The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU professor Susanne Scholz in the West Bank in 2018.
SMU professor to return to campus after being trapped in Gaza for 12 years
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FiR Profile-Tom Tunks

Tom Tunks is a Faculty-in-Residence in Ware Commons. (Courtesy of SMU)

Title: Professor of Music, Faculty-in-Residence in Ware Residential Commons

Years at SMU: 34

Favorite academic subject outside of your own: Physics, engineering, arts, statistics, history, literature (our own being education and music).

Q: Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw?

A: Ware

Q: What is the best part about the new Residential Commons system?

A: The sense of community we already see developing among the students, RA staff, the RCD and us.

Q: What made you want to be a Faculty-in-Residence?

A: The chance to interact on a regular basis with students outside the classroom. We’ve done this before for shorter periods at SMU-in-Taos (SMU’s first living-learning community), Alternative break trips and other retreats. It gives everyone a better sense of the “real” people they’re with.

Q: What is your favorite part about living on campus?

A: See above. It’s been exactly as we’d expected – both beneficial and most enjoyable.

Q: Why is Ware the best Commons?

A: Of course, each person’s Commons is the best. We have the strongest allegiance to Ware both because we have known, respected and enjoyed working with various members of the Ware family for a long time, and because we’ve already developed a closeness with and respect for the Ware staff and many other residents. They’re a great group and fun.

Q: If you could design a Ware motto, what would it be?

A: Actually, I was there and participated when the Ware RCLC students did develop the motto, “Integrity without end”, or “Integritas in Perpetuum.” I can’t think of a better one.

Q: How involved are you, as a Faculty-in-Residence, with the students?

A: We’d like to be as involved as students want us to be. We’re constantly there, and interact with students quite a bit. However, it’s important to give people their space. We want them to know we’re always available, but we also know well that students don’t come to college for the purpose of hanging out with geezers. They’ll be quite capable of determining how much we interact, and it will certainly vary across students.

Q: What advice would you give to the students living in your Commons?

A: Relax, you’re already accepted. Go for the gusto, take academic chances, have fun and as Professor Kobylka said in his address at this year’s Convocation, “Don’t do anything TOO stupid.”

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