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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Meet the three new faculty heads of Vanderbilt’s residential colleges

Vanderbilt’s new Rothschild College, along with Commons houses Sutherland and Murray welcome new faculty heads for the 2022-23 academic year.
Rothschild College, as photographed on Aug. 30, 2022. (Hustler Multimedia/Narenkumar Thirmiya)
Narenkumar Thirmiya
Rothschild College, as photographed on Aug. 30, 2022. (Hustler Multimedia/Narenkumar Thirmiya)

New faculty heads join three of Vanderbilt’s residential colleges for the 2022-23 school year. These faculty members will live with their families in two Commons houses, Sutherland House and Murray House, along with Vanderbilt’s newest residential college, Rothschild College. 

Dr. Chezare Warren is the new faculty head of Sutherland House. He is an associate professor of equity and inclusion in education policy at Peabody College. Dr. Renã A.S. Robinson, a professor of chemistry and head of the RASR Laboratory at Vanderbilt, is the new faculty head of Murray House. Dr. Ravindra Duddu is the inaugural faculty head of Rothschild college. He is an Associate Professor of civil and environmental engineering.

Joining the residential faculty 

All three faculty heads were eager to start their new position, but each cited different reasons for wanting to join the residential faculty.

Dr. Chezare Warren, faculty head of Sutherland House (Vanderbilt University)

Warren stated that his interest in joining the residential faculty stemmed from his own past experiences as an undergraduate.

“I had a really memorable undergraduate experience, and I remember the professors and different people on campus who mentored me and who I interacted with,” Warren said. “I thought that this would be an amazing opportunity to have a hand in helping to shape someone else’s really positive experience at Vanderbilt, outside the classroom.” 

Warren’s previous work as a secondary school math teacher influenced his choice to become a faculty head.

“I’ve always been engaged in regular interaction with students, and I think there’s no getting closer to students than living in the residence hall,” Warren said. 

Robinson cited mentorship as her primary motivation for joining the residential faculty. 

“I thought that becoming a faculty head of house would be a very natural and fun extension of something I’ve been doing for many years as a faculty, which is mentoring students,” Robinson said. “I felt like this was a very easy way to interact with students without the pressure of what comes with teaching and leading them in the lab.” 

Creating community within a residential college/house

Dr. Renã A.S. Robinson, faculty head of Murray House (Vanderbilt University)

The new faculty heads shared their ideas about what a community entails and how they plan to apply their philosophies to their respective houses and college. 

“I think community means so many different things to different people. And I think for me, the most important part of being in our house is that I hope students will all experience, by the time they leave, feeling like they’ve been in an atmosphere where they have an extension of their family,” Robinson said. “I really want them to feel like we’re all family even though we’re not blood relatives—that the Murray house community is a family.” 

Duddu plans to design his residential community around friendly competition. 

“I am excited about promoting community building within the college through sports and crafts, as well as during study breaks and social gatherings,” Duddu said in a message to The Hustler. “While playing, we compete as well as cooperate; we make friends, and we learn to handle our wins and losses in a sportive manner. This promotes mental and physical well-being.” 

Duddu believes building connections between students of all years is an important part of leading a residential college and plans to foster this environment in Rothschild through “peer-to-peer mentoring.” 

“Through broader college events, I want to promote interactions between individuals that would otherwise not see each other,” Duddu said.

Events throughout the year

Duddu plans to incorporate his own passion for yoga into his college’s events.  

“Our study breaks are titled Roth-n’-Roll where we enjoy rolled snacks and play board games and participate in simple indoor or outdoor sports. As a practitioner of yoga, I also plan on doing Roth-n’-Rejuvenate yoga sessions,” Duddu said. 

Rothschild’s residents can also look forward to an “intra-college tournament” next semester.

“Roth-n’-Radness coincides with March Madness in the spring. We plan to have tournaments for ping-pong, 8-ball pool or carroms,” Duddu said. 

Dr. Ravindra Duddu and his family outside Rothschild College (Vanderbilt University)
Dr. Ravindra Duddu and his family outside Rothschild College (Vanderbilt University)

Every week in Sutherland, Warren plans to hold a creative session for de-stressing. 

“There’s a study break that happens every Monday at 8 p.m. Anybody is welcome to join us in Sutherland House for Sutherland Socials,” Warren said. “There will always be food and coloring and conversation.” 

When asked what they most hope to get out of the experience of being a faculty head, all three said they wanted to make their students feel like they belong at Vanderbilt. 

“I envision my role primarily as a supportive guide to students—a helpful resource to ensure their first-year success which is really important for determining their overall success as measured by graduation from Vanderbilt,” Warren said. “I had the students repeat after me at the community creed, ‘I belong here.’ I hope that resonates with them and they feel that. I really want to make it a place where everyone feels seen.” 

Duddu shared similar goals for his residents, adding that he wants to serve as a connection point for them to any resources they need. 

“My biggest goal is to FUN – Find (my) University Network. I want to get to know all of my college residents and be a resource for them as they grow professionally and personally. I want to help them make better connections in their academic and social spheres and promote a sense of belonging,” Duddu said. 

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About the Contributors
Tasfia Alam
Tasfia Alam, Multimedia Copy Editor
Tasfia Alam (‘25) is from Los Angeles and is majoring in neuroscience and political science in the College of Arts and Science. When not writing for The Hustler, she can be found obsessing over a new book, trying to expand her music taste or taking pictures of pretty sunsets. You can reach her at [email protected]
Narenkumar Thirmiya
Narenkumar Thirmiya, Staff Photographer
Narenkumar Thirmiya ('24) is from Orlando, Fla., and is majoring in neuroscience and medicine, health, and society in the College of Arts and Science. When not shooting for The Hustler, he is streaming TV, playing the piano or guitar or exploring nature photography. You can reach him at [email protected].
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