Faculty-in-residence combine work and family

Butler University offers a unique experience for faculty members to live with students in the dorms through a program faculty-in-residence.

It also creates a very unusual situation for the families of faculty-in-residence.

After talking to Deb Lecklider and Meredith Beilfuss, both faculty-in-residence, Catherine Pangan was convinced that the faculty-in-residence program would be an incredible experience.

“I sent in my application and then was interviewed by a team that included Dean [Irene] Stevens,” Pangan said. “I remember getting the call. We were all at the Indianapolis Zoo, and I saw Dr. Stevens’ number pop up.

“I never thought in a million years that we would get it, because I wanted it so badly. [After] she said that we got it, we were all celebrating at the zoo.”

Pangan, assistant professor in the College of Education, knew her desire to become a faculty-in-residence would affect her entire family, but luckily her husband, Roland Pangan, was fully supportive of the move.

“He was all for [moving into Schwitzer],” Pangan said.  “I had mentioned that I really wanted to apply for this position and he was like ‘Oh, yeah let’s do it!’ He was open from the start, which is exciting and wonderful. He fits right in. He loves to do all the programming [with students] too.”

Although their living arrangements are much different than before, Pangan insists on keeping their family life as routine as possible, especially with her son, Hudson.

“We really try to maintain the family atmosphere,” Pangan said. “We make him set the table in Atherton every night. Also, his bedtime is still 8:00 p.m. even though he is in a freshman dorm.

“Everybody is super respectful. I am more worried about us being loud in the morning and waking the girls.”

According to Pangan, the students living in Schwitzer Hall, both last year and this year, have become like family.

“It’s getting to be like he has 500 sisters,” Pangan said. “He adores the Schwitzer residents and [in return] they seem extremely protective of him.

“He loves inviting them in for snacks and he also loves visiting their rooms.”

Hudson, who claims his favorite day of the year besides Christmas is Butler move-in day, has a mutual adoration of the students living in Schwitzer Hall.

“I was getting lonely at [our] other house,” Hudson said. “[But now] my favorite part of living here [is that] I have lots of friends who live in Schwitzer.”

Professor Chris Bungard, the faculty-in-residence at Ross hall, has had similar positive experiences living in the dorm setting.

“Becoming a faculty-in-residence [began as] a very good way to meet Butler students and to understand them better,” Bungard said. “You end up learning a lot about what it is like to live on this campus and to be a part of this university.

“Living with the students is a perspective that I think a lot of faculty do not end up getting.”

Bungard, an assistant professor in classical studies, made the decision to apply for the position before he and his wife, Kara Bungard, were married. At the time, she was hesitant about his choice.

“It was kind of a tough decision in part because you can only live in the apartment with your spouse. So she could only move in once we got married, and it put her in a tricky situation,” Bungard said. “But ultimately she came around to it.

“We got married last December and so she moved into Ross halfway through the year.”

Despite his wife’s initial uncertainty, Bungard said that she interacts with the students very well.

“Once we played ultimate Frisbee at night with a glow-in-the-dark Frisbee, which was actually her idea,” Bungard said. “It is nice [to have her around] because it is somebody else who has ideas of things.”

While they are both enjoying their positions right now, Bungard says that he is not sure how much longer he will be a faculty-in-residence.

“One of the factors involved is if my wife and I end up having kids anytime soon,” Bungard said. “I think that the apartments in Residential College work really well for having a family.”

Bungard said, he knows faculty-in-residence John Esteb has basically raised his two children in Residential College.

The layout of those apartments have more privacy, which would be better for raising a family, he said.

For now, both the Pangans and Bungards are happy with their living arrangements.

“I just keep coming across the word gift,” Pangan said. “It is just such a gift and privilege for the people to share their lives and college experiences with us.”

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