Norcliffe dorm is composed of two buildings, the four-class Norcliffe hall and the three-class Adelfa. Our goal as RFs is that students in both buildings feel part of one dorm community, and that they experience the community as welcoming and real. We affectionately call the dorm “Nordelfa,” creating one cohesive community.
Norcliffe Hall was opened in 2016 as a brand new dorm in historic Lagunita Court. It features a huge lounge with a full kitchen and big island around which people sit, study and hang out; there’s also a big flat screen in the kitchen area, plus a projector and new grand piano in the Lounge and a patio with BBQ outside. Downstairs there’s a sound-proof music room, an arts area/“maker space,” stacks of sports equipment to borrow, a bright and cheerful laundry, and a professional quality pool table. The dorm has plenty of places to study in groups of all sizes – two seminar rooms, a computer cluster, tiny and good-sized study nooks, and white boards all over the place.
Adelfa is linked to Norcliffe Hall by a short arcade on the west side and its residents enjoy all of Norcliffe’s amenities, while they also live in one of the most charming dorms on campus. Adelfa features the ever-popular sinks in every room, what are said to be largest singles on campus, a lounge with piano, kitchenette and ping-pong table, and two private study rooms. Adelfa looks out on beautiful Lagunita Court and Lakeside Dining (with Late Night!).
Lagunita Court epitomizes the laid-back quality of life on West Campus – it’s beautiful and calm, and fun is right around the corner. Across the street are the AOERC gym (with locker room, climbing wall, studios and basketball court) and Avery recreational swimming pool, a playing field on top of the new Roble underground garage, and Roble Arts Gym (TAPS Dept., theater performances, yoga studios, dance classes!).
“Nordelfa” has plenty of fun traditions. We work to build a community of upperclass and first year students; the dorm sponsors many all-dorm activities, such as a weekly yoga class, cooking projects in the kitchen, annual trips to Monterey and Yosemite as well as “Snow Trip.” We have a tradition of great “on-calls” on Fridays and Saturdays, when an RA hosts activities like movies, video games and Wii dance parties and snacks (Norcliffe’s full kitchen makes for great cooking). During finals week we have nightly study breaks with great food! Every year Norcliffe staff and RFs sponsor “off the Farm” excursions, which have included trips to opera, ballet and musical theater in San Francisco, professional sports games, historical “food tours” exploring San Francisco neighborhoods, a hands-on lesson in glassblowing at a Bay Area factory. Whatever residents propose, we’ll try to make happen.
My academic passion has been to study and teach the history of Russian culture, particularly Russian art, architecture, and religion. I earned a Ph.D. at the University of Michigan, and over the years have taught at Harvard Extension, Boston College, Wellesley College, UC Berkeley, and Stanford.
At Stanford I have taught in both the History and Art History departments. My Stanford appointment is as a Lecturer at Stanford's Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies. I'm also an avid photographer and, in some 50 visits to Russia, have compiled a huge slide collection that is an ongoing (but rewarding) challenge to manage, catalog, and, more recently, try to digitize. Nancy and I look forward to sharing our dog Ada and our two cats Mona and Nico with students who miss their pets back home.
I came to Stanford in 1982 as an Assistant Professor in the History Department, and earned my way up through the ranks. I love teaching and I was thrilled to win the University's Gores Award for Teaching, a prestigious award that is based on nominations from one’s own students. I became fascinated with Russia already in high school -- it was the Cold War and Russia was on everyone's mind – and in college I focused in on early modern Russia (from Ivan the Terrible to Catherine the Great). I've written four books on topics including politics in a situation of autocracy, the criminal law and Russia as an empire. In my spare time I walk our dog, read novels, do yoga and swim at AOERC pool across the street.
Jack and I have two children who both live in the area. Sasha (30) graduated from Stanford in 2010 as a History major and is a professional equestrian -- she trains horses and riders for competition. Christopher (27) lives in the area and works as an EMT.
What’s the coolest thing about Norcliffe?
Norcliffe dorm is composed of two buildings – the new Norcliffe and Adelfa. Adelfa is a three-class dorm in the Lagunita Courtyard that has its own array of amenities: the ever-popular sinks in every room, what are said to be largest singles on campus and for everyone to share a large lounge with piano, kitchenette and a ping-pong table and two private study rooms. The dorm’s Wii machine usually resides there also! Adelfa and Norcliffe are linked by an arcade; Adelfa looks out on to the beautiful Lagunita Court and Lakeside Dining (with Late Night!). Lagunita Court epitomizes the laid-back, cool quality of life on West Campus – it’s beautiful, calm, but fun is right around the corner. Across the street are the AOERC gym and swimming pool, a playing field on top of the new Roble underground garage, and Roble Arts Gym (performances, yoga studios, dance classes!).
What is your favorite house tradition or event?
Even though it’s new as a dorm, “Norcliffe” (affectionately called “Nordelfa” to link Norcliffe and Adelfa) has plenty of fun traditions. Norcliffe prides itself on having a tight connection between upperclass and first year students; the dorm sponsors many all-dorm activities, such as a weekly yoga class, cooking projects in the kitchen, annual trips to Yosemite, Monterey and “snow trip.” RFs like to have students in their apartment for fondue nights and faculty dinners. We have a tradition of great “on-call” nights on Fridays and Saturdays, when an RA hosts snacks (Norcliffe’s full kitchen makes for great cooking) and activities like movies, video games and Wii dance parties. During finals week we have nightly study breaks with good snacks! Every year Norcliffe staff and RFs sponsor several “off the Farm” excursions, such as trips to opera, ballet and musical theater in San Francisco, to LA for art museums and to a glassblowing factory.
What qualities make a successful Norcliffe and Adelfa team/student staff member?
Our goal as RFs is that students in both Norcliffe and Adelfa feel part of one dorm community, and that they experience the community as welcoming and real. Thus students will find that we seek out staff who work to build community for ALL our residents. They plan activities that engage the variety of people in the dorm, while giving the first-year students a great frosh experience. Norcliffe participates in “Frosh 101,” so we will be looking for staff interested in participating in this “reflections”-type class. Perhaps our most important goal is on the individual level – we want students to feel that coming back to Adelfa or Norcliffe at the end of the day feels like coming home. So our staff works to create an atmosphere where people meet their neighbors, feel recognized and included. We look for staff who are empathetic, able to connect, and willing to have and encourage serious conversations about personal issues and also about broader issues that might be having impact on student life. We view all staff members, from Adelfa and Norcliffe, as full members of one staff; Adelfa RAs are expected to get to know freshmen and students across the dorm, just as Norcliffe RAs are RAs for upperclass across the dorm.
In the application process, Jack and Nancy recommend that you include two letters of rec in your application, even if Res Ed continues to make such letters “optional.” We particularly look for students who have shown engagement and/or leadership in their dorm communities or who have sought out opportunities for building community (taking the “Bridge” class, facilitating Frosh 101, leading SPOT, etc.) or otherwise have shown experiences in building residential life.
Norcliffe Hall is named in honor of The Norcliffe Foundation, a private nonprofit family foundation established in 1952 by a Stanford alumnus.