Office relocation plans irk faculty members
Published: Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, April 24, 2012 17:04
Plans to relocate select departmental and faculty offices throughout campus buildings have some faculty members upset. They argue that PUC administration should have consulted with them first. On April 18, the Faculty Senate held a special meeting to address concerns of its members.
The proposed move, Faculty Office Relocation Plan 2012, calls for moving approximately 125 faculty and staff offices in order to accommodate the initial move of the Nursing Department from the basement of the Gyte Annex building to the third floor of Classroom Office Building.
Michelle Grant, director of academic programs and space management, addressed the senate about the proposed move, which is scheduled to begin May 21 and will conclude by Aug. 1. She said the moves will be done in segments, and will likely cost between $100,000 to $120,000. That money will go toward painting every office, washing and waxing floors, providing boxes and for AT&T to relocate phone lines. She said some construction will be involved, due to offices being moved into buildings where there are currently no department offices, bringing the total cost to approximately $300,000.
“Our physical space does not always manage our headcount, but it’s the best we can do with what we have,” Grant said.
Other affected departments include Engineering Technology, Construction Science, Computer Information and Graphics, English, History, Political Science, Foreign Languages, Behavioral Science, Biology, Chemistry, Math, Electrical Engineering and IPO instructors. Grant said tenure and tenure-track faculty will receive priority for a dedicated office. Full-time non-track faculty and visitors will be placed in shared offices. Graduate and teaching assistants will be put into workstation rooms, while some rooms, currently used as lab space will be converted into office space.
Vacant offices throughout campus, limited space and a 7 percent staffing reduction are all problems, but the underlying issue is ultimately the deteriorating conditions of the Gyte Annex building.
Vice Chancellor of Administrative Services Ken Johnston said an assessment of Gyte Annex was completed nearly 10 years ago and since then, the university has made minimal repair efforts to keep it operational. Johnston said it is not unsafe to occupy the building, but that the university is looking at all opportunities to vacate its offices. He said the current plan is not a complete solution to the problem, and may be inconvenient to some, but that it is the best possible solution at this time. He said faculty remaining in the Annex will be moved to offices with fewer issues.
“We are in a position where at some time in the future, and I can’t tell you when, that the Annex is going to fail,” Johnston said. “We’ve kept it from falling apart, but not much more than that.”
Approximately 75 office changes will occur in CLO alone. Currently, the Foreign Languages and Math departments are located there. Three offices will remain in the Annex building for clinical and visiting staff members of the Nursing Department labs.The School of Education will remain in the upper level of Gyte Annex and the Student Health Center will remain in the lower level.
Many faculty members voiced their concerns about the plan, such as the re-location of lab space in the Potter building and the decentralization of department offices across campus. Professor Jin Lu expressed her frustration about the splitting up of the Foreign Languages and Literatures Department. Another key point she mentioned involved Study Abroad classes scheduled for the summer months.
“If a student buys a ticket, we cannot just cancel and stay here to move our offices,” Lu said.
Professor of Foreign Languages and Literatures Jorge Roman-Lagunas was displeased with the plans, and said faculty members should have been involved in the process from the beginning.
“We need to meet with the vice chancellor,” he said. “He needs to know that we are not happy and we want him to consult with us,” Roman-Lagunas said.
Tom Roach, professor of communications and creative arts, said there should be a better plan worked out, and that the university attempted to make a decision that is impactful while involving deans and department heads, but leaving out faculty members.
“We’re the ones who are teaching the students and sometimes access and the quality of the rooms make a difference,” Roach said.
Faculty Senate Chair Michael Dobberstein motioned that the senate request a series of meetings with Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs Ralph Rogers at the earliest opportunity to meet with concerned faculty members. The motion also called for any moves to be put on hold until these meetings have taken place. The motion was passed unanimously.
Faculty Senate President Ralph Cherry said the Faculty Senate did not consult with Vice Chancellor Ralph Rogers’ or Chancellor Thomas Keon’s schedule, as the faculty wanted to hold a meeting as soon as possible. Cherry said there needs to be more communication between certain departments and the administration.
“I think the faculty wants to continue to discuss alternative plans and to consult with any number of people about what’s possible,” Cherry said. “I think we need to have more input into this.”
The affected departments include:
· School of Technology:
Engineering Technology, Construction Science, Computer Information and Graphics.
· School of LASS:
English, History, Political Science, Foreign Languages and Behavioral Sciences.
· School of EMS:
Biology, Chemistry, Math and Electrical Engineering.
· School of Nursing
· International Programs Office instructors in CLO