Dr. Dawn Amber Dennis
the first-year or returning student, the college experience is
intimidating, as students attempt to navigate imposing buildings to
find classes, student services, financial aid and the bookstore. Many students become frustrated
with the new experience while others rise to the occasion and
successfully steer through the university system.
was once that undergraduate student who became overwhelmed my first
semester at CSU-Northridge and failed all my classes. I was not aware and did not take advantage
of the valuable resources made available to students. As a result, my
years as an undergraduate were marked by early frustration, academic
probation and discouragement. However, two professors saw raw talent
and believed in me, often at times, when I did not, and offered to
become my mentor, which provided direction and guidance.
Education allowed me to breathe and gave purpose and direction to my life. Education became my hustle. I would not be standing here, at the PhD level, if I did not improve my work-ethic, better known as the grind. Work-ethic will take you farther than knowledge ascertained in the classroom. Do not wait for success to appear, gift-wrapped in a big bow; go out and make it happen.
Malcolm X asserted, "education is our passport to the future, for
tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today." This
statement altered my approach to education, as I recognized the
importance of acquiring the necessary skills to complete my goals. I
implemented a pro-active attitude in making responsible academic
decisions, such as mapping a research plan for a final paper in a
course or getting through an exams. Most importantly, I learned that
I am accountable for the academic decisions I make.
encourage students to set academic and personal goals, as this will
allow students to map their road to success. However, freshmen must
understand that a map is not linear, as many side roads can emerge to
present challenges during the course of a semester. Yet, the
development of skills will provide the tools for students to
successfully meet these challenges. It is important that students take
from my class, specific life skills, such as accountability,
understanding finances and making dependable choices that will assist
them in future endeavors.
that stress the importance of oral, written and reading skills are the
focal points of my class. A student’s capability to analyze a document,
grasp the various arguments surrounding the document, articulate an
original thesis and then orally convey this argument is an invaluable
life skill. By stressing that one must always look beyond the past
interpretations, students begin to question and change scholarship.
addition, I want my students to be able to examine a primary document,
such as a newspaper article and observe it with an astute lens. Through
analysis, students will realize that events and people contribute to
the dynamics of a larger global community. A critical lens will assist
students in the Transdisciplinary exchange of knowledge with classmates.
it is important that undergraduate students develop concrete skills
that will enable academic and personal success. Time management is
crucial to balancing academic responsibilities and personal
obligations. In addition, students need to be familiar with campus
resources, as programs such as the Writing Center, library services and
tutoring will assist freshmen in difficult courses. Academic
and personal responsibilities are necessary elements for student
success, as undergraduate must make acceptable decisions with
coursework and personal issues.
I look forward to working with you and assisting you in obtaining academic success!