Who’s in Charge of a Residential College?: Student-led Seminars as an Example of Followership in Action
In 2011, Virginia Tech opened its first residential college, a place “where undergraduates, graduate students and faculty could live together in a facility dedicated to learning” (Johnson, 2011). As articulated by Frank Shushok, associate vice president for student affairs, “The residential college reflects all aspects of student learning…. It touches intellectual life, social life, and contemplative life. It gives students a space they can govern themselves, in collaboration with faculty and student affairs personnel” (DeLauder, 2010). The newly created Honors Residential College (HRC) includes 320 Junior Fellows, who are undergraduate students in the University Honors program, as well as over thirty Senior Fellows, composed of faculty, staff, and community members. The HRC accommodates nearly three times as many students as the previous Honors-designated residence halls. So, while the HRC could benefit from some existing structure and standards, the new community required a different approach.