Residence Life and Student Housing

Strategic Plan

MISSION STATEMENT

The mission of the Department of Residence Life and Student Housing is to advance the goals and objectives of the University by creating residential communities that empower residents to value learning, citizenship, and leadership in comfortable and well-maintained facilities. 

2012-13 DEPARTMENTAL HIGHLIGHTS

Residential Leadership Corps
Seventeen first and second year students have been selected for the Residential Commons Leadership Corps (RCLC). “Create Community through a Common Experience and Identity” is one of the guiding principles for the Residential Commons. The Residential Commons Leadership Corps (The Corps.) will be the primary student voice in creating the future Residential Commons program. RCLC members will work through the first year of the Residential Commons implementation to build and promote the program to the SMU community. Members will begin working on creating specific programming aspects of the Residential Commons (utilization of classroom space, leadership roles, etc.). In the fall of 2013 students will work with faculty, staff, and fellow students to create traditions and identity for a specific RC. The same small group of faculty, staff, and Corps members will then reside and work in their specific RC for the 2014-2015 academic year.
 
Faculty in Residence (FiR)
The FiR program strives to create opportunities for students to know faculty members outside of the classroom to emphasize a culture of mentorship, intellectual discourse, and community that is cultivated in all aspects of the collegiate experience inside and outside of the classroom. The FiR role is a cornerstone of the residential life experience that will create opportunities for students to informally interact with faculty members living amongst them.
Three “Founding FiRs” were selected in the Fall of 2012. Mark Fontenot, Dr. Tom Tunks and Dr. Robert Krout have all been involved with the vision and creation of the Residential Commons Model. Eighteen outstanding faculty members applied for the eight additional FiR positions.  The selection process included students, faculty and staff. By the end of the spring semester, all eleven Faculty in Residence will be selected. During the 2013-14 academic year, the Faculty in Residence, Residential Leadership Corps and Residence Life staff will begin working to create identity and traditions for each Residential Commons.
 
Faculty Affiliates
The FA program is designed for faculty who want to be affiliated with a Residential Commons, but may not be ready to or have the desire to live in a RC. Faculty members will get to know their communities early in the academic year and build relationships by attending programs, coming to the RC on a regular basis and dining with residents.
The FA program is designed for faculty who want to be affiliated with a Residential Commons, but may not be ready to or have the desire to live in a RC. Faculty members will get to know their communities early in the academic year and build relationships by attending programs, coming to the RC on a regular basis and dining with residents. This year a significant number of faculty expressed an interest in the Faculty Affiliate program. Selection has begun and the Faculty affiliate program will begin in the Fall of 2013.

Paperless processes
We continue to move as many of our processes to paperless versions. We now have an online housing application and contract process. This year we expanded that process to include Maymester and interim housing.

DEPARTMENTAL CHALLENGES

Over the next two summers, we will be renovating a total of six residence halls to create space for a Faculty in Residence. This is a big step forward for the Residential Commons program. It does create a challenge for the summer conference program. The next two summers we will have three buildings unavailable for summer conference use. Additionally, the renovations will result in a loss of bed spaces. This creates a challenge for the 2013-14 academic year where we will lose bed spaces as a result of renovations and the five new communities will not yet be completed.

[Back to Top]

DEPARTMENTAL GOALS

Student Success

As we transition to the Residential Commons model, we will also have three communities specifically for upper-class students. One of our goals will be to create a unique experience for these communities. Faculty affiliates will be assigned to work with the upper-class communities. These communities will have their own community development model and learning outcomes. The next year will be spent designing the program and learning outcomes for these communities.

Student Learning

Impacting and shaping your community is a responsibility that all citizens have. The students in the Residential Commons Leadership Corps will be learning how to shape a new community. These students, along with faculty and staff will learn about the Residential Commons model. Students will visit the birth place of the Residential College model at Oxford University. They will also visit American Universities such as Tulane University and Rice University to learn about the Residential Colleges there. Taking what they learn, they will work their assigned Faculty in Residence and Residence Life staff to begin shaping the SMU Residential Commons model. Each group will begin to develop the identity and traditions that will become the foundation of their Residential Commons.

Exemplary Division of Student Affairs

Maintain excellent facilities is essential for a good housing program. Over the next two summers, RLSH will renovate a total of six buildings to create a Faculty in Residence space. Additionally, the construction of five new buildings will be continue. By August 2014, all renovations and new construction will be completed.