Daniel Rosenberg, Ph.D., received University College's Professional Excellence in Teaching Award.
by Brett Spielberg
Twenty-eight years ago, Daniel Rosenberg, Ph.D., rode the elevator inside One World Trade Center, known as the North Tower, more than 60 flights to teach his first class to adult Adelphi students. This year, the Professional Excellence in Teaching Award was bestowed on Dr. Rosenberg by University College.
On that late summer evening in 1985, he was just an adjunct, fresh out of graduate school and happy to have found a job teaching history. He taught two Western Civilization classes earlier that morning at the Garden City campus at 9:25 a.m. and 10:50 a.m. to traditional college students.
Afterwards, he hopped on the train and made his way into Manhattan to the adult students in his evening class, many of them Port Authority workers, all of them eager to better their lives with a college education.
“Most, if not all, of the students were older than me,” Dr. Rosenberg said. “It was an interesting juxtaposition, from the location of the class to the type of student. It was like teaching a graduate school class that night compared to the morning. It was just an instant discussion.”
As that first group of students packed in, Dr. Rosenberg saw how different his morning, filled with 18-year-olds, was than his evening, with 35-year-olds, would be. Some of them had holstered guns, remnants from a day on the job, which they quietly shifted into their briefcases as they took out their textbooks. Many of them had families and children, along with mortgage payments or rent that they had to make every month.
It was on that first day that he realized how serious a decision it was to go back to school as an adult, and over the following quarter century he placed himself in the vanguard of student’s issues. From adolescents to adults, from those who need extra attention to those who take classes full time while working full time, Dr. Rosenberg has been more than just an inspired educator—he has been an advocate.
Now the director of the General Studies program, Dr. Rosenberg has put together a support system for freshmen adjusting to college. Utilizing mandatory tutoring and counseling provides students with the assistance they need to make one of the most difficult transitions of their lives a bit easier.
For University College, Dr. Rosenberg was instrumental in the development of the capstone requirement, which now includes one semester of engaging readings that leads into a second semester of academic research and writing.
Along with his administrative duties for General Studies, he continues to teach for both programs, spending significant time brooding over his pedagogy. Dr. Rosenberg is driven to inspire a student’s first day every semester, and to draw them into debate on everything from colonial immigration 400 years ago to contemporary labor policy.
“Lecturing simply does not work. As an educator I employ different methods to provoke, prod and push my students to generate wide-ranging input,” Dr. Rosenberg said. “There’s a different approach for each type of student, different tactics and strategies to create debate and discussion in each and every class.”
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