In her third year at UR, Professor of English Deborah Rossen-Knill was appointed the new Dean of Freshmen, this fall.
“I will be responsible for the academic welfare of the first-year class,” she said. Her other responsibilities include overseeing faculty advising for freshmen, developing and monitoring educational programs for freshmen in the residential quad, and strengthening connections between freshmen’s residential life and College programs and activities.
As Dale McAdam, the former Dean of Freshmen did, she’ll focus on student welfare. She plans to take advantage of freshman housing to increase opportunities for faculty and students to talk outside the classroom and to introduce freshmen to some of the unknown majors in the College.
Rossen-Knill has taught freshmen for 15 years and directed three different freshman writing programs. “Through many conversations with freshmen and their instructors, I’ve come to appreciate their academic difficulties and successes as they make the transition to college,” she said.
Rossen-Knill also teaches graduate courses English 571 and English 572, Practicum in the Teaching of Writing.
Rossen-Knill said that being Dean of Freshmen is simply an extension of her teaching that gives her the opportunity to reach more people. “At heart, I am a teacher, which means that what I care most about is student learning,” she said. “In my classroom, I offer students the freedom and support to direct their education and make the most of it. Being Dean of Freshmen gives me the chance to offer students this kind of learning environment on a large scale.”
Other administrators say they are pleased with Rossen-Knill. “She really has my great respect,” said Vice President, General Secretary and Special Adviser to the President Dean Paul Burgett. Along with his other responsibilities, Burgett has his own set of freshmen advisees and has worked numerous times one-on-one with Rossen-Knill. “I’ve had first hand experience with her and I think she’s marvellous.”
“I have been very impressed by the thoughtful, through, and effective ways that she has sought resolution to problems expressed to her by freshmen,” said Dean of The College William Green.
Rossen-Knill fondly recalls her own days as a college freshman. She enjoyed meeting and becoming friends with people who where different from any she had previously met. She also remembers an influential political science course called the Arab-Israeli Conflict, which immersed her in learning about a variety of leaders and countries in the Middle East that ended in a mock conference designed to address a Middle East problem.
Rossen-Knill welcomes student input concerning freshman housing. Students can reach her on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10:00 a.m.to 12:00 p.m. in Rush Rhees G-121, the College Writing Program Office and on Tuesdays from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. and Wednesdays from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. in Lattimore 311B, the office of the Dean of Freshmen.
To make an appointment with her, students may contact Kathy Picciano, the Writing Program Administrative Assistant, at email@example.com or x3-3584.
Brandon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.