In the Spotlight: Professor Roseanna Tufano

Marina McGowan

Roseanna Tufano’s life has always stretched the definition of fulfilling, so it’s not surprising that her years so far have been packed with plenty of work in and around the Quinnipiac school community. Tufano is an occupational therapy professor at the university, where she stands out notably in the minds of many students.
Occupational therapists work with all types of abilities and help to restore independent functioning in activities of daily living, work, and leisure pursuits. “Basically, occupational therapy is used to help people live with their disability,” Tufano said. Occupational therapy can best be described as the use of occupations and “meaningful activities” to promote health.
Originally a special education major, Tufano attended Quinnipiac in 1980 where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in occupational therapy. From there she worked in various mental health centers. She continued her education and obtained her Masters degree from Southern Connecticut University in marriage and family therapy. Tufano initially began her career as an adjunct in 1984 at Quinnipiac. Then, after five years, she was considered a full-time assistant professor.
Many students consider Tufano to be a great role model. She is humanistic, down to earth, and genuine.
Jennifer Riedl, a student in Tufano’s summer seminar said, “Professor Tufano is an understanding person. Students grant her the respect that she gives them.”
Originally a physical therapy major, Riedl decided to switch to occupational therapy mainly because she felt it was more concrete, but also because she became interested through her friends.
Tufano has a very collaborative way of teaching. She sees teaching and learning as a relationship. According to her view of herself, she has a love for work and she is enthusiastic, active, personable, and energetic. “I am very interested in what motivates students to learn,” she said. She incorporates learning in her classroom by the use of media studies, application, and answering the question of how concepts apply to life.
Junior OT major Marisa Dvorak said, “With her dedication to occupational therapy and motivation toward her students, you can not help but learn in her class.”
Tufano was elected by students to be the faculty advisor for the Student Government Association (SGA). As an SGA advisor, she provides some perspective about faculty roles concerning decisions that need to be made. She is also a part of the Freshman Clusters Program.
“I love the direct involvement with the students,” she said regarding her four-year commitment in both programs.
SGA President Thomas Fortunato said, “She is great. She is always around the office willing to do anything and everything for the organization.”
“I have been working with Roseanna since my sophomore year through SGA as well as the occupational therapy department,” said Kristi-Joan Kniehl, a senior occupational therapy major and senior class representative. “Through both of these environments, I have seen Roseanna become not only a teacher and a friend to many students but also a mentor. She is the type professor that a student refers to 15 years down the road, and the type of SGA advisor that students can gain inspiration and the ability to lead and work harder from.”
Tufano is also the academic coordinator for occupational therapy. This means that she is an assistant chairperson with different administrative duties, such as advising and talking to students who are interested in majoring in the field. She also continues to teach fifth-year physical therapy graduates on the psychosocial aspects of physical ability.
Tufano and her husband, a psychologist, own a private practice in Branford. She gives about six or seven hours of her time per week. Tufano feels that both of her jobs, of working in the classroom and at her practice, enhance each other. “I bring life stories into the classroom. The use of examples help students to understand concepts,” she said.
Tufano and her husband have two children, a daughter, 17, and a son, 15. “They are always exposed to both of our occupations and they are very sensitive to people. My daughter is even interested in health care,” she said. She has strong family values as well as a unique interest in being an organist and vocalist in different chorales.
In the near future, Tufano wants to continue building her private practice with her husband and to continue her education. “The more you learn, the more you realize you do not know,” she said. She wants to be the best that she can be as a professor, a mother and as a wife.