Residential colleges at Ambler Johnston are places where students belong, learn, and give. These living-learning communities are multi–disciplinary and multigenerational (open to freshman through graduate levels). Meaningful and sustained relationships with faculty, staff, and peers are integral to the experience as students pursue learning together. Residential colleges provide the space for students to live in an intellectually, culturally, and socially rich setting; they seek self–motivated, lifelong learners, with diverse interests, who will build a community of scholars in the spirit of Virginia Tech's motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve).

Assumptions of a Residential College Living-Learning Community at Virginia Tech

Residential colleges have a rich history, starting with their origins in the Middle East and later in the United Kingdom. This model has spread throughout the United States. Beginning at Harvard and Yale, residential colleges now can be found at institutions like University of Miami, Southern Methodist University, and Rice University. The residential college model varies from campus to campus and therefore we believe it is important that at Virginia Tech we state our assumptions of what defines a residential college.

  • Residential Colleges are multi-disciplinary (they are not grounded in one academic major/discipline) rather they are open to any academic major at Virginia Tech. 
  • Residential Colleges are multi-generational. We believe rich learning and mentoring occurs when students from all years (first year through graduate) interact with each other and faculty and staff.
  • Residential Colleges are led by a live-in faculty principal and supported by a live-in student affairs professional.
  • Residential Colleges have a robust governance system which is shared by the junior fellows (undergraduate members) and the senior fellows (faculty principal, affiliated faculty and administrators).
  • College life consists of regularly scheduled events that create a rhythm of life in the college for its members.(Community traditions/events occur at the same time each week).
  • Residential Colleges serve to enhance the intellectual ethos of the community while providing a close knit community experience/sense of belonging
  • Residential Colleges have intentionally designed physical spaces that practically and symbolically communicate a residential college’s emphasis on holistic student learning and development.

Residential Colleges at Virginia Tech in the News:

VT News: University launches new residential colleges to foster student-faculty engagement

VT News: Virginia Tech opens its second residential college to 800 students

The Washington Post: A new kind of dorm (photo gallery)

The Washington Post: Virginia Tech dorm becomes a learning experience

The Washington Post: More public universities turn dorms into residential colleges

Residential College Resources on the Web:

The Collegiate Way:Residential Colleges and the Renewal of Campus Life

A Collegiate Way of Living (PDF)
Mark B.Ryan, Yale University. 2001

Students as Teachers: What Faculty Learn by Living on Campus (PDF)
Sriram, R., Shushok,F., Perkins, J., & Scales, T. (2011). Journal of College and University Housing