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Fellows Comment on the College Experience

Recently we asked a number of our affiliated faculty to share with us the value of their experience with the residential college program:


"I served as tutorial instructor at [Women's RC] last fall and can easily say that the opportunity to work with students in a small group gave lots of zest to what teaching and learning are about."

Phyllis Lassner, Lecturer
WCAS Writing Program and Gender Studies

"I love going to lunch at Chapin as often as I can because of the remarkable conversations I find myself in. One day we discuss how best to deliver a line from Shakespeare, the next we compare the guitar techniques of Andres Segovia with Jerry Garcia, then it's about a Gainsborough at the Institute of Fine Arts, the absence of a good relief pitcher on the Cubs, or the existence of God. These are the things the students talk about. I just follow along."

Edward Muir, Professor
WCAS History

"I have been a faculty fellow at Chapin for 14 years, and this fellowship has been one of the most rewarding aspects of teaching at Northwestern. As a beginning assistant professor, I found the Chapin association not only a fine way to socialize with students outside the classroom, but also to become acquainted with congenial faculty in other departments. Over the years I have enjoyed advising freshmen and giving a wide variety of firesides at my college. In my experience some of Northwestern's most creative, intellectually curious students are to be found at the residential colleges. Let's keep the system strong!"

Barbara Newman, Professor and Chair
WCAS English

"Participating in the RC system, both as a Fellow and master of Shepard, has been one of the most rewarding activities of my 20 year career at Northwestern. Talking with students at lunch or firesides or on excursions is not only enjoyable, but helps me to be a better teacher. It's important for me to know what's on students' minds -- how they think not only about history but about current politics, the state of the University, the curriculum, the meaning of life. In the residential college setting students and faculty can talk about these matters in a milieu not encumbered by grades, assignments, or the need to impress people."

Henry Binford, Associate Professor
WCAS History

"In my ten years of teaching at Northwestern University, one of my most uniquely rewarding experiences--both professionally and personally--has been my affiliation with residential colleges at Northwestern. Whether it's a "res-college" polka party, a "fireside" talk on fairy tales, foreign language tables, a new tutorial, a visit to an avant-garde play off campus, or simply lunch with some new colleagues and students from other fields, NU's residential colleges provide just the right kind of informal forum for students and faculty to meet outside of class. To be sure, "res-college" students certainly learn first-hand about team-building, leadership, decision-making, and responsible self-governance, but there's more to "res-colleges" than that. Even though NU's "res-colleges" are barely 20 years old, as students demonstrated in my recent tutorial on academic folklore, there's a very lively oral tradition of "res-college" stories and rivalries! And in that sense, "res-colleges" seem like big families: a diverse collection of individuals, always growing, seldom utopian, slightly wonderfully dysfunctional, but yoked together by a common conviction: in this case, that learning doesn't take place only in the classroom. I simply cannot imagine Northwestern without residential colleges."

William Anthony, Director
Study Abroad Program

"As a Fellow [at Women's RC], I have an informal link with undergraduate students so that we can share our perspectives on issues from current events to academic matters to juggling a career and family. The students and I share information, insights, and an enthusiasm for learning."

Adair Waldenberg, Associate Dean
Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences

"The opportunity to share inside information on the rapidly changing communications industry with undergraduate students interested in corporate evolution, merger and convergence makes for engaging lunches at CCI. I suspect that some students I've shared noon hours with may be heading up new media operations in the not-so-distant future."

David Nelson, Professor
Medill School of Journalism

"The students teach me new ways to view current events, since they have a different time frame for life's history than I do...and it helps me relate to them when I have conversations about my interests and career."

Craig B. Langman, MD., Professor of Pediatrics
Northwestern University Medical School/ Children's Memorial Hospital

"As Director of the Program of African Studies, I find the diversity of disciplines, interests, experiences and national origins at the International Residential College to be an ideal environment for discussions about the wider world."

Jane Guyer, Professor of Anthropology
Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences

"In research we usually ponder about the fine details of whatever a particular thing we are investigating. In doing so, often we loose sight of the big picture. In my case, it is quantum optical communications - a topic which not only has technological implications, but also philosophical implications. When I discuss ideas like teleportation, EPR(Einstein Podolsky and Rosen) paradox, quantum entanglement, etc. with the undergraduates, it forces me to think carefully about the quantum physics involved, so I can exxplain the subtle concepts in a simple way, while being accurate in their implications. Over the years, I myself have learned things more deeply in this way than is possible by just researching and discussing with the experts only. 

Prem Kumar, Professor
MCC Electrical and Computer Engineering


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