Amelia Earhart Faculty-in-Residence (FiR) Program

Amelia Earhart

Introduction

According to The Deans' Bible by Angie Klink, “in 1934, Amelia was a speaker at the annual Women and the Changing World Conference” (p. 56). There, the president of Purdue University at the time, Edward C. Elliott, offered her the opportunity to join the university. Upon her arrival, she accepted an additional opportunity to live in the Women’s Residence Hall. For the next three years Amelia Earhart gave her time and talent to the residents of her community. Her personal touch and mentorship changed the lives of so many women at Purdue.

Eighty years later, in 2016, we reintroduced the opportunity for Purdue faculty to, like Amelia Earhart, provide mentorship to students in residence. This model of faculty living among students harkens to the advent of the university in 1088. It is a model in which the relationship between the scholar and the student enhances the learning that transpires. Modern Faculty-in-Residence programs run the gamut of purpose but the Purdue program adheres to the reasoning given to Amelia Earhart by the Women of the Residence Hall. They said, “we thought perhaps that such an arrangement might give you the opportunity of knowing the freshman women particularly well and we are sure that they would gain much from whatever casual contact they might have with you while you are in the house as a guest” (p. 59). 

Each Faculty-in-Residence are as different as the residence halls in which they live. Hosting colleagues to speak during a tea, joining students at the recreation and wellness center, or welcoming parents and families during move-in are a few examples of intentional interactions faculty have. However, it is the personal relationships, developed on a Sunday evening in a lounge or during a deep discussion over dinner, which are the hallmark of this experience both for the student and the faculty member.

The Amelia Earhart Faculty-in-Residence Program is designed to integrate a faculty member into residential communities as an intellectual catalyst for the residential community experience. Currently there is a Faculty-in-Residence in Windsor Halls and one living in the UR Boiler Apartments while also supporting Cary Quad. There are plans to add a Faculty-in-Residence for Third Street Suites for the 2020-21 academic year. Recruitment will likely take place in fall 2019.