Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Chronicle asks again: Faculty offices? Who needs 'em?

Oh, Chronicle, Chronicle, Chronicle. You brought up this "no faculty offices" idea in 2010. I guess you figured it was time to revisit it, yes? https://t.co/GSmdZYUD97

If you want to know how popular open office spaces are, check out the threads at Askamanager.org.  Hint: they are exactly as popular as decreasing the sizes of airplane seats--in other words, beloved by the executives being paid $$$$, who all have private offices, and not so much by the people who actually have to work in them.

Herewith, from 2010, since I don't want you to have to click the link, a vision of how this would actually work:

New office commons: a day in the life

Scene: The shared office commons now being touted in the Chronicle. Faculty sit at tables, their brightly-colored rolling carts by their sides. An elaborate Starbucks-like coffee counter is in the corner, its machines hissing and burbling. Students hover around the outside, waiting to see faculty but not wanting to break into the herd, so to speak. A few have braved the crowd.

Professor X: "I'm glad you came to see me, Stu Dent. I've noticed that you haven't been coming to class much lately."

Stu Dent: "mumble"

Professor Y to student at the next table: "I can lend you a copy of that--oh, wait, I don't have any books on campus any more."

Professor X: "I'm sorry, but I couldn't hear you. Can you tell me again?"

Stu Dent: (very quiet voice) "It's been rough at home, because my mother has ca--"

Barista: "MOCHACHINO UP!"

Stu Dent looks nervous, but continues: "cancer, and she hasn't been doing well lately--"

At the next table, a cell phone rings, and Professor M answers it: "HELLO? REALLY? SHE THREW UP AGAIN? I THOUGHT WHEN I DROPPED HER OFF THIS MORNING THAT SHE'D BE ALL RIGHT."

Professor X, trying to be encouraging: "That must be really hard. Well, on the assignment you missed the other day--"

Professor M: "DOES SHE HAVE A TEMPERATURE? ARE YOU SURE? OKAY, I'LL BE THERE IN HALF AN HOUR TO PICK HER UP."

Stu Dent: "I wanted to talk to you about that one, because [words drowned out in the noise from the steaming machine]"

Professor X: "I'm sorry, what?"

Professor N, who's been watching The Daily Show on his laptop with the volume low, now erupts in laughter.

Barista: "LATTE UP!"

At this point, Professor Y and the student are trying, but failing, not to look at/listen to the conversation of Professor X and Stu Dent.

Stu Dent: "Never mind. See you in class."

And--scene.

Disclaimer: This post in no way is meant to insult mothers, coffee drinkers, students, Daily Show watchers, professors, or baristas, but you get the picture.

5 comments:

gwinne said...

I love your scenario here: :)

When our old building was torn down, our dept was given a choice (sort of) to go to a building with small offices and a front entrance that looks like a dentist office from the 1970s....or a newly designed open, "pod" configuration. You can guess which we chose. A good friend of mine, who had no choice, ended up in the "pod." I'm very happy for my door.

sophylou said...

Faculty ask again: Chronicle? Who needs it?

Undine said...

gwinne--I'm glad you had the choice. I hate-read everything about open office spaces because they sound like such a spectacularly bad idea.

sophylou--ha! made me laugh! You do start to wonder about their agenda after a while.

profacero said...

You must send this to the New Yorker as a Shout and Murmur.

Undine said...

profacero--thank you!