One of the special parts of student life at Vanderbilt is the university’s uniquely personal and collaborative residential college experience. Undergraduate houses and colleges are led by faculty who live in community with students. Meet the university’s newest faculty heads of house in this special series.
- Name: Carol Ziegler
- Residential college: Gillette House
- Faculty position: Professor of nursing at Vanderbilt and family nurse practitioner at Meharry Medical
- Years at Vanderbilt: 8
- Hometown: Nashville
- Favorite song: “Purple House” by Prince
- Favorite book: Raising Free People by Akilah S. Richards
- Favorite food: Grits and greens
- Favorite spot on campus: The big soccer field in front of Gillette
- What are you most looking forward to in the upcoming academic year? Witnessing young people express and come into their cosmic purpose and passions, and growing into this new role as faculty head of house.
- Why do you value being a faculty head of house, or what do you love about the residential college experience? I love the relationships that I have developed with students, and the joyful and creative expressions and experiences that they share within their communities. I also really appreciate getting to know students and faculty from other disciplines. I find that these collaborative spaces are the greatest incubators for innovative ideas.
- What advice do you have for new students coming to campus? And returning students? Be open and maintain a healthy perspective. Find your community and stay engaged. Know or figure out your source and what keeps you grounded.
- Tell us a funny or poignant experience you’ve had at Vanderbilt.
In fall 2016, I was giving a lecture in our Advanced Health Assessment class to about 180 graduate nursing students. Suddenly, I recognized a face in the crowd and was just overwhelmed with this sense of connection and joy as I realized she was my bedside nurse when I gave birth to my son, in 2013, at VUMC! A face I could never, ever forget. She was such an amazing nurse and advocate for me that I encouraged her to think about going back to school to become an NP. And there she was. So, of course, I stopped the class and I’m sure totally embarrassed her and announced how great she was and how thrilled I was that she was in the program. I’m sure she is out there in the world now advocating for mothers and welcoming new little people to life on Earth.
- What do you love about working at Vanderbilt? I love the collaborative spirit and the intellectual freedom and flexibility that I have easily found here. I think anytime I have had an idea or a concern, I have easily found people impassioned to work on it with me. Most of all, I think I love and respect the courage of the students to speak out and lead when there is a need. I have met students every year who have been willing to go out in front and speak out and lead in the face of adversity and often before it has felt safe or been popular to do so. They go on to lead initiatives that positively impact their communities. That gives me hope.