Nursing instructor Lucy Zhao joins Boise State University Housing’s Living and Learning Communities as the faculty in residence (FIR) for the Health Professions Residential College.
“Just as our motto suggests, we are ‘Reinventing Education’ and creating deep learning that connects students to each other, faculty, staff and resources,” said Melissa Wintrow, assistant director of residence education in University Housing, a position that bridges student affairs and academic affairs.
A goal of the program, she said, is to take the “sage away from the stage” and encourage students to see how they, too, are content experts.
“Faculty members serve as guides and mentors, intentionally creating activities to foster learning socially, spiritually and academically,” she said. “The sage sees that the world is a stage and that students own the spotlight as well. This is a unique model for education.”
It also can create lifelong connections between participants and the university.
“It builds bonds among students that last forever,” said Pat Shannon, dean of the College of Business and Economics, sponsors of the university’s first living learning community in 2004. “It is very important to our college as it builds identity across campus as staff and faculty mingle with students in the residence halls.”
College of Health Sciences Dean Tim Dunnagan agrees. “It’s a great way for students to get to know the faculty and make connections.”
Faculty hoping to become a FIR must apply and go through an interview process. If chosen, benefits include an on-campus apartment, meal plan, release time and a parking subsidy. Faculty also say their greatest take-aways are a stronger connection to students and campus and an unbeatable location.
Zhao, clinical instructor for the School of Nursing, will live in Morrison Hall. Originally from China, Zhao lived in Austin, Texas, for eight years before moving to Boise. She received her first nursing degree from Austin Community College, and her master of science and master of public affairs from University of Texas at Austin. Her teaching specialties are medical-surgical nursing and nursing skills. She is very interested in public health nursing and nursing education.