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The Sentinel

An Eye on the Penn State Administration

What Is The ‘Residential College Movement’?

As I was reading an article on Minding the Campus a few weeks ago, I found a group called The Collegiate Way, which, in its own words, “seeks to improve campus life by creating small, faculty-led residential colleges within large universities.” The Collegiate Way even claims to be “the leading resource on the worldwide residential college movement.”

Just what is the “residential college movement,” though? Until visiting The Collegiate Way‘s website, it’s not something with which I could say I was familiar. After browsing their site more, I came to a clearer understanding.

The Collegiate Way: About — The Collegiate Way website advocates the creation of decentralized residential colleges within large universities as a way of improving higher education for all. Residential colleges are small, permanent, cross-sectional, faculty-led societies of a few hundred members that provide the advantages of a small college in the context of a big institution.

At Penn State, one of the keys to our school from the beginning has been an appreciation by the faculty and president of the vital role which physical residency plays in developing and molding young men and women in the Nittany Valley.

It was the physical closeness that helped shaped this area and this institution’s earliest history of pride in the legends of the valley, love of student initiative and respect for the learning both within the classroom and outside its walls.

Now, establishing separate residential colleges within our university is something else entirely, but there can be no doubt that a residential system as a whole has been and will continue to be vital for the future of Penn State, her students, faculty, alumni and friends.

As technology continues its rapid development and education completely be means of correspondence through the Penn State World Campus grows ever easier, it will become more common for some who never set foot in the Nittany Valley (or even in Pennsylvania) to call themselves Penn Staters.

By that point, will being a “Penn Stater” be at all special?

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