“There is a real need for students to integrate what they do in the classroom with the rest of their lives,” he says. “Unfortunately, they don’t have many models for that.”
Chapman experienced the benefits of resident faculty in the 1980s at Yale University, which is organized around “residential colleges.” He lived in Jonathan Edwards College, where the “master” or resident faculty was the late Larry Holmes, the Avalon Professor of the History of Medicine. Chapman recalls Holmes as a “wonderful sounding board,” always willing to listen to questions and talk about issues of religion and science.
“It was a great experience for me, one of the most important parts of college,” he says.
Duke began its Faculty-in-Residence program in 1980 and today has 13 faculty members in select dormitories: 11 in first-year dorms on East Campus and two in upper-class dorms on West. Plans are underway to expand the program to all upper-class dormitories.
Sponsored by Trinity College and the Office of Student Affairs, the program is designed to free faculty and residents from the inherent pressures and formalities of the teacher-student relationship. Resident faculty have no disciplinary authority or responsibility. Instead, they are asked to be models and mentors, helping students understand and take advantage of the university’s many resources and fostering intellectual curiosity in all aspects of their lives.
Chapman is one of three divinity professors who have served as resident faculty. In addition to him, Amy Laura Hall, assistant professor of Christian ethics, and her husband, John, and their daughters, lived in Gilbert-Addoms dorm from 2000 to 2003. This fall, Laceye Warner D’95, assistant professor of the practice of evangelism and Methodist studies, and her husband, Gaston D’99, began living in Blackwell dormitory on East Campus.