"The most exciting part of my job is interacting with students and teachers about their academic life."
|Being born behind the Iron Curtain in the former Soviet Union and growing up working for peace between Soviet and American forces, Marina Cobb has a unique perspective she has been able to share with her students for years as a Russian instructor. Cobb has also had unmatched experience within the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center, both of which have molded her into the perfect fit for Dean of Middle East School III. |
In her 14 years with DLIFLC, Cobb has had the chance to prepare for her role as dean by working with faculty development, the student learning center and being an instructor herself.
Cobb has had a hand in every sector of the school and truly understands how each affects the other. In 1999 Cobb began teaching Russian at DLIFLC, after working as adjunct faculty at the Monterey Institute of International Studies. Within the Russian School, she became department chair, and stayed with the school until 2004. She also gained additional background with the instructors while working in faculty development.
"I've had insight into the teacher's side and their reality, because teachers will do what makes sense to them, and we need to empower them to make their own professional decisions. To help them do that, you need to understand how they think, I think I gained that experience in faculty development," said Cobb.
After faculty development, in 2007, Cobb moved to Middle East School III as academic specialist which aided in understanding the operations of day to day life of students and teachers within the school. She had the ability to work with all departments and teams to ensure school-wide implementation of the Arabic dialects new to the Middle East schools.
Cobb held the job of academic specialist at the student learning center immediately prior to becoming dean which was essential to grasping the student's side of the learning process.
"That gave me a good understanding of what the student does and what happens in the black box as a student tries to acquire the language. Sometimes people have the idea that a student can be spoonfed the language, and that's not how it works, language acquisition is very complex," said Cobb.
Along with Cobb's specific positions within DLIFLC, she was able to make contributions at the institutional level while working at the Equal Employment Opportunity Office as an EEO mediator. She also had the opportunity to work on the 2005/2006 re-accreditation team, both of which gave Cobb a big picture look at the school and helped her understand the "organizational ethos."
Since her instatement as dean earlier this year, Cobb has had the opportunity to implement the skills she has acquired through her substantial experience to benefit the students, instructors and other staff within her department. Providing academic leadership to the Middle East III school and connecting with its students and instructors has been rewarding for Cobb.
"We have a lot of teachers here at DLI who put their heart into their job so I get great professional exchanges with them. The most exciting part of my job is interacting with students and teachers about their academic life," said Cobb.