Student Affairs Faculty in Residence Program
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 is currently collaborating with colleagues in the Geology and Rhetoric departments on hurricane evacuation messaging and with colleagues in the Psychology department on introducing more undergraduates to the role of computer programming in psychology research.
Dr. Ploran (or “Doc”, as the undergrads around the residence halls call her) became interested in the Faculty in Residence position after considering the sense of community at her undergraduate alma mater, Drew University in New Jersey. Though Hofstra has a self-contained campus with several thousand residents, Doc was eager to encourage and create a stronger sense of camaraderie between the students and faculty. Intrigued by the idea of serving as a liaison between faculty and students, Doc applied for the position.
These first few months living on campus have had many more highs than lows. There have been several “Dinner w/ Doc” nights, at which small groups of students are invited to eat a home-cooked meal with Dr. Ploran and a special faculty guest in the Faculty in Residence apartment. Doc also hosted “Dinner, Distribution, and Dessert”, a large pre-registration advisement event spread across seven houses within the Netherlands and including representatives from 11 departments and the Center of University Advising. Looking towards spring, Doc will be hosting a film series that will rotate through the houses and introduce students to faculty and topics they might not otherwise seek out.
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, and a source of comfort among the students who just want a bit of home in the form of a cookie.
What are students saying...
“Dr. Elisabeth Ploran (a.k.a Doc), has been an important part of the Netherlands community, bridging the gap between the student body and the faculty, which was missing in years past. She has also been a valuable resource for the RAs of the Netherlands. She offers guidance and support in programming and daily resident affairs. She is clearly dedicated to educating and engaging residents. Doc’s presence has been greatly appreciated by myself and many of the residents of the Netherlands complex.
Michael Ortiz – Resident Assistant
“Doc has been a great addition to the Netherlands community. Last semester, she hosted several programs that helped the first year residents both academically and socially. For instance, she held a pre-registration party with professors from different departments to assist students with planning their college careers. She has also had a series of 'Dinners with Doc', where she cooked dinner for residents, who all seemed to enjoy a taste of home.”
La Rainne Pasion – Senior Resident Assistant
“As the faculty in residence, Dr. Ploran has done a wonderful job at making every effort to create a warm and welcoming environment for all of the first year students.
During a recent snowstorm, she baked up a storm herself and walked around from house to house offering treats to anyone she encountered. Dr. Ploran truly does commit to the position of faculty in residence, often going above and beyond. It has been great to see her work, and I am excited to be around to see what she will do next.”
Matthew Benemerito – Resident Assistant