"Adult learners are completely absorbed in their
desire to be
successful, for themselves and for their children and families. They
want the education, and their thirst for learning makes for
Co-op City Campus
School of New Resources
The College of New Rochelle
Dr. Southard, what is your
I went to Fordham University, graduating in 1989 with a
double major in English and Political Science. I was on my way to law
school, when, on a whim, I decided to take the GRE for graduate school.
I did well so I applied to New York University in their Liberal Arts
Department for a Master of Arts. After one semester, I decided I wanted
to continue my education in English, so I transferred to the English
Department and completed my Masters. At the time, I was invited to
remain in the department to complete my doctorate. My mother was
very supportive and encouraged me to get the degree…what parent doesn’t
want a doctor in the family! I worked through the rest of the
coursework and completed my degree in 2002. I had to maintain
matriculation between my Comprehensive Examination, Orals and the
Dissertation to take care of my mother who became ill in 1996. After
she passed away, I went on to write the Dissertation and complete the
How did you come to The
College of New Rochelle?
I began teaching as an
adjunct in 1991, about five minutes after I received my Masters. I
taught Modes of Analysis. Dr. Isaac Elegbe interviewed me, on the
recommendation of a very old family friend and employee of the College,
Rita Paolucci. Rita had gotten her degree at the School of New
Resources, while she was the Payroll Coordinator, and then went on to
get her Masters in Communications at the CNR Graduate School. She
adored the College and was excited to help me begin my teaching career.
I taught every semester, until I was hired as Instructional Staff for
Letters at the New Rochelle Campus in March of 1994. The rest is
history…I remained at the New Rochelle Campus until I finished my
doctoral degree, and then came to the Co-op City Campus in September of
2002 as the Director.
What is the job of a Campus Director at SNR?
As Campus Director, I assure academic excellence at the
Campus, meet with students, assure advisement, assure adjunct faculty
are appropriately assigned to classes, maintain the Campus internal
staff, and I handle all physical plant items. The best part is working
with students who enter the Program with challenges and obstacles that
are typical to the adult learner. The Program is so student-centered,
it really makes it a joy to facilitate student success in achieving the
baccalaureate degree in Liberal Arts.
How else are you involved
in the College Community?
In addition to being an
Instructional Staff member and now Campus Director, I also participated
in the College Senate for several years and chaired the Student
Services Committee of the Senate, a role that led to several major
events for the CNR community. I was a member of the Middle States
Steering Committee, assisting to prepare the text for the College’s
last Middle States visit, in which we received many accolades. In the
School of New Resources, I chaired the Advisement Committee for several
years, the Assessment Committee for a couple of years and now I am a
member of the Assessment Committee. I also sit on the School’s
Coordinating Council Committee.
What has kept you at CNR?
I have been affiliated with CNR since I was 23 years
old. I will be 40 this November and I am still here. I believe that
this is the case because the College is a true community that cares
about its members. Additionally, I have been supported in all my
academic endeavors, through two pregnancies, and I have been surrounded
by many people who, like me, believe that what we do on a daily basis
is meaningful and significant. I feel that what I do each day is
worthwhile; helping others discover their educational reality and
letting them believe that they can have a place in the mission to
service, is one of the best feelings an educator could ever experience.
I have been blessed in many ways, with a supportive
family, a husband who believes that education is a meaningful career,
and surrounded by colleagues that are nurturing, supportive and
compassionate. This has led to my success in assisting students to be
the most successful they can be in the School’s environment. Adult
learners are completely absorbed in their desire to be successful, for
themselves and for their children and families. They want the
education, and their thirst for learning makes for success. Over
the years, the School’s Retention Program has become stronger and
stronger in meeting the needs of the adult learner in this
ever-changing, shifting and fast urban world of New York. This has
allowed us to help students with more complex challenges.
What happens to your
Our students are so
enraptured with education, learning and with the process of becoming
informed, that the majority of them want to attend graduate school. It
is a rarity to hear a student say that the BA is the end of the
educational road. If students do not arrive with the desire to re-enter
the community as a leader after graduation, they certainly gain that
inspiration through the classes they take here. We encourage students
to take on leadership roles and to accept social responsibility as a
gift rather than a burden. Indeed, we invite politicians, community
leaders, inspirational writers and speakers, all to exhibit to our
students the fact that their voices can be heard. In most cases, they
are back in the community after graduation, never missing a beat,
helping each other become educated and, as they often quote from
“Allegory of the Cave” from the Experience, Learning and Identity class
they all take in the first semester here, enlightened. It is a gift in
itself for me to witness that.