Dean Mast and Dean Annunziato Host Office Hours for Rose Hill Students


Dr. Maura Mast, Dean of Fordham College at Rose Hill, says the new office hours initiative will help students connect to the administration during the ongoing pandemic. (Courtesy of The Ram Archives)

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, college life for Fordham students has looked quite different from past years. Part of this new and strange college experience has been a dramatic increase in the number of online courses and virtual events offered to students that have replaced in-person interactions with other students, faculty and staff. 

In an effort to forge relationships with students who feel disconnected from campus life, Dr. Maura Mast, dean of Fordham College at Rose Hill, and Dr. Rachel Annunziato, associate dean for strategic initiatives, announced a new initiative to hold office hours for students at Rose Hill. 

The initiative, spearheaded by the Dean’s Council at the Rose Hill campus, allows Fordham students to meet with the deans to ask questions about registration and academic requirements or simply to get to know the administrators a bit better. 

“I worry that it’s really hard for students to connect [with us], especially if they are off-campus and virtual,” said Mast. “I wanted to provide an opportunity for them to know that the Dean’s Office cares about them and wants to be able to touch base.”

Philip Krehbiel, FCRH ’23, and Anna Lazzaro, FCRH ’21, helped organize and plan the initiative in their roles as members of the Dean’s Council. They explained that the Dean’s Council organized a similar project several years ago and saw the lack of in-person connections caused by the pandemic as the perfect opportunity to revitalize office hours with the deans. 

The office hours are meant to provide students with an opportunity to meet with their deans in a less formal setting and get to know them better, explained Lazzaro. “It’s difficult for students to feel comfortable meeting with the deans,” she said. “So this is a space where students can very casually go up to them and talk about any concerns they have. It creates a platform for them that we didn’t have previously.” 

Krehbiel said he felt students should take advantage of these meetings with Mast and Annunziato. “At a large state school, students wouldn’t be able to have a chance to talk to their deans,” said Krehbiel. “We’re a small private school, and if students have the opportunity to talk to these deans about any issues that they have, they should go for it.”  

Krehbiel also encouraged Fordham students to pop into office hours with Mast and Annunziato to provide positive feedback for the administration. “When things go right, I think that’s a big deal,” he said.

Fordham’s relatively small size allows for more opportunities for students to forge relationships with members of the administration, he explained. 

Mast and Annunziato hosted their first office hours event on March 29 over Zoom. Mast said several students dropped into the video call to ask for help with fall registration and were able to receive help. 

Mast said she would also like students to come to office hours with any ideas on how the administration can support students during the pandemic. “My office has spent a lot of time talking about students and community,” said Mast. “We’re just looking for anything we can do to help students meet each other and build a sense of community.” 

They will host their next session on Thursday, April 15 in Keating Third. Mast said the plan is to alternate between virtual and in-person meetings for the remainder of the semester to remain inclusive to students taking classes remotely. The virtual setting is also often more convenient for commuter students, said Lazzaro. 

Mast said she hopes that this initiative will continue post-pandemic, even after student life at Rose Hill has returned to normal.