Dartmouth Engineer - The Magazine of Thayer School of EngineeringDartmouth Engineer - The Magazine of Thayer School of Engineering

Professor Hill Settles Into Her New "Allen House" Home

By Anna Fiorentino
December 2016 • CoolStuff

For engineering professor Jane Hill, opportunity came a-knocking on the door of the recently constructed "Allen House" faculty home, part of the six new "House communities" at Dartmouth. In September, having been selected as one of six support faculty, Hill began overseeing the Allen House community comprised of 600 undergraduate students, along with affiliated faculty, staff and, soon, graduate students. The new residential life model for Dartmouth was announced last January by President Phil Hanlon ’77 as part of the Moving Dartmouth Forward plan to bring more continuity to students’ living options and greater opportunity for faculty-student interactions beyond the classroom.

“This was an opportunity to build an inclusive housing system — one that borrows from places like Yale, which I experienced as a graduate student,” says Hill. “The positive cycle of building an intellectual community, once our foundation in social community is built, was too good to pass up.”

After a competitive selection process, which weighed dedication in and out of the classroom as both a role model and mentor, a selection committee chose Hill and five other House faculty members to oversee the communities. Other House professors include language and literary scholar Rebecca Biron, astrophysicist Ryan Hickox, sociologist Kathryn Lively, and mathematicians Craig Sutton and Sergi Elizalde. A seventh professor, Japanese literary scholar Dennis Washburn will serve as faculty director of the Living Learning Communities at the McLaughlin Cluster.

Hill and the other professors have been tasked with creating a social community with its own personality and traditions and an intellectual community that aspires to engage, challenge and inspire students beyond the classroom. She hosts events led by students and faculty, as well as visiting artists and scientists.

“During the days I do the faculty thing, and in the evenings, I might plan and execute events that range in magnitude from 10 to 250 students,” says Hill, who has a four-year appointment and now lives on campus in the Allen House faculty home. “So far it’s been fun and interesting—and it’s kept me busy.”

Relatively new to the school, Hill says being a House professor has presented her with the opportunity to learn more about life at Dartmouth outside of Thayer. “It’s been so exciting to see the diverse breadth of talents and interests our students have, and to be able to tap into inspiring visitors on campus,” she says.

The Allen House student residences, situated along the Tuck Mall, are comprised of Gile, Streeter and Lord Halls (previously referred to as the Gold Coast Cluster). Hill's Allen House faculty home and nearby School House faculty home share a common social space called House Center B.

Under the new plan, first-year students live in residence halls that are assigned to one of the six House communities. After that, students can maintain their House membership no matter where they live and can choose their level of involvement.

Tags: extra-curricular, faculty, leadership, students

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