What are the Residential Commons?
The Residential Commons (RC) is an academic living-learning concept that has its roots in the residential college system of Oxford University and Cambridge University in England. American universities (including Harvard, Duke and Vanderbilt) have developed similar models. The Residential Commons at SMU will be unique to our campus. Students will live in their RC for two years and call their RC “home” for their college career, even after moving off-campus. SMU is committed to making the RC experience a lifelong influence.
How will the Residential Commons differ from what is at SMU now?
The RC model is designed to create an academically-engaged residential community that promotes faculty/student interaction and a sense of belonging. The success of popular programs such as the Hilltop Scholars and the New Century Scholars programs has prompted SMU to provide all students with the opportunity to be engaged academically in a residential community.
When do the RCs open?
The RC model will begin in the fall 2014 semester. Gradual changes will appear over the next few years including the renovations of residence halls and the addition of FiR living arrangements.
Where are the RCs on campus?
RCs will be located in existing undergraduate residence halls and in the five new buildings currently under construction in the southeast quadrant of the campus. Some current facilities will be renovated to modify space for new common areas and Faculty in Residence and staff apartments.
How are students assigned to RCs?
Incoming students will be randomly assigned to an RC and will live in their RC for two years. Each RC will house students from across campus representing all the SMU colleges and schools. Specific RCs cannot be requested.
Can I request a specific roommate?
Yes, students will be able to request a specific roommate. Students who do not request a specific roommate may request to be paired with a roommate from their academic school, cohort or program.
Can I request a single room as a first year student?
Yes, as space allows.
What is happening to the Honors, Hilltop, and New Century Scholars programs?
These programs will continue as academic opportunities for new students, but will no longer be offered as residential programs. More information will be posted soon.
How are the rooms set up in the RCs?
As in the current residence halls, most rooms are designed for double occupancy with a varying number of single rooms in each building. All buildings will be co-ed.
What happens after sophomore year?
Some students will have the opportunity to live in their RC as juniors or seniors, but space will be limited; however, students will continue to be affiliated with their RC throughout their time at SMU. SMU will have other non-RC residence housing available specifically for juniors and seniors.
What does this change mean for first-year students in the Class of 2017?
It means two years of guaranteed housing at SMU, the first in our current residential communities and the second in the Residential Commons. Housing assignments for this class are still being reviewed.
If I join a fraternity or sorority, can I move to the house?
Although first-year students must reside in the RCs, sophomores will be eligible to request to meet the second year residence requirement by living in a Fraternity or Sorority House in accordance with the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life and Residence Life & Student Housing policies.
Why are there Faculty-In-Residence?
Research shows that students who interact with faculty outside of the classroom are more engaged which is reflected in cognitive and personal development, student satisfaction and retention. This can lead to research projects, job prospects and mentorship opportunities.
Will faculty from my major reside there?
Each RC will be home to a diverse group of students from multiple academic disciplines. SMU faculty will be selected and assigned without regard for their academic disciplines.