By Lauren Justice, Staff Writer–
Beginning Summer 2019, UTC will be implementing a pilot program called Faculty-In-Residence (FIR) that gives professors the opportunity to live on-campus in residence halls.
“The goal of the Faculty-in-Residence Program is to provide both formal and informal resident-faculty interactions through educational programming, classes, individual and small-group advising, and casual association” according to the Office of Housing and Residence Life.
“I think the thought process behind that [new program] is to kind of help with that connection with students,” says Carling Wilson, Assistant Director of Occupancy Management. “Breaking down that stigma of ‘I’m just here for class,’ and also that after-class, it’s not a big deal to talk to students.”
The professors will not be similar to resident assistants in that they will not live in residence halls to enforce order, discipline, etc., but instead will have the opportunity for more interactions with students and be available to them outside of class time. FIR will definitely occur in firstly in WestCampus Housing, and there will be at least two additional residence halls included in this program soon.
UTC has a somewhat similar program in place already. Housing and Residence Life offices currently match people with certain majors with resident assistants who share that major to provide the opportunity for student growth and connection. By doing this, students can possibly work together with people on their floor on schoolwork; these matchups most commonly exist for business majors and Honors College students.
In the FIC program, the professors will live alongside students they teach, in most cases, which again provides the opportunity for both personal and academic growth.
UTC is not the first to implement an FIC program, in fact, the school will be joining hundreds of other schools across the nation in this joined effort to provide a curricular and co-curricular experience for both students and faculty.
Students shouldn’t be worried about the new program, for there will still be privacy for students and they still will contact their RA if they need assistance with anything. Nothing will change about residence life except for the opportunity to have a professor right down the hall for questions about class or something ongoing in or around the university.
The mission of Residence Life is: “To enhance student’s college experience through active learning and leadership in a supportive environment that appropriately challenges them inside and outside the classroom.” The hope is that their mission will be strengthened by FIC, for because of this program, students will be able to intertwine their campus housing experience with their class experience.