Faculty member’s recognition as faculty in residence continues long tradition for department
Jumah Taweh, lecturer in Clemson’s communication department, was recently recognized by Clemson University Housing and Dining for contributions through its faculty-in-residence program. Taweh received the office’s 2016-2017 James E. Bostic Housing Partner of the Year Award, which recognizes a university faculty or staff member that enhances the residential experience of a specific community or communities.
Taweh has served as faculty in residence on campus since August 2016. As a faculty in residence, Taweh promotes interaction between students and faculty through out-of-classroom experiences. She lives within a residence hall so that she can share the living experience with students and implement educational, recreational, social and cultural programs while serving as an advisor, mentor and leader for students. Taweh said she was surprised and honored to receive the award during housing and dining’s summer kick-off luncheon in late May.
“I said ‘no you can’t be serious’ because I’m not a person that lives for recognition,” Taweh said, laughing. “I’ve loved living on campus and interacting with students so it was surreal to be awarded for it.”
Taweh assisted residents who experienced disagreements and used some conflicts to demonstrate how students can and should diffuse tension and find common ground with people. She was also able to be present for a student who had experienced a death in the family, a situation Taweh said she probably never would have encountered had she not been living on campus.
The experience isn’t just one conflict after another; Taweh said the positive aspects and great connections she has made with students far outweigh any stress that accompanies the experience. The convenience of living so close to the office and the ability to hold more office hours for students during nontraditional times is also a benefit.
Taweh previously served as resident coordinator for Pennsylvania State University, where she enjoyed being with students on a regular basis. She saw the faculty-in-residence program at Clemson as the best of both worlds, an opportunity to work as a communication lecturer while meeting students that she would otherwise never meet outside the classroom.
“My student affairs heart gets so happy helping students through good times and bad, but I also get to teach students and challenge them in an academic way,” Taweh said. “The program allows more moments to meet students where they are.”
Joseph P. Mazer, associate professor and associate department chair in Clemson’s communication department, is another of many communication faculty who can vouch for the many benefits of which Taweh speaks. Mazer said his wife and two children certainly enjoyed the benefit of many willing babysitters, but they got just as much out of the experience.
Mazer served as faculty in residence from 2014 to 2016, and he enjoyed similar experiences interacting with students. He said the program was a fantastic opportunity for him to embed himself and his family in residence halls to engage with students outside of the traditional classroom setting.
“Of all faculty members in the program, the communication department makes up for well over half,” Mazer said. “Considering the great work of our faculty, it doesn’t surprise me that they want to engage with students in ways that push the boundaries of the classroom.”