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Binghamton introduces Faculty-in-Residence program
November 13, 2014Tweet
Binghamton University is aiming to expand faculty engagement with students outside of the classroom by launching a Faculty-in-Residence program.
The program, scheduled to begin in spring 2015, will give full-time faculty members the opportunity to take part in the academic and intellectual life of one of the University’s residential colleges.
“I think this is something we need to do,” said Donald Loewen, vice provost for undergraduate education, who helped to develop the program. “We need to look at all of the ways we can make the residential experience for students be as rewarding as possible.
“We recognize that the residential-college system is a great way to bring living and learning together. But to make that happen on a broad scale, we need more than a faculty master engaging students.”
The program does not provide the faculty “resident” with a living space. Instead, the faculty member develops an engagement plan to work with students, the faculty master and professional staff. For example, a faculty “resident” can give a series of talks or workshops based on research, expertise or interests; teach a one- or two-credit mini-course; or organize a symposium. They will also become involved in the life of a community by doing things such as attending RA programs and training events; taking part in community government meetings; holding office hours; and having meals with students.
The period of engagement can range from one or two months to a semester, Loewen said. Participation stipends will vary based on the length of involvement.
Faculty members can benefit from learning how the residential colleges work, Loewen said.
“Probably quite a few faculty are like I was: They come here, go to work for years and have a limited understanding of what students’ lives are like outside of the classroom environment,” he said. “(The residential college) is where students spend most of their time.”
Some faculty members may already know which college they would like to affiliate with. Others can present their engagement plans and have the faculty masters and Residential Life staff decide the best fit, Loewen said.
“We are trying to be flexible to allow as many faculty members as possible to participate,” he said.
The Faculty-in-Residence program is the second step toward expanding academic engagement in the residential colleges. Previously, the faculty masters were asked to develop “signature themes” for their colleges, Loewen said.
“For example, in Hinman College, (faculty master) Al Vos has focused on civic engagement and leadership,” Loewen said. “He has worked with the College of Community and Public Affairs and (CCPA Associate Professor) David Campbell has been there to teach an undergraduate course.
“In College-in-the-Woods, (faculty master) Tony Preus has led a course on “Feeding a Hungry World.” He has brought in resource experts to help students understand the implications of food and politics.”
Newing College has focused on global engagement, Mountainview has worked on a Binghamton history project and Dickinson is developing engagement around the theme of sustainability.
The Faculty-in-Residence program has already generated interest from faculty, said Loewen, who hopes to have two to four participants in the spring semester. Interested faculty members can still contact Loewen to discuss taking part next fall and beyond.
“I think most of us as faculty members can learn a lot by participating in a program like this,” Loewen said. “It shows us a different part of the University than we typically see when we are teaching courses or conducting research.”
Loewen said he would like to see at least one program participant in each of the residential colleges during the first year.
“Down the road, the program could continue to expand,” he said. “Given the number of students in our communities, I think we could have two or three or maybe four faculty members (in each college). But it will depend on the faculty response and how the program can engage their intellectual interests, as well.”