From the New York Times: The Residential Collage.
On a Monday in April, a dozen or so Cornell students living at the Alice Cook House had dinner with the legendary White House reporter Helen Thomas. They had been invited by Ross Brann, a professor of Judeo-Islamic studies, who also happens to be dean of Cook House, where his apartment has a spacious room meant specifically for this kind of entertaining.
The Freshman Commons at Vanderbilt, in Nashville, is to open in fall 2008 as the first stage of a campuswide conversion to a residential college system.
Meanwhile, a university vice provost was holding an open meeting, on the subject of diversity at Cornell, in the Cook common room, the setting the next night for a panel discussion on "Women in Islam." Before it began, in the seminar room next door, Cook residents studying Middle Eastern languages held their weekly "Jeopardy" competition in Arabic; then, two graduate fellows led a study session for students seeking help in chemistry.
On Wednesday, all 350 or so residents — students and graduate fellows — had dinner together. (The food was Southwestern.) On Thursday, Jewish and Muslim students met for their weekly discussion group, and on Friday, Professor Brann was the host of a tea, where Dr. Stephen Ajl, a pediatrics professor with the State University of New York, held forth on the politics of health care. At the same time, Cornell’s director of undergraduate studies in French joined students in a seminar room for their weekly viewing of "X-Files" reruns.
All in all, it was only a moderately busy week at Cook, where the fusion of academic and residential life represents something of a revolution, not just at Cornell but across the country. [continue]
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