Life of Rozanne Brooks

" "The late Rozanne M. Brooks received a bachelor's degree in journalism from Pennsylvania State University, and her master's and doctoral degrees in sociology from University of Missouri and Pennsylvania State University, respectively.

She joined the SUNY Cortland faculty in 1956. Eight years later, Brooks was named founding chair of the Sociology Department, which she directed until 1973. She served as coordinating chair of social sciences from 1964-68. Brooks was instrumental in expanding the department's curriculum to include anthropology.

A keen interest in fashion's relationship to social change gave Brooks the opportunity to travel all over the world to study native dress. She wrote and lectured about the role of women in society. She wrote the Instructor's Manual for Green's Sociology in 1960. Her extensive research on "never married" persons won five fellowships and grants from the SUNY Research Foundation.

In 1976, Brooks was selected by the State University of New York, as a Distinguished Teaching Professor.

Her efforts over the years as Cortland's faculty representative to State University of New York culminated in Brooks receiving the title of Distinguished University Faculty Senator Emerita from the SUNY Faculty Senate.

Brooks retired in 1992 after 36 years at SUNY Cortland and was named Distinguished Teaching Professor of sociology and anthropology emerita at SUNY Cortland. About this time, she set aside funds to help establish a special annual award to be presented to a SUNY Cortland professor. 

When Professor Brooks passed away in 1997, she bequeathed her collection of ethnographic objects to the Sociology/Anthropology Department, with the hope that they would form the basis of a teaching museum. Her hope was realized in October of 2001 when the Rozanne M. Brooks Museum opened to the public. 

Brook's Characteristics of an Effective Teacher of Undergraduates

"In thinking about my own education and attempting to analyze the men and women who taught me to read critically, write effectively, think logically as well as independently, and who inculcated in me an enthusiastic concern for pursuit of knowledge, I remember first not what subject they taught or how they taught it, but what kind of people they were and the precepts for which they stood.

"My experience is not a singular one. Over the years I have asked many of my colleagues and countless students to tell me about the 'best teacher they ever had.' Almost invariably, they respond with a personal description.

"I've spent a lot of time trying to figure out how my professors, on both the graduate and undergraduate level, managed to bring about the major changes in my attitudes, values and interests that they did. I certainly had no idea what they were up to at the time it was happening. However, in the interim, I think I have discovered some of the things known by the varied group of instructors whom I held in the highest esteem…

"The undergraduate teacher needs to:

  • Have a long memory, being able to clearly recall and keep in mind how he or she felt and reacted as a college student. Professors are liable to slip into the belief that they were born into middle age perfection.
  • Possess a small streak of adolescence, not a large streak, just a small one.
  • Arrive with alacrity and exhibit stage presence and intensity.
  • Have a sense of humor.
  • Have a good academic/intellectual product to dispense and an ability to sell the product to students.
  • Set a high standard of professional accomplishment providing a link between being both popular and demanding.
  • Convince students that a successful instructor-student relationship thrives on cooperation rather than conflict.
  • Have the courage of conviction in measuring student progress.
  • Create and utilize opportunities for learning on an informal basis beyond the classroom and laboratory.
  • Be 'on call' to the student; teaching is a lifestyle, not a job, and limited commitment clearly impairs the propagation of learning."

- Rozanne M. Brooks, December 12, 1974