Re: Faculty-in-residence

1

One of the profs who was on my committee did this for years and years. Maybe a decade or more. It's something of a thing at Chicago to have young faculty families living in residence houses, I think. Their apartment was huge and beautiful, and they never paid a cent. Tuition for their kids at the schmancy Chicago-related school was covered too. He and his wife had nice salaries, too, so they were really socking away a lot of extra cash. Good for them.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11-17-10 9:06 AM
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Seems like an okay deal to me, as long as you didn't have to do a lot of bad-cop RA stuff. Probably scare the kids away from binge drinking for some time if you handled it right.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11-17-10 9:12 AM
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I think that stuff was mostly done by actual RAs, but they must have had to step in sometimes. neb or essear would know, at least insofar as Chicago goes.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11-17-10 9:18 AM
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4

A fabulous idea for a sit-com! I'm working on the pilot right now!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-17-10 9:23 AM
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My current school has this faculty-in-residence for the upperclass houses, while the first-years have several resident deans who are responsible for a group of dorms. I'd love to get a 'dean' title, but not enough to move into an apartment in a freshman dorm.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 11-17-10 9:25 AM
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Probably scare the kids away from binge drinking for some time if you handled it right.

By serving as a cautionary example.


Posted by: Cryptic Need | Link to this comment | 11-17-10 9:25 AM
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7

One year my dorm had this arrangement. In retrospect, incredibly tolerant and unflappable people.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-17-10 9:29 AM
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8

I'd love to get a 'dean' title, but not enough to move into an apartment in a freshman dorm.

How about if we started referring to you as "the Dean of Unfogged commenters"?


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 11-17-10 9:32 AM
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9

8 was I.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-17-10 9:33 AM
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10

I've always wanted to be the dean of the Washington press corp.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-17-10 9:35 AM
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11

I lived in such a dorm as a grad student, with my then-girlfriend.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 11-17-10 9:35 AM
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10: You'd have to take out David Broder. And although he's never been too good with a pen, his swordsmanship is legendary.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-17-10 9:38 AM
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I'd love to get a 'dean' title

I CAN GET YOU ONE CHEAP.


Posted by: OPINIONATED BOB CHRISTGAU | Link to this comment | 11-17-10 9:44 AM
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14

I lived in a "residential college" for my last three years of undergrad. It was set up to try to get back to some Jeffersonian Academical Village muckity muck, so professors and grad students were encouraged to eat with us/do movie nights/knitting/whatever, and at least two professors lived in the multi-building dorm complex.

There were some freshman, but it was probably an even mix of class years. The application process was all student-run and notoriously wacky, so the residents were already the self-selected freaks 'n' geeks at an otherwise rather preppy U. That certainly helped make it all work. Oh, and drinking etc. happened but people were generally quite tame about it or at least kept it behind closed doors.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11-17-10 9:49 AM
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I knew about the existence of these programs before, but hadn't really thought about the reality of doing it with your family.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-17-10 9:56 AM
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16

I was a faculty resident for three years, which is the only way I was able to scrape together a down payment on the condo I now live in. Three amazing years of rent-free, utility-free living, with DINING HALL ACCESS. I cannot overstate the importance of that.

My situation was a little different in that I was in a dorm that mostly housed seniors, and the entrance to my apartment was not through the dorm -- in fact, this residence hall was pretty modular and had all exterior entrances.

Also, my role as a faculty resident was mostly a programming-type one; I held various kinds of events designed to bring some intellectual substance into the residence halls. It was terrific fun -- and most importantly, I was specifically told NOT to involve myself in any kind of disciplinary anything. That was entirely the role of the RAs and deans.

It was a fantastic few years; periodically I think about doing it again...


Posted by: KF | Link to this comment | 11-17-10 9:59 AM
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This is indeed the arrangement for Chicago dorms--each dorm has a Resident Master (tenured faculty) who lives with his or her family in an apartment in the dorm. Each House (usually a floor or other logical division, about 40-60 students) within the dorm (my dorm had 10 houses) had a Resident Head (grad student, usually 30-something PhD candidate, usually married, often with kids) and a Resident Assistant (third- or fourth-year undergrad) living in the House. RHs usually stick around for 5 or 6 years, while the RMs may live in a dorm for decades. My RMs at Chicago had a 16 year old daughter who had lived in the dorm her entire life.

It was actually a great system, brought some actual adult authority to the houses in the form of the RHs, and gave undergrads a way to know actual academics outside of the classroom and see the lifestyle and hardships up close.

But it would be a pretty weird way to grow up...


Posted by: Roadrunner | Link to this comment | 11-17-10 10:02 AM
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But it would be a pretty weird way to grow up...

Not as weird as watching your dad ignore health, safety, his family, and gravity just to catch you.


Posted by: Opinionated Coyote | Link to this comment | 11-17-10 10:09 AM
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How about if we started referring to you as "the Dean of Unfogged commenters"?

I was hoping for something that I could put on my resume!


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 11-17-10 10:38 AM
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20

19: "Scholar in residence, Mineshaft"


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 11-17-10 10:40 AM
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21

I feel sympathy for the boarding school faculty masters, who generally live in dorms with their families with HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS and, unlike the college residential advisor programs, are actually responsible for enforcing discipline. That doesn't seem fun at all.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-17-10 11:07 AM
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20: Who wants to school Mutumbo?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-17-10 11:12 AM
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21: Yes, that seems like the antithesis of fun. I dunno, I could see that there would be easier things that having your toddler woken up at 3 a.m. by someone's all-night Pink Floyd marathon, but on the whole it really doesn't seem like it would be that much worse than what a lot of married grad students and younger professors put up with in off-campus rental housing.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11-17-10 11:16 AM
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24

My school did this, although the apartments were only (SFAIK) in the honors dorm. It was generally a peaceful place (and probably the best location of any housing, on- or off-campus, at the school); I can't imagine putting a family in one of the giant tower blocks out by the football stadium.

The honors dorm also had apartments for guests of the university. You can imagine the reaction when Jo/nathan Fr/akes (who happened to be an alum) stayed there.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 11-17-10 11:27 AM
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Not every dorm at Chicago had a Resident Master; I think only the big dorms that contained freshmen did. At least, at Stony my last two years we only had a Resident Head, who was a 30-ish grad student. He dealt very well with my suicidal roommate, and was generally very good at being mostly hands-off and overlooking reasonable amounts of drinking. I was mortified when we hosted a party once (with official approval) and had an underage student somehow hide in the corner and drink himself into a stupor and require medical attention. We got a stern sort of "I thought I knew you guys better than this" lecture from the RH, and it was generally kind of awful.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11-17-10 11:37 AM
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Several but not all MIT dorms had this. The one dorm that got their resident faculty and his wife to be the first into the mud-wrestling pit every year at the annual big party had some very, very accommodating faculty.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 11-17-10 11:47 AM
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I don't remember interacting with Resident Masters much at all, really. Resident Heads at Chicago were ubiquitous, though. My second year the woman was wonderful and her husband was a pompous ass, who especially got in the way during Scavhunt, and once nearly came to blows with a student.

Then there was the RH of the house where many of my friends lived, who I had never had a real conversation with, then ran into on the quad the next year and asked how things were going and got an unexpected sob story about his wife leaving him. That was awkward.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11-17-10 11:51 AM
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28

I wish I'd done undergrad at U of C. It sounds awful, but in a much more entertaining way than grad school.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 11-17-10 12:14 PM
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29

the annual big party

(I have no idea why I'm googling this, but) the St/ee/r Ro/ast?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-17-10 12:16 PM
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30

27.2: Then you can hardly call them friends.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-17-10 12:16 PM
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31

"googleproofing", not "googling". Also, I have no idea how to type.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-17-10 12:17 PM
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32

Yup, that. So much tamer now then Back In The Day, though the crackdown on intoxicants has been somewhat offset by an increase in lewdness.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 11-17-10 12:44 PM
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29: Yeah, I was wondering the same thing about 24. Because heaven forbid someone google that guy's name and find this blog in the first page of hits!


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 11-17-10 1:18 PM
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34

The Resident Heads of my house my second and third year were awesome, and their kid (and then kids!) were even awesomer. (Even better though I think lost to the ages was a picture of the older kid, who must have been around … four? dressed in a little kid bathrobe, standing in the hall, holding in one hand a copy of some children's book, and in the other a copy of the Republic, in a pose that indicated that he had no idea which to read first.)


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 11-17-10 1:22 PM
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and then kids!

Oh noes! What happened? Some foolish student fed the one kid after midnight or something?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11-17-10 1:23 PM
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The RHs are grad students, though. The Resident Masters of that dorm were … some guy whom my father Spooneristically referred to as "Carrot Gerbil" (I can't remember his real name) and his wife who occupied some official religious position at Rockefeller Chapel. They were buddies with Kurt Elling, former seminarian, and would occasionally take such undergrads as were over 21 to hear him sing at the Green Mill.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 11-17-10 1:26 PM
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37

Yeah, I think it was just the big dorms that had RMs. I was in Shoreland.

My favorite RH family moment: one pair of RHs, for another house in my dorm, were staunch Republicans and had a two year old son. In 2000, the students on their floor taught the two year old to sit at the house table in the dining hall, in his high chair, and pound his fists on his tray and say "Down with Bush!" His parents were horrified, but that's what happens when you raise your two year old with 60 college students!


Posted by: Roadrunner | Link to this comment | 11-17-10 1:40 PM
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38

Our Resident Shcolar was an elderly gay musicologist, who had who had a 14th floor penthouse apartment in a dorm building with seven rooms on each lower floor and one elevator. He was friendly and good-natured about living among the students, and happy to serve alcohol to freshmen. He got really pissed at us only once, when the "rewire the elevator" prank,* in conjunction with an inept maintenance staff, left him living in a 14 storey walkup for a week.

* Easy and fun, before elevators had microprocessors. With no tools except a screwdriver it was very very simple to reset each elevator button to take passengers wto a different floor than the number indicated. If maintenance hadn't gotten involved, we could have undone it in a half hour.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 11-17-10 2:08 PM
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39

If maintenance hadn't gotten involved, we could have undone it in a half hour.

That's why you should alway involve a cow in a prank. Gives maintenance something concrete and immediate to do.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-17-10 2:12 PM
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39: No, no. Three pigs, numbered #1, #2, and #4.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11-17-10 2:17 PM
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41

Pigs are O.K. Just remember hogs are more dangerous than cows.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-17-10 2:20 PM
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42

Having married RHs living in close proximity to undergraduates does not, IME, lead to good decision making.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 11-17-10 2:39 PM
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43

Maybe it's just where I went to college but in two different dorms on campus, people had trouble making it to the bathroom before puking. It was in the hallway, the sinks, the shower. There is no way I would put up with that as an adult, I couldn't handle it as a college student.


Posted by: LizSpigot | Link to this comment | 11-17-10 3:55 PM
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44

42 sounds like it's hiding a salacious story. Out with it!


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11-17-10 5:09 PM
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45

Of course living conditions at De/p Spr/ngs are pretty much this. Room and board is included in the salary (which I believe is on the low side). Faculty with children arrange babysitting through the student Labor Commissioner. You might think twice about bringing a middle-schooler or older, and three times about a teenage daughter, but for young kids it's like instant two dozen uncles.

The flipside is that students can be deaf to personal boundaries. Some turn the porchlight to mean "don't come by to chat, we're in for the night." I made two egregious errors as a student. Asked to make a video tape of one professor's apartment to send to a faculty applicant who might live there the following term, I did so without giving him a chance to clean up or even telling him -- he was mortified. In the worse case, another student and I knocked on a professor's door around midnight to tell him that the curriculum committee had turned down his request for an additional rehire a year in advance. It wasn't a termination -- the original expectation was a year-by-year decision, and that would have been likely the following year, for which he had been rehired. But we didn't have to tell him the bad news in his pajamas.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 11-17-10 5:56 PM
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46

How we got in his pajamas, he'll never know.


Posted by: Groucho Marx | Link to this comment | 11-17-10 6:00 PM
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44: Not my story, but about what you might expect: broken marriage.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 11-17-10 7:35 PM
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48

||

Academic hope. I know someone who is an adjunct in the philosophy dept. at B/C. His expertise is the philosophy of religion. He has a strong interest in Kierkegaard.

He was just offered a position at the Catholic University of Aus/tralia which is not tenure-track but tenured, and for the first 3 years he will have no teaching obligations.

So, okay, he has to move half-way around the world, but it sounds like a pretty good gig to me

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Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 11-19-10 8:53 AM
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We had something like this, but they didn't live with the Freshmen. They lived in the Houses with the upper classmen. They oversaw all of the tutors living in the various entryways and hosted open-houses and teas. Lowell house was well-known for its tea.

Most of them got houses.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 11-19-10 8:58 AM
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They only offered the position to tenured faculty at Harvard.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 11-19-10 8:59 AM
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They call them deans now. Ours were called proctors.

I know that they renamed the House Senior tutors deans.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 11-19-10 9:00 AM
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The senior tutors were often ABDs trying to finish up, but there was a move to make them Junior faculty and give them more time before they got booted for not getting tenure.

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Why are my comments showing up in the sidebar but not the thread?

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Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 11-19-10 9:06 AM
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Bostoniangirl keeps alive the drunknness streak?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 11-19-10 9:10 AM
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54

My comments are only appearing in my head.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-19-10 9:11 AM
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Get out of my mind.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-19-10 9:12 AM
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56

There are an awful lot of pictures of dirndls in here.


Posted by: Commenter Inside Moby's Mind | Link to this comment | 11-19-10 9:21 AM
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And suppressed rage. Thanks for not calling that out.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-19-10 9:35 AM
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48: From adjunct to tenured? That's unusual. But awesome!


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11-19-10 9:36 AM
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