Faculty Highlight: Kelly Dunne

Kelly Dunne, NCC assistant dean of academic affairs, presenting at the 2014 New Student Orientation
Kelly Dunne, NCC assistant dean of academic affairs, presenting at the 2014 New Student Orientation

For Kelly Dunne, assistant dean of academic affairs, no two days are the same at New Century College (NCC). From teaching, to advising, to working with colleagues in NCC and in academic units across the university, Dunne enjoys the variety of her work, noting, “It’s great because every day is different.”

Dunne has been with NCC since 1996, and has always had a multi-faceted view of the student, professor and advisor experience in NCC. While completing her Master of Interdisciplinary Studies (MAIS) degree, Dunne taught and advised students as a graduate teaching assistant. Her position has evolved over time and she now handles NCC’s academic affairs including everything from scheduling, to academic advising to the development of new concentrations and partnerships with other academic units. There is very little at NCC that does not travel through Dunne’s office.

Dean Lisa Gring-Pemble said, “Kelly is the glue that keeps everything together. She understands our concentrations and minors and the faculty and research behind each one. She can handle a multiplicity of academic duties, and then walk into the classroom and completely engage the students. Our childhood studies concentration benefits tremendously from Kelly’s teaching skill.”

Dunne began teaching in the childhood studies concentration in 1999 with NCLC 312 “Images and Experiences of Childhood.” In this course, Dunne challenges her students to consider the complexities of childhood and explore how the concept of childhood has changed from ancient to modern times. The course concludes with an in-depth look at the modern Western concept of childhood as a special time when children are encouraged to explore and learn, and are protected from outside pressures.

Students also learn that not all children share a sheltered upbringing. Dunne said, “The students also touch on the difficult topics such as child trafficking and child soldiers…Our Western romanticized experience of childhood doesn’t happen for everyone.”

Dunne notes that when teaching childhood studies classes, she hopes that students learn several key points. She said, “Studies show that all children need one supportive adult who will be there for them, upon whom they can depend to listen, to care, to offer consistent support. I want the students to know that they can be that person, even if they are not parents.”

Students who enroll in the childhood studies concentration are often interested in becoming school administrators, working with children in hospitals or other centers or continuing on to graduate school. Dunne emphasized that all NCC graduates have solid training that will serve them well in a variety of fields.

She said, “We teach students how to read critically, write, articulate their points and work with others…If we can help train students to intelligently discuss an issue, see more than one side of a topic and ultimately want to learn more, we’ve done our job.”