Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Voices of experience: faculty views of residence hall living and working

Faculty views on residence hall living.
AU’s office of Campus life just completed a manual that is both a source reference book for faculty residents and a way of communicating about the program to others. AU’s Vice President for Campus Life hired a consultant to do this.

I was a bit skeptical about the project at first, but the final product has won we over completely - and I don’t think it is just because the consultant quoted from a lengthy interview with me, extensively and faithfully. AU students -- and others too -- may be interested in what faculty with experience living and working on campus have to say. I am providing pretty much the entire selection of quotes - below:

A student asked if I didn't find living in the dorm 'burdensome' at least from time-to-time and how I coped with that. I had to think about this -- my response will perhaps sound like Pollyanna but is, nonetheless, true. I hardly ever find my life burdensome – students are considerate, friendly, and seem happy to have me there.
I feel that I am making a difference.

Most important, I am having an opportunity that must be shared by a relatively small number of 68-year-olds
in the U.S. or anywhere -- being able to authentically share,
to some degree, in the lives of a generation that is
nearly 40 years younger than I am.

There is a lot to be learned,
and I have many teachers.
Life in Anderson Hall is a gift,
not a burden.


The Power of Presence
“Crossing the forbidden boundary. You want to have informal discussions with people, you get them in the off hours, you get them where they eat [and live]. My capacity to be the shaper of that kind of environment, to be that kind of resource to bounce things off of depends on me being available. Having an office in the dorm makes me more approachable.”
- Asst. Prof. Patrick Thaddeus Jackson, Leonard Hall

Breaking Barriers
“I go to class, and I enjoy that and get rewarded for that, but I don’t think I allow students to communicate with me as much as they could. There’s a bit of a barrier. Maybe this little experiment I’m doing is to break down that barrier.”
- Assoc. Prof. John C. Doolittle, Hughes Hall

Bridging the Gap between Students & Faculty
“I enjoy working with students, living with them, sharing their lives (to the degree they wish to do so) and learning from them…. I moved into the dorm to help bridge the gap between students and at least one faculty member.”
- DGP, Anderson Hall

Infusing Academics into Campus Life
“I’d like to encourage informal contact to send a signal that academic life does not end at the classroom door.”
- Assoc. Prof. W. Joseph Campbell, McDowell Hall

Sharing Experience
“I found myself in conversations with students every time I entered and left the building. We would discuss academics, entertainment, the weather, and life. When I say ‘hello’ to Hughes residents on campus or in town, that ‘hello’ has new meaning for us both because we have a shared experience.”
- Prof. Doolittle

Building Community
“The many casual, informal conversations with students were particularly gratifying. I was made to feel very welcome in McDowell, and I've developed an affinity, or sense of loyalty or attachment, to the residence hall.”
- Prof. Campbell

Appreciating the Student Experience
“As a facility member ... I’ve lost touch with what my students are thinking about and caring about. I want to meet students on a common ground. [Faculty] don’t understand what students do in their own sphere.”
- Prof. Doolittle

Providing an Entry Point for Faculty & Administrators
“Professor Campbell’s role in providing a doorway into the dorms for faculty is tremendously important. Professor Campbell has created a wonderful meeting ground.”
- Dean Larry Kirkman, School of Communications

Exposing Students to Authentic Faculty Members
“One of my goals is to have students perceive and appreciate faculty as more complete human beings. I think that would be a good point of departure for breaking down the walls.”

Lowering the Divide
“When people are in class they’re sort of institutionally programmed to be looking for the expectation of the instructor so they can figure out how to get a good grade. You drop into my office, and you’re just here for a chat, there’s not that same kind of pressure.”
- Prof. Jackson

Providing Resources
“There’s no better place for a faculty office than a residence hall. You’re quite close to daily student life but at a discrete distance. You can be a resource, a mentor, a sounding board, all in unscripted and informal ways.”
- Prof. Campbell

“It's the most rewarding thing I've done
in 42 years of teaching.”

Resident Faculty, Anderson Hall


Blogger PTJ said...

But I'm an Associate Professor now :-)

7:16 AM  

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