Tuesday, September 27, 2005

slo mo

One of the few things I remember clearly from my readings list for my comps was Mary Daly's term ACADEMENTIA. It's a particular type of craziness that increases the longer one is in academia. I think this can be sparked by the incredibly slow pace at which the machine chugs along. Chug chug chug sputter sputter sputter.

Last week, we got some new "waiting room" furniture for our writing center. It was a last minute purchase; the department had extra funds that it had to use or lose at the end of the fiscal year. (I learned to have a wish list handy around June 1 in case the opportunity arises again.) So, we ordered the furniture mid-June. It arrived mid-September, and I actually thought to myself, "Wow. That was fast." Ahh...academentia already.

In my first look at the WC three years ago, I noticed it suffered from a typical WC problem--hand-me-down everything: desks, dictionaries, computers, furniture. We had (have) a lazy-boy recliner and a futon which particularly annoyed on me. So ugly! So old! I know some folks would like how worn, comfy furniture might make the WC feel, but it didn't work for me. I felt it spoke of the neglect of the WC instead. So now, we got this new modular furniture which is sort of modern, sort of officey. I like it, but I'm curious to hear what my tutors will say about it at our meeting on Thursday. I was in the WC minutes ago and asked if we should ditch the futon. Two votes for "no." Much of my article for WCJ was about what we want our centers to say or how we want users to feel in the space. I think what I want the WC to say is different from how my tutors want to feel in the space. But I still can't put my finger on what I want it to say exactly. What is this space?! I wonder at times if my wishes for the space are based on how I want my colleagues to read the space. Do I put that need of mine above that of tutors and users? And, so what if I do?

jrgm

4 Comments:

At 7:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So how metaphorically "homey" are on-line tutoring spaces? In other words, I wonder how strong the association needs to be between writing/tutoring activity and a certain kind of space, whether home-like or austere (though, as you note in your article, Jackie, one's sense of home should not be assumed to be shared by others). In on-line tutoring is space constructed by both participants or is it tutoring in the absence of space? Just wondering.

 
At 9:29 AM, Blogger Clint Gardner said...

Yeah I wonder how much my influence as the dude who gets to pick out the furniture is based on my desire/need to have approval from colleagues/supervisors. I recall quite specifically when we moved to our new space being very worried that the dean would walk by and no one would be inside the big new space we received. Of course since our size attracted even more people (the "if you build it they will come" scenario.)

On the other had there a great things to be said for recycling furniture. We have a killer electric blue vinyl couch that people actually enjoy sitting on. (See my other comment about the couches, btw.)

--Clint Gardner

 
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