By Branden LaCroix
FSU held a forum for Anne Roberti, one of the finalists for the dean of Graduate and Continuing Education position, March 21.
Roberti is currently the director of Community Education and Lifelong Learning, the graduate coordinator for the TESL program, and a visiting associate professor in the Division of Graduate and Continuing Education at FSU.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in linguistics and French from Georgetown University, a master’s degree from Columbia University, a certificate of advanced study in international education from Harvard University, and a doctorate in educational linguistics from the University of Pennsylvania.
She previously worked at Northeastern University as an educational consultant and adjunct lecturer. She also worked as the director of the English Language Academy at the Boston campus of the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS), before becoming director of graduate academic support.
Roberti said she grew up in Massachusetts, and Framingham State holds “a really important place in my heart.”
She said many members of her family have attended or are currently attending FSU, and another member has applied for the upcoming Fall 2023 Semester.
While studying at Georgetown University, Roberti said her interactions with international students led her to want to work with international students, immigrants, and refugees.
While working at MCPHS, she said MCPHS “really had not developed academic support or social support - any support services - for international students.”
She helped develop MCPHS’s English Language Academy, which gave her “great experience in developing curricula, collaborating with faculty, hiring faculty, supervising faculty, [and] making sure I'm working with deans to get a curricula approved.”
When she became the director of Graduate Academic Support, she said she advocated for resources for graduate students “so that they can succeed.”
Roberti said one of her priorities as dean would be to continue to build relationships with corporations and organizations to help prepare students for the job market.
She added it is important to perform market analysis for potential new graduate and master’s programs, as well as assess any current programs while connecting with students, alumni, faculty, department chairs, and “anyone who has a voice in the programs that we offer.”
She said FSU is “very student driven. So, for me, getting student feedback is one way that we can continue to enhance programming in the master's degree area.”
Roberti said she is also interested in implementing nano- and micro-credentials instead of a full graduate program, which grants students a digital badge that they can provide to potential employers instead of a full transcript.
“We have to pay attention to what the student's needs are - what they want - so that they can be successful in their jobs,” she said.
She added these goals should be seen through the lens of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
“We need to have faculty and staff who represent the identities of the students that we serve,” she said, adding, “The open educational resources are important - making the programs themselves affordable, but also representing the belief systems and who the students are.”
Jerusha Nelson-Peterman, professor and chair of the Nutrition and Health Studies Department, asked Roberti about how she would create “a better situation” for graduate coordinators and advisors who have not seen a pay increase in 15 years, as they are not covered by collective bargaining agreements.
Roberti said she would “advocate strongly in favor” of increasing the pay of coordinators and advisors. She added to ensure it doesn’t happen in the future, “I think it needs to be maybe reviewed every year and to take a look at what the program is bringing in in terms of revenue, and what we can afford to do in terms of increasing payments.”
Mirari Elcoro, a psychology professor and vice president of the FSU chapter of the Massachusetts State College Association, asked Roberti what her experience is with working in a unionized environment.
Roberti explained she was a part of a teachers’ union when she worked as a teacher.
Roberti said she would “engage with the leaders of the union and to listen to them, and to be aware of what the issues are that are concerning the unions.
“I value and support unions and so I want to develop a strong relationship with the leaders in order to see how we can best serve our students,” she said.