The residents of Park/Mudd Residential College might notice some changes happening in their dorm this year — talent shows, jazz music, films.
It’s all part of Stamos Metzidakis’ plan to bring a faculty presence to the residential college and have a little fun in the process.
Metzidakis and his wife, Sarah, are the newest faculty family living in the South 40. They are the fifth family to accept the University’s invitation to live rent-free on campus for three years since the faculty family program was started in 1998.
Officially, their role is to integrate academic and residential life.
“When this idea was proposed to me, I thought it was something I just couldn’t pass up,” said Metzidakis, Ph.D., professor of French and of comparative literature, both in Arts & Sciences. “The whole staff has been so helpful getting us settled and taking care of our daily needs.
“It’s been a wonderful experience so far.”
Metzidakis, who moved into his new apartment in Park/Mudd in July, sees his role as helping add a faculty presence to everyday residential life.
“I think we are there to show the students, more than anything, that professors are real people and that they have a life, that they are not only people who walk in and out of a classroom,” he said. “Students see me in shorts or wearing tennis shoes. They see me working in my office. I think it helps to show them that faculty are studying and working and doing many of the same things students are doing.”
The Metzidakises have two children in college, so they know a few things about how students react to the experience of living on their own for the first time.
Metzidakis has been working with students almost since the day he arrived at the University 22 years ago.
He was one of the first faculty members involved in the Faculty Associates Program, which also provides opportunities for significant faculty-student interaction outside the classroom setting. He’s been an on-site director of a year abroad program and a summer institute in France.
“It was a very natural transition when they proposed this to me,” he said. “Our kids are out of the house now, so in a sense this is a nice substitution — we now have 300 surrogate children!”
The South 40 staff is happy to have the Metzidakises on board.
“I am pleased that Stamos and his family have joined our faculty fellows program,” said Justin X. Carroll, director of residential life. “His more than 20 years teaching at the University, his enthusiasm for undergraduate education and his past participation in our freshmen floor Faculty Associates Program make him well suited for this important position.
“The Metzidakises also offer a unique perspective as they are parents of two college students.”
Metzidakis has planned several new programs for residents this year. He has proposed a “Classics of World Cinema” film series that will showcase a film from a different country each month of the academic year. There will be Monday Night Football parties, a Super Bowl party, cooking contests, St. Louis jazz bands and student talent shows.
And Sarah loves to cook, so residents will be treated to several home-cooked meals.
“We do have a sense of independence in our living arrangement, but we are also very connected to the students,” Metzidakis said. “It’s a great balance. I think the University has come up with a great idea with this program, and I suspect that once faculty families have moved into all nine residential colleges, it will be a wonderful program for the University and especially for the students.”
When Metzidakis isn’t teaching or researching, he’s traveling. He and Sarah have been all over the world.
The couple also enjoys jazz and blues music, watching movies and entertaining. Metzidakis is a rabid Rams football fan and never misses a game, either in person or on television.
“We are both very excited about being a faculty family,” he said. “I think it will be a great opportunity to share our interests and ideas with students and to learn from them as well.”