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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.

A Freshman Yard for Vanderbilt’s Residential Colleges

— Vanderbilt University has been developing a comprehensive residential college system for several years, and its progress has often been noted here. Many ideas from the Collegiate Way website have been incorporated into Vanderbilt’s important work.

The foundation of Vanderbilt’s collegiate system will be a special housing area for first-year students called The Commons, corresponding to the Yard at Harvard University and the Old Campus at Yale University. While I don’t in general recommend the segregation of freshmen from the rest of the student population, it can be done successfully if there is a strong geographic and historical rationale for it. (Geographical and historical rationales are much more important in this case than educational ones.) Vanderbilt is indeed doing a good job of it, and has developed its freshman Commons around one of the historic sections of the campus, renovating existing buildings and supplementing them with new ones.

My Vanderbilt colleague Susan Barge has today pointed me to a new viewbook-style website introducing the freshman Commons to prospective students. It’s very attractively done, and will certainly be an appealing draw. Congratulations to Susan and to Vanderbilt on reaching this important stage in the development of the Vanderbilt residential college system.

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© Robert J. O’Hara 2000–2021