Faculty-In-Residence are full-time Butler faculty members who live on campus in one of three residence halls: Residential College, Irvington House, and Fairview House. These are faculty who are committed to students and the learning experience that takes place outside of the classroom, planning and implementing educational and social initiatives within the residence halls. Learn more about Bryan Furuness, a FIR in Irvington House.
Senior Lecturer, English
Why did you decide to become a Faculty-In-Residence (FIR)?
I was really drawn to the idea of helping students form a community. This has always been really important to me as a professor for my First Year Seminar courses, as I’ve worked with students who have just stepped out of their old community and are looking for a sense of belonging at Butler. Becoming a FIR seemed like an opportunity to do that on a larger scale.
How do students, especially first-year students, benefit from a FIR?
I learned earlier this year that if a student has an interaction with a faculty member outside of class, even if it’s brief, it means that they are much more likely to have a successful collegiate experience and graduate. So, that’s one big reason, but another benefit is that it allows students to see that faculty are human and faculty care about them. It’s not just a teacher and student relationship, but more like an experienced adult helping you find your people and find your way. We care about you as a whole person, not just as a student in our classroom.
What types of activities or opportunities do you plan for your residents?
We plan both formal and informal events throughout the academic year. On Halloween, I brought in some professional storytellers to tell spooky stories, and we also had a Super Bowl party this year. Then there are smaller things like offering study snacks before big exams or just informal dinners or times students come to take my dog on a walk.
What advice would you give a first-year student about connecting with their FIR?
I would say to just go say hello. I know sometimes students are reluctant to talk to professors because they don’t want to bother them, but the faculty who are FIRs are there because they want to be there. We’re there because we want to connect with students. You’re never bothering us—you’re giving us the connection that we’re looking for.
What advice would you give families of prospective students who are considering sending their students to Butler?
The FIR program is just one strand in a web of care. Butler really cares about supporting your child, and this program is just one way we do so. I would encourage both parents and students to look at the whole web of care that University offers.