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Getting to Know: Rebecca Reed Kantrowitz, Interim Senior Vice President and Dean of Student Affairs
Syracuse University’s interim Senior Vice President and Dean of Student Affairs Rebecca Reed Kantrowitz may be new to the position, but she’s certainly not new to the University. Her career path started at SU in the 1980s, and was honed during jobs at the University of California, Berkeley, and at Hamilton College, before Kantrowitz returned to the Hill in 2002.
She brings to the role a deep passion for students and her staff, along with a keen understanding of the parents who send their children to school here.
“I’m starting my 12th year since returning in 2002 as director of residence life,” Kantrowitz says. “I was also a resident advisor and member of a sorority in college, and I really loved all the things that were done to support students. It’s why I became involved.”
Kantrowitz has 23 different departments in her division, and laughs when asked how she finds time to sleep. She grows serious, however, when asked about the challenges her job presents.
“Being responsive to the changing needs of students is incredibly important,” Kantrowitz says. “One area where we have spent considerable time is social media. Certainly these avenues provide us with wonderful opportunities to help students connect and become more informed. We also see students become overloaded with information. And, from time to time, we see students misuse these avenues, creating conflict within the community.”
When it comes to what excites her the most about coming to work each day, Kantrowitz doesn’t hesitate. It’s the human element.
“I love the people I work with,” Kantrowitz says. “I’m surrounded by people who are passionate about the work they do. They’re creative. They develop wonderful programs. They have a lot of vision. They are all deeply devoted to helping our students.”
To those students, Kantrowitz offers sage advice as the semester begins.
“Of course students should make sure they’re getting to class on time. They should go through the Think About It program that helps them navigate the social aspects of college. They should call home. They should follow Provost Eric Spina’s advice to contact at least one faculty member to serve as mentor,” she says.
With all of her responsibilities on campus, it’s a wonder Kantrowitz has time for anything else. But her most important job is at home, where she’s mom to two teenage children, a 14-year-old son and a 16-year-old daughter.
“My husband is a faculty member at Hamilton College, so we spend a lot of time talking with the children about college. Any spare time I have this year will be to begin the college exploration process with my 16-year-old,” Kantrowitz says.
“I have a deep respect for parents, especially being one of them,” said Kantrowitz. “After all they’re entrusting us with their children.”