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Higher Education News from the Collegiate Way

These news items about residential colleges and the renewal of university life are posted for readers of the Collegiate Way website. To receive an occasional digest of this news please add your name to the monthly Collegiate Way mailing list.

West Virginia University Follows the Collegiate Way

— Colleagues from West Virginia University in Morgantown have been studying the Collegiate Way website for some time, and today I’m delighted to report that WVU has announced it will soon establish Lincoln Hall, the university’s first residential college. Prof. Sven Verlinden, a subscriber to the Collegiate Way’s mailing list, will head the new college (and as a specialist in horticulture I bet he will be able to come up with some wonderful ideas for the Lincoln Hall grounds).

A story from yesterday’s West Virginia Gazette-Mail describing the new residential college project is excepted below. A WVU press release provides additional details. Congratulations to everyone at WVU who has been involved in this important work, and may the membership of Lincoln Hall grow and flourish for many generations to come!

WVU dorm embraces residence college concept

About 70 more West Virginia University students can apply to live in the school’s newest dorm, which will include access to in-house faculty members who will help advise them.

On Friday, the college’s Board of Governors approved the residential college, a new program aimed at helping students [to have] a greater sense of belonging on campus, said Ken Gray, vice president of student affairs.

The $14.5 million new residence hall, called Lincoln Hall, will house about 350 students and its residents will have more access to residential tutors and faculty fellows.

It is the first dorm built since the 1960s at the school, and will have a small library, a computer center with high-speed Internet connections and a 50-seat theater.

“The philosophy underlying the mission of the residential college is that students will be known individually, and the college will nurture intellectual curiosity,” Dean of Students David Stewart said Friday.

The new program is part of the Student Affairs 2010 Strategic Plan.

“We’ve been thinking about the residential college concept for a few years,” Stewart said. He said he hopes it will help with retention of students.

Ten faculty fellows will come from a mix of disciplines and teach freshman seminars on topics of their choice. Those seminars with replace University 101, the required orientation course for freshmen.

To help create the homey atmosphere, Sven Verlinden, associate professor in the Division of Plant and Soil Sciences, and his wife, Lisa, will live in an apartment at the residential college.

The couple will share meals with students, listen to their concerns, offer academic advice and plan activities throughout the community.

Admission to the residential college is selective. Students are chosen based on their interest in the program and potential to benefit from it. The application requires they answer those two questions.

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© Robert J. O’Hara 2000–2014