Multnomah University is committed to implementing new, holistic ways of investing in the lives of its students. That being said, Multnomah is proud to introduce an exciting new pilot program that will play an integral role in holistically catering to the student experience: The Faculty-in-Residence (FIR) program. To shed more light on the program, Joe Slavens, Dean of Student Life and Intercollegiate Athletics, and Rob Hildebrand, Chair of Youth and Educational Ministries, share their perspectives on the model of the program, its benefits, why it is being implemented, and more.
The Faculty-in-Residence (FIR) program, put simply, will involve a member of the Multnomah faculty living in student housing. Multnomah’s FIR program will closely resemble the Oxford model of learning – a small community of living and learning together; other universities such as Baylor University and Simpson University also have FIR programs. Joe Slavens has personally started this kind of program at another university where he has worked, and he saw great success. He says that, at the very least, it changed the culture of the campus.
At Multnomah, professors are already invested in the lives of their students outside of the classroom. The FIR program exists to take that a step further. Some of the benefits of the FIR program include creating more holistic learning opportunities, which will mutually humanize both faculty and students. This philosophy of caring for one another fosters a deeply rooted community of Christ-followers who support each other in day-to-day life.
The pioneers of this program will be Rob Hildebrand and his wife, Leslie. They are excited to step into this ministry together. They anticipate hosting organized events and gatherings, but they are also excited for the unplanned conversations and connections that they know will occur with students as a product of residency. “We learn through life exchanges,” Rob says. They are excited to learn from and grow with students in this kind of community. Rob and Leslie will be moving into Lower Memorial this spring.
This is a pilot program that will be subject to assessment and refinement. Once Rob and Leslie end their FIR contract, the program will likely continue and allow another full-time faculty to step in. For the time being, there will only be one FIR position. However, there may be an opportunity for more than one faculty member at a time to participate in the program in the future.
This is an exciting new program at Multnomah with so much potential. The University looks forward to seeing how God will use Rob and Leslie, and possibly other faculty in the future, to bless and be blessed by students while living in community with them.