MIT Faculty Newsletter  
Vol. XXV No. 2
November / December 2012
Faculty MIT 2030 Task Force Report Clearly Identifies Key Issues
Report of the Task Force on Community Engagement in 2030 Planning on Development of MIT- Owned Property in Kendall Square
What Students Want From Faculty
Task Force on Community Engagement with 2030 Planning
Graduate Student Life, Research Productivity, and the MITIMCo Proposal
The Millenials@MIT: Discussions on the Generational Changes in the Graduate Student Population
The Office of Faculty Support:
What Can We Do To Help You?
Preparing for a New Industrial Revolution
MIT: First in the World, Sixth in the U.S.?
An Opportunity for Faculty to Help Shape MIT’s Remarkable Graduate Student Community
Faculty Committee Activity: Fall 2012 Update
Progress Report on the Bernard M. Gordon – MIT Engineering Leadership Program
The Alumni Class Funds Seek Proposals for Teaching and Education Enhancement
MITAC: Your Ticket to Cultural and Recreational Activities
Why We Need HumanitiesX
Campus Population FY 1981 – 2012
Printable Version

An Opportunity for Faculty to Help Shape MIT’s Remarkable Graduate Student Community

Costantino J. Colombo and Christine Ortiz

Housemasters have been at the heart of the MIT graduate student experience since the 1930s, when Dr. Avery Ashdown (PhD ’24) was selected as the first live-in faculty resident of any of the dormitories at MIT. Today, faculty still hold a vital place as the intellectual and community leaders of the residential system for graduate students.

This year, MIT is seeking to appoint faculty housemasters to two graduate dormitories for a term beginning in the 2013-2014 academic year. At Ashdown House, MIT’s oldest graduate community, EECS Professor Terry Orlando and Dr. Ann Orlando will be stepping down after more than a decade of living alongside graduate students, including overseeing Ashdown’s 2008 move from its former location to a brand new building at Pacific & Albany Streets.


Next door at Sidney Pacific, HST Professor Roger Mark and Dorothy Mark are also ending their terms after leading their building through its first 10 years. They have overseen the development of a remarkable community at MIT’s largest residence hall, including a wonderful 10th anniversary celebration this past July.

Sidney Pacific:

“We have had the pleasure of supporting incredibly talented, creative, and committed student leaders as they have worked hard to develop our residential community into a welcoming, supportive, and very socially active home,” Roger Mark says of the experience. “The dorm is highly diverse: close to half of the 700 residents are international students from more than 50 different countries. We have made many close friends from all over the world, and for me a pinnacle experience was officiating at the marriage of two of our officers! Serving as a housemaster has definitely been the highlight of my MIT years.”

Graduate Housemasters have a rich, engaging, and influential position. As the senior residents in the community, they serve in a role that is part advisor and advocate, mentor, and neighbor.

They also are central to fostering community and sustaining the special traditions of each location in partnership with very active and mature student executive committees. Besides the personal and social experience of working directly with graduate students, there are several other more tangible benefits. Housemasters receive free housing, in beautiful apartments located right on the MIT campus, as well as a salary supplement.

“One of the joys of ‘Housemastering’ is watching a student grow in leadership skills as they participate in the governing structure of Ashdown House. And there is deep satisfaction during graduation to see a student whom we have assisted over a ‘rough patch’ graduate as an accomplished and confident professional,” says Ann Orlando. “Living with a vibrant group of international scholars has enriched our lives more than we could have imagined – from music to art to photography to cooking to athletic skills. And mostly we will cherish the friendships made over the years.”

If this sounds exciting to you, please consider applying to serve as a graduate Housemaster. To learn more about the rewards and responsibilities, contact Henry Humphreys, the Senior Associate Dean for Residential Life, at or (617) 252-1505. Dean Humphreys will be happy to answer your questions about the logistics of moving to campus or to put you in touch with other graduate Housemasters so you can learn more about this special position in the MIT community.

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