As part of PAW’s continuing coverage of the work of strategic-planning task forces created by President Eisgruber ’83, this issue describes the RESIDENTIAL-COLLEGE task force report.
The task force called for converting all residential colleges to four-year colleges, giving upperclass students the option to remain in their original residential colleges for all four years. The residential colleges, the group said, should “truly feel like home to our students,” a place where they “can feel welcome and accepted and where they come together to learn from their diverse experience, perspectives, and backgrounds.”
Among the recommendations:
- Consider offering more affinity housing that would create smaller, cohesive communities within the larger residential colleges. The report cited the Edwards Collective, a group of about 40 students who live on the top three floors of Edwards Hall and share an interest in the humanities and creative arts.
- Consider building the next residential college next to Forbes College so that Forbes is not so isolated, and so that the two can be paired, as other residential colleges are now.
- Take steps to bridge the divide between freshmen/sophomores and juniors/seniors. The report suggested improving advising and dining options for juniors and seniors who choose to remain in their residential colleges, and creating more common spaces to encourage informal interactions among students.
- Cap the size of residential colleges at 500 students in residence, including a “critical mass” of about 150 juniors and seniors.
- Renovate most of Wilson College and the Forbes College annex and addition. Terming this work “essential,” the report said that large, attractive rooms and suites are necessary to attract juniors and seniors.
- Create a house for the head (formerly known as the master) of Whitman College, and move the houses of the heads of Butler and Wilson colleges closer to the colleges so that they can be used as spaces for public gatherings.
- Strengthen intellectual life within the residential colleges by providing more opportunities for informal interaction between faculty and students over meals, and encourage more faculty to participate in the faculty-in-residence program.