Melanie Benson Taylor to Become North Park House Professor

Next month, Associate Professor and Chair of Native American Studies Melanie Taylor and her husband, Alan Taylor, a lecturer in writing, will pack up their house in New London, N.H., and move with their 2-year old son, Abel, into a large Victorian house on North Park Street—part of the College’s new house communities system. Taylor says she’s thrilled to begin next term as the resident professor for North Park House.

“It will be a learning process for me,” says Taylor. “I am eager to get to know the members of this house community and to learn their interests and desires so we can all decide how to create activities that will be a good fit.”

Taylor will replace Dean Rebecca Biron, who filled the post temporarily after Ryan Calsbeek, an associate professor of biological sciences, stepped down.

Dartmouth’s house communities opened this fall to expand opportunities for students, staff, and faculty to interact outside the classroom. Six house professors live in single-family homes (a seventh professor serves all the Living Learning Communities). First-year students, who are assigned to a house when they arrive at Dartmouth, gather with fellow house members for social and intellectual activities in the faculty homes, student residences, and house social spaces. North Park House is a gathering spot for students living in Ripley, Woodward, and Smith halls.

Along with her family, Taylor hopes to create a welcoming, inclusive atmosphere.

“I was the first person in my family to attend college,” she says. “It was difficult at times not to have family members to turn to for answers to my questions.” The residential system at Smith College helped her feel at home on campus, she says, and “fostered connections between what was going on in my classes and what was happening outside them.”

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