Faculty Involvement

Faculty in Residence

Our Faculty in Residence work closely with our Residence Directors in International Village and the Honors Program with our first year residents. Dr. Rifat Saphi and Dr. Mindelyn Buford II have been great assets to the International Village community and the Department of Residential Life.

Rifat Photo

Professor Rifat Sipahi

Mechanical and Industrial Engineering
321 Snell Engineering Center
email: rifat@coe.neu.edu

A little bit about Rifat’s background…

Rifat’s home country is Turkey but has lived in the US since 2000. He earned his BSc degree from Istanbul Technical University in Turkey before earning his MSc and PhD at the University of Connecticut in mechanical engineering. After having earned his degrees, Rifat became a researcher in France for one year before joining the faculty of the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering in 2006.

“Since the first time I started teaching, I have always enjoyed the interactions with students, whether it is related to teaching, research, or advising on career opportunities. To further continue my interactions with students, even outside the classroom, I have decided to be a part of the Faculty-in-Residence (FiR) program.”

A little bit about Rifat’s interests…

You can find Rifat challenging students in a match of ping pong, participating in soccer events and watching the NBA games. He is passionate in expanding his love of learning different cultures by traveling, improving his French, cooking and dining at many of the ethnic restaurants to practice his love of enjoying fine cuisine with his wife, Alix, and son, Maxime.

“As a scientist, I so much enjoy living in Boston - one of the major cities in the world where the heart of science beats. I blend my hobbies, passion, and excitement into the FiR programs I run for the International Village residents.”

FiR Programs hosted by Rifat

Some of Rifat’s most successful programs include:

  • Crepes Night: several times a semester, Rifat and his wife invite residents to their apartment to make cultural desserts
  • Competitions: “My Freshman Year” video, design, egg drop and paper airplane
  • Workshops: “how to be successful in college”
  • Fieldtrips: Museum of Science, theater, local festivals

Mindelyn Photo - for bio1

Mindelyn Buford

Department of Sociology and Anthropology
201 Renaissance Park
email: m.buford@neu.edu

A little bit about Mindelyn’s background…

Originally from San Pablo, CA, Mindelyn relocated to the East Coast in 2004. Mindelyn earned her B.A. in Sociology with minors in Anthropology and Policy Studies from UCLA and both her M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology from Johns Hopkins University. She joined the Northeastern University Department of Sociology and Anthropology in August 2010. Mindelyn’s areas of specialization include Social Inequality and Mobility, Racial and Ethnic Minorities, International Migration and Qualitative Methodology.

A little bit about Mindelyn’s interests…

Mindelyn and her husband, Augustus, welcomed their twin daughters, Olivia and Vivian, in July 2013; making them the youngest residents of International Village. Mindelyn enjoys outdoor activities, traveling, international cuisine, multicultural events and the company of good people.

FiR Programs hosted by Mindelyn

Some of Mindelyn’s most successful programs include:
  • International Dessert Night: several times a semester, Mindelyn and her husband invite residents to their apartment to enjoy desserts from around the globe
  • Game Nights: The Newly-roommate Game; Family Feud; INV Pi Day Challenge
  • Field Trips: Museum of Fine Arts, The Freedom Trail, Huntington Theatre Company
  • Exploring Boston: Haley House Community Tables, Villa Victoria Chinese New Year Festival, Berklee Beantown Jazz Festival

Faculty Involvement


The Department of Residential Life sees the value of the interaction between students and faculty and thus has created multiple opportunities for out of classroom experiences that bring both together. “The more students interact with faculty in a variety of formal and informal settings, the greater the degree of students will be committed to the institution,” (Pascarella, 1980).

Not only does this type of involvement improve the experiences of students, but research has shown that faculty also have a lot to gain from these interactions. “Faculty tend to have a greater understanding of students’ needs, expectations, strengths and challenges to help guide faculty in the classroom when teaching and meeting with students about their academic expectations and challenges they may face,” (Pascarella, 1975).

There are a number of opportunities for faculty to become more involved with students’ academic and personal experiences.

Opportunities and Commitments

These opportunities and commitments can range from a simple one time in residence hall program to a field trip within the Boston area to a commitment of living in a residence hall as a Faculty in Residence (FiR). Faculty who participate can request to work with first year students only or second years and above. Outlined below are examples and time commitments for out of classroom interactions with faculty and students.

30 Minute Program:
  • Attend a program held in a residence hall
  • Take a coffee break with a resident and Resident Assistant (RA)
  • Hold a 30 minute office hour in one of the college affiliated Living Learning Communities
60 Minute Program:
  • Hold a faculty dinner
  • Facilitate a class review session of supplemental workshop
  • Facilitate a discussion about your research
  • Hold an office hour in one of the college affiliated Living Learning Communities
Over an Hour:
  • Attend a field trip with residents to an event in the Boston Area (Freedom Trail tour; trip to the Museum of Fine Arts; attend a performance at the Symphony)
  • Hold a weekly/bi-weekly book club
  • Become a Faculty in Residence ß link

There will always be a student staff member (Resident Assistant) or professional staff member (Residence Director) to help plan and facilitate programs.

If you’re interested in becoming more involved in the lives of our students outside of the classroom, please complete this quick interest survey or contact Kara Curcio, Assistant Director for Residential Life.

Example Programs:

Spooky Science w/ Professor Courtney Pfluger

  • Dry ice and liquid nitrogen ice cream. “the interactive elements of our presentation had the students in awe and asking inquisitive questions” – RA, Jake Burrell

Meditation and Quality of Life w/ Professor Carey Nolan (Faculty in Residence ’09-’12)

  • A guided meditation session in the Scared Space

How to Run a Cookie Factory and Other Lessons from Professor Susan Freeman

  • Freeman led an interactive session with students, showing them how to run a cookie sandwich assembly line and creating competition between teams to see who can be the most efficient after a crash course in Industrial Engineering for non-engineers.

A Knice Knitting Class w/ Professor Ben Caras

  • Residents in the Creative Expressions LLC learned how to knit. “Faculty programs are fun!” – Melvin Hall resident