Warren and Moore colleges are taking shape into an impressive complex. The brick-and-mortar growth of these residential colleges seems slow, with imperceptible change for many days running, followed by spurts of activity that result in new, sturdy brick façades, or steel framing for chambers that will be subsequently fleshed out. Undoubtedly, irregular, persistent change will continue right up until move-in day, August, 2014, then in one fell swoop, Warren and Moore colleges will become a vibrant community of smart, interested and interesting human souls.
My wife, Patricia, and I are really looking forward to that day of transformation, standing with our friend Jim Lovensheimer, faculty director of Moore College. I can’t know specifically what will be so special about Warren College, but I take on faith that its specialness will rest on its diversity. As a community it will be large enough, at about 330 beds, to insure an active diversity of people, with introverts and extroverts, conservatives and liberals, thinkers and activists, combinations and subdivisions thereof, and a lot of in between, because absolutely no one is a simple story. Moreover, these will be people who are self-selected to appreciate, if not embrace, diversity in all its forms, not least of which is cognitive diversity. No balanced and healthy human collective of any consequence is composed of perfect, cognitively balanced individuals – it takes all types.
While Warren College will be large enough to be diverse, it will be small enough to be effective and affective, conveying a sense to its residents that we are all in this wonderful and challenging life together. I’ve been doing some research into “optimal” sizes of communities, and for some things at least, that “optimal” size is just about that of each of Warren’s two halls – Delbruck and Elliston. I’m looking forward to seeing how the students, staff and faculty associates of Warren College carve themselves into meaningful and effective sub-communities, be they the equivalent to theme-based “Mayfields” within the college and language communities of McTyeire, or larger, less definable collective intelligences of the type I so appreciate in my current residence of McGill.
Patricia and I are looking forward to supporting students in their leadership and participation in scholarly and civic activities of many forms; dinners with students, faculty, staff, scholars and dignitaries of all kinds; faculty guests in the faculty director apartment’s guestrooms so that others can participate in, contribute to, and better understand life in the undergraduate student residences; leveraging online learning from around the world to facilitate learning inside Warren that doesn’t necessarily come with a grade; coffee houses celebrating student talents at Warren College and across campus; developing Warren College mobile apps that allow, for example, faculty and students to synch up cycling and food runs; and stuff that isn’t even on our radar yet.
Douglas H. Fisher
Faculty Director of Warren College