Letters to the Editor: Three Letters in Support of Dr. Ajani Cross

Letters+to+the+Editor%3A+Three+Letters+in+Support+of+Dr.+Ajani+Cross


Dear Editor:

 

One of the many reasons I chose to attend Marywood University and to ultimately apply for the school psychology program centralized around the ability to become an advocate for those in need. The education specialist degree allows for me to change students’ lives and to serve their best interests. Outside of practical experiences, much of my education was not learned in the classroom, but with professors who went above and beyond for their students.

I recently was interviewed for the school psychology program, and I had the amazing opportunity to have Dr. Ajani Cross as one of my interviewers. While I currently have Dr. Cross as an instructor, seeing her at my interview allowed me to view her in a new light. Questions she directed at me highlighted how seriously she takes her students’ desires to be in the program. She demonstrated compassion, care, and professionalism, and it helped validate why I had applied for the program: to make a difference.

Dr. Cross, even with the short time that I had known her, exemplifies the characteristics that we expect at Marywood. She holds many of our core values. Empowerment: She wants each of us to grow as professionals and to have the strength to change lives. Respect: She has demonstrated her ability to respect the needs and uniqueness of her students to our professional discipline. Excellence: She holds her students in high regard and expects nothing but our best.

Like my previous classmates, I ask the administration to reconsider the decision to terminate Dr. Cross and other faculty. Their involvement, integrity, and advocacy for students go beyond budgeting and buildings. My growth as a student can be attributed to inspiring professors, who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to change our lives.

Sincerely,

Sara A. Barscheski

Graduate Student of School Psychology

Graduate Assistant, Psychology Department


 

Dear Editor:

I chose to attend Marywood University because of the strong commitment to service, respect, and the belief that education empowers all. These values, as part of Marywood’s mission, are highly emphasized in the school psychology program, a program in which professors encourage helping students, respecting all types of individuals, and empowering students through knowledge and education.

As a second year student in the school psychology program, the non-renewal of ten first-year faculty has impacted me more than many other Marywood students. This administrative decision has affected my program, my education, and a professor whom I’ve had the privilege of learning from.

After eight years, our program finally received a second professor, Dr. Ajani Cross. As a current student of hers, I can attest to the positives she brings to Marywood. On a program level, her position allows the program to pursue additional accreditation, which may lead to an increase in students. On a personal level, her knowledge, positivity, and passion for teaching are just a few of the qualities that make her an asset to the program. She is committed to her students and is always willing to help students become not only, great school psychologists, but simply better people. However, despite being a positive mentor to many, she was one of the first-year professors whose positions have been cut.

As a student, my connections to Marywood are not to the campus, but to the faculty and staff that make up the Marywood family. Though campus advancements are necessary, they should not take precedent over what drives the Marywood community and family, the faculty and staff. I can learn without a state-of-the-art library, but I cannot learn without encouraging, dedicated professors, like Dr. Cross. Because of this, I urge administration to reconsider the decision to terminate Dr. Cross and other faculty.

Sincerely,

Samantha Littleford

Graduate Student of School Psychology

Graduate Assistant, School Psychology Program


 

Dear Editor:

During my first semester, I was honored to have Dr. Cross as my professor. Previous meetings  with her demonstrated how confident and knowledgeable she was about our program, even though she was recently hired. From that first class, Dr. Cross supported me and made me believe that I was capable. Dr. Cross’s passion and excitement for the field helped me feel like I finally belonged in the program.

Over the course of this school year I have created a strong bond with Dr. Cross. She was always  available for me in and outside of class and was always ready to lend a helping hand on assignments or even just be a listening ear when I just need to talk. Dr. Cross has become a model for the type of  professional I would want to become. She has extensive knowledge on multiple psychological concepts, academic laws, and provides practical examples of her experiences that apply in multiple domains.

Academically, Dr. Cross’s absence also critically eradicates the school psychology department’s chances of accreditation. In order to be accredited by the National Association of School Psychologists, the department needs two full-time school psychology professors. Dr. Cross is an extremely valuable asset to the Counseling and Psychology Department, the Reap College of Education and Human Development, Marywood University, and most importantly to her students.

Let Marywood’s mission statement not be forgotten during this time of financial hardship and instead be steadfast in our values of catholic identity, respect, empowerment, service and excellence, all of which Dr. Cross upholds by her respect for everyone she encounters, her empowerment of her students, and by upholding the highest degree of professionalism and passion for her expertise. In closing, I ask that the 10 faculty members who lost their positions to be reinstated and instead be recognized for the tremendous work they do to inspire and educate us future professionals.

Sincerely,

Samantha Froio

School Psychology Graduate Student

Graduate Assistant, Psychology Department