|Volume XXIX Issue 19||February 28, 2002|
Who knew calling roll could burn; Roselle’s roaster
Annie Reilly - Reporter
Imagine you are sitting in class on the third floor of Powell. The morning sun shines in, and you feel the heat. But the warmth you feel is not from outside. It’s very much inside, and it’s coming from the front of the classroom. Laura Roselle is calling roll–-usually a mundane necessity to keep track of attendance, but not in Roselle’s political science courses. When she calls your name, you find yourself in the "Roselle roaster." It only burns if you don’t read the assignments. And she’ll know if you haven’t.
Roselle, associate professor of political science, defines a successful student as "self-motivated, intellectually curious and critical," and places the primary emphasis on curiosity. Roselle says she urges her students to ask hard questions--not because it is required, but because the student genuinely wants to know.
"I think there is a potential for every student at Elon to have an outstanding education, but they have to find it," she said. "You can get out of Elon what you want. We have some absolutely amazing and outstanding faculty."
Instead of shying away, Roselle says she recommends that Elon students take challenging courses with professors who might normally intimidate them.
"She’s a very intelligent person--not just with books. She’s smart in a worldly sense. She welcomes new ideas and doesn’t put your ideas down," junior Kat O’Connor, a political science minor, said. "Dr. Roselle makes students want to learn. She’s very animated."
Roselle has taught at Elon since 1993. She received her undergraduate degrees in math/computer science and Russian from Emory University. She then went to Stanford University for her master’s degree and doctorate in political science.
"She opened my mind to other approaches of seeing the world," O’Connor said. "She makes us see it from another country’s perspective."
Roselle interned for former President Jimmy Carter at the Carter Center of Emory University, where she analyzed Soviet media and participated in the Arms Control Conference.
"President Carter was pretty hands on, so he knew what I was doing," she said.
Roselle says she liked President Carter’s human rights policy. "I think he’s honest, and I admire his faith. He has a deep, sincere faith," she said.
Roselle is the director of Elon’s Center for Media Analysis and Research. During her sabbatical in fall 2001, she researched local television coverage of the 2000 election in North Carolina. Six Elon students involved with the center developed a way to analyze the election that became an integral part of Roselle’s study. The resulting article will be published this year in the American Behavioral Scientist, and the students have already presented their findings at Student Undergraduate Research Forum (SURF).
Roselle and Dr. Sharon Spray, assistant professor of political science are co-authoring two supplemental books for international relations and American politics courses. The books will teach students how to write in the political science field. Both books are to be completed this summer.
Roselle is writing another book on how world leaders use media to explain their countries failure in war. The book analyzes the 1975 American failure in Vietnam and the 1989 Soviet failure in Afghanistan. Today, there is more access to material that was previously classified, since the Soviet Archives recently released new information on their failure in Afghanistan.
Before coming to Elon, Roselle gained teaching experience at Stanford as a teaching assistant to Condoleeza Rice, U.S. national security adviser, and as a visiting instructor at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.
"I came to Elon because I wanted to teach. I wanted to be at a place where teaching was appreciated and rewarded," she said. "When I met the political science department, they were warm and gracious. It’s a very collegial place."
Roselle has two daughters. In her spare time, she plays tennis and tiles the kitchen and bathroom of her house. This semester, she is teaching international relations and honors political communications. "The students are really engaged. I can tell they’re thinking," she said.
Despite everything that could distract Roselle from focusing on students, she still deems her teaching career important.
"The one thing I pride myself on is that I can do research and writing and publish things and still be a good teacher, Roselle said. "In fact, it makes me a better teacher. It’s not an either-or situation like a lot of people think. I have my degree from Stanford on the wall, but I am also proud of the award for teaching from the SGA."
Students respond positively to Roselle’s demanding and optimistic nature. "Dr. Roselle is definitely not the traditional teacher," O’Connor said. As Roselle calls roll in her international relations class, the students answer thoughtfully, and they all read.
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