RFs talk about learning in the dorms

The Study of Undergraduate Education at Stanford (SUES) currently under way is likely to result in a greater emphasis on the intersection between students’ residential and academic lives.

Key will be the 60 resident fellows (RFs), who are the faculty and senior staff who live in the dorms. They are charged with working with student residence staff to facilitate a culture of intellectual engagement in the residences.

Most RFs, like Rod Taylor, lecturer in the Program in Writing and Rhetoric, do so by introducing their residents to their personal interests and professional passions – in Taylor’s case, the bass guitar. Taylor is a second-year RF in the upperclass Robinson House with his wife, Kristen, an administrator in mechanical engineering.

A modernist literary critic, Taylor teaches the course Stepping Out from the Shadows: Music, the Bass Guitar and the Rhetoric of Revolution. So, naturally, the Taylors have invited such well-known bass guitarists as Grammy Award winner Victor Wooten to campus to talk about their work and to perform for – and with – students in the intimacy of the residences.

“I could try to have a Joyce reading club in the dorm, but there would be one person in it, and it would be me,” Taylor said.

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