Columbus State University is trying out something new this fall. Instructors will be living amongst students for the Faculty in Residence program, meant to make students feel more at ease with their professors.
When students move into their rooms at CSU's River Park campus in two weeks, they'll be greeted by a new type of mentor. The living arrangement will provide a more informal setting for faculty members and their pupils to interact.
CSU Director of Residence Life Jonathan Lucia says, "The more that students interact with faculty members, the more satisfied they are and the more likely they are to be successful."
He says he's seen similar programs work very well at other colleges. Some students think it could help with problems outside of the classroom.
"Student and teacher relationships are based on how they get along," says CSU student Jamonte Williams, "and if students and professors live together then they can build that trust with one another and they can help each other out."
Assistant professor and director of the Public Administration Program Dr. Kimberly Gill is one of three instructors chosen for the inaugural year of the program, supervising the 450 students who stay in Uptown. She's excited to be living with 140 freshmen in Broadway Crossing and help them with things like communication skills and time management, which she struggled with her freshman year.
She says, "When I saw this as an opportunity to engage and interact with students kind of outside of your traditional setting, for me I saw it as an opportunity to mentor them, but also for me to learn from them."
Some students, however, feel that lines may be crossed if professors are always around.
"This is college," says Tyra Mills. "It's not like elementary where you've got to get to know your teachers and stuff. It's college, so I don't need to have another relationship outside of the education and the curriculum that I'm learning."
Lucia disagrees. He says, "While we are supportive and there for students, I think our students know that the relationship begins within the university environment as a support structure and it ends with those appropriate boundaries that we set up."
The plan is to expand Faculty in Residence to the main campus in the coming years, which will coincide with plans for a brand new freshman hall.
In addition to Dr. Gill, the faculty participants will be Dr. John Finley, assistant professor of business administration in the Turner College of Business and Dr. Nick Easton, assistant professor of political science and public administration.
Finley will live on the same floor in the Rankin as the Honors and Scholars community. Gill and Easton will live in Broadway Crossing and Courtyard I, respectively – both first year communities.
News 3 wants to know what you think about this program: Do you support faculty and students living together in the same building? Vote and comment below and we may use your response on the air.
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