The Idea of Living and Learning Communities
Education is never limited to just inside the classroom. The Commons and its ten Houses are a set of living and learning communities. They bring together first year students, residential faculty, undergraduate resident advisers, professional staff, non-residential faculty and undergraduates, as well as other resources inside and beyond the university to create educational experiences in which students learn from and with each other, their professors, and the accomplished career professionals found among the 22,000 employees of Vanderbilt University.
The Roots of The Commons Idea
The idea of communal living at university has its roots in the Oxford-Cambridge model in England. Faculty members (fellows) lived with students, taught them, and helped them transform into leaders of their society. The Vanderbilt model has appropriated the best of the Oxbridge model, and its American adaptations at Harvard, Notre Dame, and Princeton. The main goal of the Commons is NOT merely to help ease the fear and anxiety of first-year transition. The main goal is to spark off creative synergy for transformative education to take place by having students and faculty live together in Houses and creating opportunities for them to explore ideas and experiences beyond the curriculum they study in the classroom.