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 Tuesday, June 12, 2007 IssueFaculty/Staff E-Newsletter


Residential Academic Program Spotlight - Engineering RAP
By Corey H. Jones, junior, School of Journalism and Mass Communication

Residential Academic Programs (RAPS) can be found in residence halls all across campus, connecting diverse students with similar interests while promoting extensive understanding in a vast range of subject areas. In this series, we explore these innovative programs that provide many undergraduates with close social and intellectual communities and shared learning and living experiences. The final part of this series features the Quadrangle Community Engineering and Sciences Residential Academic Program.

In addition to its proximity to the Engineering Center, the Quadrangle Community Engineering and Sciences Residential Academic Program supports student-engineers by providing a number of academic and social resources within the community.

The program presently operates under an informal structure, said Engineering Quad Hall Director Vanessa Dunn.

"Most of the Engineering RAP is focused around the residential experience," she said.

Home to many students majoring in engineering, mathematics, or the sciences, the Quad includes five small residence halls: Aden, Brackett, Cockerell, Crosman, and Reed.

"Sometimes I do not like using the term RAP because I feel it can be false advertising since we don't offer all of the things that a traditional RAP offers. I don't want the RAP experience in the Quad to be misrepresented," Dunn said.

For instance, the community does not currently employ a full-time director or onsite faculty member. There is a calculus workgroup course offered in the Quad, but it is not exclusive to students living in one of the five residence halls.

"This RAP community is unique because most of the students living together are taking the same classes," Dunn said.

"If you are a part of the majority group of engineering majors, then you have floors full of students learning the same things. That is a great benefit, especially when students follow such a demanding curriculum like the engineering program has."

Sophomore Tyler Olson lived in the Quad as a freshman.

"The Quad is a great place to learn as well as live. The residence halls offer study rooms, so students can meet with friends to study together and acquire knowledge outside of classroom," the aerospace engineering major said.

Residents pay a required fee that helps to fund a computer lab located in Aden. There, students can access software that is commonly needed for engineering courses.

Additionally, most of the engineering, science, and mathematics tutoring sessions occur in the Quad, so residents tend to have easier and more convenient access to those types of tutoring, Dunn said.

"It is very helpful to have those types of resources right outside your door," she said.

Outside of the Quad, the community has reached out across campus in hopes of establishing more coordination with faculty and other CU programs.

Recently, the Engineering RAP collaborated with the Herbst Humanities Program after partnering with Director Wayne Ambler.

"We try to do programs that specifically reach out to the engineering student population. That way we can easily cater our programming around the commitments and needs of our community," Dunn said.

The Quad maintains a very active Hall Council to assist residents and promote participation in campus events and community services.

Olson joined the Quad Hall Council as a resident.

"We decided the best thing to do was get students out of their rooms to meet new people and have fun," he said.

The community organizes activities that range from movie nights to discussions that address hot-button issues, including a debate with guest speakers concerning the topic of intelligent design versus evolution.

"The events can get students' minds off of living away from home and their hard work in school," Olson said.

Dunn acknowledges that there is plenty of room for the program to grow, which could include designating faculty positions and an explicit curriculum.

Mary Steiner, assistant dean of students in the College of Engineering, is also taking on a greater role within the program in order to enhance its services.

"We have come up with a lot of good ideas for expanding the program, but the reality is that many of the changes and upgrades would require building renovations that still need to be completed in our halls," Dunn said.

"We have a lot of potential to grow into more of an official program, and I think we'll end up doing a lot more with the program as we move forward."

For more information, visit the Engineering RAP website.

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