Ready to teach in new space

By Cindy Weiss, CLAS Today

Faculty who are teaching classes in the new, high tech Classroom Building this fall are anxious to explore their new environment.

Many have taught for years in classrooms in buildings on campus that the new structure will partially replace – Monteith and Arjona, built in 1959, which have been scheduled for replacement for some time.

“I am looking forward to good acoustics and working technology — not to mention better aesthetics! says Michael Lynch, professor of philosophy in CLAS, who will teach Problems of Philosophy in the new building.

“I will be delighted to teach in a temperature-controlled building in August and September,” says Valerie Saugera, assistant professor of Literatures, Languages, and Cultures, who will teach Business French, Intermediate French, and French Art and Civilization in the new quarters.

Saugera has always taught in Arjona, and says the new experience “will be a jump from the 1960s to the 21st century.” She adds, “Yet I never minded teaching in Arjona. What matters is the contact with your students, regardless of the architectural style of your classroom building.”

Others were not so charitable. One described the older buildings as resembling “some buildings on the campuses of provincial colleges in the U.S.S.R.,” while adding that they were built at a time when the university “was pressed to respond rapidly to growing enrollments.”

Will the new building be better? “Surely, you jest,” responds Wayne Worcester, professor of journalism, preparing to teach Newswriting I in the new building.

“Having a dry, air-conditioned, acoustically sound building to work in will be…Well, after 25 years of going without, it’s hard to imagine,” he says.

“I once saw Stephen King interviewing people who had been trapped for three days in Arjona’s elevator,” he jokes, quickly adding that he is straying from journalism into a fictional imagining.

“I am positively thrilled to be teaching in the new Classroom Building,” says Sydney Plum, an adjunct faculty member in English, whose class there is Creative Writing I.

“I am particularly delighted about this placement because I make extensive use of media, even in creative writing classes, and usually have to struggle to get equipment set up.”

Are their colleagues jealous of their new teaching location?

“My colleagues are not yet jealous because, as of yet, they don’t know,” says Michael Braunstein, lecturer in mathematics who will teach Financial Mathematics I. ” But not to worry; if it’s a good place to teach (as I expect it will be), you can be sure that I’ll be letting them all know how lucky I am.”

“I really do not think anyone is jealous of my class sizes, regardless of where they might take place,” says Thomas Abbott, professor in residence who teaches a large introductory biology class for 400-plus students, a course that the new building will handle with a sparkling new large lecture hall, fully equipped with AV and movie-theater-like acoustics.

“Every classroom in the new building is technologically equipped in some way. I was lucky to be assigned there,” says Richard C. Rockwell, professor of sociology, who will teach a class there in The Developing World. “The new building will be attractive inside and out. I’ve taught in some of our newer buildings such as Pharmacy’s large lecture hall, and the students are very clear that they appreciate being in such surroundings.”

Jeffrey Ogbar, professor of history and associate dean of CLAS, requested space in the new building after taking an introductory tour last summer. He will teach Hip-Hop, Politics, and Youth Culture there.

“I couldn’t think of a more agreeable place – every single classroom. I hope this might have some effect on how students process information – in such pleasant surroundings,” he says.

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