Food for Thought

Food for Thought

A&S reimburses faculty who treat classes to dinner

By Sean Smith
Staff Writer

A newly instituted College of Arts and Sciences policy provides encouragement to A&S faculty wishing to build a rapport with their students outside of the classroom.

A&S Dean Joseph F. Quinn announced recently that faculty may receive reimbursement of up to $125 per semester to be used for hosting their smaller classes for dinner or similar occasions. While many A&S faculty have long invited students to their homes, Quinn said he felt it important for the school to formalize and support the practice.

"It's an attempt to ring a bell," explained Quinn. "We want faculty to think about doing this, if they haven't done it. For those faculty who do bring classes home, we want to endorse their initiative in a tangible way.

"BC emphasizes the importance of faculty connecting with students outside of the classroom setting," he continued. "It is an experience students appreciate. The one occasion I had in college of having dinner at a faculty member's house made such a positive impression on me I still remember it. As a teacher, I have often invited my students home for an end-of-semester dinner, and we all have enjoyed these times."

Faculty members who have participated in the program affirm the value of more casual interactions with students.

"I've always felt that hosting students is a nice way to enhance the relationship," said Prof. Kay Schlozman (Political Science). "The students always seem to appreciate it and I like the informal atmosphere."

This fall, Schlozman said, she was prompted to host a gathering when, during a class discussion on gun control and American culture, she mentioned the classic movie "High Noon" - and found her students were unfamiliar with it. To remedy that, she invited the class to her home for a viewing as well as a meal.

"I think it's terrific that A&S has instituted the reimbursement policy," she said. "The more the administration can do to facilitate these kind of faculty-student exchanges, the better. It's consistent with our commitment to teach the whole person."

Assoc. Prof. Michael Moore (Psychology) has hosted small numbers of students intermittently in the past, and already planned to hold a dinner for his freshman seminar of 15 before he heard about the reimbursement opportunity.

"It made a difference," said Moore, who wound up inviting the students for a day-long visit to his house on Cape Cod. "We were able to get some better food than we might have, as well as disposable plates, cups and cutlery - that's no small thing, because with 17 people in all you'd have a lot of dishes to clean.

"Pulling together something like this takes a lot of work, but it's very worthwhile," he continued. "The students were able to go off campus, enjoy the beach, and then we all helped prepare the dinner. This was a different experience for us and we were glad to have had the chance to get together."

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