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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.

Residential Colleges to Transform Ole Miss Experience

— Following the excellent Oxford Eagle story by Lucy Schultze in April, we have today a news report by Errol Castens in the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal on the advancing plans for a residential college system at the University of Mississippi (“Ole Miss” to its alumni and friends).

I’m pleased to have played a part in getting these collegiate plans off the ground, and I congratulate everyone in this American Oxford on the excellent work they continue to do.

Residential Colleges to Transform Ole Miss Experience

OXFORD — At the British universities in Oxford and Cambridge, students and faculty live, dine and socialize in the same cluster of buildings in which they go to class or laboratory. The same is true at American universities such as Harvard and Yale.

In two years, some University of Mississippi students and faculty are expected to have the same type of experience in Ole Miss’ first “residential college.”

“The residential college is perhaps the single largest thing that has happened here since the town was named Oxford,” Provost Carolyn Staton declared Thursday at an Ole Miss Luncheon Series event at the Mississippi city named for England’s renowned learning center. The Ole Miss Alumni Association produces the series at locations across the state to promote new developments at the university.

Attendees at the luncheon also learned that Ole Miss is investing public and private funds in a host of new developments. Several newly renovated buildings will provide updated academic space this fall, and Carrier Hall and the Old Chemistry Building will be renovated and connected to form the Center for Manufacturing Excellence in partnership with Toyota.

Staton said that in Ole Miss’ early days, students almost universally lived on campus and had contact with a wide variety of faculty and fellow students. As enrollment grew, more and more students necessarily moved off campus.

“All we could really house was the first year of students,” Staton said. “What that meant was that their college experience was relegated to what they did in class. They lost much of the collegial experience.”

At least three faculty members and their families will live in each residential college.

Ole Miss’ first two residential colleges will be built near the campus’ northeast corner, in an area formerly occupied by faculty houses. One is scheduled to open in fall 2009 and another in spring 2010. The houses have been donated to a local nonprofit to be sold to low-income families at the cost of moving and land.

Asked why such residential colleges will consist of a mixture of study majors, Staton said, “We made a decision not to do ‘thematic housing’ because engineering students (for example) are with other engineers all day long in the classroom. They wouldn’t get the richness of meeting other people from a wide variety of disciplines.”

Staton said university leaders hope over the next 20 years to bring most undergraduates back onto campus to live as more residential colleges are developed.

To the crowd of several hundred Oxonians, she joked, “We want to get them out of your hair.”

Appeared originally in the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, 7/27/2007 6:00:00 AM, section A , page 1

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