Residential Commons update

The Department of Residence Life and Housing, Office of the Dean of the College, and Office of Academic Advising, with support from the Office of the Provost and the Office of the Vice President for Campus Life, are excited to share an update regarding the Residential Commons initiative. Following many years of research and planning, a working team of faculty and staff has identified opportunities to more closely integrate and enhance the student experience through the Faculty Fellows program, academic advising, and residence life programming this past academic year. Connected to the Strategic Framework process, this initiative seeks to develop opportunities to enhance academic success, community, and belonging.

This past fall, the collaboration included connecting students through Faculty Fellows, programming and course-based advising; this yielded:

  • Increased connections between students and their peers: located 95% of first-year students in the same building as their advising group. For first-year students who select Course-Based Advising classes, their faculty member was also their academic adviser.
  • Increased faculty-student connection. Faculty Fellows’ teams grew from 3 to 4 faculty per first-year residence hall, motivated by a robust interest in faculty who applied to be a Faculty Fellow. Twenty-eight faculty in the College, the School of Business and ZSR Library have weekly and intentional connections with our students within the seven first-year residence halls.
  • Increased academic integration between Residence Life and Housing, Academic Advising, and Faculty Fellows: Fellows and first-year residence hall Community Directors meet regularly to plan, program and coordinate.
  • Focused, evidence-based assessment on residential belonging and impact of Faculty Fellow, Lower-Division Adviser and Resident Adviser roles.

As we welcome the Class of 2027, the University will officially launch the Residential Commons initiative through:

  • Assigning academic advising groups to the same residence hall to enhance belonging and community through a cohort model.
  • Locating more first-year classes in residence halls with classrooms with outreach to faculty teaching those courses.
  • Continuing to affiliate teams of four Faculty Fellows with each first-year residence hall and emphasize academic integration.
  • Developing branding for the Residential Commons project to cultivate identity and communication strategies for the initiative.
  • Exploring how this program can extend beyond the first-year experience.
  • Designing evidence-based practices to measure how our efforts are impacting students.
  • Inviting more stakeholders — faculty, staff, and students — into these developing conversations and opportunities for involvement and creation.

We look forward to sharing additional updates with the campus community as we work to cultivate a transformative student experience.