Dr. Valencia E. Matthews is a graduate of South Carolina State University with a bachelor’s degree in dramatic arts. She earned a master’s degree from Ohio State University in theatre and a doctoral degree in theatre from Florida State University. She has been a full-time faculty member since 1993.
Actively involved in the theatre world, Matthews has served as director of Theatre with the FAMU Essential Theatre since 1999; founder and artistic director of the Irene C. Edmonds Youth Theatre since 1997; assistant dean/chairperson in the FAMU College of Arts and Sciences for 2002 until 2012; chairperson of the FAMU Department of Visual Arts, Humanities and Theatre from 1999 until 2002; artistic director with FAMU Artists in Bloom Festival for three years; FAMU representative for Florida Higher Education Arts Network for 13 years; member of the Black Theatre Network for 15 years; Sickle Cell Anemia Foundation 5k Run/Walk for 10 years; and participated in the Susan G. Komen three-day Walk for Breast Cancer and the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer for one year.
Matthews has more than 30 years of acting and directing experience in theatrical productions. Some of which include, “For Colored Girls,” “Flyin’ West,” and “Crowns.” She is very well known in her field for the work that she has done and continues to do to increase the presence and enhance the knowledge of history and the arts within the community. She has taught more than 12 different courses in the theatre curriculum over the span of her career and has presented, coordinated and facilitated community forums, such as “HIV/AIDS and the Black Church: A Balm in Gilead” and “When AIDS Hits Home”, were both presented in Tallahassee, Fla. in February of 2002. Matthews has given numerous research presentations around the country, which include, “Cape Town, South Africa: My View,” Stereotypes of African-American Women in the Media” and “Matthew 23:4: An African-American Dilemma.” In the theatrical productions, “I have worked to help students, faculty, and others appreciate the creative and critical-thinking skills that are enhanced by participating in the arts. I am committed to using the arts as a vehicle for the promotion of social change in the community.”
“My goal as dean is to ensure that students in the college have a positive academic experience with relevant curriculum and experiences that meet the needs of the 21st century workforce. For faculty in the college, I will develop and continue initiatives that foster opportunities for research and creative activities, professional development, while she ensures resources are available for faculty to do their jobs.
Matthews is a native of Lane, S.C. She is married to Joel B. White.