Residential Academic Initiatives

Purdue President Mung Chiang meets with Executives in Residence Jason Tennenhouse and Bruce Schechter.Mission 

Residential Academic Initiatives provides academic enhancement through faculty-partnered engagement opportunities, residential learning connections, and academic support programs within our residence halls. 


Maximize the opportunities for students, faculty and staff to interact in meaningful ways that connect and enhance academic and residential experiences. 

Learning Outcomes 

Students will… 

  • Recognize that learning is a continuously immersive process 
  • Recognize and actively engage in opportunities that connect and blend their classroom and residential experiences 
  • Pursue their academic and personal development within the residential community 


Recognizing that student learning is a continuous process both inside and outside the classroom, Residential Academic Initiatives, in alignment with Purdue University’s mission and driven by a comprehensive residential educational experience, seeks to cultivate environments and opportunities for learning within the residence setting.  

Vital to this goal is connection: students to students, students to faculty and staff, and students to the campus community – to foster a shared experience of learning, discovery, and achievement. This goal is achieved through a variety of initiatives, various partnerships and sponsored activities with academic departments and support programs. 

Faculty Fellows  

This program provides the opportunity for student-faculty and student-staff interactions that are vital to student development and mentoring relationships. Each Faculty Fellow engages with a specific floor in a residence hall. Faculty Fellows come from all walks of the University: vice-presidents, deans, department heads, administrators, faculty and staff. Acting upon reviews and recommendations by the residence hall students and Residential Life staff, the Assistant Director of Residential Academic Initiatives appoints Faculty Fellows to a particular residence hall on an annual renewal basis. A Senior Faculty Fellow is chosen for each hall to help coordinate the hall's program while working with the Residence Education Coordinator of the hall. You can learn about the program by visiting the webpage linked above.  

Faculty-in-Residence Program 

Engaged faculty live in an apartment within a residence hall, participate and sponsor programming related to their field of research/expertise, and provide social engagement opportunities. Faculty commit to a two-year experience in the residence hall. 

Favorite Faculty Reception

This is held on an annual basis each spring and is an opportunity for students to nominate faculty members for a number of awards through invited submissions. Faculty Fellows, nominated faculty members, and students who submitted nominations are invited to attend and interact at the reception as a congratulations and recognition event. The event includes remarks from the Office of the Provost as well as the Vice Provost of Student Life. 

Learning Communities

A learning community is a group of students who in most cases live together and take classes together. The instructor of those classes also plan events and programs associated with the LC topic and/or to help the students connect to each other and to Purdue. There are over 80 learning communities and sizes of individual learning communities range from 20 students to 300 studentsYou can learn more about individual learning communities and the overall program by visiting our website 

University Residences Support Centers 

These spaces are located in Cary and Shreve residence halls and are intentionally designed for students to engage in learning where they live. The centers help foster faculty and student engagement through impactful learning and intellectual development within an innovative environment boasting both collaborative work space and quiet study areas.  

Meet the Team

Photo of Tom Robson, Ph.D.

Tom Robson, Ph.D.

Assistant Director for Faculty Engagement, Residential Academic Initiatives
Photo of Jordan Richards

Jordan Richards

Assistant Director of Residential Academic Initiatives, Special Projects and Housing Liaison

“I deeply value the mentoring and learning experiences that we foster in Residential Life at Hillenbrand Hall, where many of my students live.  For example, this evening I heard from a student in last year's Statistics Living Learning Community, who just received acceptance to his top choice graduate program.  By working with Residential Academic Initiatives, I can unify the academic and residential aspects of the student experience.  I love to empower students to reach their full potential.” 

– Dr. Mark Daniel Ward Associate Professor and Undergraduate Chair Department of Statistics, Department of Mathematics 

“Working with Dr. Gardner through the Faculty Fellow program is wonderful!  I had the privilege of being in one of Dr. Gardner’s courses in my freshman year at Purdue.  Even then, she always made her students feel like they were seen and listened to so I was excited to have her as a Faculty Fellow at Hilltop Apartments.  My residents are always excited to see Dr. Gardner and love trying to beat her at our game nights!  We’ve learned a lot from her through her experiences that she shares and we love seeing her silly side. It’s professors like Dr. Gardner and programs like the Faculty Fellow program that help give Purdue the feel of a small community where you are known and cared for.” 

– Sarah Brokovich, student 

"Working with Dr. Beaudoin has had such a positive impact on both me and my residents. It is clear how much he enjoys interacting with the residents, and how he truly wants to be by his persistent interaction with my residents on an individual level. He even offers to go knock on their doors and personally invite them to events with me because he wants so badly to build relationships with them all! He would do anything to help the students. He wants to be a part of their personal growth. He always asks about how residents are doing with work, school, and even romantically. Whenever someone tells him about an upcoming date, Dr. Beaudoin is sure to lend some advice and check in about it later. It helps residents realize that professors are not intimidating and they are real people too. Professor Beaudoin often also brings his son Mike to events, and their banter is always a great addition to any event. The faculty fellow program gives students access to a faculty member that helps the students both professionally and socially. Dr. Beaudoin truly cares about each student and by having him as a resource the campus feels a little more like home. He is part of the floor family on Third Street Suites Second floor south. He shows residents he cares and will support them, and even though he has a lot of commitments he never lets this one fall to the wayside. It really is an invaluable service. Working with Dr. Beaudoin has helped my personal growth in countless ways. He was kind enough to provide me with an opportunity to perform research in his lab, and because of this opportunity I now am seriously considering grad school. He also is an invaluable connection for me in my major of Chemical Engineering. I know Dr. Beaudoin will always be there for both my residents and me." 

– Kacie Bradfish, student

Collaborate with us - we can help! 

At Purdue, we have one of the largest and best collegiate residential inventories in the country. One of the many things we can offer you is space. As part of University Residences, RAI has access to a multitude of collaboration spaces, with a variety of technology, that are right where the students want to be – within their homes! We also have extensive experience in program planning and logistics. We want to share these spaces with you, the faculty and staff, to reinforce classroom learning and allow students to apply their knowledge. 

We all want to see our graduates succeed and have the best experiences possible - so let’s work together and create these positive experiences associated with our students’ education and obtaining a Purdue degree. 

RAI wants to help you provide opportunities to increase student-faculty interactions that can lead to invaluable experiences for students. We want to partner with and assist you, whether it is a fully formed plan or a rough idea. Some examples might include: 

  • You could have a BIG idea such as partnering for a residential study abroad experience. 
  • You may have something more local in mind, such as a trip to an event in Indianapolis or even simply hosting a study session prior to a major exam in one of our residence halls. 

We are not limited to providing space, so pleaseshare with us what ideas and needs you haveand we will work with you to make it happen.