Early life and education
She completed her school finals at Kanya Pathasala, the only school in Gaya in the early 1930s and 1940s to provide education to girls. At that time it was not customary for a girl, particularly in a small town like Gaya, to continue education beyond high school level. However, with the support of her father, Umacharan Tarway, a school teacher turned business tycoon, Tarway continued her study and obtained a degree from Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi. This was a natural choice, due to the rail link between Gaya and Varanasi, both on the Grand Chord section of the Indian Railways.
After her graduation, Terway started as a teacher at her alma mater, Kanya Pathshala. She continued to pursue studies and obtained a post-graduation degree in Political science from Magadh University, Gaya. This enabled her to progress to a series of jobs as lecturer and, later, principal at various women's colleges. These included colleges in Chaibasa, Ranchi and Dhanbad, all located in Jharkhand state (at that time part of Bihar state). While working as a lecturer in various colleges, she obtained a Ph. D. in Political science from Patna University.
In 1992, she was appointed first Vice Chancellor of the Vinoba Bhave University, Hazaribagh by the Governor of Bihar. She was the first woman Vice Chancellor of any university in the states of Bihar and Jharkhand. She continued in the job until her retirement.
Vinodini's accomplishments are made more remarkable by the difficult circumstances in which she achieved them. Few Indian women led independent lives when Vinodini was born, much less held a high position in academic circles.