Theater prof named Michigan Distinguished Professor of the Year
EAST LANSING, Mich — Recognized for his out-of-the-box thinking and dedication to creating stage professionals, Rob Roznowski, associate professor of acting at Michigan State University, has been named Michigan Distinguished Professor of the Year by Presidents Council, State Universities of Michigan.
It is the first time an MSU theater faculty member has received the award.
Roznowski came to MSU in 2004 after 14 years of professional theater experience. In addition to performing in major cities around the country, Roznowski served as the national education and outreach coordinator for the Actors' Equity Association in New York City.
"It is an exceptional honor being recognized for the work we do," Roznowski said. "I am humbled by the award and recognize it is shared by the exceptional students, staff and faculty I collaborate with each day."
While writing and communication skills are core to academic theater, he said, teaching students to bring "life to script" will ultimately allow them to take center stage after graduation. Roznowski's expectations are high, and his classes challenging, but he teaches with positive reinforcement and leads by example, he said.
A visionary, Roznowski understands how to use theater as a catalyst for change and as a complement to other academic disciplines, said Kirk Domer, chair of MSU's Department of Theatre.
For example, in celebration of Year of Arts and Culture at MSU in academic year 2007-08, Roznowski coordinated a 48-hour arts marathon and wrote a play, "Arts or Crafts." His play was recently published and produced nationwide.
And then, in 2009, Roznowski received the MSU-AT&T Instructional Technology Award for his development of the online course, "Theatrical Play Analysis," which uses a video called "Karaoke Theatre," discussion boards and film material.
For theater students, academics is only part of the equation, so Roznowski established a Senior Showcase for graduating bachelor of fine arts students in New York City, Detroit and Chicago — three major theatrical cities. There, students are exposed to talent scouts, directors and producers. In addition, Roznowski created the Study Away in New York City program.
"Rob's teaching inspires students to greater accomplishment," Domer said. "His belief that academic boundaries should be abolished in order to have greater success in creative communication has been magnificent."
The Michigan Distinguished Professor of the Year recognition program pays tribute to outstanding contributions made by the faculty from Michigan's public universities. Each of Michigan's 15 public universities were invited by the Presidents Council to nominate a faculty member who has had a significant impact on student learning through various mediums, including work in the classroom and student advising.
"Those who teach and work in academia have dedicated their talents and energies to student learning and success, and to be recognized by one's peers as having excelled in this endeavor is indeed a laudable achievement," said Michael Boulus, executive director of Presidents Council, State Universities of Michigan.
In addition to Roznowski, the 2012 recipients are Dean Johnson, from Michigan Technical University; Paul Teed from Saginaw Valley State University; and John Corvino from Wayne State University.
Michigan State University has been working to advance the common good in uncommon ways for more than 150 years. One of the top research universities in the world, MSU focuses its vast resources on creating solutions to some of the world's most pressing challenges, while providing life-changing opportunities to a diverse and inclusive academic community through more than 200 programs of study in 17 degree-granting colleges.