When students moved into the newly renovated Andrews Hall on campus last fall, there was something decidedly different, other than it being new and “green.”
First-year engineering students were welcomed by scores of returning students and the first faculty member in modern times to live with his family on the Boulder campus.
Now home to the Engineering Honors Program, Andrews houses 229 undergraduates, including 67 returning students, or almost 30 percent of its total occupancy. Associate Professor Scot Douglass, who directs the Honors Program, also lives at Andrews with his wife and two daughters, ages 4 and 6, in a small faculty apartment.
Other highlights of the 60,588-gross-square-foot renovation include suite-style student rooms with a variety of floor plans and ceiling heights, six common lounges or study rooms, two smart classrooms, a computer lab, and a community kitchen. The second of four buildings being renovated in the Kittredge Complex, Andrews is on track to receive Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold certification.
Andrews underwent the $14 million renovation to advance a number of CU-Boulder's Flagship Initiatives, including the creation of multi-year residential colleges.
“This greatly advances our Flagship 2030 strategic plan goal of offering multi-year residential academic experiences for our students who live and learn alongside their professors in residential colleges,” says CU-Boulder Chancellor Phil DiStefano. “To debut our Faculty in Residence program with one of our top teachers is a bonus for CU and our students.”
Lauren Schmeisser, a junior environmental engineering major, says the environment at Andrews is truly unique. “It's really refreshing to walk into a dorm and see a huge number of students doing things together in the common room. People here are really interested in what each other are doing,” she says.
Schmeisser and Alyssa Ritter, who co-direct student programming in the hall, say that organized activities such as open-mic nights and a hike up one of Colorado’s 14ers (mountains higher than 14,000 feet) draw a lot of interest. Another Andrews resident organized volunteers to lead engineering activities at local schools.
“The vision of Andrews is the creation of a community that is deeply ambitious without being competitive, a place where talented individuals come together to challenge, inspire, and enjoy each other,” Douglass explains.
“There is no substitute for the educational value of living with peers who are both about something—whether that’s doing tissue-engineering research, working with Engineers Without Borders, or playing in a string quartet—and highly successful at it. First-year students arrive in a functioning community whose expectations and standards are already set.”
Douglass says the program’s goal is to increase the proportion of returning students in Andrews in future years to facilitate students’ successful transition from high school to the rigors and opportunities of a university education.
Douglass received the Boulder Faculty Assembly’s Excellence in Teaching Award in 2003, and the Dean’s Award for Outstanding Teaching in 2009. He has taught literature to engineering students since 1995 as part of the Herbst Program of Humanities.