Faculty in office residence: WJC in McDowell Hall


In August 2004, W. Joseph Campbell became the faculty member in office residence in McDowell Hall, on the North Side of the American University campus, a collaborative program with the university's
Office of Campus Life.


In that position, Campbell seeks to promote informal contacts among students and faculty in a residence hall setting, and to underscore that academic life at AU extends beyond the classroom.


The program is an expansion of Professor John Richardson's ongoing role as "faculty in residence" in Anderson Hall, on the south side of AU's campus. The principal difference is that Richardson lives in the residence hall; Campbell does not.


Campbell is a conspicuous presence in McDowell Hall, where he works with the resident director and the director's staff of student-resident assistants to pursue a variety of programming initiatives.


Among them was the popular "Dialog with the Dean" series in Spring 2005, in which the deans of AU's academic units individually came to McDowell to meet and speak informally with students.


In Spring 2007, Campbell collaborated with the student-run Kennedy Political Union in organizing the immensely successful program, "I Remember AU When: The Age of Protest," which took a look back to the late 1960s and early 1970s when AU was a hotbed of activism and dissent.


In Fall 2005, Campbell helped initiate a series called "AU's Finest Faculty," in which the top professors on campus spoke and met informally with students.


The "Finest Faculty" series was launched in September 2005 by Richard McCann, the University's "Scholar-Teacher of the Year" that year, and continued periodically through Spring semester 2007. In all, eight past winners of the "Scholar-Teacher" award gave informal talks. The series was co-sponsored by the Kennedy Political Union.


"There's no better place for a faculty office than a residence hall," Campbell has said. "You're quite close to daily student life but at a discreet distance. You can be a resource, a mentor, a sounding board, often in unscripted and informal ways."