New faculty appointed to lead residential colleges

Six faculty have been appointed as residential leaders in shaping student learning experiences beyond the classroom. Dean of Residential Colleges and Residential Education Melissa Gresalfi announced the appointments for the 2024–25 academic year.

The West End Neighborhood will welcome three new faculty. Emily Pendergrass will be the inaugural faculty head of Residential College-C, which is scheduled to begin housing students in fall 2024. Jeong-Oh Kim will lead Nicholas S. Zeppos College, and Robin Jones will lead Warren College. On The Ingram Commons, Gillette House, North House and West House will welcome three new faculty heads: Brittany Chase, Andrew Finch and Huili Hong.

The appointment of these faculty members to lead our residential colleges underscores Vanderbilt’s dedication to fostering an environment where academic excellence and community engagement intersect,” Provost C. Cybele Raver said. “I am confident that their leadership will enhance our students’ living-learning experiences, cultivate a strong sense of belonging and facilitate personal and intellectual growth within out vibrant campus community.”

Within residential colleges, faculty live among the students in an apartment in each of the residence halls and help guide student-driven programming designed to promote intellectual exchange, inclusive community building and leadership development. Faculty apartments are expected to be centers of activity for students—whether it’s hearing from a visiting scholar over dinner, participating in a resource workshop or tuning in for election night results.

“The appointment of such distinguished faculty to lead our residential colleges is a testament to Vanderbilt’s commitment to nurturing an environment where academic excellence and community engagement go hand in hand,” stated Tiffiny Tung, vice provost for undergraduate education and professor of anthropology.

  • Chase, BA’11, a lecturer in ethnomusicology and assistant dean for nondegree programs at the Blair School of Music, joined the Vanderbilt faculty in 2016. She specializes in American popular music and teaches courses in hip hop and the intersections of music, identity and diversity. Chase will be the head of Gillette House.
  • Finch, a professor of the practice in human and organizational development, joined the Vanderbilt faculty in 2004. His research interests include the role of schools as continuing care for substance use disorders, counseling and human development, and the ecology of schools. Finch will be the head of North House.
  • Hong, a professor of the practice in teaching and learning, joined the Vanderbilt faculty in 2022. Her research interests include literacy studies with focus on children’s language and literacy processes, English language learners, and teacher preparation. Hong will be the head of West House.
  • Jones is associate professor and vice chair of diversity, equity and inclusion in the department of hearing and speech sciences, and the director of the developmental stuttering laboratory. He joined the Vanderbilt faculty in 2013. Jones will be the head of Warren College.
  • Kim, a senior lecturer in English, joined the Vanderbilt faculty in 2018. His research interests center on absorbing Anglo-American literary culture and re-interpreting it for scholars and students of diverse nationalities and disciplines. Kim will be the head of Nicholas S. Zeppos College.
  • Pendergrass, former faculty head of West House,  associate professor of the practice of literacy and director of the reading education program, joined the Vanderbilt faculty in 2011. Her scholarship focuses on supporting struggling readers in the context of reading as a community practice, with special reference to professional development and new literacies including technology. Pendergrass will be the head of Residential College-C.

Ending their service as faculty heads at the close of the 2023–24 academic year are Audrey Bowden, faculty head of Nicholas S. Zeppos College, Dorothy J. Wingfield Phillips Chancellor’s Faculty Fellow and associate professor of biomedical and electrical engineering; Amy Johnson, faculty head of Warren College and assistant provost for experiential education and undergraduate affairs; Natasha McClure, faculty head of North House and associate professor of nursing; and Carol Ziegler, faculty head of Gillette House and professor of nursing.

“Living together on campus creates a chance to get know each other in a different way—not just as faculty and students, but as whole people with unique interests and lifestyles,” Gresalfi said. “Connecting in this way makes it particularly hard to say goodbye. Professors Bowden, Johnson, McClure, and Ziegler will be greatly missed. Each has brought their own warmth and welcome to their residents and helped to make Zeppos College, Warren College, West House and Gillette House such incredible communities that feel like home.”

A full list of the current cohort of Vanderbilt’s residential faculty is on the Residential Colleges website. Faculty interested in learning more about faculty head positions and the application process are encouraged to contact Gresalfi. Faculty interested in a faculty head position should complete an application, which includes uploading:

  1. A letter of interest, including any relevant qualifications, experience or expertise; and
  2. A current CV.

Residential Colleges maintains a list of interested faculty on an ongoing basis. Faculty will be contacted and interviewed as new opportunities emerge; thus, there is no set deadline for applications. Letters of interest will remain active and on file for five years.