The Office of Housing, Residential Living, and Dining is thrilled to announce that Michele Papakie is our first Faculty-in-Residence. She will reside in Stephenson Hall for the entire spring semester. Papakie is the chairperson for the Department of Journalism and Public
Relations. She is enthusiastic to start this adventure with OHRLD and the students housed in Stephenson Hall.
“When IUP’s Living-Learning Executive Team came to speak to the
College of Humanities and Social Sciences chairs about a certificate program they were developing, I was intrigued,” Papakie said. “The members
of that team—Mimi Benjamin, Dan Burkett, Sondra Dennison, Justin Fair, Dawn Smith-Sherwood, and Li Teng—are all really positive people with a lot of energy. I went to a follow-up meeting, and one thing quickly led to another. I woke up in 167 Stephenson
on Wednesday, January 16, wondering how it all happened so quickly. I have a sabbatical this fall, so I’m super excited about living among the natives this spring and writing about all my experiences this summer and fall.”
The FIR program is a new initiative at OHRLD that enables faculty, and, as space allows, their families, to live and interact with students while residing in a suite within our residential buildings. The purpose of the FIR is to provide both formal and
informal resident-faculty interactions through educational programming, individual and small-group advising, and casual association.
“I spent my winter break reading about Living-Learning Communities, particularly one book which our colleague Benjamin co-authored,” Papakie said. “It seems there is a gap in the literature when it comes to faculty involvement in these endeavors. I’m
hoping to change that through my experience.”
Papakie and Dennison met with Provost Timothy Moerland on January 7 to develop goals for the pilot. Stephenson Hall was chosen because it has the largest population of students with undeclared majors. Papakie will focus her efforts on these students. The outcomes to be measured will include increasing student: GPAs from the fall semester to the spring semester; retention; on-time registration for their fall courses; participation in university-sponsored
events; and persistence.
The FIR will work in a close partnership with the residential living staff to enhance the intellectual environment by engaging with students in their living environment through a series of programs and initiatives developed by the FIR.
“This opportunity could not have come at a better time,” Papakie said. “After 12 years at IUP, the last two of them have left me a bit bewildered about our students. I want to selfishly use this experience to get to know our Generation Z students on a
deeper level. I’ve been energized working with the community assistants, and I can’t wait to see what can be learned from this experiment.”
If you are interested in a FIR position or would like to learn more about it, please feel free to contact Li Teng, assistant director for Living-Learning, at email@example.com.