Richmond Residential College appoints new college head

Story by Abby Siegel, News Editor

Bassam Atieh, professor of occupational safety and health, was appointed college head of James H. Richmond Residential College beginning Fall 2016.

“It’s something I have not done before so I learn as I go along and hope for the best,” Atieh said.

Atieh was involved as a faculty member at Richmond and Hester Residential College before being appointed college head.

“I like to be there for the students,” Atieh said. “I am a huge student advocate.”

Atieh said he cares about students, academically and professionally. He has led workshops on crafting resumés and interviewing.

“I’ve always been there for the students,” Atieh said. “I’ve been at Murray State for 26 years – that speaks for itself.”

Atieh is also the adviser for the Murray State chapter of the American Industrial Hygiene Association.

He was always able to connect with the students and they loved him,” said Kenny Fister, chairman of the Council of College Heads.

Fister is the college head of Hester and worked with Atieh when he was a faculty member within Hester.

“The students like getting to know him,” Fister said.

Atieh transitioned back to Richmond where he began his residential college membership.

“He wants all the students to succeed, and you can really tell that he means that,” said Angela Barnett, sophomore from Plainfield, Indiana.

Barnett is Richmond’s Residential College Council (RCC) president and will work with Atieh because he is the RCC adviser. She said she and Atieh are preparing for their upcoming waffle breakfast on Family Weekend, Sept. 23-25.

“Neither of us really knew what to expect coming into our new positions, but we have the same mindset, the same goals for the building so it is working well,” Barnett said.

Barnett said Atieh is often around the college and is very welcoming and friendly to the residents.

According to the university’s website, Murray State was the first public university in the nation with a successful, comprehensive residential college program. Richmond, located next to Lee Clark Residential College, was opened in 2009 and has a total of 1,300 members.

Fister said college heads are typically appointed for two years and connect faculty and staff to students. They also advise the RCC of their college, work with the residence director and resident advisers and lead the development of programming within the college.

Fister said the position is open to any interested faculty member and typically those with tenure are encouraged to apply.