NORMAN — University of Oklahoma President David Boren is concerned the polarization of politics in America is eroding “our sense of being one people.”
“It is the university’s mission to help create great citizens,” Boren said, to teach students to be community leaders, and to respect and tolerate each other.
Those lessons often are learned in residence halls, where diversity is achieved by assigning rooms to students of various economic, racial and religious backgrounds.
“Students are learning from each other how to live together,” Boren said.
At OU, a faculty family also lives in each housing center. They aren’t chaperones, Boren said, but friends who engage the students and bring them together as members of a residence hall community.
“We have created a real sense of community at OU and a real sense of family,” he said.
The Faculty-in-Residence program helps students develop relationships and experiences with professors outside the classroom. Faculty members and their families live in apartments in each housing center. They regularly host the students for meals and events, while providing a sense of home-life qualities for residents.
There’s no place like home
Kelly Damphousse, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and his wife, Beth, moved into Headington Hall in August. Their two daughters are OU students who live within three blocks, one at another dorm and the other at a sorority house.
Beth Damphousse likes to say she gave up her two kids to college, but gained 380 more, her husband said. She spends a lot of time in the hall and knows most of the residence by name, he said.
The couple already was inviting students to dinners and gatherings at their house off campus, he said. The new arrangement makes it much more convenient.
“I liked living in the dorms as a college student,” the dean said. That hasn’t changed.
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