Correction: This article originally stated that Professor Hussain served as a residential fellow. In fact, he had only worked with Residential Education in its central office.
The Freshman-Sophomore College (FroSoCo) has a new dean, only the program’s second since its founding in 1999.
Nadeem J.Z. Hussain ‘90, a professor of philosophy, has been tapped to lead the residential program, which houses freshmen and sophomores on West campus. Hussain has worked in Residential Education’s central office and has taught at Stanford since 2000.
Hussain, who majored in symbolic systems when he was a Stanford undergraduate, said that his experience as a student at the Farm motivated his decision to take on the appointment.
“When I was a freshman at Trancos in Wilbur Hall long ago, the RF had us over for dinner with John Perry, a philosophy professor,” Hussain wrote in an e-mail to The Daily. “After a fascinating conversation, he said, ‘Why don’t you become a philosopher?’”
“I kept taking my physics major courses for a while, but that conversation eventually led to my becoming a philosopher,” Hussain continued. “FroSoCo is aimed at creating enhanced opportunities for just those kinds of conversations and now I have the chance to help make that happen.”
He also noted that joining a “lively and close-knit community” was especially appealing.
“It’s a great program that students like a lot. The thought of being part of that was really exciting,” he said.
Prior to Hussain, FroSoCo has had only one dean, its founder John Bravman ‘79 M.S. ’81 Ph.D. ’85. Bravman had earned a reputation among students of the college for his dedication and approachability. Provost John Etchemendy Ph.D. ’82 said that in selecting the new dean, Hussain’s profile of Stanford connections made a crucial difference.
With those ties in mind, one of Hussain’s top priorities is to build and strengthen connections between FroSoCo students and Stanford faculty and staff.
“I want to work closely with Undergraduate Advising and Research to figure out which faculty and other staff … would be crucial to have our students get to know,” he said, pointing specifically to examining which courses appealed most to students or could benefit from greater exposure, and the importance of finding faculty who can serve as mentors.
The FroSoCo program itself is in no danger of being scaled back in the wake of Bravman’s departure, according to administrators. Instead, according to Etchemendy, the University is looking into initiating more programs similar to FroSoCo in upcoming years.
“We think that the FroSoCo has been quite successful,” Etchemendy said. “One of the things we’ve been interested in has been duplicating FroSoCo.”
He added that the cost of the programming for the activity-driven college was higher than that of an average dorm, and that achieving some of its effects with “less money” would be vital for any new implementation of a similar model.
For his part, Hussain believes that FroSoCo serves a crucial need for the Stanford community.
“To respond to all the different interests and backgrounds students have, Stanford needs to have different kinds of residences and has to keep experimenting within those residences,” Hussain said. “FroSoCo is one of these ongoing experiments.”