Intellectual and Personal Growth
Over the course of four years, students evolve considerably both intellectually and personally. The residences are uniquely positioned to encourage and enable this process as so much learning happens outside of the classroom.
Students’ learning is daily and ongoing, but this learning is necessarily not an exclusively academic endeavor. In fact, given the dynamics of broader society, the learning about social interactions and a cultural understanding of difference become all the more critical to global citizenship today. A Stanford education needs to integrate not only what a student wants to do in the world, but who they want to be and how they can best become responsible and ethical global citizens and leaders.
The residences offer the unique opportunity for learning about oneself and about others. One of the advantages of a residential education is the opportunity for students to encounter others who will challenge their beliefs, encourage their growth and extend their thinking in meaningful ways. Living in a residential community should provide many occasions for students to engage with diversity and difference, encourage intellectual stimulation, and incorporate environments and events that enable students to become critical and careful thinkers. Having faculty, professional staff, and graduate students involved with the undergraduate residences is crucial to these learning processes.
A conscientiously designed residential education is one that is primed and supported to empower students in their intellectual and personal growth. It is also designed in the physical and social environment to evolve along with students’ developmental processes. Each year should provide more opportunities for their agency and independence. Ultimately living in community together can help extend the concept of education from something that happens in the classroom to a more dynamic notion of how the classroom and a living environment work together to help develop the whole individual.
The undergraduate residential environment must provide opportunities for integrative learning. Its spaces and staffing must actively communicate the importance of and look foropportunities for personal and intellectual learning.