glyph 486: education, colleges, universities ... scale, decentralization, faculty leadership, social stability, diversity ... restoration of intellectually stimulating student life ... through modular expansion large educational institutions can gain the advantages of small colleges ... renewal of campus life


Creating Residential Colleges within Universities

four foundations on which campus life can be rebuilt

Robert J. O'Hara, on the Collegiate Way website, writes:

WHAT does private and wealthy Princeton University have in common with public and less-wealthy Truman State University in Missouri? What does the Chinese University of Hong Kong share with the University of Mississippi in the American South and the University of Sydney in Australia? How is the new Jacobs University in Bremen, Germany, similar to Murray State University in Kentucky and the National University of Singapore? And what connects all of them with Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, and Yale?

Each of these institutions—along with many others around the world—has established, is planning, or is expanding an internal system of residential colleges: permanent, cross-sectional, faculty-led societies that provide the advantages of a small college in the environment of a large university.

The Collegiate Way website ( is the leading resource on this worldwide residential college movement. Its hundreds of pages outline the foundations of the residential college idea, offer practical recommendations for the establishment of residential colleges, provide answers to common objections, point to recommended readings and the latest news, and present a directory of residential colleges and collegiate universities around the world.

If you are a student you should include universities that have residential colleges in your higher education search. If you are a parent you should encourage your son or daughter to explore collegiate universities. If you are a faculty member or university administrator you should consider joining the residential college movement and establishing a collegiate system: it can be done much less expensively than you might think, and it will transform your institution for generations to come.

This summary describes four foundations on which campus life can be rebuilt and by means of which the welfare and educational development of students can be improved. These foundations are decentralization, faculty leadership, social stability, and genuine diversity.

Robert J. O'Hara:
November 28, 2009; edited/updated November 26, 2015

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