is this a dogwood?
it's growing (slowly) in part shade, facing south; I've not seen any flowers - perhaps because of its location or because the deer browsed it a lot this past spring, which was our 1st in this house. Also, are there any books or other publications you can recommend for gardening on a slope/hillside? thanks once again for your help!
This is not a dogwood. The leaves are actually compound leaves with many side leaflets. It may be an ash.
Watch to see what color the leaves turn in the fall. Ashes turn yellow-gold.
Look at images online.
The excellent online publication "Native Plants for Wildlife Habitat and Conservation Landscaping: Chesapeake Bay Watershed" has photos and cultural information for each plant, plus plant lists in the back, including one for hillsides.