Students living in the South 40 welcome two new Faculty Fellows

Students living in the Park/Mudd and Brookings residential colleges may notice some wiser and more mature residents this semester.

Joseph Thompson, Ph.D., senior lecturer in English and African and African American studies, both in Arts & Sciences; and Patrick Eisenlohr, Ph.D., assistant professor of linguistic anthropology in Arts & Sciences, have moved into apartments in Park/Mudd and Brookings, respectively.

Patrick Eisenlohr, Ph.D., assistant professor of linguistic anthropology in Arts & Sciences, relaxes in his apartment with his wife, Roschanack Shaery-Eisenlohr, Ph.D., postdoctoral lecturer in Asian and near eastern languages and literatures in Arts & Sciences, and his daughters, Shirin (left), 2 1/2, and Leyli, almost 1.

They are the two newest of five Faculty Fellows currently living on the Danforth Campus’ South 40.

The goal of the Faculty Fellows program, started in 1998, is to help integrate academic and residential life by having professors live in the residential colleges with students for three-year stints.

The program emerged in response to the realization that there was a growing gap between faculty members and undergraduate students on college campuses. In addition, many faculty members wished to extend their interaction with students outside the academic realm. Today, many campuses across the nation have well-developed faculty/student interaction programs similar to the one at WUSTL.

“Over the last 10 years, the Faculty Fellows program has enriched the lives of the students living on the South 40,” said Jill A. Stratton, assistant dean of students and director of residential academic programs.

“Each faculty member contributes his or her own unique talents, interests and personality to the position. We have been fortunate to have such dynamic faculty as a part of the program and are grateful to them and their families for serving in this important role.”

Thompson and Eisenlohr are enjoying their new roles.

“For us, it’s wonderful to live there. The students are nice and respectful, and it’s great to have them around as neighbors,” said Eisenlohr, who moved into his apartment in November 2006 and started his duties in January 2007.

“I get a close perspective on how students live and how they learn,” Eisenlohr said. “I get a better idea of how many classes they actually take, the stress they have in midterm and exam time. I’ve learned to be flexible in the timing of assignments.”

Eisenlohr’s wife, Roschanack Shaery-Eisenlohr, Ph.D., post-doctoral lecturer in Asian and near eastern languages and literatures in Arts & Sciences, joins him in the apartment, along with the couple’s two daughters — Shirin, 2 1/2, and Leyli, almost 1.

“The activities we do with our students fit into our family life and they are often also extensions of our academic interests. For example, I took students to a Hindu temple and a mosque in St. Louis, which is part of my research interests,” said Eisenlohr, who studies linguistic and media practices in transnational settings, especially their role in the making of religious authority and subjectivity.

Joseph Thompson, Ph.D. (left), assistant professor of English and of African and African American studies, both in Arts & Sciences, chats in his apartment with junior Mike Hayes.

Thompson moved into his apartment before the beginning of this semester. He said he has long been looking for a way to be more involved with students outside the classroom.

“During my time at the University, much of my energy has been focused on dealing with students as thinkers and writers in the classroom,” he said. “But obviously there is a whole other component to students — who they are as people. I was interested in dealing with them holistically and learning more about how to mentor and advise them on a broader level, as they take what they learn here and grow into productive citizens of the world.”

While Thompson, who is single, gets settled into his apartment, he has started to think about some programming he’d like to incorporate, such as a possible film series and a trip to Forest Park to ride the paddleboats.

Thompson also will be taking a group of students to see the Black Rep’s performance of “Boesman and Lena” at Edison Theatre, followed by a discussion in his apartment with students and actor Ron Himes, a member of the cast and the Henry E. Hampton Jr. Artist-in-Residence in the Performing Arts Department in Arts & Sciences.

“I’m very much looking forward to the three years,” Thompson said. “I see this experience as something that I want to weave into my own personal journey. It’s not just another aspect of my job. I believe my activities as a Faculty Fellow will significantly enrich the next three years of my life.”

For more information on the program, visit