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Summer 09: Great Expectations - Colleagues, former students talk about Laura Roselle

Read what people have to say about one of Elon's iconic professors.

Ellen Mickiewicz, James R. Shepley Professor of Public Policy Studies
Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy, Duke University

“Just for a small but illustrative example: When we had the conference (on International Security and Arms Control), every step of the way, she was involved. My seat was in the second row of the auditorium, but I had to go backstage and talk with the participants and Presidents Carter and Ford, to brief them, really, until the last minute.

“While I was there, former (California) Governor Jerry Brown came in. He had been following this topic and had been preparing himself to run for President, so he was very attentive to what we were doing. He had taken my chair. Apparently, Laura, with her quiet voice, said: ‘Excuse me, governor, but that chair is reserved for the director of the conference.’ He looked at her and ignored her. She said again, a little firmer, ‘Governor Brown, I’m afraid you’ll have to sit over there.’ And all of these people around her, influential people, were saying to her, ‘Do you know who he is?’

“Unfazed, she said in her sort of ‘there’s no arguing with this’ voice, ‘I’m sorry, Governor Brown, but you have to leave that seat.’ And he did.”

Don Owens ’95
Press Secretary and Policy Adviser, U.S. Rep. Bob Etheridge (D-N.C.)

“One of the great things about Dr. Roselle was, during her office hours, she didn’t just want to talk to you about papers and grades. We’d have in-depth discussions about her work when she did her doctorate and her undergraduate work.

“One day, we were in this complex discussion about Russia and Russia’s interaction with Afghanistan in the Cold War. She kept asking me questions about what I thought, if I were a public official, what would I do in this or that situation. I asked her why she was the one asking all the questions as if she was learning from me. She looked at me straight-faced and said, ‘I do learn something from you, I learn something in the classroom every day. It’s not just about me teaching, I have to learn something about you as well to be a better teacher.’

“That blew me away. It taught me that as a student in the classroom I had a responsibility to participate.”

Sharon Spray, Associate Professor of Political Science
Elon University

“Laura’s scholarship is impressive, but that’s just one aspect of her. It’s the cornerstone of who she is as an academic, a mentor and a teacher. But she’s so much more than that. She’s a well-rounded colleague. She has always been sort of that ‘rock’ in the department for me. I know that I can discuss all kinds of things with her. We talk about teaching and scholarship, and about mentoring. And I talk to her about these things not as a junior faculty member to a senior faculty member, but as a colleague in a way that we can help each other and bounce ideas off of each other, and I think that’s important. You need people like that.”

Victoria Davis ’09
2009 Fulbright U.S. Student Grant recipient

“A lot of the professors at Elon are great at offering constant praise, but Dr. Roselle is reserved. When you get a compliment from her, it’s a big deal. A lot of the time, when I was doing my (honors thesis) project, I wasn’t sure whether she approved or not, so that challenged me to work harder to meet her standards.

“She lets you take control of the project. If I had a question or a problem, she wouldn’t just give me the answers, she pointed me toward other sources to help me find it on my own. She was like a ‘facilitator,’ and that makes the final project much more rewarding.”

Derrick Cogburn, Professor of International Communication, American University
President, International Communication Section, International Studies Association

“There are two sides to Laura that stand out: one personal and one professional. First, I’d say how friendly she is. She’s outgoing, kind and considerate. It’s not required, but it’s really nice when you have colleagues who come across as warm and helpful. When I first met Laura, I was in the pre-tenure stage, so it was nice for someone who was more senior in our field to be so supportive of me on a personal level. Second, on the professional level, she is innovative, precise and intellectually creative in the work that she does. Her research produces very interesting, very vigorous work.”

Kenneth S. Rogerson, Director of Policy Journalism and Media Studies Certificate
DeWitt Wallace Center for Media and Democracy, Duke University

“Laura gets what’s going on around her. She isn’t simply a theoretical scholar, someone who speaks to the field or to the choir, so to speak. She knows how to apply what she is talking about to the real world, and she’s always been very good at that: helping scholars and students understand how their work applies to the real world.”


Kristin Simonetti,
8/10/2009 10:24 AM