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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.

“When the Classroom Meets the Dorm Room”

— A brief item by reporter Wafa Mustief in today’s edition of the Philadelphia Metro picks up on other recent news reports about faculty in residence in American universities:

When the Classroom Meets the Dorm Room

When most freshmen picture moving into their college dormitories and becoming acquainted with campus life, they probably aren’t counting on having their professors as neighbors. Maybe they should.

More professors have been moving into campuses at prestigious universities like Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, and Yale.

John Richardson, of American University in Washington, D.C., has been living in a dormitory apartment since 2002.

“I wasn’t clear on how the students would react, but I wasn’t worried that they would feel like I was a policemen, said Richardson, who teaches International Development. “I cook meals for students every other week; I have them over for coffee. Students do have their loud moments … I have have found them to be respectful, and grateful to have a faculty member living near them.”

Robert O’Hara has 16 years experience researching the life and administration of residential colleges within universities.

“Teaching doesn’t (or shouldn’t) take place only in the classroom: it should be incorporated into daily life, around the clock,” he says. “The best education is one that takes place all around you. On the more practical side, it’s convenient to live on campus, close to your office and other working needs; most campuses are pretty attractive places, and the resident faculty can often save a lot of money by living in university buildings rather than renting, or buying in what are often very expensive neighborhoods nearby.”

O’Hara says what people need to realize about professors living in dormitories, is that they aren’t bunking alongside their students.

“Faculty in residence typically live in comfortable apartments within, or houses attached to or across the street from, student residential buildings,” he says. “When faculty live in residence, they aren’t sharing rooms with students; they are living as part of the same residential community.”

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