Housing for Commuting Faculty

At the request of the Dean of Faculty, the Faculty Compensation Committee has explored the possibility of offering a limited number of college rental properties to interested commuting faculty. The Committee has come to the conclusion that such a program is valuable both for faculty and for the institution, and does not come at the expense of the availability of college housing for junior faculty. However, the program has been undertaken on an experimental basis with periodic reviews in part to ensure that allocation of college rentals will continue to meet that primary need.

This program responds to the plain demographic fact that the number of commuting faculty has grown and presumably will continue to grow, particularly with the increase in the number of dual career partners. Two surveys of commuting faculty and potential commuters have persuaded us that the availability of rental properties will increase the amount of time spent on campus by faculty with primary residences elsewhere. Housing for commuters is a potential recruitment tool as well. As surveys of job candidates have shown, and department chairs can attest, the College’s greatest liability in drawing strong new faculty is its location. Having a program explicitly aimed at addressing that issue is in the College’s best interest.

Given the small number of units involved, and given that faculty won’t necessarily cycle through in a set time—as is the case with untenured renters in regular College housing—the Committee decided that a lottery to determine selection order would be the best way to assure that tenured commuting faculty of all cohorts will have a fair chance to take advantage of the benefit. We will review the program periodically to gauge demand and ensure that it is functioning appropriately as a benefit for the faculty and the College.

The provisions of the program are listed below. Interested faculty who meet the eligibility requirements should submit their names to Bobbi Senecal (Roberta.T.Senecal@williams.edu) in the office of Real Estate and Auxiliary Services by the second Monday in April.  The Real Estate Office will conduct the lottery and let the participants know whether they’ve been chosen, and if so, their selection order. The office will then be in touch with participants regarding the availability of specific housing units.

Housing Policy Rider for Commuting Faculty (see Faculty Handbook for general policy)

  • The program, which began as a three-year pilot through June 15, 2014, has been continued for another three years, to be evaluated again in March 2017.
  • Eligibility is limited to tenured faculty with primary residence at least one hour’s drive away.
  • The Housing Office will make six unfurnished rental apartments available for this program.
  • Selection of participants and rental units will be by lottery.
  • Policy on subletting commuter housing units differs slightly from that for regular College housing—see the section in the Faculty Handbook.
  • During the pilot period, the term of rental is unlimited but not guaranteed beyond June 15, 2017.
  • The location of the six rental units will be determined by the Housing Office and may change from year to year; i.e., continuous occupancy of a specific unit is desirable and likely, but can only be guaranteed for an academic year at a time.
  • The program should be reviewed by the FCC, the Director of Real Estate, and the Provost’s Office, before the College’s spring break in March 2017.