All in the Neighborhood

For many university students, interactions with professors are mostly limited to class time and office hours. But at NYU Abu Dhabi, many faculty members also play the role of neighbor, around to provide advice, and sugar when you need it.

Faculty Fellows-in-Residence are an important part of community-building at NYUAD and provide students with unique opportunities to connect with professors at casual events and even around a dinner table, instead of a classroom.

It can have a meaningful impact and create special bonds, said Assistant Professor of Visual Arts Goffredo Puccetti, and that's why he often invites small groups of students over to his campus apartment for a meal and intellectual conversation that sometimes lasts for several hours.

It's a chance for students to be open about their feelings and talk about controversial issues without worrying about political correctness, Puccetti said, which can “affect their own lives and careers in one way or another."

It's nice to have parental figures around when our own parents are so far away.

Hannah Melville-Rea, Class of 2019
Assistant Professor of Practice of Visual Arts Goffredo Puccetti (second from left), Residential College Director Robert Leary (third from left), and Roberto El Khoury, Class of 2015 (far right).

"Goffredo and Francesca make living here a lot more homey," remarked Hannah Melville-Rea, Class of 2019. "They even invited freshmen into their apartment for Italian tiramisù during Marhaba, and hosted a sushi and mystery box night. It's nice to have parental figures around when our own parents are so far away."

There's a clear distinction between classroom relationships and being neighbors, said Faculty Fellow and Associate Vice Provost for Academic Development Bryan Waterman, because faculty can get to know diverse groups of students from all areas of study. "It’s a different kind of relationship with students than if you only know those who take your classes," he said.

Ridda Manzoor, Class of 2018, added, "Having faculty living on campus creates a greater sense of community since we interact and get to know them outside of classes and build more meaningful relationships."