Graduate Commons faculty directors work to make Harvard Housing feel like home

Doreen and Jim (not pictured) Hogle open their home to all tenants at Peabody Terrace each month with themed open houses. On “Pie in the Sky” night, residents snacked on pastries while resident and novice astronomer, Jordan Reeves (pictured with laser) helped spectators locate constellations and planets. Photo by Bob Keene/Keene Vision

4 min read

For hundreds of Harvard affiliates and their families living in Harvard University Housing, it’s the sense of belonging and community connection that makes all the difference. Eight faculty directors with Harvard Graduate Commons Program (GCP) work every day to help make that possible.

These intellectual leaders, together with GCP staff and community advisors, host social and academic events to engage their neighborhoods. Whether welcoming residents and guests into their homes each month for lectures and dinner discussions, or integrating intellectual and social opportunities through events like game nights, networking happy hours, and off-campus excursions, the faculty directors bridge the divide between the learning, living, and cultural experiences at Harvard.

Since its inception in 2008, GCP’s unique interdisciplinary effort to create a “home away from home” for a diverse residential population including graduate students, faculty, staff, and their families is now a thriving living-learning community for all residents.

Some of the faculty directors shared why they choose to serve in this capacity.

[gz_pull_quote attribution=”— Nancy Hill, Charles Bigelow Professor of Education and faculty director at Gardenside Area”]“We get to engage with residents from all over the world, learning their different cultures and passions and sharing ours … and residents are able to see us as both faculty and as family. We see this as an opportunity to bring people together, building relationships that last a lifetime.”[/gz_pull_quote]

Jim and Doreen Hogle, faculty deans for Dudley House, have served as faculty directors at Peabody Terrace for nearly seven years. Photo by Bob Keene/Keene Vision

[gz_pull_quote attribution=”— Jim Hogle, Edward S. Harkness Professor at Harvard Medical School, chair of the Biophysics Program, faculty director at Dudley House, Peabody Terrace”]“Being faculty directors has given us the opportunity to meet a remarkably diverse and international group of residents. We’ve had a wonderful time getting to know residents academically, professionally, and socially, and to share ideas and customs with them. The experience has also provided us with a chance to work alongside an extremely dedicated group of staff … to create a sense of community in a building complex that could otherwise be very isolating. The experience has enriched our lives.”[/gz_pull_quote]

[gz_photo_layout_article_width image=”249596″ caption=”Graduates%20of%20the%20Class%20of%202018%20gather%20at%2010%20Akron%20St.%20for%20an%20annual%20resident%20tradition%2C%20the%20%E2%80%9CCheers%20on%20the%20Charles%E2%80%9D%20champagne%20toast%2C%20hosted%20by%20Guhan%20Subramanian%20and%20wife%20Helen%20Clement.” credit=”Photo%20by%20Bob%20Keene%2FKeene%20Vision” /]

[gz_pull_quote attribution=”— Guhan Subramanian, Joseph Flom Professor of Law and Business at HLS, Douglas Weaver, professor of business law at HBS and faculty director at Western Area”]“As faculty directors, we have really loved interacting with, mentoring, and learning from the diverse and incredibly talented community of Harvard students and scholars. As a professor at Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School, and as faculty chair for the J.D./M.B.A. program, I believe that cross fertilization among fields and interdisciplinary education will be critical to the next wave of advances in our society. As faculty directors, we get to witness that interaction every day.”[/gz_pull_quote]

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[gz_pull_quote attribution=”— Nancy Winship, recently retired senior vice president for Institutional Advancement at Brandeis University and faculty director at Gardenside Area”]“We have the privilege of creating a truly diverse Harvard community that will be loyal and interested in Harvard for decades. The hardest part of the job is saying goodbye when the residents finish their degree and move on to the next phase of their lives.”[/gz_pull_quote]