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Two Dorms to Get New Housemasters

By Shang-Lin Chuang
Associate News Editor

The housemaster positions at both Senior House and New House will be open this fall, according to Margaret A. Jablonski, associate dean for residence and campus activities.

The current Senior House housemaster, Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering Paula T. Hammond PhD '84, told Senior House residents last week that she would be leaving the position after serving for two years.

"I've gotten to know and truly appreciate the spirit of the students at Senior House, and I will definitely miss them," Hammond said. "Unfortunately, as a junior faculty, it is not ideal for me to try to meet the needs of the house and race for tenure on the tenure clock."

Thus far, Associate Professor of Literature Henry Jenkins and Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Munther A. Dahleh have indicated interest in the Senior House position, Hammond said.

Professor of Mechanical Engineering Derek Rowell, the current New House housemaster, has not officially announced his intention to leave, but the position is already being considered by Random Hall Housemaster Halston W. Taylor, according to New House President Eric R. Richard '95.

Along with the housemaster opening, four of the nine house tutors at New House will also be leaving, Richard said.

Students can nominate candidates

A letter has already been sent to the tenured faculty announcing openings in the housemaster positions, Jablonski said. The positions can be filled by any interested tenured faculty members, she said.

Tenured faculty members may also be nominated by residents for the position, Jablonski said. Nominations will remain open for the next several weeks.

Prospective housemasters for either dormitory will meet with the current housemaster, graduate resident tutors, and representatives of the residents, Jablonski said. Jablonski and Dean for Undergraduate Education and Student Affairs Arthur C. Smith must also meet with candidates before they make the final decision.

The housemaster facilitates efforts to enhance student life in the dormitories and works with graduate resident tutors to counsel and advise students on concerns ranging from living situations to academic issues, Hammond said. The housemaster intervenes in situations that may endanger the health, safety, or general well-being of students in the dormitory, she said.

The housemaster can also be an advocate or representative for the dormitory in discussions with the Dean's Office or other members of the faculty. There is no specific list of responsibilities, but most housemasters adjust their roles according to the needs of their environment, Hammond said.

Hammond "in tune"

Residents were generally pleased with Hammond as housemaster. She was "in tune" with the general student feeling, said Senior House President Ciamac C. Moallemi G. Residents have formed a committee to investigate possible replacements for Hammond, he said.

"I think we have a very organized group of students, and I'm sure they will seize the opportunity to take part in the process," Hammond said.

Hammond was an exception to the rule that housemasters must be tenured members of the faculty because no senior faculty were available to fill the position the last time Senior House changed housemasters, she said.

Dahleh, one of the candidates for the Senior House position, said it has always been an interest of his to be a housemaster. However, he has not yet made a definite decision to seek the position. "I want to talk to the students about it," he said.