Home » Living Learning Communities » McTyeire International House » The McTyeire International House Handbook

The McTyeire International House Handbook


The Handbook is designed to inform applicants about the program requirements and to serve as a guide toward making the International House even better.


What It’s All About:

The Conception of an International House in McTyeire Hall

In 1980 Chancellor Alexander Heard successfully proposed to the Exxon Education Foundation that McTyeire Hall be renovated to serve as a foreign language-speaking house and an international center. The building opened as The International House in late August 1981 after a year of planning and four months of renovation. During the 1992-1993 academic year, McTyeire Hall underwent a complete renovation and its single rooms since serve approximately 95 undergraduate and graduate students.

Currently, McTyeire offers programs to students seeking to improve their fluency in French, German, Japanese, Chinese, Spanish, or Russian as well as a program, the International Interest Hall, offered in English, to students seeking to learn more about international topics. Specific foreign language programs and the International Interest Hall Program may not be offered every year, depending on interest and demand.

How to Get In:

The objective of the selection process is to achieve a mix of new and returning students, from any of the schools of the University with different academic majors, in an appropriate male-to-female ratio, and with representation from the sophomore, junior and senior classes and of graduate students. In all cases, residents are selected from those applicants who have demonstrated or seem to have a strong interest in participating and contributing to the foreign language-speaking and other programs of the House.

Making Application:

If Living in McTyeire interests you, attend the informational meetings held early in the spring semester. It will help you understand both the benefits and responsibilities of living in McTyeire.Then:

  • Print out an application form or pick one up at the Office of Housing and Residential Education, 4113 Branscomb Quadrangle. There are two different application forms: one for the International Interest Hall and one for the language groups that also includes an instructor’s evaluation form.
  • Please read this handbook in its entirety. It outlines the commitments of residency.
  • New applicants to one of the language groups need an evaluation by an instructor as a means of assuring that the applicant has sufficient fluency in the target language. If you are not studying a language currently, make an appointment at the appropriate language departmental office for an interview with the respective Faculty Adviser. A minimum of the equivalent of one year of college study in the target language is desirable. Please note that college study is not a requirement for admission to the program.
    Students of the International Interest Hall do not submit an instructor’s evaluation form.
  • Return your application to the Office of Housing and Residential Education by the published deadline. Current McTyeire residents who are reapplying will be evaluated on the basis of their participation by the Selection Committee. Re-application forms will be given to current residents by their Coordinator.
  • During a one-week period after applications are in, each language-speaking group, as well as the International Interest Hall, will meet the new applicants at dinner. If you are a new applicant, you must sign up for a dinner meal when submitting your application at the Office of Housing and Residential Education. After dinner, you will be interviewed by the Selection Committee.

The General Selection Criteria:

New Applicants:

Based upon the written applications from new applicants, the interviews, and instructor’s evaluations (where applicable), an invitation to live in McTyeire involves the following judgments:

  • That language group applicants seem committed to using and improving their proficiency in the target language.
  • That International Interest Hall applicants seem committed to learning about and discussing international topics.
  • That applicants seem willing to spend time, energy and effort toward participating in the McTyeire Program.
  • That applicants are going to be pleasant and constructive hall residents and members of the McTyeire community.

Current Residents:

Current residents reapplying will be judged both on their personal participation and with a view toward their contribution to the make up of the new group. Many factors will be considered including use of the foreign language, personal initiative, program participation and contribution to the resident community. There will also be an attempt to achieve a mix of residents with various linguistic skills, personal and academic interests. For these reasons and because space must be made for newcomers, there can be no guarantee that a person will be invited to return to McTyeire for a second or third year.

The Selection Committees:

Each group has its own Selection Committee consisting of the Program Coordinator, the Faculty Advisor and three members: upperclassmen, graduate students or others designated by the Faculty Advisor. When possible, two of the student members will be non-returning residents of McTyeire. The members are selected as follows:

  • One is appointed by the Program Coordinator,
  • a second is elected by the residents of the specific hall,
  • the third, not a current resident but someone who has participated in some of the program activities, is appointed by the Faculty Advisor.

Each of these five committee members has an equal voice in the selection of each resident. All invitations are subject to the approval of the Associate Dean of Arts and Science.

What Is Expected:

Expectations and Evaluations of McTyeire Residents:

What’s expected is an active use of your target language while in McTyeire and conscientious participation in activities. People are different temperamentally, some are more outgoing than others, but to learn a language you must contribute to conversations during dinner and at other activities. The following activities are required:

  • Dinner, Monday through Thursday
  • Language and/or cultural study breaks, generally on Wednesday nights
  • Individual group meetings
  • McTyeire events and parties

Other activities are highly recommended, such as:

  • Foreign language movies
  • Lectures and presentations
  • Residence hall projects

The Program Coordinators are charged with conducting an ongoing evaluation of the residents’ participation in language-speaking and other activities. You will meet individually with your Program Coordinator to discuss participation and progress in your learning group. Learning a language and learning about other cultures involves enormous personal initiative. It also requires people with whom to converse and things to discuss. Because you are important to others’ learning, how well you participate is important to everyone on your hall.

The McTyeire Meal Plan

Because the international dinners are the heart of the McTyeire Living/Learning program, all residents are required to participate in one of two McTyeire meal plan options. The basic meal plan, aka the ‘McTyeire Plan’, includes four mandatory dinners served Mondays-Thursdays at 6 p.m. and five hot breakfast bars served Mondays-Fridays from 7 to 10 a.m. in McTyeire’s own Dining Hall. It also includes three additional meals whenever meals are not served at McTyeire, and $150 in meal money. The additional meals can be taken at any Vanderbilt Dining facility that accepts meal plans; one meal can be taken per meal period and there is no roll-over for these meals. The dinners at McTyeire always include a vegetarian option and salad bar. For the academic year 2014/2015, the fee for the basic ‘McTyeire Plan’ is $1,515 per semester.

The optional ‘McTyeire 15 Plan’ includes all of the above but has 6 additional meals instead of only 3. These 6 additional meals have a roll-over of $3.15 per meal. For the academic year 2014/2015, the fee for the ‘McTyeire 15 Plan’ is $2,060 per semester.

How Does McTyeire Work?

McTyeire depends upon the close cooperation of the Office of Housing and Residential Education and Vanderbilt Dining Services with the College of Arts and Science. The Associate Dean of Arts and Science has oversight responsibility for the academic program. A senior staff member of the Office of Housing and Residential Education has oversight responsibility for the residential life program.The Dean of the College appoints an International House Advisory Committee, which consists of faculty members and administrators. A representative of the Office of the Dean administers the annual program budget and authorizes expenditures. The Associate Dean, in consultation with the Advisory Committee, is responsible for the academic program, including designation of residence hall corridors and spaces by language and other learning groups. Working closely with the respective academic departments, the Associate Dean recruits and hires the Program Coordinators.

The Faculty Advisers are glad to talk and work with you. They serve as liaison between the foreign language departments and McTyeire and assist in the selection process. They understand McTyeire and the problems of learning to make a foreign language your own.

The Program Director is responsible for the daily operations of the academic program and the supervision of the Program Coordinators for each group. The Program Director coordinates all program activities within McTyeire and schedules use of the lounges and library. This person serves as liaison to the College Dean’s Office, the Office of Housing and Residential Education, Dining Services, and Vanderbilt International Services. The Program Director oversees the budgets of the language groups and the recruitment process.

The Program Coordinators, of whom the Program Director is one, promote use of the languages for which they are responsible and understanding of the cultural contexts of those languages. They are responsible for the language program, including dinners, study breaks, group meetings and other events sponsored by their halls. They invite dinner and program guests and propose new activities. They review individuals’ progress, help and encourage them, and warn those who are not participating satisfactorily of the possibility that they will be asked to leave McTyeire. They also coordinate the recruitment process for their individual halls.

The Residential Staff (Head Resident and Resident Advisers) serve the residents of McTyeire much as they do those of other residence halls with a few added responsibilities. They are expected to set an example by using their target language on all appropriate occasions and are expected to maintain close communication with the Program Director and the other Program Coordinators.

The McTyeire Council functions in conjunction with the Office of Housing and Residential Education and VSG. It organizes activities involving all residents and is first to deal with residence hall disciplinary cases. It consists of the President, a representative from each hall, the Program Director, the Area Coordinator, and the residential staff. The Head Resident, Resident Advisers and Area Coordinator participate on a non-voting basis, as does the Program Director.

Living in McTyeire is indeed a challenge, but it is one that carries with it a reward for great personal accomplishment and strong social ties. Talk with some of the students or staff who live there!