Faculty Experience Student Living

Dr. Asli Ognuc, Department Head and Associate Professor of Economics and Finance, and faculty member in residence at Prairie Crossing

Dr. Asli Ognuc, Department Head and Associate Professor of Economics and Finance, and faculty member in residence at Prairie Crossing

Todd Kleiboer, Web Editor

More and more public institutions have implemented a faculty in residence program in which a faculty member lives in the same residence hall with students. This university joins that list this year with Faculty In Residence Dr. Asli Ogunc of the Economics and Finance Department.

“The president is very big on a community, like a residential community on campus,” Dr. Oguns said. “So what he wants to do is to have faculty live with students and bridge the gap between the faculty and the students.

Dr. Ogunc is the first faculty in residence and is living in Prairie Crossing. However, she will not be the only faculty in residence in the coming years as there are, of course, more residential halls than just Prairie Crossing.

“I’m the first guinea pig to see how it’s going to work out,” Dr. Ogunc explained. “So, next year, we’re hoping that we’ll get four more faculty members in different residential halls, and eventually every residential hall will have faculty.”

Dr. Ogunc clarified that this program was not an experimental one. The president had wanted this to happen, and she described the initiation of the program a different way.

“It’s not experimental,” she said. “We know we want to do it. Experimental means that we’re trying it, but we know that we want to do it. We’re working towards that. We’ll say ‘pilot’ instead.”

In order to facilitate faculty and student interaction, Dr. Ogunc holds breakfasts every Tuesday in the Prairie Crossing courtyard for Prairie Crossing residents. She invites faculty members as well to come and greet the students.

“I bring in faculty here, so the point is not just breakfast,” she added. “But I’ll bring in faculty every Tuesday, different faculty members to help with things like that.”

The money for breakfasts does not come from Dr. Ogunc directly, but does come from the university in support of this program, and faculty have also supported the idea of starting a program like this.

“I have a budget to spend out of, but I want to keep most of it for other stuff that we can do outside,” she said. “I get a lot of support [in organizing this]. All the faculty, all the students are helping out, so it’s difficult to say it’s just me.”

The faculty in residence program is beneficial to students. Research done by several people shows that the students who have more contact with faculty outside of class do not dropout as often, have higher and more satisfactory feelings toward their university, and have greater levels of achievement inside and outside of class.

On the other side of the coin, faculty members also benefit from this program and having increased contact with students. According to researcher Pascarella, “faculty gain a greater understanding of students’ needs, expectations, strengths and weaknesses that can lead to better structured academic expectations and challenges, and a reduction of misunderstandings.”