More faculty live in residence halls

It’s been 11 years since Theo Christov left college, but this fall he settled into Lafayette Hall along with 120 freshmen.

Christov, an assistant professor of honors and history, is part of the University’s Faculty in Residence program, which was expanded the semester to include 1959 E Street, JBKO and Lafayette residence halls.

The program provides professors with apartments in student housing to encourage social and academic interaction with faculty outside the classroom.

Though he expected his apartment to be surrounded by noise, Christov said it is a small sacrifice for the satisfaction of meeting more students.

“I don’t mind it because I get to see the students. I almost feel like I’m going to back to college,” he said.

And residence halls boast a setting unlike student housing at other universities.

“You can’t beat the location for residence,” assistant professor of computer science Evan Drumwright, a first-time faculty in residence participant living in JBKO, said with a laugh. After living on the boardwalk in Venice Beach, Calif., he said the student building seems quiet.

The Faculty in Residence program began in 1998 and originally focused on first-year students, but in 2006 was revamped to include older students who were more interested in discussing careers and research, Senior Assistant Dean of Students Rebecca A. Sawyer said.

“They bring an academic flavor, more intellectual discussions, to the residence halls,” Sawyer said.

The expansion of the program was fueled by its past popularity and the availability of housing in residence halls this year, she said. Three new faculty members joined the program’s four existing live-in professors who reside in Ivory Tower, West, Dakota and Mitchell halls.

Two of the seven participants have young children and another two live with their spouses, Sawyer, who oversees the program, said.

Each faculty member is given a small programming budget to hold events for students in their buildings. The professors who live along students are given free housing for the year.

“I want to continue the conversation from the classroom, but outside the classroom,” Christov said.

He plans to organize discussions of his academic work as well as outings to museums and concerts around the District.

Drumwright, who specializes in robotics, hopes to host movie nights for films that inspired him to pursue computer science, including “The Matrix” and “I-Robot.”

“I want to get students interested in the stuff that captivated me as a kid,” he said.

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