Resident heads to leave house system

By Katherine Anne Robinson

Seven houses will see their Resident Heads (RHs) depart at the end of this summer. Katie Callow-Wright, director of the University Housing System, is unsure how the departure of the RHs of Snell, Hitchcock, Mathews, Michelson, Fishbein, Palmer, and Harper Houses will affect the housing community. “It’ll be a wait and see,” Callow-Wright said. “It’s hard to speculate.”

Most RHs noted academic or career-related reasons for leaving. Christopher and Atsuko Nelson, the RHs of Snell House, are leaving because Christopher was offered a professorship in the anthropology department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Tom and Tracy Hafen, Hitchock’s RHs for the past seven years, cited Tom’s acceptance to business school as their cause of departure, and Stefanie Kelly, an RH in Filbey House, said that she and her husband, Theodore Iwashyna, are leaving because he just graduated from medical school and was offered a position at the University of Pennsylvania. “While we would really like to stay, we have no choice but to move to Philly,” Kelly said.

According to Gavin Brockett, an RH of Harper House, and one of those departing at the end of the academic year, this year’s number is not unusual. “It’s a very regular transition that happens every few years,” Brockett said. “Resident Heads don’t typically stay more than five years.”

Callow-Wright concurred with Brockett. “Each year you can expect a handful [of RHs] to move on,” she said.

While Housing has not yet concluded the process of selecting the new RHs, they have been looking at candidates since January.

The RH selection process is similar to that for Assistant Resident Heads which just concluded, Callow-Wright explained. “It involves an application, a series of interviews with Housing, RAs, and students, and finally results in a decision between the Resident Masters of a particular house and the housing office.”

Callow-Wright expects to have concluded the process by early May and to announce the replacement RHs shortly thereafter.