Student Affairs Faculty in Residence Program
What is a “Faculty in Residence”?
The mission of the Netherlands Faculty in Residence (FiR) Pilot Program is to extend and deepen relationships within the Netherlands first year student residential community by adding an in-residence faculty member who works with the residential life team to augment the social and intellectual experiences that are central to the success of this first year complex. The role of the FiR is to provide students with a role model, educator, and community leader. Through ongoing collaborations, the FiR will contribute to the community by integrating the academic, social, and developmental experiences of residential students.
In fulfillment of this mission the Netherlands Faculty in Residence program goals include:
- foster social engagement, promote leadership, and active participation in and beyond the classroom.
- strive to deepen intellectual inquiry and exploration.
- engage students both formally (through planned programming) and informally via regular interaction with students.
- encourage student contact with additional faculty through formal and informal programs.
- collaborate with residence life staff to promote a strong living-learning community.
- create and promote opportunities for students to serve the university and the broader community.
- serve as a resource for all students providing support for them as they adjust to University life.
Who is the Faculty in Residence?
Dr. Elisabeth Ploran is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology, teaching courses in cognition, sensation & perception, and neuroscience. She has a Ph.D. in Cognitive Neuroscience from the University of Pittsburgh and the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition. Prior to coming to Hofstra, she completed a two-year research fellowship at George Mason University. She maintains an active research program including research assistants at both the undergraduate and graduate level, with her research focusing on spatial cognition, navigation, and memory.
Dr. Ploran (or “Doc”, as the undergrads around the residence halls call her) became interested in the position when the program was just a whisper of an idea. Throughout her time as an undergraduate and graduate student, Doc was heavily involved in student organizations focused on building a sense of community on campus. As a self-contained campus with several thousand residents, Doc was eager to help bridge the gap between the student community and her faculty colleagues. Central to her mission is the idea that everyone (students, faculty, staff, and administration alike) should consider themselves lifelong learners. This means that many events involve the sharing of ideas and experiences among members of the community, often with faculty learning from the students as much as the reverse!
However, perhaps the most fun and largest sense of community has occurred outside of formal events. About once a week, Doc bakes a big batch of homemade desserts and walks from house lounge to house lounge, tempting students into saying hello and sharing with her about their Hofstra experience. These informal interactions have slowly become a way for Doc to gain valuable information about the lives of the Hofstra students, to better inform decisions among the faculty and administration based on informal student feedback, and serve as a source of comfort among the students who just want a bit of home in the form of a cookie. Doc also maintains an office in the Netherlands complex for when students need a confidential space to get more personalized advice about what she has termed “existential academic crises”: questions about picking a major, feeling confident in college courses, and truly figuring out what will be a fulfilling trajectory.
In all, Dr. Ploran has become a vibrant, beloved member of the on-campus community at Hofstra. Students can often be heard shouting “Hey Doc!” along the paths to and from class and giving her big hugs upon graduation. The Residence Life staff hope that this unique resource for first-year residents continues to help them reside with pride at Hofstra.
What are students saying...
"I've had the pleasure of living and working in the Netherlands for a total of three years. As a resident, Doc's active presence helped my friend's and I debunk the myth that professors are robots that teach on-campus and then leave. Through Doc's connections with faculty across all departments in the university, our complex has been enriched with professors visiting to speak about cool opportunities available to us. As a Resident Assistant, Doc has been an extremely helpful tool that I use to draw my residents out of their rooms. She is very easy to talk to, and gives great advice if you're frustrated with a professor, are considering changing your major, or are just wondering what you're doing in college."
- Benjamin Detweiler, Resident Assistant
“Doctor Ploran, or Doc as she is known in the residence hall, has proved to be a valuable asset to our team and community. She provides us with knowledge about the academic side of Hofstra that we would have no way of knowing otherwise which proves invaluable to our students. She is a true cornerstone of life in The Netherlands complex.”
- Mitch Stead, Senior Resident Assistant
"Doc has added an extra layer of comfort for the residents in the complex this year. Residents have mentioned to me how they appreciate being able to interact with faculty members in an authentic setting, where the professional barrier is broken down. Doc not only has provided advice for residents, but she truly has made programs more personal and engaging. "
- Sharleigh Carter, Senior Resident Assistant