Widgets Magazine

Nadeem Hussain appointed as senior associate vice provost of residential affairs

Nadeem Hussain ‘90, dean of Freshman-Sophomore College (FroSoCo) and associate professor of philosophy, was recently appointed the senior associate vice provost of residential affairs where he will coordinate programming in undergraduate residences.

The Daily sat down with Hussain to discuss future plans and goals for Stanford’s residential program.


The Stanford Daily (TSD): How would you describe Stanford’s residential experience?

Nadeem Hussain (NH): There are two essential roles that [the undergraduate residential experience] plays. First is that if you, as a student, feel comfortable and safe and happy and supported by your friends and your residence, then you’re going to be able to make the most out of the rest of your life at Stanford.

And the second thing is the inevitably many life lessons you learn in interactions in the residential communities. You’re learning how to interact in fruitful ways with others on an individual level, you’re learning how to work collaboratively and effectively in teams, you’re learning what it means to be responsible and what happens if people aren’t responsible and you’re acquiring various kinds of relationships.


TSD: How is the experience different for students of different class years?

NH: I think we’ve done a great job making sure that when the students arrive as freshmen, they feel excited and welcomed at Stanford. When you come in as a freshman, the crucial thing is helping you develop relationships with other students, building community, feeling as though you belong.

Sophomore year is this interesting transition year where I think we need to do a lot more to make sophomores feel supported as they go through that transition. And part of it is convincing sophomores that not as much hangs on that decision [of choosing their majors] as they think it does.

The junior year experience is very interesting because a lot of students do go abroad or at least leave campus. We need to think about how to encourage them to do that.

Then in senior year, students are of course looking ahead to what they’re going to do after they leave Stanford. And their residences are a delivery point…to really giving them the resources to think about what kind of careers they want to have, what kind of people they want to be. One of the questions I always get from seniors is this difficult question of whether to spend the rest of your life, in a sense, primarily focusing on doing well for yourself or your family or whether you want to really change the world.


TSD: What are your short-term and long-term goals for the residential program?

NH: In the short run, [there is] a new dorm in Manzanita Park that’s guaranteed to happen. We’re looking into building new dorms elsewhere, and, hopefully, we’ll actually be able to do that soon.

We need to think in a much more comprehensive way about what it is we can do in order to make the residences the kinds of places where students do feel supported, happy, comfortable and safe.

There needs to be a channel with a much higher bandwidth of communication and interaction—where students know exactly where to go to be able to share their views about how things are working…it’s a bi-directional thing.


TSD: What are the biggest challenges you’re facing in your work?

NH: The biggest challenge is trying to get all the facilities on campus up to a point that we can really be proud of them. We, right now, just do not have enough beds on campus for undergraduates. And there are lots of places on campus where we’ve, in the past, had to convert common spaces of various kinds into dorm rooms.

It’s hard because you don’t want to disrupt the campus during the school year, so ideally you’d want to do construction and modification of places only during the summer, but you don’t have a lot of time during the summer.


TSD: Do you have any advice for undergraduates who might be going through the same residential experiences that you went through during your time at Stanford?

NH: My advice would be that life is incredibly unpredictable. People should relax, do what they find interesting, think about the future, plan, worry about it to some degree but, fundamentally, just take the opportunity to think about what they’re learning here and really enjoy and develop the relationships with other people here.

This faculty—they are world-class people. They have amazing research projects of their own, usually fascinating life stories, and they can bring you into that whole world of theirs and other worlds that they’re connecting to. So go out there and meet people.


Contact Kylie Jue at kyliej ‘at’ stanford.edu.

About Kylie Jue

Kylie Jue '17 was the Editor-in-Chief for Vol. 250. She first became involved with The Daily as a high school intern and now is a CS+English major at Stanford. A senior from Cupertino, California, she has also worked a CS 106 section leader. To contact Kylie, email her at kyliej ‘at’ stanford.edu.