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Professor inhabits Lyons

Nicole McAlee | Monday, December 9, 2013

When accounting professor Edward Hums graduated from Notre Dame in 1975, he never imagined he would return to campus as a resident, let alone in a women’s residence hall.

Hums and his wife Shirley have made Lyons Hall their home this academic year after the Office of Student Affairs approached them last year about the possibility of moving into a residence hall and becoming Notre Dame’s first faculty-in-residence. The couple accepted the offer and moved into Lyons in August, along with their cat Squeak.  

“I hope it’s working out well,” Hums said. “I think it is. My wife and myself have really enjoyed our time here [in Lyons].”  

Hums, who has taught at Notre Dame since 1989, said he and his wife are test driving the faculty-in-residence program.

“Because we’re the only faculty-in-residence at Notre Dame, we’re kind of the point people, kind of the pathfinders for this,” Hums said. “Hopefully, if things work out [in Lyons], it’s an opportunity to expand this program in other halls.”

Hums said they have not yet determined whether he will continue to live in Lyons next year, and whether the faculty-in-residence program will be expanded.

A native of Mishawaka, Hums said he did not live in a residence hall during his time at Notre Dame, so living in Lyons marks his first time as an on-campus resident at the University.

Hums said he decided to move into the residence hall because he perceives as a growing disconnect between students and faculty.

“I sense that somehow the faculty and students, when Notre Dame was a little smaller, were closer, and over time they have grown more apart,” Hums said. “I just sense that more and more, students and faculty do not have the opportunity to meet as much as we used to, and I thought it was a good idea to take some steps to change the situation.”

Hums said he is used to making himself available to students, but living in a residence hall is a good way to be even more accessible.

“The best thing about living in a dorm is surrounding yourself with students,” he said. “I’m a Notre Dame graduate and my wife has a master’s degree from Notre Dame. It gives us an opportunity to be with students and gives us an opportunity to learn from students. It gives the students an opportunity to learn from us.”

Hums said that Squeak the cat is a “great icebreaker” to encourage students to visit.

“Our secret weapon is our cat,” Hums said. “Students like to come over to pet the cat because they have pets at home and they miss their pets.”

Despite its benefits, dorm life still takes some getting used to, Hums said.

“It is a change. There are some challenge.,” he said. “Obviously, student hours are not the same as faculty hours. Some of us are up and teaching at eight in the morning. Students don’t go to bed at 11 o’clock at night.”

Contact Nicole McAlee at nmcalee@nd.edu