New residential faculty joins E. Bronson Ingram, North, Memorial, East houses

Rachel Friedman, Campus Editor

Next year, the opening of E. Bronson Ingram will include a new faculty head of house, and three Commons houses will also host new residential faculty.

Sarah Igo, an Associate Professor of History will be the first residential faculty member in E.Bronson, and Natasha McClure, Daniel Morgan and Sean Seymore will be the new faculty heads of house in North, Memorial and East Houses, respectively. They will replace current heads of houses Gregory Melchor-Barz, Kevin Leander and Daniel Gervais.

The opportunity to gain greater insight and to contribute to student life beyond the classroom is a motivating factor to live in a residential college as a professor, Igo said.

Sarah Igo, new faculty Associate Professor of History. (Vanderbilt University / Steve Green)

“I really appreciate the vantage point that living on campus allows a faculty member,” she said. “It reminds you most simply that college is not all about the classes you teach–not by a long shot.  I’ve also enjoyed thinking about how residential settings, done right, can make the college experience richer, more exciting, and more meaningful for all involved.”

Beyond the greater insight into undergraduate student communities, Igo looks forward to bring casual, intellectually-stimulating conversations that she has facilitated in her History and American Studies classes to the E. Bronson facility, she said.

Freshman Gabriella Badmus, who is living in E. Bronson Ingram next year, is looking forward for the chance having another commons-like experience in which the head of house brings the dorm community together, but this time with upperclassmen, she said. Further, the chance to live in a residential college provides another way to get to know a professor outside the classroom environment, she said.

McClure, an Assistant Professor in the School of Nursing, looks forward to helping shape the dorm experience for freshman, highlighting the need to make the dorm environment welcoming to all first-years.

“In general, I would like to make it a place where students feel comfortable being vulnerable and feel strongly rooted in the space as a place that can be home for their first year,” she said.

In order to develop the house atmosphere, McClure plans to emphasize building interactive relationships with the students living in the dorm, she said.

“What I’ve been considering is the importance of including my student group in that decision making,” she said. “When I think about culture and tradition, I want students to have the opportunity to give input and have some say in what we decide. “

Igo also plans on incorporating student voices into framing E. Bronson’s living environment, she said.

“As faculty director, I don’t see my job as overseeing so much as facilitating what students want to happen,” Igo said. “I’m looking forward to working alongside the other residents in making E. Bronson Ingram a hub for convivial conversations and events as well as a welcoming place to live.”

The chance to help guide the direction of E. Bronson Ingram’s development as the first faculty head of house is a unique opportunity–one that comes with a certain level of challenge, she said.

“We have the opportunity to create something new here, and I want to make sure we do it well,” Igo said.