What is a FIR? Who is Eligible?
Faculty-in-Residence (FIR) are faculty members from various academic disciplines who are committed to student learning beyond the traditional classroom environment and live on campus with their immediate family. Faculty who are eligible to serve as FIR are current university-appointed, full-time faculty, lecturer, or visiting scholar at The University of North Carolina Greensboro. FIR interact and engage with students in the overall residential campus community.
The Faculty-in-Residence (FIR) Program is one of the signature experiences at the University of North Carolina Greensboro which seeks to foster a community of care and facilitate an environment where learning and living are intertwined. The program intends to attract dynamic faculty with diverse interests and afford them the opportunity to engage in the life of the undergraduate residential community. The FIR program is a collaborative partnership sponsored by the Office of Housing and Residence Life, Division of Student Affairs and the Office of the Provost.
Learning Reconsidered: A campus wide focus on the student experience (2004)
The holistic process of learning that places the student at the center of the learning experience demands collaboration, and collaboration demands cultural change.
Experiential learning, rather than standard didactic classroom or textbook learning, can be highly meaningful and remarkably transformative.
A truly transformative education repeatedly exposes students to multiple opportunities for intentional learning through the formal academic curriculum, student life, collaborative co-curricular programming, community-based, and global experiences.
Education Advisory Board – a national perspective
Faculty-in-residence programs place faculty members in apartments in student residence halls; they are credited with helping first and second-year students feel comfortable approaching faculty members while also providing faculty members insight into the lives of students.
Student and faculty interaction outside of the formal classroom setting is considered an essential characteristic of a vibrant intellectual life. Pascarella & Terenzini (2005) indicate that faculty- student interactions in residence halls, community centers, and in the dining facilities provide a bridge between formal academic programs and out of classroom learning and development activities for students. Research suggests that students experience benefits from such out-of- class interactions that include increased intellectual orientation, growth in autonomy and independence, increased interpersonal skills, and gains in general maturity and personal development (Pascarella & Terenzini, 2005).
FIR Program Oversight
FIR, in addition to their academic department, meet regularly (individually and collectively) with the Senior Assistant Director of Residence Life and Academic Enhancement while working closely with Residence Life professional, paraprofessional, and student staff team (Coordinator for Residence Life, Assistant Coordinator for Residence Life, Senior Resident Advisors, and Resident Advisors) to plan and host formal and informal programs, cultural excursions, and community events on or off-campus. Each experience offered through the FIR program promotes community building, career exploration, and practice in lifelong and seamless learning.
GOALS of the FIR Program
- Increase faculty/student interaction beyond the traditional classroom setting
- Foster an inclusive environment of intellectual curiosity, intercultural exchange, and an appreciation of diversity of thought and experience
- To enhance the overall educational residence hall experience through programmatic efforts and informal interactions among peers, staff, and faculty
Students living in these communities gain a “neighborhood professor” and have the opportunity to develop lasting and mentoring relationships with engaging faculty. To maximize the quality and quantity of faculty-student interaction, the FIR lives in an unfurnished rent and tax- free two-bedroom apartment (currently Spartan Village, Union & Haywood halls and the Quad, Cotton & Hinshaw halls) which includes wireless internet and cable services offered by on campus living. In addition, there is a new Live-in Professional Staff Pet Policy. This is a two-year commitment in exchange for substantive participation in the life of the residential community.