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Housemaster Sought For New Grad Dorm

By Jeffrey Greenbaum


With the new graduate dormitory at 70 Pacific Street scheduled to open on time, grad students are currently in the process of selecting the dormitory’s housemaster.

The Housemaster Search Committee recently narrowed their list down to two potential candidates. The committee members will soon inform Dean for Student Life Larry G. Benedict and Dean for Graduate Students Isaac M. Colbert of their recommendations.

In selecting a housemaster, the committee members seek someone who can serve as an advocate for the dormitory’s residents, someone who will want to directly interact with the residents, and someone who can help foster a community for the dormitory.

“The housemaster needs to provide input on behalf of the students who do not yet live in the building,” said Housemaster Search Committee member and Ashdown House resident Jennifer M. Farver G.

Housemaster’s role defined

Farver said the committee members want a housemaster who realizes that he or she must play an active role in building the dormitory’s community by establishing a house government.

This “is a unique challenge, especially given that the dorm is so large,” Farver said. Sidney and Pacific is expected to house 750 residents.

In addition, since graduate dormitories do not have have graduate resident tutors, the housemaster must encourage a house government to play a key role in organizing the dormitory’s events.

Housemasters for graduate student dormitories also serve as advocates for their dormitory’s residents since “graduate students often find themselves with few advocates on campus,” Farver said. The Sidney and Pacific housemaster will serve an important role in the current debate over keeping graduate beds for graduate students versus decrowding undergraduates, Farver said.

Although the possibility of housing undergraduates in Sidney and Pacific has yet to be resolved, “that is clearly an issue we would need to discuss during the interviews,” Benedict said.

Finally, the housemaster will service as mentor for the dormitory’s residents by helping them individually with academic or personal issues. The committee members have searched for prominent researchers, and both of the finalists are senior members of the faculty with distinguished careers, Farver said. Both candidates also demonstrate an interest in student life issues, she added.

Committee sets agenda

The committee members are also in the process of selecting an associate housemaster for the dormitory. They are searching for an associate housemaster due to the dormitory’s large size. After these two selections are made, a founder’s group will be formed.

In addition, the dormitory’s rent has not yet been established. An intern at the Sloan School of Management will conduct a rent study on all of the residence halls and write a report to help establish the dormitory’s rent, Benedict said.

Construction progress continues

The Graduate Student Council recently ordered furniture for the dormitory.

Construction workers have begun installing the dormitory’s windows and roofing is ninety percent complete. By the end of the month, the contractor hopes to begin working on the building’s interior, as elevator installation has recently begun.

Sidney and Pacific is projected to house 750 students in mostly singles and about 70 doubles. Committee members still need to determine the fraction of beds that will be available for continuing graduate students.