What is a residential college?
A residential college is a cohesive, energetic community that seeks to broaden the learning experience at Northwestern beyond the traditional classroom, laboratory, or studio settings. Central to achieving this goal is the community that develops among a college's students and it's affiliated faculty, staff members and visiting scholars.
There are 11 residential colleges at Northwestern, ranging in size from three dozen to 300 students and in focus from business, science, and the arts to the more inclusive "multithematic" colleges. Each college is headed by a faculty member who serves as college master. In addition, every spring each college invites a number of faculty, staff members, and visiting scholars to take voluntary appointments as residential college fellows. Fellows become mentors in the academic and cultural life of the college, supporting its activites and regularly taking meals with students. A graduate student serves as assistant master.
Residential colleges sponsor a broad range of informal cultural and intellectual activities. Most colleges offer credit-bearing tutorials for residents. The intellectual liveliness and student-faculty contact of the colleges are balanced by a rich array of student-organized social events throughout the year.
How did residential colleges start at Northwestern?
In the late 1960's, a faculty committee urged the University to establish "a community of scholars" that would help foster an informal, residential environment in which students and faculty could explore common intellectual interests together. Five residential colleges opened in the fall of 1972, and since then, the program has continued to grow and thrive. Today's 11 residential colleges offer programming that involves more than one-third of Northwestern's on-campus undergraduate population and approximately 200 affiliated faculty,staff members, and visiting scholars.
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