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WUWM's Emily Files reports on education in southeastern Wisconsin.

Marquette pilots faculty in residence program, with teachers and administrators living alongside students

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Jack Goods
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Marquette University
Dr. Stephen Pluháček, affiliated faculty member in the Department of Theology, and Dr. Heidi Bostic, dean of the Klingler College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Education, are piloting a faculty in residence program at Marquette University.

Some Marquette University upperclassmen have new neighbors this year: their teachers.

Heidi Bostic, Dean of the Klingler College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Education, and her husband, affiliated faculty member in the Department of Theology Stephen Pluháček, are piloting a new faculty-in-residence program.

"[We've been] thinking about some of the needs we have at Marquette, including the need to support students," Bostic says. "This is a really challenging time, we all are familiar with the conversations about mental health issues, especially for young people... So Stephen and I really thought, how might we support our own deeper engagement with the Marquette community?"

The answer was to become the first participants in Marquette's faculty in residence program. The program's goal is to build relationships between faculty and students, and offer students a more informal support system of mentors.

Bostic and Pluháček are living in a nicely-renovated apartment at the Marquette-owned Campus Town East, which houses upperclassmen and graduate students. Bostic says they ended up in that building because there was a suitable unit available on short notice.

"It's not your typical arrangement for faculty in residence. Most programs focus on first-and second-year student residence halls," Bostic says. "And that will also be the aim long-term at Marquette."

Bostic and her husband are still trying to connect with freshmen and sophomores, even though they live in different residence halls.

"Our more concrete plans coming up will be to host some dinners," Bostic says. "Is there maybe a floor of a [first-year student] residence hall we could adopt or they could adopt us? What we've heard so far from students is pretty interesting. For example, could a faculty in residence help to organize a review session before an exam?"

Bostic says she and her husband have heard mixed reactions from their colleagues, with some confused about why they would willingly live in a dorm.

"The inevitable question comes up, 'Well, what about your work-life balance?'" Bostic says. "Stephen and I both talk about making a distinction about job on one hand and work on the other. Job being what you do to pay the bills, and work being more like your vocation — your calling. And so, in that sense, I wouldn't want a separation between my work and my life."

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Emily has been reporting on Milwaukee-area education for WUWM since 2018.
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