Letter to the Editor: College of Education faculty are complaining for the wrong reasons
Jan. 16, 1998
The Maneater reserves the right to edit letters and columns for style and length.
I am writing in response to your Dec. 5, article "Townsend Hall renovations relocate College of Education." I find the attitude of the faculty members reprehensible. They are speaking out in a self-serving and self-important manner, without any real care for the students (although they tried to use students as a front for it).
First off, note that all three faculty members quoted spoke on the condition of anonymity. Ask yourself: were the faculty likely to suffer severe negative repercussions due to their quotes? They might move down in the office political chain, but I doubt that there will be any longlasting effects. Faculty have criticized decisions before. Why, then, would the faculty members insist on not being known? They were simply too embarrassed to admit to the world that they were thinking only of themselves. The two staff members quoted (and attributed) told how they were dealing with the problems, rather than complaining about them.
The first thing that the faculty quotes discuss is that home-based offices deter students from taking advantage of office hours where students can just "come in for help." Sounds nice, but the College of Education is setting up a shared area for faculty to have office hours. This member says that "we want students to come and talk to us." This hampers the process, but it does not prevent interaction. As a student of computer science, I only have one class that occurs in the building that houses computer science offices. This never stops me from stopping in to talk to my professors when I want to.
There is more here than simple concern about the students. The faculty are complaining because they see themselves as being demoted in a way by having their offices taken away from them.
Nobody argues that the renovation is not necessary. Everyone agrees it is needed, and will likely be saying in two years that they didn't see how they got along in the old building. Many people whom I know would jump at the chance to work from home. The college is providing them alternative spaces to perform their duties as faculty, including teaching, researching and meeting with students.
Their main complaint is about having shared offices, and all the problems that these entail. Most likely, they know these firsthand, having used them as TAs. Why not move them to their own offices?
Since this is the College of Education, should the faculty not be teaching the students - by example - how to overcome problems like this, rather than complaining about how they are going to be treated like the graduate students they used to be.