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College House Faculty Masters: Position Description

College House Faculty Masters: Position Description

 The College Houses are residential communities for Penn undergraduates that - 

 • connect the academic life of the University with the residential experience; 

 • develop smaller, intimate communities that students call home and from which they can more comfortably navigate the complexities of a large university;

 • provide academic and personal support to residents;

 • promote social interaction, engagement, accountability and leadership within a setting that honors the diverse needs and backgrounds of the population.

As the senior Faculty member living in these communities the Faculty Master plays a key role in advancing the goals of the College House system.  The Master is also uniquely positioned to model behavior that fosters a respectful residential environment and active engagement in all aspects of House life.

In order to provide undergraduate residents with the opportunity to interact with Penn faculty from a broad spectrum of academic disciplines, applicants from all twelve schools within the university are welcome to apply.  The Master, who is usually a tenured, full-time faculty member, provides leadership for a College House and shares the responsibility of leading the College House system with other members of the Residential Faculty Council (RFC).  The most important qualification is an enthusiastic interest in mentoring and engaging undergraduate students within the residential environment. 


The Faculty Master, House Fellows and House Dean are responsible for creating a residential environment that encourages intellectual inquiry, provides educational resources and support, and develops meaningful faculty interaction with students.  The goal is to create a vibrant intellectual and social community that provides individual residents the opportunity to explore the breadth and depth of the University within a supportive House environment.

The specific activities of a Faculty Master differ from College House to College House according to the particular resident population and specific programmatic goals.  In all Houses, however, the successful Master should minimally expect to spend between 5-10 hours per week engaging with residents, in ways spontaneous and planned, formal and informal, throughout the year.  Expectations of the College House Faculty Master are as follows:

• Develop a House culture that is inclusive, participatory, and fosters a strong sense of community and belonging among all residents.

• Serve as the principal liaison for academic and programmatic matters between the faculty, administration, and the College House.

• Provide leadership to the staff and residents by setting an academic tone or vision for the House.  Work with the House Dean and House Fellows to ensure that the House sponsors an appropriate level of academic and cultural activities including:  credit and non-credit options, academic advising, excursions, speaker series, tutorials, and other relevant items.

• Provide guidance and direction to College House Fellows as a mentor and the academic leader of the House. 

• Promote relationships between College Houses and Penn faculty, in order to facilitate student access to professors across campus.  Invite members of the faculty to attend House events, to teach courses in the House, to advise or sponsor a residential program/learning community, or to simply dine with a small group of residents to discuss their academic work and their life as a faculty member.

 • Attend meetings of the Residential Faculty Council, as convened by the CHAS Faculty Director, and collaborate in the faculty leadership of the College House system.

• Monitor and evaluate House programs over a yearly and multi-year schedule.

• Develop and maintain a regular schedule of House Senior Staff meetings that include the Faculty Master, House Dean, and House Fellows.  The agenda for these meetings should include annual programmatic goals and outcomes for the House, specific program development, and other topics relevant to the continued enhancement of supportive, participatory academic undergraduate communities.

• Serve informally as an advisor to student residents of the College House.

• Review and provide content topics for the annual report developed the House Dean to be submitted to the CHAS Executive Director.  In order to meet goals and objectives set by the House Senior Staff as well as CHAS, review the annual House budget developed by the House Dean, who is responsible for administering the budget according to University policies and CHAS expectations. 

• Attend House events regularly in order to establish a visible presence and to facilitate the establishment of a strong community.  Meet with the House governance and other student groups as appropriate.

• Support the House Dean in the selection, training, and supervision of Graduate Associates, Resident Advisors, and student manager staff.  Meet with these staff groups as needed.  Participate in the pre-service training programs in August and January for the staff.

• Provide recommendations to the Faculty Director and Executive Director of CHAS regarding the appointment, reappointment, or replacement of House Fellows.  Actively promote the role of House Fellow with faculty across the university and encourage application of appropriate individuals to serve in these roles. 

• Participate in the appointment of the House Dean and work with the CHAS Executive Director to support the departmental performance expectations of the House Dean.  Collaborate with the House Dean in the design and implementation of House programs, especially those explicitly academic in nature. 

 • The Faculty Master may be called upon to offer advice and support to the House Dean, Executive Director, and the Office of Student Conduct to resolve student behavior and discipline issues as needed.


Revised January 2013

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