is a founding director of the Boston University Center for Reliable Information Systems & Cyber Security (RISCS), which was instrumental in the University’s designation as a National Center for Excellence in Information Assurance Research and Education. The Dean will continue as co-director of RISCS.
“There have been a number of important areas to address in the past five months,” says the Dean. “We have been busy formulating expectations for faculty, reviewing programs, understanding marketing initiatives, working with the University Provost’s office, continuing operational work on recruiting and retention, and assuring that MET’s informational infrastructure is sound and stable.”
Zlateva’s top priority is to underscore MET’s quality. “We deserve recognition for our programs, not only as part of BU but through external accreditations and rankings. At MET, you get a rigorous academic foundation as well as preparation for the workplace.” The Dean is also committed to fostering innovation within programs and courses, as well as closer collaboration between faculty and students at MET, and with other BU schools and colleges. The College has adopted new policies that allow faculty who have presented a strong research program to reduce their teaching load—allowing more time for scholarly work and innovative course development. In addition, each full-time faculty member has received funding for a graduate assistant. “It makes the College vibrant and interesting. Both students and faculty are enthusiastic about this, which is what I had hoped would happen,” says Zlateva.
In an increasingly competitive educational environment, the Dean is confident that MET’s strengths will ensure its reputation as a unique college integrated into a top research environment. The faculty has vital connections to industry, and the College—as a leader in educational technologies—is in a position to offer a decade’s worth of experience in honing online programs. “We have a lot of rich data when it comes to educational technology,” asserts Zlateva. “Analyzing and mining this data can provide important insight on how people learn, and how we can better design our courses. That’s not something you find very often.”
Collaborative opportunities will continue to enrich the College, as faculty engage in research with departments in other BU schools and colleges, and with external organizations. “If one stays in a room and reads a lot of books, one may have enjoyment—but nobody would be wiser for that,” says Zlateva. “If one goes out and shares knowledge and gets more knowledge from other people, that’s a social activity, even on that abstract level. But there’s a more practical level, too: at MET, collaboration is about recognition of what we do, attracting new students and scholars, and about participating in the joint investigation of what’s out there. MET is an exciting place, and it’s going to get better.”