Daniel O’Sullivan, associate professor of French, has been named senior fellow for the first of two planned residential colleges at the University of Mississippi.
O’Sullivan has been appointed to replace former senior fellow Tristan Denley, who resigned from the position to become provost of Austin Peay State University. O’Sullivan was chosen for the position from a group of applicants.
“He has a lot of enthusiasm, a lot of ideas and creativity,” said Carolyn Staton, special assistant to the chancellor and provost emeritus.
The position of senior fellow encompasses many responsibilities. O’Sullivan will be the main coordinator of the college. He will be in charge of scheduling activities, providing leadership for the students-in-residence and organizing some 50 faculty fellows in the college.
“He’s in charge of setting the academic tone for the college and for helping the students develop programs that integrate the academic and social life together,” Staton said.
Providing leadership for the students is one of O’Sullivan’s biggest priorities.
“When it comes down to it, it’s about mentoring the students – mentoring them intellectually, socially and, in some respects, spiritually,” O’Sullivan said. “Those are my responsibilities.”
In August 2009, when the college opens, O’Sullivan plans to move into the three-bedroom senior fellow lodge with his wife, religion instructor Patricia O’Sullivan, and their two children, Marion and Colm. The whole family is eagerly looking forward to the move, he said.
As senior fellow, O’Sullivan has set high goals for the college.
“I want it to be a place that is lively and engaging and offers student opportunities to learn from us as professors.” he said. “We’ll learn from each other, and I’m sure I’m going to learn a great deal from them. I want it to be a place for the exchange of ideas, of interests, of mutual endeavor. I want to turn it into a sort of microcosm of the university that we would all dream of living in.”
Leading up to the opening of the college, O’Sullivan is busy preparing and making plans.
“We have to discuss the student governing body and the government structure. We have to discuss certain committees that students will work on as part of that structure. We have a lot of work to do, but it’s so exciting. I’m totally invigorated by it.”
One important factor in the preparation process is recruitment. O’Sullivan encourages all students to think about joining life at the residential college. “It’s something that every student owes to him or herself to consider doing,” he said.
Granted tenure last year, O’Sullivan has been teaching at UM since 2002. He plans to continue teaching French during his tenure as senior fellow.
To find out more about the residential college, go to https://www.olemiss.edu/rcollege/ .