MIT's 37 fraternities, sororities and independent living groups (FSILGs) have been invited to recruit faculty advisors to act as mentors and role models as well as to provide a liaison to the administration and faculty.
The request was made in a letter to all FSILG scholarship chairs from Greg Townsend, vice president of internal affairs for the Interfraternity Council, and Kate Baxter, program coordinator for Residential Life and Student Life Programs (RLSLP).
Their letter said:
"Though it existed in the past, the faculty advisor program has been recently redesigned to simplify the process of matching faculty members with living groups, and to increase the interactions between the two, both on and off campus.
"As well as providing a link between your FSILG and the many academic resources at the Institute, your faculty advisor will also be encouraged to hold meetings, discussions and/or presentations within your living group on useful topics such as rï¿½sumï¿½ writing, time management or a topic of your choice. We feel that it will be very beneficial for every living group to have a faculty member the living group knows well and who understands their specific needs and concerns.
"Though the purpose of this program is based on scholastic interaction and growth, your advisors will also be encouraged to organize social outings or events and will be provided with a monetary allowance to cover some of those expenses. When choosing a faculty advisor, be sure to consider those people with whom your FSILG will enjoy spending time, both socially and academically."
The goal is to have faculty advisors at about half the FSILGs by the end of the spring semester. Currently, only a few FSILGs (mostly fraternities) have advisors, while the national organizations of several others encourage chapters to acquire one. "Those are the FSILGs we are looking to help first," said Mr. Townsend, a junior in mechanical engineering and a member of Lambda Chi Alpha.
Each faculty advisor will be expected to attend two dinner meetings at the house each semester, act as a confidant for members of the FSILG executive board, and be a neutral third party if conflicts arise among the members.
The Presidential Task Force on Student Life and Learning report of 1998 recommended fostering stronger faculty-student ties as part of building a stronger sense of community on campus.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on November 22, 2000.