Campus Villagers

A pilot faculty-in-residence program helps students feel at home on campus by connecting them with faculty members outside the classroom.

By Melissa Anderson

Photo: David Schmitz

Photo: David Schmitz

When new San Jose State students moved into residence halls this semester, they learned that their next-door neighbor might not be another student, but a faculty member—and possibly a dog.

A new faculty-in-residence program launched this fall with nine faculty members who live in the dorms, eat meals with students and plan activities to help them acclimate to university life. A collaboration between Academic Affairs and Student Affairs, the program is one of many initiatives in SJSU’s student success plan that is focused on improving student engagement and advising.

“Transitions are difficult,” says Carolyn Glogoski, faculty-in-residence and associate professor in SJSU’s occupational therapy department. “Professors can seem intimidating, so we want to see if we can develop connections that will help students seek support.”

A 27-year veteran at SJSU, Glogoski says she enjoys connecting with first-year students through the program. She says she was a first-generation student from a working class background, which allows her to relate to many SJSU students. Glogoski and fellow faculty-in-residence Steven Del Chiaro have some help breaking the ice with student neighbors: their dogs.

Cammie, a yellow Labrador, is Glogoski’s trained service dog, and Chiana, a Boerboel/Ridgeback mix, is Del Chiaro’s therapy dog. Both occasionally visit classes with their owners as a teaching tool. And both help to make campus feel more like home as students begin their college careers.

“Professors can seem intimidating, so we want to see if we can develop connections that will help students seek support.”

“We can make faculty members seem more approachable,” says Del Chiaro. “We hope to get students more engaged to help them find their own strengths.”

Del Chiaro is a lecturer in the psychology department who focuses on student and career development. He says his career in higher education started in housing and the faculty-in-residence program will allow him to have one foot in Student Affairs while still teaching. As part of the pilot program, the faculty members work closely with housing staff, specifically resident advisors and residential life coordinators, to develop a mix of social, educational and recreational activities throughout the semester to engage students.

Having Cammie and Chiana at their side certainly doesn’t hurt. “While students were moving in, they were so excited that Cammie would be in the dorms with them,” says Glogoski. “And parents were pleasantly surprised that faculty members would be in the dorms, too.”

 

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