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Faculty Fellows began back in 2006 as a result of Learning Reconsidered by ACPA/NASPA, Residential Life identified the importance of out of the classroom interactions between Faculty and Students and wanted to develop a program that would enhance faculty-student engagement.  We shared our plan with Faculty Senate and Faculty Senate took the lead on initiating the program with Dr. Bud Fischer, Professor of Biological Sciences and Jody Stone, Assistant Director of Housing, working together as coordinators. Eastern Illinois University recognized the importance of integrating learning opportunities into out of the classroom on-campus life. Dr. Fischer served in this role from 2006-2009, Dr. Hank Davis in 2009-2010, Dr. William R. Benedict from 2010-2015, and now Dr. Michael Gillespie has served in the role since Fall 2015.

Supporting Research 

Student interaction with faculty has rather consistent positive effects on student self-reported learning.” 

“Student contact with faculty members outside the classroom appears consistently to promote student persistence, educational aspirations, and degree completion.”

 “Studies of more formal, non-classroom interactions between students and faculty members provide additional evidence of the positive benefits of such contacts on student persistence and degree completion.”

 “Students’ self-reported growth in job skills was significantly enhanced through informal conversations with faculty.”

 “Across these investigations, career choices in college teaching, science, and scientific research were significantly enhanced by such factors as receiving encouragement from a faculty member, having informal conversations with faculty, having a faculty member as a role model, working with a faculty member on his or her research, and a composite index of faculty-student interaction.”

Derived from:

Pascarella, E.T., & Terenzini, P.T. (2005). How College Affects Students, Volume 2, A Third Decade of Research. San Francisco: Jossey – Bass.


-We all share in the responsibility of recruiting faculty to the program.  The Faculty Fellow Coordinator (Dr. Michael Gillespie) & the Residential Life Associate Director works with Faculty Senate and the Faculty Development Office. 

-The best practice for residential life staff to recruit is to have student staff identify Faculty they would like to have serve as Faculty Fellows members and to have the student staff approach them about joining the program.