Aquinas' house push

Inspired by the Oxford model and her doctorate studies in Australia, Aquinas College President Sister Mary Sarah Galbraith is rolling out a 'house' system at the private Catholic college that will group students, staff and faculty in tight-knit communities throughout the students' four years. The set-up will apply to both commuting students and those who have started to live on campus in the first of four planned halls that will house 700 students by 2017.

As the idea developed, it became clear that tying the idea to physical buildings, as at Oxford, would both delay a good idea needed now and limit the number of houses to three very big ones. So the "houses" will not be buildings, but eight communities. Each student will be assigned to one for his or her entire four-year stint.