December 21, 2014

VIDEO: Professors anticipate move to new offices

Assistant professor Kristen DiFate’s office is inside a small room she shares with two other professors. Julia Griffey, assistant professor works in the Kirk House in an office with walls that don’t go to the ceiling. She has no privacy.

They will finally move into their new offices once the University paints and refurbishes what used to be offices for the business school.

Webster University recently completed construction of the East Academic Building on Garden Avenue. Business professors in the Sverdrup Building moved.

DiFate’s noisy office

DiFate doesn’t have heat inside her office.

One of the now vacant office spaces in Sverdrup

“When I was here over winter break I was actually sitting in my coat typing with my gloves on because it was so terribly cold in here,” DiFate said.

She also hears noise from the audio studio below her office. The May Gallery uses the wall on the other side of her office to hang pictures. DiFate said she listens to music to drown out the noise, but has to leave because it distracts her.

“I go to Denny’s a lot, they know who I am there,” DiFate said.

DiFate’s office is inside a room she shares with two other professors, Scott and Gina Jensen. Gina Jensen is an adjunct professor and director of the Forensics and Debate Team, a group of about 15 students that gather in the small common area inside the room. The students sit on the floor often.

“I literally have to step over them or ask them to step out of my way so I can go and get things for them,” Gina Jensen said.

Griffey looks forward to more privacy

Griffey also works in a small office, but her main concern is a lack of privacy. The walls surrounding her office don’t touch the ceiling so she can hear other conversations.

Assistant Professor Kristen DiFate's triangular office

“I feel like if I don’t make it known that I’m here I’m kind of hiding and deceiving people because I can hear absolutely everything everybody says,” Griffey said.

She is also distracted by the loud printer across from her office. Like DiFate, Griffey turns to music to help her work.

Griffey saw her new office. She’s not excited to move her whole office, but still can’t wait to settle into her new space. Griffey said the new office will give students more privacy when they meet with her. She said it also might lead to different relationships with her colleagues because she will see them on a daily basis.

No more curriculum “gaps”

Dean of the School of Communications Debra Carpenter said her main priority is to move those professors with the smallest offices, first. She also wants faculty that office in the Kirk House to move so they will be closer to their colleagues. Carpenter is confident there won’t be any more “gaps” in the curriculum.

“What we should end up with is a very solid group of people that show by where we’re positioned in here (new office space) that we’re collegial, that we work across disciplines, and that we are working together for the benefit of the curriculum and the students, and students can get the benefit of their faculty going from one major to the other.”

DiFate and Griffey don’t know exactly when they’ll move, but expect to be in their new offices by mid-February.

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