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Hofstra University Honors College

Dean's Messages

Dean Frisina
Dean Warren Frisina

"It's about the conversation. . ."

I write this note at the end of a long but energizing day in the HUHC Dean's office. We are at that point in the semester where students raise their eyes from their current crop of courses and begin looking ahead to the next semester's offerings. I always enjoy this period because students appear at my door in greater numbers and I get to learn how things are going in more detail.

This morning, for example, I met with Andrea who told me how much she was enjoying Dante's Inferno (in both English and Italian!). The way her face lit up reassured me that our first-year cluster (we call it Culture and Expression) was doing its job. Not long after, I had a conversation with Zach, a sophomore with a prodigious list of interests, who was in search of the one that would become his major. He still hadn't settled on a major when we finished our conversation, but he left saying that he'd focus on philosophy and business in the next semester. He was followed by Julia with whom I had a long discussion about the way some who study music struggle with music theory (me) while others have a problem with ear training (her). When that conversation was over, we'd also talked through her spring semester options and looked ahead to plans for next year as well.

Thus, in this two-hour period I enjoyed serious conversations with students about Italian literature, philosophy, business and music. It's that diversity of interests and energies that most attracts me to my role as dean of HUHC. Every semester, every day actually, I discover new things about our students as their creativity and imagination leads them through the process of self-discovery that is college life.

Whenever I'm asked to sum up HUHC for strangers who don't know it intimately the way I do, I always start the same way. I say "It's about the conversation. . ." HUHC is an invitation into a conversation that reaches back to the beginnings of human history and extends right through to the very specific questions, problems, hopes and dreams, students bring to our classrooms and offices. We are a community dedicated to discovery and intellectual engagement. It is all of a piece. To be such a community we must be in conversation and it is the quality of the conversations that establish the kind of community we are.

Warren Frisina, Dean