Fridays in Academia

It’s Friday and our campus is effectively empty on Fridays. Well, there is the eccentric Economics professor just letting out his class at 1:50pm, but really, he’s the lone non-Science/Allied Health professor still teaching a MWF class. Otherwise, my mostly small-classrooms- and-very-small-offices-single-hallway-1950s-building is blessedly quiet on Fridays. The Science building, however, having to make use of the labs 12 hours a day to fit all the students into labs, is very busy, but they are the other side of the quad and out of audio, eyesight and physical contact.

So what am I doing in my office on a Friday? Yes, there are few faculty members around, but each Friday there are some of us scattered all over campus in our offices or in conference rooms.  If any of them had a day like mine, they came in for a morning meeting (since there are few classes on Fridays, Fridays are now de-facto meeting days), and then they decided they might as well go to their offices to clean off the desk or get some prepping done. 

My plan was to grade quizzes posted in Blackboard, but, alas, the Blackboard gods have decided that, no, dear, it’s just not the right time to let you access those quizzes. And, since it is Friday, the campus Blackboard guru is out for a long lunch, so I sit here, not very patiently, awaiting the guru’s return so that I can kill the gremlin inside Blackboard (as insidious as the chatty Paper Clip gremlin in Word) who refuses to allow me access to my students’ quizzes.   I could actually clean my office, but blogging just seems more productive at this point and while in this agitated state of mind.

Interestingly, the meeting I went to this morning was the Renovation Taskforce: one of our aging buildings is due to be renovated to create more office and classroom space and I am one of the 2 faculty members on the “team”.  The fun part of these meetings with the architects is the HUGE cultural disconnect between their world and the academic world (at least the academic world of a public community college).  At our first meeting a few weeks ago, the architects were a bit surprised to learn that rather than a faculty lounge, we make due with a closet-like workroom with a copy machine, table, fridge and if really adventurous, a coffee pot.  No “lounging” for our faculty. Today, the architects came back with their initial drawings of the 4 offices that they believed could be created in this particular space, offices ranging from 230 to 290 square feet. The dean gasped (she wants 6-8 offices if possible) and we had to explain to them that most faculty offices are around 100-120 square feet, and that when we said “comfortable” we were thinking that 120 square feet would be divine (since my current office is about 80 square feet, 120 would be more than divine).   I could see the pitying looks pass between them when we showed them the size we had in mind.

I’m in my office 6-9 hours 4-5 days a week while school is in session (though some of that time is, of course, in the classroom): the potential for an office that is 120 feet, with maybe an accent wall that was not institutional yellow?  This is worth a Friday on campus. 

Now where is that Blackboard guru?

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