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Dunbar receives the 2021 Betty-Ware Wray Staff Award

Matt Dunbar

The Betty-Ware Wray staff award is given annually to a College of Education (COE) staff member who has excelled in their job performance as well as University service. During the College’s annual meeting on August 4, the College’s Director of Graduate Academic Services Center (GASC), Matthew Dunbar, was named the 2021 award recipient.

Dunbar assumed the role of GASC director in 2018, where he leads a support service team for graduate student advising, recruitment and assistance with the admissions process for most of the College’s over 40 graduate programs. Under his leadership, GASC has developed detailed communication plans for the admissions and registration process to assist and guide graduate students through the completion of their applications and drive them to register for classes. 

“Enrollment in our graduate programs has grown significantly in the last three years,” said Tracy Linderholm, Ph.D., associate dean for administration and faculty affairs. “Matt has developed new enrollment management techniques that will benefit the College as we manage the influx of new students. He worked on a method to track applications and how many students are enrolled in courses. He monitors this constantly so that his communications with both students and the College’s departments maximize the student experience.”

In the last year, Dunbar launched evening virtual information sessions that are more conducive to the audiences for graduate students completing the College’s online degrees. This also provided access to students during the remote learning for students in 2020. 

“He never gave up on recruiting new students even when the pandemic made it difficult,” said Linderholm.

Dunbar joined Georgia Southern in 2013 as an undergraduate academic advisor. He transitioned to the COE in 2016 to work in the Graduate Academic Services Center as a graduate academic advisor and then graduate recruiter before accepting the position as director in 2018. Dunbar is also enrolled in the Ed.D. Educational Leadership program at Georgia Southern.

“Everything we do in the College of Education is a team effort,” said Dunbar. “I am fortunate to partner with a group of outstanding colleagues to offer students an educational experience that produces many fantastic educators for the region.”

Staff members are nominated for the Betty-Ware Wray Award by COE faculty, staff and students, and the nominations are reviewed by the College’s Staff Advisory Council.


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