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Ronald S. Rochon, Dean, School of Education and Associate Vice President for Teacher Education
“I’m excited about being part of the rich legacy of this college,” Rochon told the Insider. “I’m excited about becoming a community member who will learn more than I’ll be teaching about both Buffalo State and the community. And I’m excited about engaging our students so that they become not clones or replicas of us, but better than we are.” Listening to Rochon, it’s easy to understand why Buffalo State brought him on board. But what brought him to Buffalo State?
Many reasons, including a strong passion for working with diverse populations and a deep interest in the development of urban educational settings. Rochon said he is impressed with the college’s “incredibly healthy approach to teacher education.” For Rochon, such an approach means collaboration between the college and the community. Advocating for—and implementing—programs that offer access and assistance to traditionally underserved and underrepresented individuals is an important part of who Rochon is as an administrator, scholar, activist, and teacher.
For example, while at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, Rochon set up a grant-funded initiative to work with people of Hmong descent, who came to the United States as refugees from Southeast Asia. Many settled in Minnesota and Wisconsin. “We worked with Hmong students,” said Rochon, “and assisted some of them in becoming K through 12 teachers. Today, they teach in schools that had few, if any, teachers or administrators who resembled the diversity of the student body.”
Recruiting teachers from the community is one of Rochon’s goals. To be successful, Rochon believes it’s essential to cultivate relationships with middle and high school students, to help them understand what teaching is about and—perhaps most importantly—to learn what they think about becoming teachers themselves.
The underlying principle that drives Rochon is his belief that “the business we’re in—education and the education of teachers—has a moral compass that dictates that we must serve all children.”