Despite a push last year for increased faculty interaction among undergraduates, the Lloyd Hall Scholars Program will no longer offer live-in faculty position as part of the program, members of the LSA Dean’s Office and LHSP administrators decided.
The positions, termed resident fellows, place graduate students in Alice Lloyd Residence Hall, where the program is centered, to teach one or two classes in the program.
Though the Report of the President’s Commission on the Undergraduate Experience released last fall called for an “increase (in) the faculty presence in undergraduate residential and social settings”, the elimination of resident fellows has upset a number of people in the LHSP community, considering the positions were established at the program’s start in 1962.
The decision was based on budgetary matters and the desire to standardize the Lloyd Hall Writing Center with the Sweetland Writing Center, said Marjorie Horton, LSA assistant dean for undergraduate education.
“The majority of the graduate students and professional students who serve as resident fellows do not plan to teach undergraduate writing after obtaining their Ph.D’s or professional degrees from the university,” Horton said. “Our goal is to have Sweetland instructors teach the LHSP writing courses. We believe that their expertise in the teaching of undergraduate writing will best serve the LHSP students.”
Reaction from present and former members of the LSHP community ranged from disappointment to frustration. While some understand the concerns of the Dean’s Office, they also expressed the advantages of the LHSP program to graduate and undergraduate students.
LSA alum and former LHSP student Victor Soto said he found it convenient and helpful having his instructors live in the same residence hall his freshman and sophomore years.
“I feel I did benefit from having them around, especially if they had been graduate students who had been around for a while. They knew a little more about the Michigan undergraduate experience,” Soto said, adding that having a top quality writing center downstairs saved him the walk to the Sweetland Writing Center in Angell Hall.
Former LHSP Resident Fellow Joe Gonzalez said he feels LHSP and LSA are currently moving in the wrong direction by having fewer faculty and graduate students living in residence halls. He added he gained a lot from his two years as a resident fellow.
“I learned how to combine teaching, research and service all in one job,” Gonzalez said, adding that he felt his students received special attention which they normally did not receive from their other professors and GSIs.
“I think living-learning communities occupy an important position in a university and they help the University officially blend two missions – student development and the academic development of students,” he said.
Other changes to LHSP may include a different location, Horton said. Since 1968, the program has resided in Alice Lloyd with its offices, classrooms, computer lab and writing center. While no decision has been made, Horton said LSA and University Housing are searching for other locations that might better fit the program.
“The College of LSA and University Housing are evaluating different options for the future location of LHSP and other living learning programs,” Horton said. “We are taking a holistic view, considering the needs of multiple programs and serving the entire residential student population, as we evaluate the best location for each.”
Ingram said Alice Lloyd is a good location for the program and said he feels LHSP students might get lost if the program is moved to another residence hall, like South Quad Residence Hall.
Former LHSP student and Lloyd Writing Center worker Kathleen Schanne was a little more optimistic saying the mission of the program is more important than its home.
“I think the space we have in Alice Lloyd Hall is a very nice space,” she said. “But I think the ideals of LHSP should stay intact as opposed to the location.”