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There will be at least one resident in the dorms this year who won’t be plastering his walls with posters and playing Counter-Strike until 3 a.m.
Professor Apostolos Athanassakis of the Classics Dept. and the College of Creative Studies has been chosen by Housing and Residential Services to be the first live-in faculty director of the residential learning program in Manzanita Village.
Athanassakis will live exclusively in an apartment in the Pendola House in the Los Robles Quad for the next year. When asked about his views on living with students for a year, Athanassakis said he hadn’t anticipated any problems, and that so far, he had really enjoyed his new living experience. Complete with living room, bedroom and kitchen, the apartment was used as an assistant resident director’s quarters during the 2002-03 school year.
Ken Fowler, a senior CCS physics major and resident assistant in Pendola House, said he had initially heard of the plan to house Athanassakis in Manzanita through CCS newsletters.
“I think his philosophy of interacting with the students is really suitable to the environment,” Fowler said. Pendola House is a CCS special interest house, but Athanassakis will be available to advise students from all majors.
The residential learning program is the brainchild of Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Programs Ronald W. Tobin and Executive Director of Housing and Residential Services Wilfred Brown. It was initially conceived about 12 years ago, but only became possible with the construction of Manzanita Village. The program will be independent of the Residence Halls Association.
This venture is not unique to UCSB. In an interview with the Santa Barbara News-Press, Brown said that UCLA and UC Berkeley have had success with their “professor-in-residence” programs.
“We wanted to have Dr. Athanassakis be the bridge for academics coming into the residence halls, whether it’s bringing speakers who are already on campus to Manzanita or bringing emeriti faculty in to speak with residents,” said Director of Residential Life Charlene Chew-Ogi.
The program will run on an annual contract for a maximum of three years. Depending on the success of the program’s first year, the housing office will evaluate future options in the residential learning program.
One of Athanassakis’ hopes for his next year in Manzanita is to instill in his fellow residents a love of proper Greek hospitality, including the offering of refreshments to visitors.
Athanassakis said he would continue to teach over the next year. Some of his fall courses are Literature 111 in the College of Creative Studies, The Poetics of Water and Land in Archaic Greek Poetry, and Greek 599, a Ph.D. preparatory course.