Teacher in residence: a mentor, a bridge builder and a distant relative from home

Melissa Foster never imagined returning to Shepard Hall after completing her undergraduate and master’s studies at Northwestern, let alone calling the same dormitory she lived in while on the Evanston campus “home.” .

But six years ago, nearly two decades into her professional career and with a husband and young daughter, that’s exactly what happened.

Foster is an Assistant Professor of Education specializing in Musical Theater at the School of Communication. But in her role as Professor-in-Residence, Foster is also a mentor, bridge-builder and “mother away from home” to more than a thousand students. For the past six years, she has been a professor in residence covering the residence halls of the southern region. This fall, Foster will move to the Northeast Residential Zone and Ava Thompson Greenwell, a Medill professor, will become the new Professor-in-Residence for the South Zone.

“When I heard this job was a thing at Northwestern, I came home and told my husband I’d like to go back to campus,” Foster recalled, adding that her husband initially thought that the proposal was a joke.

“I think residential life is one of the best parts of college,” she said. “I love creating community and as a teacher in residence I can be what students need me to be for them.”

Ease the transition from home

The faculty-in-residence program was founded in 2010 and includes five faculty members who live full-time in the residence halls. In addition to helping facilitate a smooth transition for first-year students, the program also aims to encourage student engagement, enhance learning, and strengthen an overall sense of community and connection. with Northwestern.

“The programming is fun because it allows you to meet people who are in your residence and those nearby as well,” said freshman Dan Murrieta. “You have someone you can trust in case you have a problem or need help with something.”

Freshman Lily Sorkin went to the same small school for 13 years and said she was nervous about making the transition to a college environment. Getting to know Foster as a teacher-in-residence made the transition easier.

“Having someone who is a faculty member like Melissa living nearby is so welcoming,” Sorkin said. “She is more than happy to share advice when I need it.”

“Melissa facilitates community very well,” said freshman Karis Liu. “University is very stressful, but coming to an event that Melissa organizes helps because I can make new friends. It’s escapism. You don’t have to worry about what you’re doing or studying.

About Justin Howze

Check Also

Metricon Named HIA Top 100 Home Builder 2022

Metricon was by far the largest home builder Harry Triguboff’s Meriton apartments had 2,893 housing …