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Faculty Heads of House

Faculty living on The Ingram Commons with students is vital to the academic strategy of Vanderbilt University. “Faculty Head of House” is a faculty rank and a distinction for a Vanderbilt faculty member. There are ten Faculty Heads. They were selected after a rigorous interview process. They represent three of the four undergraduate schools (A&S, Blair, and Peabody), the Vanderbilt Law School, and the School of Medicine. They are noted researchers, scholars, writers, and award-winning teachers. They are real people with diverse backgrounds, interests, experiences, and professional accomplishments.

Each of the ten Faculty Heads of House live year-round on The Ingram Commons in apartments located in each house. Some of the Faculty Heads are single, others live with their spouses, partners, and families, including young children, teenagers, and family members. They continue to teach classes and do their research and administrative work. They also are present in the house as its faculty mentor, role model, and guide who shapes the living and learning community of the House. They oversee a programming budget and work closely with the Resident Advisers, the elected officers of the House Advisory Council, and other residents of the house to create innovative, challenging, and fun programs that enrich the educational experience of each house and The Ingram Commons as a whole. They are not house parents, dorm moms and dads, or faculty advisors. They are Faculty Heads of House and are among the university’s most dynamic individuals.

 Meet the Faculty Heads of House

Frank Dobson Daniel Gervais

Frank Dobson  is director of the  Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center  and one of the most influential administrators and mentors to be found in the Vanderbilt undergraduate community. His second novel,  Rendered Invisible , was published in 2010. He has published both scholarly and creative work; his recent article, "Beyond Black Men as Breeders: White Men and the Commodity of Blackness," appeared in the Vanderbilt University journal,  AmeriQuests  (Vol. 6, No. 1). Dobson, who also teaches at Fisk University, is a playwright whose work has been presented nationally.

Incoming Faculty Head of House Daniel Gervais is professor of law and professor of French, director of the Vanderbilt Intellectual Property Program and faculty director of the LL.M. Program at Vanderbilt Law School. He focuses on international intellectual property law, having spent 10 years addressing policy issues on behalf of the World Trade Organization and the World Intellectual Property Organization. Professor Gervais is looking forward to nurturing a respectful, fun, and intellectually stimulating house culture that includes celebrating other cultures and languages. 
Alyssa Hasty Chalene Helmuth

New Faculty Head of House Alyssa Hasty is a professor and the director of graduate studies in the Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics. Professor Hasty earned her Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University and completed postgraduate training at Tokyo University. Her research is focused on understanding how immune cells contribute to the obesity-associated risk of metabolic diseases such as diabetes. Her daughter and son-in-law Alyson and Chase - both of whom are Vanderbilt athletes/graduates - and her granddaughter Ava will visit occasionally. Professor Hasty looks forward to continuing and expanding on current Murray House traditions and is excited about mentoring residents and helping them realize their full potential.

Chalene Helmuth is a senior lecturer in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese and  the author of two books on contemporary Latin American literature and culture. She has designed study abroad programs in several Latin American countries, emphasizing service-learning and internship opportunities with an emphasis on sustainability. Sutherland's signature event is the Cafecito with good food, new friends, special guests, and stimulating conversation around her family's table.  Professor Helmuth lives in Sutherland with her partner, sociologist and Olympic boxing coach Dr. Christy Halbert, their daughter Ella, and Chita, the Sutherland House dog.  

Kevin Leander Catherine McTamaney

Kevin Leander is in the Department of Teaching and Learning at Peabody College. His research interests fit perfectly with The Ingram Commons: social media, youth identities, informal education, learning communities and new geographies of learning. On campus,  Professor Leander  has served on the American Studies Advisory Board, the Writing Studio Advisory Board, is former chair of the Vanderbilt Student Communications Board of Directors, a Faculty VUceptor, and is well known on campus as an excellent classroom instructor and undergraduate mentor. Professor Leander resides in Memorial with his wife,  Professor Ana Christina Da Silva, and  his three children, Elena, Jackie and Mitchell.

An award-winning teacher, Senior Lecturer and Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Department of Teaching and Learning,  Professor McTamaney  works primarily with undergraduates in Peabody's teacher licensure programs, focusing on the social and political context of public education and the integration of education and the arts.  A three time graduate of Peabody College, Professor McTamaney has been at Vanderbilt for most of the last twenty five years.  In addition to her teaching at Vanderbilt, she is the author of two books on Montessori education and compassionate teaching,  The Tao of Montessori  and  A Delicate Task , and was a member of the Social Computing Group at the MIT Media Lab where she helped to create the design principles of the Wildflower Montessori project.  Professor McTamaney is joined in Crawford House by her two children, Che and Timberlake, and their dogs, Meg and Squeak.

Gregory Melchor-Barz Rosevelt Noble

Gregory Melchor-Barz  is a professor of ethnomusicology at the Blair School of Music, with joint appointments in anthropology and the Divinity School. He recently drew on his fieldwork in East Africa to produce a Grammy-nominated recording of the music of HIV-positive women's groups with his research supported by the Fulbright African AIDS Research Program. Professor Melchor-Barz also recently completed a documentary film on the role of music in post-Genocide Rwanda, and he continues his field research on the role of hip-hop and HIV/AIDS in South Africa and Lesotho. 

A scholar of the American criminal justice system, Rosevelt Noble is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology.  The courses Professor Noble teaches include Prison Life, Criminology, and Deviant Behavior. He initially came to Nashville in 1994 on an athletic scholarship as a member of the Vanderbilt football team.  As the rare “triple Dore”, he has served at Vanderbilt in various capacities for the past 23 years. Professor Noble currently serves as Assistant Dean of Students and the Director of the Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center. He is also curator of the Legacy Lounge, a space designed to celebrate the history and experience of African-Americans at Vanderbilt. Professor Noble resides in Stambaugh with his wife Dr. Kristen Noble, and their two beautiful and energetic children, Jordan and Rosevelt III. 

Edwin Williamson Christoph Zeller

Incoming Faculty Head of House Dr. Edwin Williamson is an assistant professor of psychiatry who specializes in child and family psychiatry. He has a particular interest in helping children and young adults navigate transitions. Dr. Williamson has trained and practiced at Duke, UCSF, Yale and has worked for concentrated periods in China and in Sub-Saharan Africa. His passions, which he looks forward to sharing with his fellow Hank residents, include biking around Nashville, film, and music. Dr. Williamson is married to native Nashvillian the Rev. Lissa Smith, and they have three boys who will join him in making Hank the perfect place to set off on the adventure of your first year at Vanderbilt. 

New Faculty Head of House Christoph Zeller is an award-winning teacher and scholar of German and European studies. His research focuses on literature, media, and culture and centers around philosophical concepts and their impact on society, including fiction and nonfiction, art and architecture, politics and people. At West House, students will be able to build relationships during fun activities, enjoy international food, and attend regular dinners, featuring faculty from across campus who will discuss contemporary issues and the role of academia. Professor Zeller, his wife Amy, who is a speech-language pathologist, their daughters Marlo and Eva, and their cat are excited to call West their new home.