March 22, 2012 5:45 AM
A unique community exists at Wall Residential College, where students and faculty members gather to exchange ideas about academics, sports, music, life after graduation or whatever is on their minds. W Godbey, an associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, joined the community as the Wall professor-in-residence this academic year, along with his family.
“The purpose of the Wall professor is to bridge the chasm between students and faculty,” Godbey says. “We want the students to realize even faculty members are always learning — and since we’re all doing the same thing, we should be able to rub elbows with each other.”
Godbey’s favorite activity is having a couple of students over for breakfast or dinner with him and his wife, Dr. Sherri Godbey, and nine-year-old son, Dustin.
“I never know what’s going to come up,” Godbey says, “and it’s always interesting!”
Even Dustin sometimes joins in. “If we talk about molecular biology then he’s pretty quiet,” Godbey says, “but if it’s something like Mardi Gras Indians, well, then he has an opinion.”
The community atmosphere drew architecture senior, Chamberlaine Beard, to Wall Residential College three years ago.
“It gives us opportunities to see professors at our own level,” says Beard. “Having dinners and activities together gives us a chance to talk to them as peers instead of just professors.”
Wall Faculty Fellows, 12 Tulane professors and experts chosen by Godbey, present talks, attend banquets and participate in a program called “flunch” where students join a fellow of their choosing for lunch at Bruff Commons.
“Chats about stuff,” weekly talks held at Godbey’s Wall apartment, have featured jazz musician John Doheny, a Mardi Gras Indian Big Chief and his Big Queen, and a “Girls, Girls, Girls” series about the challenges professional women face dealing with chauvinism, and balancing career and family.
Belinda Lacoste is a student studying journalism in the School of Continuing Studies and a staff member who writes for the School of Science and Engineering.
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