Foster named associate dean of CSTEM



After 14 years on the job as an associate professor of mathematics, Michelle Foster, Ph.D., has been promoted to the associate dean of the College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Foster is a 1996 graduate of Alabama State University.

Keion Carter, Staff Reporter/Writer

The College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (CSTEM) announced the appointment of Michelle Foster, Ph.D., as the new associate dean on Oct. 22. She will report directly to the dean of CSTEM, Audrey Napier, Ph.D.

Foster will continue as the interim chairperson for the department of mathematics and computer science, while adding the additional duties of associate dean.

Foster arrived at Alabama State University as a junior faculty member in 2007. She earned the rank of associate professor and has earned three degrees throughout her career, a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Alabama State University in 1996, a master’s of applied mathematics in 1997 and a doctorate from Auburn University in 2000.

According to the newly selected associate dean, each of the universities served vastly different roles for her growth and development, and helped to make her the woman she is today.

Her time at Alabama State University was essential. It helped to give her a voice and taught her to be true to herself. Auburn University, on the other hand, was vital in teaching her to be diligent and even helped to hone her skills as an advocate for fellow minority students who were in graduate school.

Upon graduation from Auburn, Wingate College in Wingate, North Carolina hired Foster as an assistant professor of mathematics. She served there for seven years before she answered the call of her alma mater and returned.

She accepted a position as an assistant professor of mathematics and computer science, and was promoted to the interim chair of the department of mathematics and computer science in 2015.

Foster says her new responsibilities include assisting the dean with preparing reports, evaluating programs and processes, chairing various committees, and developing programs to foster academic and professional growth for students, faculty and staff. She wants to be an advocate for the student and faculty. Currently, she wants to help the dean complete the projects she has set out to accomplish and master her role as associate dean.

Another important aspiration of Foster’s is to give back to the Alabama State University community she has come to love.

She has two inspirations: her mother, Mildred Foster and Carl Pettis, Ph.D., provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. Foster’s mother was an educator who brought passion into work, inspiring Foster to bring that same passion into her work. Pettis is “someone who possesses tenacity, drive and multitasking ability like no other” that Foster admires.

She wants students to know that “she is a champion for them and even though she can be tough, but fair she loves them.”

Foster’s interest in mathematics is summed up in “Math is life. Life is math. It is a part of everything and sees it as an elegant language.”

Her message to students is “Follow your dreams. Doing what you love is key, as your gifts will open doors for you.”