Following a national search, Shannon Hitchcock ’05, former assistant dean in residence life, has been appointed to the position of assistant dean of the residential commons, specifically the Howard N. Blitman, P.E. ’50 Residence Commons.
The new residence commons, situated at the bottom of the Rensselaer Approach, expands housing options for Rensselaer undergraduates specifically sophomores, juniors, and seniors while bringing approximately 300 students downtown to engage in the vibrant community of Troy.
In her new role, Hitchcock will work with the class dean, two faculty deans of the residential commons, and upperclass and graduate student resident assistants to provide programming opportunities for students under the C.L.A.S.S. initiative. “Clustered Learning, Advocacy and Support for Students” aims to transform the student experience by elevating the quality of support for students throughout the undergraduate years. The development of clusters of residence halls, called commons, will create smaller, more tightly knit student communities.
“Elevating the quality of the student experience is key to this transformation, said Eddie Ade Knowles, vice president for student life. “Our goal as with all that we are doing to transform Rensselaer for the 21st century is to create a unique residential undergraduate college within a world-class technological research university. I am pleased to have Shannon serve in this new position as it represents Rensselaer’s focused commitment to providing a world-class undergraduate experience that will continue to attract talented and promising young people who will change the world.”
Hitchcock’s additional responsibilities will include overseeing residence hall activities and staff, as well as fostering the development of living and learning communities that enhance student engagement and affinity group development. She will also provide outreach, counseling, and experiential and community development programs.
“I am thrilled to continue my tenure at Rensselaer in this new role,” said Hitchcock. “As an alumna, I understand the importance of a student’s experience outside the classroom and how it can help to foster a sense of belonging, and a greater drive for them to excel at Rensselaer. I look forward to implementing the C.L.A.S.S. initiative as a way to boost the residential experience on campus, specifically in Blitman Commons and the other buildings that I will have the pleasure of working with.”
Hitchcock also noted that living in Blitman Commons would allow her to help students navigate their Rensselaer experience and develop a greater understanding of students’ day-to-day needs.
“Shannon is a consummate professional who has been working on the Blitman Commons project throughout its construction,” said Tom Tarantelli, director of the Career Development Center, who also serves as acting assistant vice president for student life and interim director for Residence Life. “I am looking forward to her leadership and to all the great programming that she will develop as we continue to build the residential commons model at Rensselaer.”
Hitchcock joined Rensselaer in 2008, first serving as assistant director, and was later appointed to assistant dean. In her roles, she held a number of responsibilities that included: supervising undergraduate/graduate resident directors who directly oversaw a staff of resident assistants, learning assistants; acting as a judicial hearing officer for cases referred by the Dean of Students Office; serving as a member of the new residence hall planning committee; and overseeing the housing operations for two fraternities and one sorority living in Rensselaer housing, among other things.
She holds a B.S. in biochemistry and biophysics from Rensselaer, and an M.A. in higher and postsecondary education from Teacher’s College, Columbia University.
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