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Higher Education News from the Collegiate Way

These news items about residential colleges, collegiate houses, and the renewal of university life are posted for readers of the Collegiate Way website. For more about residential colleges and collegiate universities please visit the main Collegiate Way page.

Mississippi Announces Residential College Plans

— Two years ago it was my pleasure to visit and speak about residential colleges at the University of Mississippi through the kind offices of Dr. Carolyn Staton, UM’s provost. I’m delighted to be able to report today that Ole Miss has announced it plans to establish its first residential colleges perhaps as early as 2007. The full story from The Daily Mississippian, the campus student newspaper, appears below.

UM eyes residential colleges

Provost Carolyn Staton and a university task force plan to follow colleges like Rice University and Murray State University by creating residential colleges on the Ole Miss campus as early as 2007.

The residential college task force hopes to phase six existing dormitories including Garland, Hedleston, Mayes, Falkner, Howry and Barr halls into the first residential colleges at Ole Miss.

Joseph Urgo, chair of the residential college task force, said residential colleges will be more beneficial for students because they more fully integrate academic and student affairs.

“Students will gain more of a collegiate experience, with greater access to professors, for example, and more experience with self-governance and self-determination in their residential lives on campus,” Urgo said.

Each residential college will be built around a three-winged dormitory with two wings housing approximately 200 students and a third wing housing residential faculty members. A central common area connecting the wings will provide dining areas, classrooms and study areas for residents.

Residential colleges will be comprised of a random microcosm of students who will not be required to live in the residential college after freshman year but can choose to stay all four years. Each college will receive its own budget for special events and weekly dinners.

Lorinda Krhut, director of the department of student housing and residence life, recently attended a conference aimed at developing a prototype of campus housing for the future.

“Research on residential colleges has suggested that those students involved in the experience perform better academically, have higher retention rates and develop a better environmental fit than those students who merely experience college without the attachment,” Krhut said.

She said the challenge in developing a residential college is the cost.

Because residential colleges are made up of non-revenue producing spaces like classrooms, apartments and study areas, the cost to develop them will be divided among prospective residents.

Krhut said the housing department does not have sufficient funds to finance the project and that money will have to be secured from an outside source.

Garland, Hedleston and Mayes halls, located north of Magnolia Drive, will become the first residential college followed by Falkner, Howry and Barr halls, located across from Johnson Commons.

Staton said alumni have been very receptive to the idea of implementing residential colleges.

“Many of our alumni look at Ole Miss as a close-knit community and residential colleges would be a great way to maintain that closeness,” Staton said.

Staton said she hopes to have the project underway by late 2007 or early 2008 although an initial starting date has not been set.

More information on residential colleges is available at http://collegiateway.org.

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© Robert J. O’Hara 2000–2016