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A non-profit publication of the Office of the University Relations of Virginia Tech,
including The Conductor, a special section of the Spectrum printed 4 times a year

Arts and Sciences names new deans

By Sally Harris

Spectrum Volume 21 Issue 07 - October 8, 1998

Robert C. Bates, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Virginia Tech, has named Myra Gordon associate dean for diversity and instruction, and Jerry W. Via and Doug Eckel assistant deans.
Gordon, who will assume the duties of associate dean in October, comes to Tech from Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kan., where she is the assistant vice president for student affairs in charge of 10 student support-service units. The units include personal counseling, career counseling, pre-major advisement, drug and alcohol treatment and prevention, testing services, academic support programs, student health, disability services, career services, and multi-cultural affairs. She also teaches Gender and Race Issues in Leadership, Counseling Skills for Non-Majors, and Multicultural Issues in Counseling.
Gordon has also served as director of The Counseling Center at East Tennessee State University and as coordinator of Clinical Services at The Counseling Center at the State University College at Buffalo, among other positions.
Gordon holds a Ph.D. and an M.A. in psychology from the State University of New York at Buffalo with concentration areas that include clinical and community psychology, multi-cultural issues in mental health, and teaching effectiveness. She has received numerous honors and awards, including those for devotion and dedication to multi-cultural initiatives, for distinguished service, for outstanding service as a mentor, and for outstanding service to minority students.
Gordon is the co-author of Successful Journeys and The Survival Guide and Directory for Students of Color and has published in various psychology and education journals. She is active in many professional organizations, she has a distinguished record of grant awards, and she specializes in study-abroad opportunities in West Africa.
"We are extremely fortunate to have Dr. Gordon join our college," Bates said. "She has the perfect combination of experiences in advising undergraduates and in promoting diversity. The leadership, creativity, and vision she has shown in her previous positions indicate that she will be invaluable to our college as it continues its attempts to recruit, mentor, and retain faculty and staff members, and students of diverse cultural backgrounds."
Via is a native of Roanoke, and received a B.S. from Roanoke College in 1971. He received a master's in zoology from the College of William and Mary in 1975 and completed a Ph.D. in zoology at Virginia Tech in 1979.

He was hired by the Department of Biology in 1979 to teach introductory classes in biology to first-year students. He also served as an assistant to the department head in biology, where he served as a departmental advisor and worked with overall operation and management of the department. He holds several certificates of teaching excellence, and he was awarded the Sporn Award for excellence in teaching freshmen subjects. He is a member of the Academy of Teaching Excellence. He served as the assistant registrar for timetable and scheduling from 1984-1985.
Via also brings to the Dean's Office many years of experience in advising students. In 1987, he was hired as coordinator for Academic Advising for Student Athletes and developed a support and monitoring program for student athletes. He held this position for 11 years.
Via's specialty is the ecology and natural history of birds. He leads many field trips for bird watchers to locales around the state and to Costa Rica. He gives many natural-history presentations for bird clubs and for the Virginia State Parks. He is returning to the classroom this semester in introductory biology.
"Once again, we consider ourselves to be very fortunate in bringing Dr. Via to our college as both assistant dean and biology faculty member," Bates said. "He is well known on campus as an excellent advisor and mentor for undergraduate students in all majors; and his many teaching awards attest to his ability to engage students actively in the learning process. He brings these advising and teaching skills to his new position, and the college's undergraduate students are the ones who will benefit most."
Eckel has a Ph.D. in finance from the Pamplin College of Business, as well as a master's in urban and regional planning from the University of Virginia and a master's in business administration from Radford University. He is the co-author of works published in the Journal of Financial Economics on the privatization of state-owned corporations and works on bank de-regulation published by the Chicago FED in Proceedings: Rethinking Bank Regulation: What Should Regulators Do?
Eckel has served as an instructor in the Department of Finance at Marymount University and in the Department of Economics at Hollins College, as well as visiting research scholar in the Department of Finance at the University of Arizona. Among other positions, Eckel has served as the economic-development coordinator for the Town of Blacksburg and an economic-development specialist for the City of Roanoke.
Eckel teaches public administration and urban politics and manages the political science department's internship program. In his role as assistant dean, Eckel works on budgetary and planning projects for the College of Arts and Sciences.
"We are fortunate to have attracted Dr. Doug Eckel to the college office as a half-time assistant dean," Bates said. "His strong background in finance will serve us well in resource planning and budget management, and he also will serve as a resource to departmental fiscal officers. Additionally, Dr. Eckel brings expertise in pedagogy and instructional technology from his recent experience at Marymount University. He will serve students as an instructor in political science, the department in which his office is also located."