One wouldn’t normally expect to find faculty living in first-year housing, but this has become a reality on campus.
Assistant Professor Amy Dao, Ph.D., from the Department of Geography and Anthropology resides in Palmitas Hall.
“Research says that having faculty in the same community as students presents an opportunity for students to interact with faculty and bridge a connection between the two,” Dao explained. “It’s supposed to increase the confidence for students to start interacting with their own faculty in their own departments.”
Faculty who reside in housing are expected to create programs to engage with student residents. Dao had a successful “Murder Mystery” program earlier this year that boasted a great turnout.
By interacting with residents through programs, faculty living on campus are also providing support to students and sharing knowledge outside of the classroom. Dao refers to the faculty-in-residence program as a “hidden gem.”
Associate Professor Alejandro Morales from the psychology department resides in Encinitas Hall and tries to incorporate programs that help students with their well-being and assist them in developing important skills. The programs range from therapy dog programs to butterbeer with the professor. Morales explained that socializing and being present contributes to his connection with residents.
He commented that this opportunity has raised his awareness and helped him understand students differently.
“It exposes me to sensitive issues that students may face and experience … I can see the bigger picture,” he said.
Audrey Gaughen, a fourth-year accounting major, works as a resident advisor and appreciates the presence of faculty in her housing community.
“I think that it gives residents another helping hand when it comes to university life and higher education,” Gaughen said. “Faculty have already been through all of this and they definitely have a lot to offer in terms of mentorship and advice. It’s the context of housing that makes it easier for students to connect with them and communicate informally.”
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