Anatomy of an Administrator: Dean Rhonda Rabbitt Future image of education at Wilkes, breaking boundaries

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Courtesy of Marketing Communications

Dian McKinney, News Copy Editor

Rhonda Rabbitt, the new dean of the College of Education, has some words of wisdom for up-and-coming education students and definite plans the college.

Rabbitt is in charge of the undergraduate, masters and doctoral areas of education. She chose to pursue a career at Wilkes University because the institution encompasses “a small-campus feel, but has the big University opportunities.”

“I look at my big role here as the new dean as (starting to build) those relationships within the school of education so that we are all on one same team” and gather the abilities “to reach out to the local schools and communities” surrounding the Wilkes-Barre area.

Rabbit also commented in depth about the “warm and caring” nature of the faculty and staff on campus. Rabbitt said she was shocked by the polite and welcoming nature of the individuals on campus.

She said that “everybody on the campus that I have encountered is in the present moment… I have never felt like [the faculty] they didn’t have time for me.”

Regarding the future of American education, Rabbit elaborated on the breaking down of boundaries between elementary, middle, and high school; different subject areas; and students of different race and culture. In achieving this goal, Rabbitt encourages future educators to begin approaching these problems that are so obvious in society and school systems.

Rabbitt said that educators need to eliminate “the falsities and boundaries we set up so that we can work to help each other instead of against each other.”

Having acquired a bachelor and master’s degree in Spanish, she especially believes that “instead of realizing the powerful potential that [Spanish speakers] bring to a classroom to develop bilingual people all around, we put down a false boundary and we say, ‘No language other than English in this classroom.’”

When giving personal recommendations and information to future educators, Rabbitt elaborated on the importance of being authentic and honest in front of your students in order to manage a very open-minded and comfortable educational environment.

Rabbit comments on educators who “put on their teacher hat,” In other words, referring to teachers who put on an authoritative and more formal identity in front of their students.

Rabbit said these teachers are just “fooling themselves” in their efforts, adding that being genuine in front of students helps foster honest, respectful, collaborative and helpful relationships.