My time as House Professor-Dean (2015-2021) has been one of the most impactful experiences of my faculty career to date. It gave me a much more comprehensive understanding of the university as a whole – both by building deep connections and friendships with faculty and students from across the full breadth of the university (a relatively rare occurrence at the institution) and by seeing more holistically the substantial elements of undergraduate experience and university life that fall beyond our classrooms and majors (including rich partnerships and collaborations with Student and Campus Life). It’s changed the way I think about students in the classroom (and the burdens and challenges they face), and also my sense of how the university as an institution operates – including the crucial function of community and belonging in supporting a meaningful and engaged academic life: a point true and necessary for students and faculty alike, but which not everyone manages to achieve. It was also a rich and fulfilling experience for our family as a whole, including kids ages 12-18 and 9-15. While the role represents a significant investment in time, care and imagination, it was for us a rare and valuable opportunity to experience the true richness and diversity of the university, while helping to foster a kind and level of community that is not always present at Cornell (and no doubt other similar institutions).
- Steve Jackson, associate professor, information science, and house professor-dean, Keeton House, 2015-2021
Being a House Professor expands your sense of Cornell as an institution, and the role you as a faculty member can play in creating an intellectually rigorous yet caring environment where students can thrive. You experience and learn the rhythms, the challenges, and the joys of university life from so many people so very different from you: a remarkably diverse group of student residents, a student staff team who include 6 doctoral students from across the university, and the permanent staff who keep your House running and include teams from dining, facilities, building care, and Student & Campus Life. There is the tight community of 10 House Professors and Assistant Deans who run West Campus collaboratively, and the group of two dozen or so Faculty and Community Fellows associated with each House. The experience of being part of this community shapes how you learn, teach and engage – in many wonderful ways – too many for one testimonial to capture!
- Neema Kudva, professor, City and Regional Planning, and current house professor-dean, Carl Becker House
In our traditional faculty roles, student interactions are often confined within a specific department or program. The role of House Professor-Dean (HPD) includes regular and engaging interactions with students from almost every discipline across Cornell. I have found it energizing to get to know so many diverse students and learn about their unique interests, perspectives, and goals. The HPD works closely with the House Assistant Dean (HAD), residential student staff, as well as the permanent staff from dining, building care, and campus life, to cultivate the community within the House. The result is better understanding of the institution, and of all the different people that contribute to the student experience. More broadly, West Campus is led by a wonderful team of House Professors and Assistant Deans from the five Houses on West, who work together to cultivate and manage a vibrant living-learning community. To me, this collaborative is an enriching and engaging experience, and I am grateful that these enjoyable interactions, events, and projects are an integral part of my role on West Campus. The House Professor-Dean role is a unique opportunity to extend your community, your understanding of people and institution, and to have greater impact on students across Cornell. Also, the commute is great!
- Lindsay Anderson, associate professor, Biological and Environmental Engineering, and current house professor-dean, William Keeton House