Houston News & Search
Published 4:27 pm, Friday, April 7, 2017
On Thursday, a Rice University official emailed students informing them that the term “College Master” was being changed to “College Magister” in order to avoid any negative historical connotation with the word “master.”
The email was sent by the Dean of Undergraduates John Hutchinsion, who said officials had been discussing the title change for over a year.
According to the university’s website, each college has a master or masters with the “responsibility for all aspects of student life in the college, including encouragement of broad cultural and intellectual interests,” as well as “caring for the well-being of the self and others and effective self-government within the college.”
Many Rice undergraduates live in university’s residential college system, which is composed of 11 residential colleges that are looked after by the college masters.
In the email, Hutchinsion explained that the negative connotation “sometimes created a serious issue in explaining the usage of the term ‘master’ at Rice” to persons that weren’t part of the campus community, “including family members of current students and staff as well as prospective students and faculty recruits.”
Hutchinsion’s email noted that the changes came to fruition due to “collaboration and constructive dialog, and not from confrontation or controversy,” and will become official at the beginning of the 2017-2018 academic year.
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In a statement to Chron.com, Hutchinsion detailed feedback from the Rice community after the changes were announced:
“I have received several responses from faculty, students and staff, all but one of which were very positive. Excluding that one person, people like the new title, finding it both novel and Rice- appropriate. They like the scholarly nature of a Latin title. One student said she was pleased that the new title is ‘Harry Potter-like.’ Several people commented on how well the process had occurred, and several others commented on how responsive the university was to input on both sides of whether to make a change or not.”
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