Six faculty members will serve as inaugural leaders for Dartmouth’s new housing system.
Editor’s note: Associate Professor Ryan Calsbeek stepped down from his role as house professor for North Park in September. Dean of the College Rebecca Biron will serve as the North Park professor.
Six members of the faculty have been chosen to serve as the first house professors of Dartmouth’s new model of residential life.
The house communities—a cornerstone of the Moving Dartmouth Forward plan announced by President Phil Hanlon ’77 in January—are designed to transform Dartmouth’s undergraduate residential experience, bringing more continuity to students’ on-campus living options and greater opportunity for faculty-student interactions beyond the classroom. The houses will open to students in fall 2016.
The six house professors named today include biologist Ryan Calsbeek, astrophysicist Ryan Hickox, engineer Jane Hill, sociologist Kathryn Lively, mathematician Craig Sutton, and Japanese literary scholar Dennis Washburn.
“What’s striking about the faculty who have stepped forward to lead this transition is how deeply they care about students,” says Provost Carolyn Dever. “They have each consistently demonstrated that dedication in and out of the classroom, as both role models and mentors. They represent Dartmouth’s scholar-teacher model at its finest.”
The house professors will each serve a four-year term beginning July 1, 2015, and will move into on-campus residences near their respective house communities the following summer. Associate Professor of Mathematics Sergi Elizalde, who has served as faculty director of the East Wheelock Cluster since May 2014, will continue in his role.
Students will be affiliated with a specific residential community, including the East Wheelock Cluster, and will retain this house affiliation throughout their undergraduate experience, regardless of whether they are on- or off-campus in any given term or choose to live in other accommodations.
Interim Dean of the College Inge-Lise Ameer says the house professors will work with students to help the communities define their identities and develop such activities as community meals, intramural competitions, performances, field trips, and experiential learning and leadership-development opportunities.
“Our model will be distinctly Dartmouth,” Ameer says. “We are engaged in an intensive planning process to ensure that the system meets the evolving needs of our students, both as learners and as members of a community that should really feel like home.”
The house professors will be instrumental in planning the new system in the coming year, along with a student advisory committee, the provost, the vice provost for student affairs, the to-be-appointed dean of the College, other members of the faculty, and student affairs staff.
Mike Wooten, director of residential education, says the house system will help integrate residential life more deeply with the intellectual mission of the College. “It’s really about increasing students’ sense of connection with the place where they spend four years of their lives,” he says.
The house professors were chosen from nearly two-dozen applicants, says Jon Kull, the Rodgers Professor of Chemistry and dean of graduate studies, who served on the selection committee. “We had the wonderful problem of choosing from among a pool of deeply committed and enthusiastic faculty,” he says.
The College has to date raised $1 million toward its commitment to raising $5 million over five years to support the new residential model.
Associate professor of biological sciences; faculty chair of the Committee on Student Life; director of the biology foreign study program in Costa Rica; member of the East Wheelock director search process
“I’ve split firewood with the woodsmen’s team and trained with the cycling club, but the best experiences I’ve had with students outside of the classroom have been in the jungles of Costa Rica during the biology FSP. I have seen over and over again how living around and with students breaks down barriers and makes everyone’s experience more rewarding. My wife and I (not to mention our two daughters and two dogs) are thrilled to be jumping into this next adventure with Dartmouth students. It’s going to be a blast.”
Assistant professor of physics and astronomy; studies supermassive black holes at the center of galaxies; member of the Moving Dartmouth Forward Steering Committee
“I’m looking forward to helping build a house community where students will feel at home from the start of First-Year Trips all the way through graduation and beyond. I would love for the house to represent a true cross-section of Dartmouth, in which undergrads, faculty, postdocs, grad students, staff, and alumni can all come together to share the intellectual curiosity, creativity, sense of adventure, and warm friendship that make our College so special.”
Associate professor of engineering, Thayer School of Engineering; studies identification of biomarkers to rapidly identify infectious diseases
“Dartmouth is an incredible place. The new residential system presents a fantastic opportunity to chart an inspiring and enriching course for all students, as well as faculty and staff, building on our hallowed cultures and traditions, as well as current student-driven initiatives. I suspect that our residential system will evolve to be the envy of many, and I am thrilled to be a part of this transformation.”
Professor of sociology; chair of the Department of Sociology; member of the Divisional Council, the DCAL Advisory Board, the Committee on Standards, and the ad hoc Committee on Student Safety and Accountability
“As a social psychologist, I’m interested in how individuals and the relationships, groups, organizations, and institutions in which they are embedded affect one another. I’m passionate about self-development, well-being, and social justice. I look forward to working with students, faculty, and administrators to create a vibrant, healthy, and fun living and learning environment.”
Associate professor of mathematics; studies spectral geometry; adviser in the Advising 360 and E.E. Just programs; member of the Committee on Standards and the Moving Dartmouth Forward Steering Committee
“I am honored and excited to be a part of helping the College form its new house communities. By organizing undergraduates around smaller, more intimate collectives that are integrated with the rest of our intellectual community in a meaningful and intentional manner, Dartmouth will move closer to unlocking the full potential that has always been within its grasp.”
Jane and Raphael Bernstein Professor in Asian Studies; chair of the Comparative Literature Program; foreign study program director in Japan; member of the Committee Advisory to the President, the Committee on Senior Fellowships, and the Committee on Student Life; recipient of two Dartmouth teaching awards
“I’m honored and excited to be part of this initiative, which will provide students with additional resources that should help them bring their social and intellectual experiences together in a direct, meaningful way. My hope is that bringing greater continuity and stability into their living arrangements will further deepen the already strong sense of a shared community that has been a hallmark of the undergraduate experience at Dartmouth.”
Washburn will work with the Living Learning Communities, including the Global Village and other student-designed communities.